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30 April 2002 "Backer suggests polygraphs for priests"
Palm Beach Post staff writer Eliot Kleinberg reports. Excerpt:

Priests in the Diocese of Palm Beach should have to swear in writing that they never engaged in sexual misconduct, and be offered lie detector tests should there be any doubt, a top church critic says.

In fact, Ed Ricci says, he'll pay for the polygraphs.

Ricci, a prominent lawyer who's threatened to withhold six-digit contributions over the church's handling of the sex abuse scandal, issued the call in a letter last week to Riviera Beach Councilman and retired Judge Edward Rodgers. Rodgers is special counsel to a church and lay panel investigating the controversy.

"I do not think it will be enough for the commission to simply come up with procedures to investigate future complaints, new applicants for the priesthood and transferees from other dioceses," Ricci wrote Rodgers on Thursday.

Rodgers said Monday he plans to share the letter with the panel, but did not want to comment. Former state Senate President Phil Lewis, who chairs the panel, said Monday he hadn't seen the note. Diocesan spokesman Deacon Sam Barbaro said Monday that the Rev. James Murtagh, the interim diocesan leader, also had not yet seen it and could not respond.

Ricci's challenge follows the diocese's establishment in recent years of significant background checks and other procedural safeguards to try to weed out priests with sordid pasts. But even that safety net has holes in it.

A priest who wants to transfer into the Diocese of Palm Beach must go through the same criminal background checks as police officer candidates. They must submit to medical and psychological evaluations and have a note from their current boss saying they have a clean record. Other standards have been in place for years.

Despite that, all three of the bishops in the diocese's 18-year history and a half-dozen current or former priests have been swept up in the church's worldwide sex abuse scandal.

"It's not just us," Chancellor Lorraine Sabatella said last week. "That's what we're hoping is being addressed right now."

As additional safeguards, Ricci's letter suggests all priests and staffers swear an affidavit that they have never been guilty of sexual exploitation in their church careers. He said any who balk should be investigated. If one could show he had a problem in the past but brought it under control, he should be allowed to continue under strong restrictions. Otherwise the person should be dismissed.

And Ricci said priests or workers should be offered a voluntary polygraph test. Ricci said his personal charitable foundation would pay for testing at the Wackenhut headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens. Anyone who failed a polygraph would be investigated by a committee who would decide whether they could stay.

As a lawyer, Edward M. Ricci, Esq. should know better than to believe in polygraphs.

30 April 2002 Federal Judge Dismisses Perjury Charges Against 9-11 Suspect Who "Failed" Polygraph "Test"
Washington Post staff writers Steve Fainaru and Amy Goldstein report on the case of Osama Awadallah in an article titled, "Judge Rejects Jailing Of Material Witnesses." Excerpt:

NEW YORK, April 30 -- A key legal tactic employed by the government in its post-Sept. 11 war on terror is illegal, a federal judge ruled today, delivering a potential blow to the Justice Department's methods of detaining suspects and gathering evidence.

The judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, ruled that the Justice Department has overreached in imprisoning as "material witnesses" men the authorities believe might have information for grand juries investigating terrorism. She dismissed perjury charges against a Jordanian student, Osama Awadallah, 21, concluding that the information the government collected in its investigation must be suppressed because the suspect had been "unlawfully detained."

"If the government has probable cause to believe a person has committed a crime, it may arrest that person," Scheindlin wrote. "But since 1789, no Congress has granted the government the authority to imprison an innocent person in order to guarantee that he will testify before a grand jury conducting a criminal investigation."

Legal experts predicted the ruling could have far-reaching implications because the material-witness statute has emerged as a key tool in the government's investigation of terrorism after last year's attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. In addition to detaining people as material witnesses, authorities have arrested hundreds of others on charges of immigration violations and crimes unrelated to terrorism -- though the exact number is not known because of the Justice Department's policy of secrecy in the inquiry.


Today's decision revolved around Awadallah, 21, a student at Grossmont College in El Cajon, Calif. He was initially questioned Sept. 20 after authorities found a note with his first name and an old phone number in a car abandoned by some of the hijackers at Dulles International Airport.

FBI agents searched his bedroom, where they found computer images of Osama bin Laden.

The next morning, Awadallahagreed to a lie-detector test. An FBI examiner testified the test showed Awadallah had responded untruthfully when he answered "no" to questions about whether he had advance knowledge of or participated in the attacks. Awadallah was arrested.

Over the next three weeks, Awadallah was in maximum security at four jails in Southern California, Oklahoma and Manhattan.

He alleged that guards physically and verbally abused him and threatened his life.

Scheindlin did not rule on those allegations, but she noted: "Having committed no crime -- indeed, without any claim that there was probable cause to believe he had violated any law -- Awadallah bore the full weight of a prison system designed to punish convicted criminals as well as incapacitate individuals arrested or indicted for criminal conduct."

Judge Scheindlin's 2nd Opinion and Order (302 kb PDF) in US v. Awadallah discusses the circumstances of the FBI's unlawful seizure and polygraph interrogation of Awadallah. See especially pp. 20-23.

28 April 2002 "Siblings pin hopes on polygraph"
Jim Henderson of the Houston Chronicle Dallas bureau reports. Excerpt:

FORT WORTH -- Sometime in the next few days, James Byrd will take the most important test of his life.

If he passes, he soon could walk out of prison, free for the first time in nearly five years.

If he flunks, he could stay behind bars until he is an old man.

Polygraph tests are not admissible evidence in criminal courts, but because of the strange circumstances of his case, prosecutors have agreed to ask for his release if they are convinced he is telling the truth.

"We're open to taking another look at it," said Assistant District Attorney Alan Levy.

His boss, Tarrant County District Attorney Tim Curry, agreed.

"We're sure not going to keep him there if he doesn't belong," he recently told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

From the time he was arrested and charged with robbery by threat, Byrd, 38, has sworn that he did not belong in prison, but it took intervention by a University of Houston law student and a subsequent televised confession by his older brother, Donnie Johnson, to get anyone's attention.

Johnson, 45, has taken -- and passed -- a polygraph test in which he admitted to the crime for which his brother was convicted, and now it's Byrd's turn.

27 April 2002 No Polygraphs for South African Presidential Press Corps
The South African Press Agency (SAPA) reports in an article titled, "Sex Questions Necessary." Excerpt:

Cape Town - Presidential Press Corps (PPC) candidates will be expected to complete a questionnaire and, if necessary, follow-up interviews, but will not be required to undergo a polygraph test, Intelligence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Saturday.

She was responding to concerns raised in the media over intrusive and "unsavoury" questioning of candidates by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), as part of the security clearance procedures for the PPC.

26 April 2002 Useless Polygraph
Noted skeptic James Randi comments on polygraphy in the 26 April issue of his weekly on-line newsletter, Swift. Excerpt:

Bob Park, of the American Physical Society, at, has struck out again at ineptness in government circles. We've long preached that the polygraph [lie detector] is a useless device, subject not only to poor implementation by the operator, but also the whims and prejudices that said operator may hold. Certainly, it can be beaten by even modest efforts of the experienced liar, yet it is used by prominent US Government agencies as if it really worked. The possibilities of slanting evidence by means of the device, are frightening. So Bob asks:

HAS THE POLYGRAPH EVER UNCOVERED A SPY? WN believes it has not (WN 5 Apr 02). If it has, the government has never acknowledged the fact. The National Academy of Sciences is conducting a scientific review of the validity and reliability of polygraph testing. Its final report is due later this year. It is widely expected that the report will expose the polygraph as less than worthless. But beware, this is a powerful industry.

