28 August 2002 "Spooky Goofs" (Abdallah Higazy case)
Chisun Lee reports for the Village Voice. Excerpt:
Last fall, after inventorying the rooms guests had fled on September 11 in a hotel directly across from the World Trade Center, a security guard reported finding a ground-to-air aviation radio locked in the safe of Egyptian student Abdallah Higazy. Higazy was called in, questioned, and thrown into solitary for a month. During an FBI lie detector test, he confessed. Then the radio's real owner, an American pilot, came forward to claim it. The security guard admitted he had lied. Higazy was released.
Higazy's wrongful captivity had many bizarre moments, but the specter of possible FBI coercion in obtaining his false confession has overshadowed all. In fact, federal judge Jed Rakoff recently ordered a probe of the polygraphing. Yet a careful review of records unsealed by the judge--over vehement opposition from U.S. Attorney James Comey's office--shows the case was flawed from the beginning by investigative carelessness and assumption, problems never before fully revealed.
26 August 2002 FBI Reportedly Threatened Hatfill's Girlfriend Regarding Polygraph
In a press conference on Sunday, 25 August, Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, whom the Federal Bureau of Investigation has designated as a "person of interest" in the ongoing anthrax investigation, described the treatment that his girlfriend (whose name has not been made public) has received from the FBI. The following is an excerpt from Dr. Hatfill's remarks (emphasis added), which are taken from the transcript of CNN's Late Edition program which aired on 25 August:
It is definitely not good to be the girlfriend of a person of interest. My girlfriend was locked inside an FBI car and hauled off to FBI headquarters and interrogated for hours, without once being told she has the right to leave any time she wished. Her requests for a lawyer were delayed and made difficult. Her purse, although not on the search warrant, was taken from her and its contents examined after the interrogation process while she was being driven back to her residence.Dr. Hatfill also addressed New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof's allegation that Hatfill had failed three polygraph "tests" since January:
She was screamed at by FBI agents and told that the FBI had firm evidence that I had killed five innocent people. This was told to her by FBI agent Jennifer Grant and FBI agent Pamela Lane. Can you imagine that?
The FBI trumpets that I am not a suspect, and the woman I love is told the FBI -- told by the FBI that I am a murderer.
This is the life of a person of interest, Mr. Ashcroft. But that's not all. My girlfriend was told that she better take a polygraph examination and cooperate, or else. Her home checkbooks, computers, private papers and car were seized. As for her home, it was completely trashed, as is appropriate for the home of a girlfriend of a person of interest.
Some of her delicate pottery was smashed. The glass on a $3,000 painting was broken. This painting was wrapped in bubble wrap, by the way. Neatly stacked boxes awaiting shipment to her new home were ripped open, instead of opened with due regard to their contents.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have pictures of how FBI left this apartment, her apartment, which, at the time of the raid, was neatly prepared for a move to Louisiana, with all her belongings packed in nicely stacked boxes. This is one of the pictures.
I refuse to allow my girlfriend -- to this treatment, as the girlfriend of a person of interest. She is not here today. I love you. I will not state her name here. And I ask the news media, please, for common decency, if you know it, please leave her alone. She will not make a statement.
Another person I've never met or spoken to and don't know is Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times. After transparently implicating me as Mr. Z, over a period of months he berated the FBI for not investigating me aggressively enough to suit him. He has never called me, checked his facts, asked for comment, contacted any of my representatives, anything, before he published.
Following my first press appearance, Mr. Kristoff once again wrote about me. Once again, his column was inaccurate. He said, for example, that I had failed three successive polygraph examinations since January. This is a total lie. I have not taken, let alone failed, three polygraphs on anthrax since January.
I had one polygraph session, which the FBI did administer to me in January, and I was told I passed and the examiner was satisfied that I had told the truth.