That last sentence is the operative one here. I suspect, as does Bob, that the government -- and other equally uninformed agencies -- will continue to use the polygraph, regardless of the results of the NAS study and conclusions. It's the "Henriette Syndrome" at work again....!

Randi defines the "Henriette Syndrome" as "the overpowering need by some people to accept and believe something preposterous, and the ability to ignore and dismiss the contrary evidence, no matter what it's quantity, nor how strong it is." (See Randi's commentary of 15 Feb. 2002 to read about the wilfully blind Lady Henriette.) See also George Maschke's commentary on the James Randi Educational Foundation message board.

25 April 2002 Lie detection infiltrating everyday life
Mayumi Saito reports in this puff piece on Trustech Ltd.'s "Truster" software, which was published in The Japan Times. Excerpt:

When Bill Clinton first said, "I never had sexual relations with that woman . . ." back in 1998, a report flushed that a new Israeli lie detector figured he was being truthful.

Looking back on the contradicting outcome, Katsuhisa Katoh, manager of AlphaOmega Soft Co.'s Risk Technology Group, which is affiliated with Israel's Trustech Ltd., defends the tool's reliability: "The software maker's president may have been afraid of making an overstatement because of several ambiguous findings."

Boasting 85 percent accuracy, Truster, lie-detection software made by Trustech, has sold 5 million copies in the West and 20,000 in Japan since its released in early 1998.

Its apparent popularity is partly due to its wide media coverage. Time magazine, for example, tested the program against the backdrop of the October 2000 presidential election debate between then Texas Gov. George W. Bush and incumbent Vice President Al Gore. According to the test results in a resulting article, Bush was a lot less certain and more likely to exaggerate than Gore.

Originally developed for Israeli border checks, Truster, sold for 21,400 yen in Japan, detects the uneasiness hidden in a human voice.

The software examines the subject's stress, excitement, and manipulation levels from their speech, either in recorded form or live into a microphone, and simultaneously displays its analysis.

Truster Pro, the more advanced version of the program (650,000 yen), is capable of breaking down speech into smaller segments and giving more detailed analysis.

The software's distributor AlphaOmega Soft stocks dozens of voice recordings from different sources that have been submitted for screening.

One of them is Masumi Hayashi's videotaped statements from a TV interview. She is currently on trial for mass murder over a July 1998 curry-poisoning incident in Wakayama that left four local residents dead and 63 others sick.

Her remarks were cut into segments, analyzed and judged according to the following categories: truth, false statement, high stress, subject excited, or subject unsure.

The Truster blared "false statement" at Hayashi's elaboration on how long she actually stayed at the ill-fated festival.

22 April 2002 Opposition to Sex Questions and Lie Detector Testing of South African Presidential Press Corps
Adrian Lackay of the South African Beeld newspaper reports in this article titled, "Press corps: Sex lives 'not relevant'":

Cape Town - President Thabo Mbeki's office and media organisations plan an urgent meeting to discuss the "crude treatment" of journalists and possible unconstitutional action by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) against those wanting to qualify for the presidemtial press corps.

The meeting follows Sunday's reports that journalists, who applied for membership to the corps, were questioned by the NIS on their sexuality, sexual behaviour and even bank records during the interviews to ascertain whether they posed a security risk to Mbeki.

Journalists were asked by the NIS whether they were gay and married journalists were asked to comment on the state of their marriage.

"It is not these people's sexuality or their sexual behaviour that had to be judged, but we had to determine whether they had something to hide, something they could be blackmailed with later. If you are gay, it does not mean it will count against you," said an NIS source.

Opposition parties said the types of questions and the NIS's intention to subject journalists to lie-detector tests bordered on unconstitutional actions.

20 April 2002 Sexual Inquisition, Polygraph Interrogations for South African Journalists
John Matisonn of the Sunday Independent reports in an article titled, "Spooks probe sex lives of presidential press." Excerpt:

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has been questioning journalists on details of their sex lives, as part of a security clearance process for membership of a proposed new presidential press corps.

Colleagues of the journalists who have been given as references have also been asked to provide whatever information they have about the applicants' sex lives, including whether or not they had ever practised homosexual sex.

The questions have raised fierce objections among legal experts, who said they were unconstitutional, and the Foreign Correspondents' Association in South Africa, which said it was "impossible to see how they could be necessary or appropriate".

The questions are being put to journalists who have applied for membership of a new presidential press corps along the lines of the White House press corps, which has privileged access to the president and travels with him on occasions.

No expert contacted by The Sunday Independent was able to give an example of any other country that asks journalists such questions.

Among the questions asked are who the journalist has slept with, whether that is a full list of names, and whether he or she has slept with members of the same sex.

Other questions include what the reporter would do if he or she were asked to sleep with someone in return for information, and what the reporter would do if he or she caught the president having sex.

Married journalists are asked about the state of their marriages.

Media colleagues given as references are also interviewed by the NIA and investigated to confirm whether the list of sexual partners is accurate and a lack of same-sex experience is true, or whether sexual encounters have been omitted.

Applicants have also been asked to supply copies of their bank statements, and for information about any psychotherapy undergone and the diagnosis of the therapist.

Lindiwe Sisulu, the minister of intelligence, pledged to investigate the matter, and said an instruction ordering the removal of some of the questions concerning sex was drafted on Friday. Later, however, Lorna Daniels, the ministry's spokesperson, after consulting director-general Vusi Mavimbela and the minister, said the questions would remain.

"On the surface it seems quite offensive, but you've got to understand the reason is to test people during that phase, and then ask the same questions when they are being polygraphed," Daniels said. "It is aimed at seeing if there is consistency in answers; to test that you are not hiding anything. You ask these heart-thumping, reflexive questions to make the heart beat faster.

"If you don't want to answer the questions you don't have to, but it will affect the outcome."

19 April 2002 Lie Detectors: Has the Polygraph Ever Uncovered a Spy?
Bob Park of the American Physical Society comments on polygraphy in the 19 April 2002 installment of his weekly column, "What's New":


WN believes it has not (WN 5 Apr 02). If it has, the government has never acknowledged the fact. The National Academy of Sciences is conducting a scientific review of the validity and reliability of polygraph testing. Its final report is due later this year. It is widely expected that the report will expose the polygraph as less than worthless. But beware, this is a powerful industry.

17 April 2002 TV Game Show to Feature Lie Detector "Tests"
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports in a story titled "Behind the scenes with Madonna." Excerpt:

"Truth or Dare" contestants may wish to improve their chances of winning by reading The Lie Behind the Lie Detector before their on-screen "tests."

16 April 2002 Failure of the Polygraph
Attorney Mark S. Zaid discusses polygraph policy in this op-ed column. Excerpt:

In the wake of the FBI's embarrassment at having one of its own caught spying for the Russians, former FBI director William Webster was appointed to head a commission to find out what went wrong. The commission concluded that lax security allowed Special Agent Robert Hanssen to elude capture. In an anticipatory response, FBI Director Robert Mueller announced that the FBI will dramatically increase the use of lie detectors, beginning with more than 1,000 of its employees. Such a move would be a substantial mistake. Continuing expansion of polygraph use guarantees the demoralization of the work force and the destruction of the careers of many innocent and loyal federal employees.

The FBI implemented its present policy in March 1994, in the wake of the Aldrich Ames CIA spy case, and then expanded testing following Hanssen's arrest. The FBI claims that fewer than 10 exams have raised red flags among the 700 who were tested, but no details have been provided. Yet no scientific evidence exists demonstrating that polygraph screening tests, whether administered during the application process or as part of a routine security reinvestigation, have any validity. Studies undertaken for the Department of Defense's Polygraph Institute, which trains FBI polygraphers, reveal that screening tests fail time after time.

In fact, the polygraph determines whether a person is lying with accuracy only slightly greater than chance. Moreover, studies have repeatedly shown that the polygraph is more likely to find innocent people guilty than vice versa.

Even Attorney General John Ashcroft has admitted that polygraph tests have at least a 15 percent false positive rate. That means a significant percentage of truthful individuals will be falsely labeled and investigated as drug users, terrorists and spies, oftentimes without any opportunity to respond.

In 1997 the FBI laboratory's polygraph unit chief swore to a U.S. military court that "(a) the polygraph technique has not reached a level of acceptability within the relevant scientific community, (b) scientific research has not been able to establish the true validity of polygraph testing in criminal applications, (c) there is a lack of standardization within the polygraph community for training and for conducting polygraph examinations."

The next year, the government told the U.S. Supreme Court that polygraph evidence should be inadmissible because of its inaccuracy. Thus a serious inconsistency exists between this position and the government's extensive use of polygraphs to make vital security and preemployment determinations.

Today the outcry for increasing the use of polygraph examinations arises in the context of catching spies. The fact is that even had Hanssen taken a polygraph -- in his 25 years with the FBI he never did -- the likelihood is that he would have passed.

Mr. Zaid represents a number of plaintiffs who have filed suit against the U.S. Government over its pre-employment polygraph policy. For details, see the Polygraph Litigation page.

11 April 2002 Invalid test stalls exoneration
Fort Worth, Texas Star-Telegram staff writer Mike Cochran reports. Excerpt:

FORT WORTH - It was going to be James Byrd's day of vindication.

After spending almost five years in prison for a crime that he and his older brother Donnie Johnson say Johnson committed, Byrd took a polygraph test Tuesday in the special crimes unit of the Tarrant County district attorney's office to prove his innocence.

It came a month after Johnson passed a polygraph to prove his guilt.

Instead, Byrd's test was deemed invalid because his blood pressure readings were too high and could not be stabilized. The next step, said Rick Holden, who administered both polygraphs, is for a doctor to examine Byrd and a new test to be administered in a more laboratorylike environment.

Thus, another bizarre twist in a case that seemed like little more than a two-bit robbery gone sour, but over time turned into a twisted tale of injustice that sent Byrd to prison, broke a mother's heart and shattered a large but close-knit family, as well as the relationship of two brothers who had been inseparable.

On Tuesday, the brothers reconciled in a tearful reunion in the special crimes unit.

"Hey, what's up?" Byrd said, sitting at a table handcuffed.

"How ya doin?" Johnson said as the brothers embraced.

Both anticipated that the results of the polygraph test were a foregone conclusion.

"I am relieved," Johnson said before Holden's evaluation. "I've been carrying this burden almost five years. I told him [Byrd] I was sorry that I had put him through this. ... He said he accepted my apology and that he loved me. That felt good."

Byrd said: "What hurt me more than anything, my own brother, my own flesh and blood ... he constantly lied."

The latest development doesn't mean Byrd is indeed guilty; Holden speculated that the excitement of seeing his brother, taking the test and contemplating freedom may have been responsible for the elevated blood pressure readings.

Nonetheless, the result delays the process of righting an alleged wrong and the goal of obtaining a full pardon for Byrd.

For now, freedom is still a jailhouse dream.

9 April 2002 Brother's polygraph test could clear brother in prison
The Associated Press reports in this article published in the Amarillo Globe-News. Excerpt:

DALLAS (AP) - This is a story about two brothers and a crime that changed their lives.

One brother is serving a 30-year sentence for aggravated robbery. The other is living with the agonizing guilt that he put his younger half brother behind bars.

Today, they both hope the truth will set them free.

For almost five years, James Byrd and his family have tried to convince authorities of his innocence - and that the man who committed the crime was his brother, Donnie Johnson.

After years of nagging from his family, Johnson, 43, confessed publicly and took a polygraph test last month about his guilt. Now the Tarrant County district attorney wants to test Byrd today.

If 38-year-old Byrd passes the lie detector test, the district attorney has agreed to recommend a pardon to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. The board could act immediately or wait several months.

"It's a very unusual case because of the relationship between the person who committed the crime and the person wrongly incarcerated," Assistant District Attorney Alan Levy said. "I think it merits a second look when normally we wouldn't have looked at it again. We're going to do what we need to do."

Mr. Levy, basing a pardon recommendation on a pseudoscientific polygraph "test" is hardly doing what needs to be done.

9 April 2002 FBI polygraphs reveal transgressions
Associated Press correspondent Jesse J. Holland reports (via Excerpt:

April 9, 2002 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- While two U.S. citizens have been arrested for espionage since July, increased FBI lie detector tests have uncovered several lesser security transgressions among FBI employees, the agency's security chief said Tuesday.

None of the information gained from the 700 polygraph examinations since the arrest of FBI spy Robert Hanssen has turned up a security breach as serious, Kenneth Senser, head of the agency's new security division, told a Senate committee.

Hanssen has pleaded guilty to selling secrets to the Soviet Union and Russia over two decades in exchange for $1.4 million.

"The process has identified lesser security transgressions and other behavior that has resulted in referrals to the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility for appropriate disciplinary considerations," Senser said.

In addition, "we are continuing to work with slightly more than 1 percent of the tested population to resolve anomalies," Senser said.

He did not elaborate on what actions resulted from the referrals.

8 April 2002 The FBI's reform movement
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel blasts the FBI's plans for more lie detector "testing" in this editorial. Excerpt:

The bureau's plan to expand the use of lie detector tests is just plain unprofessional and unscientific. The fact is, they are notoriously unreliable. Aldrich Ames, the CIA agent who in 1994 admitted to spying for Russia, passed two polygraph tests. Their use may permit other spies to escape and other moles to escape detection.

6 April 2002 Louisiana Supreme Court Embraces Polygraphy
The Beauregard Daily News reports in an article titled,"La. Supreme Court upholds dismissal of policeman." The officer's dismissal was based in large part on polygraph "evidence." This short article, which is no longer available on the Beauregard Daily News website, is cited in full here:

The 1997 dismissal of Johnny M. Evans, Sr. from the DeRidder Police Department was upheld by the Louisiana Supreme Court Thursday following an appellate court decision that ordered his reinstatement and prompted the DeRidder Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board to take the case to the Supreme Court.

Evans was dismissed by DeRidder Mayor Gerald Johnson on charges of "improper conduct" following an investigation by DeRidder Police Chief Arvin Malone that found Evans had disclosed sensitive police information that led to the beating death of Ernest Lee Prater Jr. in Vernon Parish in August 1997. Evans reportedly told his son, Johnny Evans Jr., and his son's friend, Eric Pickens, that Prater was acting as a police informant and had informed on Pickens and others, leading to the earlier arrest of Pickens on drug-related charges.

Pickens and Evans Jr. were later charged with Prater's murder, for which they are both currently serving time in prison.

Evans appealed his dismissal to the Civil Service Board on the grounds that he had not disclosed any such information to his son and Pickens. According to a "Facts and Procedural History" report compiled by the Supreme Court, the board upheld the dismissal, finding that, based on testimony by Malone and a polygraphist that stated Evans had failed an ordered polygraph test, Evans had in fact disclosed the information.

Evans took his appeal to the 36th Judicial Court, which also upheld the dismissal, affirming that the Civil Service Board's decision was supported by admissable evidence.

Evans then took his case to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Lake Charles, which, according to the Supreme Court report, reversed the Civil Service Board's decision, finding that the polygraph examination was "unreliable and irrelevant" and therefore inadmissable. The appellate court found that the 36th Judicial Court had committed a "legal error" in admitting the polygraph and that Pickens' statements during the investigation were also inadmissable due to inconsistencies and hearsay rules.

On June 27, 2001, the appellate court ordered the City of DeRidder to reinstate Evans to his former police department position with back pay and allowances that, after four years, would cost the city up to $100,000.

The city's application to the appellate court for a rehearing on the matter was denied for undisclosed reasons, prompting Johnson and the Civil Service Board to take the case to the Supreme Court.

In a conclusion of its findings, the Supreme Court stated that the results of a properly administered polygraph examination are competent and reliable evidence and that Pickens' statements constitute exceptions to the hearsay rule.

Based on these and other findings, the Supreme Court ruled that the judgment of the appellate court be reversed and the judgement of the 36th Judicial Court to support Evans' termination be reinstated.

By embracing the pseudoscience of polygraphy, the Louisiana Supreme Court has set a dangerous precedent. Relevant documents available in PDF format from the Louisiana Supreme Court website include:

5 April 2002 Webster Commission Report Publicly Released
The Commission for the Review of FBI Security Programs, better known as the Webster Commission, has delivered its report to the Attorney General, and it may now be downloaded as a 1.14 MB Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file from the U.S. Department of Justice website at:

Substantive discussion of polygraph policy begins at p. 67 of the report (p. 79 of the PDF file).

An HTML version of the report is also available on the Federation of American Scientists website at:

5 April 2002 FBI giving polygraph tests in anthrax probe
Kelli Arena and Carol Cratty of the CNN Washington Bureau report. This short article is cited here in full:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI is asking key scientists involved in the anthrax investigation to take polygraph tests, federal officials said Friday.

The voluntary exams, which gauge the subject's truthfulness, mark authorities latest attempt to find out who mailed anthrax-laced letters to journalists and politicians last fall.

"We haven't ruled anyone out as a suspect," an FBI official said Friday.

As part of its investigation, the FBI is looking into the possibility that the person behind the anthrax attacks may have ties to a government lab.

Authorities have narrowed the number of facilities believed to be capable of making the deadly spores to about 24 labs. But no charges have been filed against anyone thought to be involved in the anthrax mailings, which killed five people and infected 13 others.

Maj. Gen. John Parker, who retired last month as the commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, said the polygraph tests are a routine precaution and began six weeks ago.

"[The FBI] wanted to be reasonably sure as possible that the people who deal with evidence are not part of the problem," Parker said.

Parker said the FBI sought polygraphs only from those scientists and lab technicians who deal directly with anthrax samples and results. He said he did not know how many scientists at Fort Detrick have been asked to take a polygraph or if anyone has refused.

"I think this is a good thing," said Parker.

The Maryland lab is one of the labs capable of producing anthrax spores, and it has shared its anthrax with other labs for research purposes over the years.

Dr. John Ezzell, the scientist who opened the anthrax-laced letter addressed to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, confirmed that he had taken a polygraph test.

"It's a standard procedure for anyone handling evidence," he said.

While polygraphs are often used in criminal investigations, some scientists have questioned their accuracy and dependability.

4 April 2002 FBI Resorts to Lie Detectors in Anthrax Investigation
Brian Ross reports in an article titled, "No Suspects, Few Clues." Excerpt:

April 4 ?Six months after the government first said a man in Florida was sick with anthrax, which later killed five people and set off a nationwide panic, federal investigators say they have no suspects and few clues.

The FBI asked for the help of Dr. Ken Alibek almost immediately because no one in the world has made more weapons-grade anthrax than he has.

Until he defected 10 years ago, Alibek ran the secret Soviet and Russian anthrax program and says he has the expertise to make the material that was sent in the American anthrax letters. "Yes, it would be easy to do," he said.

Now Alibek tells ABCNEWS he and a number of other scientists were told last month they must take lie detector tests if they wanted to continue to help the FBI. He confirmed he had to answer questions including "Did you do it?" and "Do you know who did it?"

Alibek said he passed the test.

FBI Believes Person Responsible Is U.S. Scientist

The FBI continues to believe the person responsible for the anthrax attacks is likely a current or former U.S. scientist, perhaps a prominent one.

Federal investigators say Alibek is one of at least a dozen such individuals, many who worked in the bioweapons research program at Ft. Detrick, Md., have been given and passed lie detector tests.

"There are very few people who have this technical skill," said Dr. David Franz, the former bioweapons commander at Ft. Detrick. "And that's, in my mind, what makes this a very small group of potential perpetrators."

Because polygraph "tests" have no validity and are easily passed through the use of simple countermeasures that polygraphers cannot detect, the FBI should place no reliance whatsoever on polygraphy in clearing potential suspects.

4 April 2002 "Do Lie Detectors Belong at Work?"
Bob Rosner writes for the Wall Street Journal Center for Entrepreneurs Startup Journal. Excerpt:

I recently received a letter from a small-business owner who responded to a rash of small thefts in the workplace with company-wide lie-detector tests. Before you start any fishing expeditions with your employees, I thought you'd benefit from hearing the following fish story.

One day a Russian angler caught a huge pike. Of course, the fisherman felt a great deal of pride, but he also felt something else -- pain. Not content to be another fish out of water, the pike had bitten the fisherman on the nose and held on. Fortunately, according to newspaper accounts, Russian doctors were eventually able to pry the fish from the man's face.

Well, just like that Russian fish, a lie detector has the potential to bite back. And if that happens, the lawyers you'll need to hire to pry you loose from a potential or actual lawsuit will cost a heck of a lot more than any Russian doctor. William Hubbartt's book, "The New Battle Over Workplace Privacy" (Amacom, 1998), is a good source of information on issues related to workplace privacy. I've adapted the following questions from it for business owners....

4 April 2002 "Most FBI agents pass lie detector tests"
Kansas City Star correspondent Kevin Murphy reports. Excerpt:

WASHINGTON - All but a few of 700 FBI agents and employees passed lie detector tests as part of an internal security overhaul at the bureau, Director Robert Mueller said Wednesday.

Mueller outlined for reporters the FBI's broad plan for preventing security lapses, such as those that allowed agent Robert Hanssen to spy for the Soviet Union for 15 years.

Mueller said security was a "substantially elevated priority" at the FBI. A special review of FBI security by former FBI and CIA Director William Webster is expected to be released within a few days.

Polygraph tests were given to about 700 agents and others with access to the most highly classified information. Less than 1 percent, fewer than seven persons, failed the tests on a narrow set of subjects, Mueller said.

"We are heartened that less than 1 percent of the 700 tests raise issues that require further investigation," Mueller said.

He would not comment on the status of those employees while they were being investigated further.

Polygraph tests are being planned for hundreds of other key employees. The bureau also is considering giving random, unannounced tests to other agents and employees, officials said.

"While nobody likes taking a polygraph -- I didn't particularly enjoy taking a polygraph -- we all understand the necessity if it's going to expose a Hanssen down the road or be a deterrent to another Hanssen," Mueller said.

Nancy Savage, president of the FBI Agents Association, said agents did not object to random polygraph tests, which she compared to random urine tests they take for drugs. All agents take polygraph tests before being hired.

Unlike drug tests, lie detector "tests" have no scientific basis and are likely to falsely implicate the innocent while the guilty go undetected. FBI Agents Association president Nancy Savage should know better.

4 April 2002 "FBI Security Reform Sees More Use of Polygraphs"
Los Angeles Times staff writers Eric Lichtblau and Richard A Serrano report. Excerpt:

WASHINGTON -- FBI officials said Wednesday that thousands of employees may be subjected to polygraph tests in an effort to plug holes in security--holes so glaring that even convicted spy Robert Philip Hanssen now says he should have been caught years earlier.

Catching in-house spies and guarding national security interests were "not a priority" at the bureau in the past, FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged to reporters. "Any employee should recognize in the wake of Hanssen that we have to emphasize security more than we have."

Mueller's stark assessment of the FBI's failings comes days before a high-level commission is expected to deliver an even harsher critique of why the bureau failed for more than two decades to realize that it had a spy among its ranks.

The Webster Commission, headed by former FBI and CIA Director William H. Webster, is expected to release its much-awaited report on the Hanssen debacle later this week, probably Friday.


One key recommendation from the Webster Commission is expected to center on the expanded use of polygraphs for employees who have access to sensitive information.

The FBI, which for years resisted giving its employees routine polygraph tests, agreed last year in the wake of the Hanssen controversy to begin polygraphs for a small group of about 700 employees who work in intelligence operations.

That trial run has worked well, Senser said, with a passing rate of 99% for those tested. Those few employees whose tests came back "indeterminate" are being subjected to closer scrutiny and follow-up reviews, but no disciplinary action has been taken against anyone, he said.

Buoyed by the success of the test run, the FBI now is moving ahead with a tentative plan to significantly expand the pool of employees who would be subject to the tests. Although no final decision has been made, Senser said it likely will include "an additional few thousand" employees who will undergo questioning about unauthorized foreign contacts and the like.

Mueller said he wants to be careful not to subject agents to unnecessary testing and risk harming morale in the process. "Nobody likes taking a polygraph. I didn't particularly enjoy taking a polygraph."

But many agents seem to have grudgingly accepted that as the next big step in security.

"We've known this was coming," said one senior agent who asked not to be identified. "I don't get the feeling it's generating a lot of heartburn. Any protests would probably fall on deaf ears anyway because, in light of Hanssen, it's hard to make these same self-righteous kinds of objections and say, 'What is it about me that you don't trust?' "

3 April 2002 "Seven F.B.I. Employees Fail Polygraph Tests for Security"
New York Times correspondent David Johnson reports. Excerpt:

WASHINGTON, April 3 - About seven F.B.I. employees with access to highly classified information have been unable to pass polygraph examinations administered as part of the bureau's stepped-up security program after the arrest last year of a senior agent as a Russian spy, F.B.I. officials said today.

At a meeting with reporters at Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters, Robert S. Mueller III, the director, said that about 700 bureau employees had been given polygraph exams in the aftermath of the arrest of Robert P. Hanssen, who has pleaded guilty to spying for Moscow.

Mr. Mueller said, "We are heartened that less than 1 percent of the 700 raised issues that require further investigation."

3 April 2002 "FBI Investigates Employees Who Fail Polygraph Test"
Reuters correspondent James Vicini reports. Excerpt:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As many as seven FBI (news - web sites) employees with access to highly classified information face more investigation after taking polygraph tests given to tighten security following the discovery (news - web sites) of a Russian spy within the FBI, officials said on Wednesday.

"We have identified up to 700 persons who were responsible for looking at highly classified information and have run a polygraph program that I believe has been successful in that we have some assurance on all but one percent, and the others we are looking at," FBI Director Robert Mueller told reporters.

"We are heartened that less than 1 percent of the 700 raised issues that require further investigation," he said, days before the release of a special commission's report on how to improve security after the Robert Hanssen (news - web sites) spy case.

Mueller acknowledged that security had not been a "principal priority" at the FBI, but added, "We've moved to address that."

One of the steps adopted after the Hanssen spy case, which badly damaged the FBI's reputation, has been expanded use of polygraph tests for current FBI employees.

Hanssen, a 25-year FBI agent and counter-intelligence expert, pleaded guilty to spying for Moscow and is awaiting sentencing next month. His lawyer has said Hanssen began spying in 1979, just three years after he became a special agent.

FBI Assistant Director Kenneth Senser said polygraph tests have been given to about 700 employees since July. The "overwhelming majority" successfully completed the test.

Senser, a career CIA (news - web sites) official now in charge of the FBI's security division, said the 1 percent, whose responses during the test triggered concern, still were being "worked with."


Senser said the next step under consideration would be a "limited expansion" of the polygraph tests, adding a "few thousand" to those who must be tested.

3 April 2002 "FBI Chief Pledges More Polygraphs"
Associated Press writer Ted Bridis reports. Excerpt:

WASHINGTON - FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday promised broader use of lie detectors and a closer check of employee financial records to help deter or catch spies within America's elite law enforcement agency.

Mueller acknowledged delicate issues of privacy and trust. But he said FBI employees must realize that security needs to be improved after last year's arrest of FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who has pleaded guilty to selling secrets to Moscow for nearly two decades.

"Every employee should recognize that in the wake of Hanssen, we have to emphasize security more than we have," Mueller told reporters during a wide-ranging interview at FBI headquarters. "I will say, anybody who looks at our organization realizes that security was not a priority. We've moved to address that."

Mueller's remarks precede the release of a study on security within the FBI by a commission led by former Director William H. Webster. The report is expected to harshly criticize lax security inside the agency.

The seven-person commission ?some of whose members met with Hanssen over four days ?expects to deliver its report to Attorney General John Ashcroft as early as Thursday or Friday. Webster is to testify next week about the findings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Mueller and his new chief for internal security, Kenneth H. Senser of the CIA, said the FBI will soon administer new lie-detector tests to 1,000 more employees. Earlier results of 700 found that fewer than 10 raised red flags, such as possible deception, that warranted additional scrutiny. Mueller declined to discuss whether those who flunked were still working with top-secret documents.

Both Mueller and Senser said they are studying the best way to broaden use of polygraphs across the FBI's roughly 28,000 employees but are focusing for now on testing agents and others with access to the most sensitive secrets. Mueller pledged that the FBI is "not going to polygraph people indiscriminately across the bureau."

"Nobody likes taking a polygraph," he said. "I didn't particularly enjoy taking a polygraph."

28 March 2002 "Cuban spy passed polygraph at least once"
Miami Herald Washington correspondent Tim Johnson reports. Excerpt:

WASHINGTON - Even though confessed Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes already outwitted a lie-detector test, the government plans to rely on polygraph exams to check her honesty as they debrief her about her 16-year spying career while working for U.S. military intelligence.

Montes took a polygraph examination at least once during her career as an analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, her attorney says.

''At the time she was polygraphed, she passed it,'' said prominent Washington attorney Plato Cacheris, who added that he did not know when the exam was given.

Critics of polygraph exams, which are designed to snare liars, say they are astounded that U.S. officials would rely on them to determine if Montes is telling the truth.

''Isn't this incredibly ironic?'' asked Drew C. Richardson, a retired FBI agent who wrote a doctorate dissertation on polygraph research. ``She beats the polygraph and now we're going to use a polygraph to assess the damage? It's utterly, unbelievably stupid.''

Montes, 45, is the most senior spy for Cuba ever caught. FBI agents arrested her Sept. 21 at her workplace. In a plea agreement with the Justice Department, Montes confessed March 19 to spying for Cuba and offered to reveal all details of her betrayal to investigators before her Sept. 24 sentencing. If polygraph exams show that she has been honest and candid, she will get a 25-year jail term, with five years of parole.

Montes isn't the first turncoat in the U.S. intelligence community to beat the polygraph, or lie-detector, exam, and her case is sure to add to controversy over whether the government can rely on the polygraph to catch spies.

Some critics assert that the polygraph tests lure counterintelligence units into a false sense of security, and should be abandoned for other methods.

The Defense Intelligence Agency, which is the preeminent military intelligence arm of the Pentagon, declines to say whether -- or when -- Montes was given a polygraph exam after her hiring in September 1985. It also refuses to provide details of results of any exams given to Montes.

''All DIA employees are subject to polygraphs,'' said an agency spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. James E. Brooks, declining further details.

For discussion of the Montes case, see the discussion thread Source: Cuban Spy Montes Passed DIA Polygraph.

26 March 2002 FBI Spokesman Suggests Polygraph Can't Be Beaten
Laura Sullivan of the Baltimore Sun reports in an article titled, "FBI sets its bar high for aspiring agents." Excerpt:

Just to be considered, applicants must be U.S. citizens between ages 26 and 36, with at least three years of full-time work and a four--year college degree. Those who qualify undergo a series of written and oral tests that gauge verbal, math and analytical skills. Then they take a polygraph test meant to weed out those with criminal histories or drug use.

Those who pass take a physical exam and undergo a background check that can last for months. Agents will question neighbors, friends and employers - including previous bosses from their teen-age summer jobs selling hot dogs or clothes at the local mall. Mostly, they are looking for signs of violent or abusive behavior.

The written test, officials say, eliminates 30 percent of applicants. Of the 70 percent who pass, the interview and oral test knock out half. Of the remaining 35 percent of original applicants, only half pass the polygraph, physical and background exams.

The 17 or 18 percent of the original pool who survive then compete for the open spots at the FBI academy.

"We don't want to discourage people, but it's difficult," said Peter A. Gulotta Jr., a spokesman for the Baltimore field office, one of the top recruiting offices in the nation.

"Especially the polygraph," he said. "Because despite our warnings that you're not going to beat it, they'll go try anyway. There's no sense in embarrassing yourself."

If Peter A. Gulotta, Jr. really believes that the polygraph cannot be beaten, he probably hasn't read The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.

22 March 2002 "Skakel prosecutors, defense prepare for battle over polygraph evidence"
John Springer reports for Court TV. Excerpt:

In the 26 years since 15-year-old Martha Moxley was found bludgeoned to death on her own lawn, the list of suspects has included a pair of brothers, a tutor and even a gardener.

There was Kenneth Littleton, the live-in tutor for the Skakel family, Kennedy family relatives who lived next door to the Moxleys in a wealthy enclave in Greenwich, Conn. One theory surmised that a transient wandered into the area and attacked the girl.

It would take authorities a quarter of a century to zero in on one suspect, Michael Skakel, the then-15-year-old son of industrialist Rushton Skakel, the brother of Ethel Skakel Kennedy. Now that Skakel's trial is set to begin next month, prosecutors will attempt to limit the testimony of previous suspects that could potentially raise doubt in the minds of the jury.

Included in pre-trial motions expected to be filed next week by prosecutors, according to a source in the prosecutor's office, is a motion to bar the defense from questioning two previous suspects - Littleton, and Skakel's older brother, Thomas - about the results of polygraph tests they took years ago.

Skakel's defense lawyer, Mickey Sherman, is, understandably, opposed to any such limitations.

"Generally once someone takes the stand, most judges allow a wide latitude for cross-examination and certainly anything that bears on their credibility is often fair game," Sherman said. Lead prosecutor Jonathan Benedict declined to comment on the pending motions.

The issue is unchartered territory as far as Connecticut case law goes. Connecticut, like most states, prohibits the results of a defendant's polygraph test from being admitted in court but there is no precedent for admitting evidence about other witnesses' polygraphs to impeach their credibility.

Skakel pleaded not guilty in February 2001 to a charge he committed the brutal killing the night before Halloween in 1975 in the gated community of Belle Haven, a section of affluent Greenwich. The popular teen was killed with a golf club from the Skakel family's collection.

22 March 2002 "FBI Moves to Prevent Espionage"
The Associated Press reports on counterespionage measures adopted by the FBI in the wake of the Hanssen affair, including a discussion of the Bureau's counterintelligence-scope polygraph program. Excerpt:

Former CIA and FBI Director William Webster is wrapping up a massive review of the FBI's internal security in the aftermath of the Robert Hanssen spy case. The senior agent spied for Russia for more than a decade without U.S. detection.

While awaiting Webster's recommendations, the FBI agreed to answer questions earlier this week from The Associated Press about some of the changes and findings already made.

FBI officials said they have conducted more than 700 polygraphs of FBI agents and workers with access to the most sensitive information and have identified a small number whose tests raised flags, such as possible deception, that warranted additional scrutiny.

Officials said the number was just over 1 percent of those tested ?just under 10 workers. They declined to be more specific, citing ongoing investigations and personnel privacy.

The failure-to-pass rate of just over 1% cited here is considerably lower than the rate of about 5% reported by Knight Ridder correspondent Lenny Savino in July 2001. To discuss these issues, see the message board thread, On the FBI Polygraph Failure Rate.

20 March 2002 "Top U.S. analyst admits to spying for Cuba"
Knight-Ridder Washington correspondent Tim Johnson reports in an article published in the Miami Herald on the guilty plea of DIA analyst Ana Belen Montes, who was recruited by Cuban intelligence even before she began her DIA career. Excerpt:

WASHINGTON - A senior U.S. intelligence analyst, Ana Belen Montes, admitted in federal court on Tuesday that she was a longstanding spy for Cuba, burrowing a long and deep tunnel through the ranks of the U.S. intelligence community and unmasking at least four U.S. covert agents to Havana.


In new revelations, the Justice Department said Montes was already working for Havana when she began as a junior analyst at the DIA in 1985, suggesting that Cuban spy-masters may have directed her career to the most sensitive sanctuaries of U.S. intelligence.


Her recruitment, when she was in her late 20s and still a graduate student, and her climb to senior ranks of the DIA, where she helped draft a 1999 finding that Cuba no longer presents a military threat to the United States, revealed the meticulous tradecraft of Cuban intelligence in directing her, experts said. Still unanswered is how she could have remained undetected so long as a spy in the DIA.

After the arrest last year of FBI Robert Hanssen -- who gave intelligence to the Soviet Union, and Russia, while running U.S. counter-intelligence operations at the bureau -- FBI investigators were chagrined to learn that he had never been given a polygraph test.

The FBI is now seeking about $7 million from Congress to hire more polygraph test experts, and require every FBI employee granted a security clearance to take one.

20 March 2002 "Pentagon's Top Cuba Expert Pleads Guilty to Espionage"
Tim Golden of The New York Times reports on the case of Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst Ana Belen Montes, who according to court documents was already working for the Cuban Directorate of Intelligence when she joined the DIA in September, 1985. If Montes was ever subjected to a counterintelligence-scope polygraph "test," then it would appear that like CIA spies Aldrich Ames and Larry Wu-tai Chin, Montes beat the polygraph. Reporter Golden notes that Montes "is obliged to submit to extensive debriefings and lie-detector tests by American intelligence and law-enforcement officials who will try to assess the damage she caused to national security."

For discussion of the Montes case, see the message board thread, DIA Analyst Charged with Spying for Cuba.

See also Neely Tucker's Washington Post article "Defense Analyst Pleads Guilty to Spying for Cuba."

19 March 2002 "McKinney polygraph an issue:" In defending malpractice suit, his ex-lawyers may say they think he flunked it
John McDonald reports for the Orange County [California] Register on the $10,000,000 lawsuit brought by a man who spent 19 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder. Excerpt:

The two Orange County public defenders who represented DeWayne McKinney on murder charges say they kept secret for 20 years their belief that he flunked a lie-detector test.

A federal judge ruled Monday that they can testify about the polygraph at a civil trial in order to counter McKinney's assertion that the county's legal malpractice led to his wrongful incarceration for 19 years.

The lawyers representing McKinney in his lawsuit against the county dispute the charge that he flunked the lie-detector test, saying their expert found the results inconclusive.

McKinney was convicted in 1982 of the murder of a Burger King manager in Orange, but he was released in January 2000 after a convicted robber incriminated another man in the slaying and some eyewitnesses said they now believe the other man was the killer.


Norman Watkins, lawyer for the county, argued in court that the lie-detector test is crucial for the public defenders' case. Watkins said that in 1998, Holmes believed the polygraph was a critical obstacle to McKinney ever being freed from prison.

Holmes obtained a promise from Strople to keep the polygraph results secret so that a new investigation could be launched with the goal to free McKinney, Watkins said. Holmes has declined to comment because the suit is pending.

Taylor said he is uncertain whether he will allow the jury to see the actual polygraph results, but that Holmes and Strople may need to tell the jury of its existence and their belief that he flunked the test in order to defend themselves.

No competent attorney should place any reliance whatsoever on the pseudoscience of polygraphy, and any who does should be held liable for any resultant harm.

18 March 2002 "Intuitive people worse at detecting lies"
Emma Young reports for the news service. Excerpt:

People who think of themselves as being intuitive make worse lie detectors than those who do not trust in a "gut instinct", according to new research.

"People generally aren't very good at detecting lies - accuracy is between 45 and 65 per cent," says Paul Seager of the University of Central Lancashire, Preston. "So my interest is: are there ways of making people better lie detectors?"

Seager showed 10 video clips of people lying or telling the truth about their favourite films or preferred ways of relaxing to 200 people. Half of these believed they were very intuitive and had scored highly on questionnaires designed to reveal this belief. The other half had low scores.

The intuitive group were 59 per cent accurate at detecting lies. But the non-intuitive people were 69 per cent accurate. "The intuitives fell into the normal range, but the others were significantly better," Seager says.

14 March 2002 Lie Detector "Testing" for Taiwan Intelligence Oversight Committee?
Taipei Times staff reporter Brian Hsu reports in an article titled, "NSB plans oversight committee." Excerpt:

National Security Bureau (NSB) director Tsai Tsao-ming...yesterday said that the bureau has begun instituting plans for the formation of a legislative committee to oversee intelligence.

Tsai said the plans were in line with recent legislative proposals to better monitor the NSB and its subordinate agencies.

"We have asked specialists from the German Bundestag [parliament] to come and consult with local lawmakers about how a legislative intelligence committee should operate," Tsai said.

Tsai said that the NSB is also examining regulations by which US Congressional intelligence committees operate, and -- hinting at the issue of trust -- noted that the rules are "very strict."

"According to the regulations, each member of the intelligence committee has to undergo a personal property investigation, a lie-detector test and a loyalty check. The member must also ensure that no information he or she learns in the committee will be leaked and that, if it is, he or she must face legal punishment," he said.

14 March 2002 "Lie-detector test reveals deceptions"
Larry Lebowitz and Wanda J. DeMarzo of the Miami Herald report. Excerpt:

Former Broward Sheriff's detention deputy Andrew Johnson repeatedly gave deceptive answers to lie-detector questions posed by detectives investigating the murder of Deputy Patrick Behan, according to a memo summarizing the tests.

Johnson, who was fired from his job as a jail guard four months before Behan's 1990 murder, was lured back to BSO on Feb. 8 under the pretense of a job interview.

According to records released Wednesday, detectives were trying to determine whether Johnson had been telling the truth when he told undercover agents he had killed a deputy or whether he was bragging in hopes of landing a job with drug traffickers.

Johnson was broke, had been acquitted on a 1995 rape charge and had run through a series of jobs when he showed up at BSO for the fake job interview. He declared bankruptcy in 1999, and four weeks before the interview he and his wife of 12 years had filed for divorce. He had never given up a dream of being a law enforcement officer.

According to experts who examined the BSO reports for The Herald, the polygraph results raise more questions than answers. Renowned Miami polygrapher George Slattery said the detectives never asked the key question -- ''Did you fire the shot that killed Behan?'' -- during the five-and-a-half-hour polygraphed portion of the fake job interview.

Expert Warren Holmes of Miami agreed: 'The bottom line is that you cannot absolve Johnson in any way. To resolve it, there would have to have been more definitive questions, such as `did you shoot someone on the night of ...' He didn't ask any of that.''

The notion that anyone can be absolved (or incriminated) based on the results of pseudoscientific polygraph "tests" is a dangerous delusion.

14 March 2002 "Lie test touted as new evidence"
South Florida Sun-Sentinel staff writers Paula McMahon and Ardy Friedberg report. Excerpt:

The man at the center of the reinvestigation of the 1990 murder of a Broward sheriff's deputy showed deception on a lie detector test when he said he had not killed a deputy, according to the polygrapher's report released Wednesday.

Sheriff's detectives began looking at Andrew Johnson after an informant told law enforcement officials that Johnson's wife said he had killed a deputy.

After a 10-month undercover investigation, Sheriff Ken Jenne said last week that his agency does not have enough evidence to charge Johnson in the murder of Deputy Patrick Behan. The sheriff declined at the time to discuss the results of polygraph tests done on Johnson during a phony job interview that was set up by detectives heading the undercover investigation of the former detention deputy.

Johnson, through his attorney, denies killing anyone.But attorneys for Tim Brown, 26, the Broward man who is serving life in prison for Behan's murder, released the Sheriff's Office polygraph report as another example of new evidence that has been gathered in the murder investigation that could help to clear their client. Brown denies that he killed Behan and says that detectives beat him and forced him to confess to the crime. His attorneys hope the new evidence, including undercover surveillance tapes that show Johnson saying he killed a deputy, will help get Brown released.

Polygraph tests are legally considered unreliable and are not usually admitted as evidence in criminal court trials in Florida and many other states. Investigators, prosecutors and defense attorneys use the tests to try to find out whether someone is being straightforward with them.

According to the report, detectives wanted to check whether Johnson was truthful when he told undercover officers, posing as criminals, that he killed a deputy. Detectives wanted to see if Johnson, who was fired from the Sheriff's Office in July 1990 for several policy violations, was just boasting.

While polygraphy may be helpful in inducing naive and gullible suspects to confess, no logical inference regarding whether a person has spoken the truth may be drawn based on the examination of polygraph charts.

10 March 2002 Polygraph Dragnet in South African Arms Probe Leak
Jessica Bezuidenhout reports for the Sunday Times of South Africa in an article titled, "Staff under scrutiny for arms-probe leak." Excerpt:

INVESTIGATORS probing South Africa's R66-billion arms deal have been told to undergo lie-detector tests and lay bare their private telephone records while their bosses hunt down staff suspected of leaking information to the media.

Auditor-General Shauket Fakie confirmed this week that 25 investigators, some from his office, had already signed affidavits in which they agreed to be subjected to lie-detector tests.

Fakie said the action against staff was part of an internal probe to identify those responsible for leaking information not included in the official arms report, tabled in Parliament in November, to the press.

Investigators who signed the four-page document have opened the door to possible prosecution or disciplinary action by their bosses. Those who refuse to sign cast a cloud of suspicion over themselves.

7 March 2002 "Lie detector tests now part of sex offenders' conditional parole"
Muskegon [Michigan] Chronicle staff writer John S. Hausman reports on post-conviction sex offender polygraph "testing" in Michigan. Excerpt:

In a program launched last March in Muskegon, also under way in Flint and Detroit, the Michigan Department of Corrections is requiring paroled sex offenders to submit to periodic polygraph tests as a condition of their freedom. Refusal to take the test constitutes a parole violation, which can lead to a return to prison.


By late December, 29 of the tests had been given in Muskegon, said Tom Combs, the corrections department official in charge of the program statewide. Three or four are done in a typical month, at the parole office in the former Muskegon Corrections Center building off Barney Avenue.

Polygraph tests are not infallible. That's why the results of such tests are not admissible in court. Similarly, parolees can't be "violated" simply because the test indicates they're being deceptive, corrections officials say.

But officials say test answers sometimes can open avenues for further investigation, which can lead to reincarceration if parole violations are uncovered.

A typical parolee's test takes about two hours, polygraphers said.

Each offender in the program is required to take at least three polygraph tests: first at the start of parole, then about seven months later, and finally a short time before discharge from parole.

6 March 2002 Polygraph Dragnet at Jefferson County, Colorado Sheriff's Department
Rocky Mountain News staff writers Jeff Kass, Kevin Vaughan and Lynn Bartels report in an article titled, "Jeffco vows to find who leaked photos." Excerpt:

Employees in the Jefferson County sheriff's department will be given lie detector tests in the coming days as officials try to determine how more than 60 secret Columbine High School crime scene photos were leaked.

Sheriff John Stone and Undersheriff John Dunaway will be at the head of the line.

"If it's necessary to use the polygraph to resolve this matter, I'll take the first one, and the sheriff certainly will do so as well," Dunaway said.

He said neither he nor Stone, the only two officials with the authority to release any of the 10,000 or so crime scene photos, had done so.

"I would resign in a heartbeat over an issue like that," Dunaway said of allegations the photos were intentionally leaked.

Two years ago, Stone and Dunaway incurred the wrath of Columbine families when they allowed a Time magazine reporter to watch videos taped by Klebold and Harris after refusing to let the families see them.

At least two internal affairs investigators have been assigned to the case, launched Tuesday after a Rocky Mountain News report. Dunaway said two photos faxed to him by the News appear to be authentic.

Investigators will compile a list of dozens "who may be asked to cooperate with this investigation," spokeswoman Jacki Tallman said. She said it's unclear how many may submit to a polygraph test.

"We aren't lining people up like cattle," she said.

3 March 2002 Pakistani Scientist Who Met Bin Laden Failed Polygraphs, Renewing Suspicions
Peter Baker reports for the Washington Post. Excerpt:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan ?It didn't seem all that strange to his son when Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood began spending part of his retirement in Afghanistan working on charity projects. But he was curious enough after one of those trips to ask his father if he had met Osama bin Laden there. "He said no," the son recalled.

Only after his father was arrested did Asim Mahmood learn the truth. His father had met with bin Laden twice. "What were you doing with him?" Asim said he demanded. "Why did you meet with him?"

Those are the same questions still being asked by intelligence officials here and in Washington. Mahmood was no ordinary retiree-philanthropist but one of the top nuclear scientists in Pakistan. In addition to lying to his son, intelligence officials concluded, Mahmood had failed a half-dozen lie detector tests they gave him.

The mysterious case of the Pakistani scientist touched off alarms in the West, and CIA Director George J. Tenet raced to Islamabad to personally look into the matter last fall. But four months of investigation by U.S. and Pakistani authorities have failed to yield a definitive explanation of what Mahmood was doing in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. Was he handing over nuclear secrets to bin Laden, or has he been caught up in an investigation built largely on suspicion and circumstance?

Pakistani authorities maintain that whatever he might have discussed with bin Laden, Mahmood did not possess the specialized knowledge necessary to build a weapon by himself, and they decided in January not to prosecute.

Yet U.S. officials said they remain dissatisfied and have pressed Pakistan to keep Mahmood under wraps. He remains on the U.S. list of designated terrorists, his assets have been frozen and he lives under a form of house arrest with a guard watching over him 24 hours a day.


A U.S. source said Mahmood failed polygraph examinations during his questioning. Asim Mahmood confirmed that his father took "six or seven" lie detector tests and failed, but he called the technology unreliable. Although he said his father initially lied to him about bin Laden, Asim Mahmood said he has accepted his father's explanation that the whole situation was misinterpreted. Asim Mahmood also acknowledged that a diagram describing a helium balloon to disperse anthrax spores was found last fall in the building that housed his father's charity in Kabul, but he said it was planted by authorities after the building was abandoned.

Criminal investigations and intelligence operations should not be allowed to be influenced by a superstitious belief in polygraphy. Home Page > Polygraph News