26 August 2002 Hatfill Contradicts Kristof on Polygraphs; Kristof Stands by Columns
In a 13 August 2002 op-ed piece titled "The Anthrax Files," New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof reported that anthrax investigation "person of interest" Dr. Steven J. Hatfill had "failed" three polygraph "tests" since January and declined a fourth. In an article titled "Anthrax figure steps up offense," Baltimore Sun staff writer Scott Shane reports that Dr. Hatfill has publicly contradicted Kristof's claim in a news conference held on Sunday, 25 Aug. Excerpt:
At the news conference, Hatfill strongly criticized Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist who has written about him several times, accusing the FBI of "lethargy" and urging investigators to pursue clues about a scientist he called "Mr. Z." In his most recent column on the subject, published Aug. 13, Kristof acknowledged that Hatfill was "Mr. Z" and reported, without attribution, that Hatfill had failed three polygraph tests since January.
Hatfill called that allegation "a total lie" yesterday, saying he has been given only one polygraph examination by the FBI and was told he had passed.
Hatfill's spokesman, [Pat] Clawson, said Kristof had failed to seek comments from Hatfill or his attorneys before making allegations against him. He said Kristof was guilty of "journalism malpractice at its worst."
Correspondence released yesterday showed that The New York Times declined to publish Glasberg's letter on the issue, saying it was too long. The Times' opinion page also rejected the letter, and Kristof declined to run it in his column.
Reached at his Scarsdale, N.Y., home last night, Kristof said only: "You can quote me as saying I stand by the columns."
25 August 2002 Steven Hatfill to Sue Nicholas Kristof over Polygraph Claim?
In an article titled, "Anthrax 'Subject' Explores Filing Lawsuit against NYT Columnist for 'Malicious Lies'" Internet writer Matthew Drudge reports that anthrax investigation "person of interest" Dr. Steven J. Hatfill is contemplating a lawsuit against New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof. Excerpt:
A foreshadow of legal fireworks over what has been reported about the Department of Justice's anthrax "Subject of Interest" Steven Hatfill emerged Sunday after the germ warfare specialist declared to the cameras: "I am not the anthrax killer!"
Sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT that Hatfill has told his lawyers he wants to sue the NEW YORK TIMES and its terror columnist Nicholas Kristof for reporting last week: Hatfill has "failed three successive polygraph examinations since January."
"This is a total lie," Hatfill warned on Sunday. "I have not taken, let alone failed, three polygraphs on Anthrax since January. I had one polygraph session which the FBI did administer to me in January, and I was told I passed, and the examiner was satisfied that I had told the truth. Mr. Kristof never called me about this allegation, nor did he call my attorney."
25 August 2002 Senator James Inhofe Says He Subjected Self to Polygraph in 9/11 Leak Probe
Speaking on CNN's Late Edition, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) stated that he had subjected himself to a polygraph "test" in the FBI's ongoing investigation into the leak of NSA intercepts. It is not clear from the context whether Sen. Inhofe has actually been polygraphed, or if he meant that he merely expressed his willingness to be "subjected" to polygraphic interrogation. The following is excerpted from the program transcript:
BLITZER: All right. We just have a minute left. Before we go, Senator Inhofe, I want to get your reaction on an unrelated matter, I guess it's somewhat related, the investigation into who leaked information from the National Security Agency to the news media about what they knew before 9/11.
As you know, now the FBI seeking the phone records, palm pilot records, communications of about 19 senators, members of the Intelligence Committee. I assume you're one of them. What to you think about all of this?
INHOFE: Well, I guess I'm the only senator who has been supporting that. I think if we're going to have the FBI check all the staffers on the intelligence committees, I don't think that they should leave out the members, too. Because there was a leak and it's very serious. And I subjected myself to a polygraph test and suggested that we all do the same thing.
22 August 2002 UK: "Sex offenders could face lie detector tests"
The Guardian reports. Excerpt:
Sex offenders may soon be asked to take lie detector tests to monitor their behaviour, the national probation service said today.
The machines, which monitor physical responses such as heart rate, could be used regularly if further research proved their reliability, the service said.
Polygraph tests were tested by the national probation service in a series of low-key trials last year, and the use of the machines is still at a very early stage.
National probation chief Eithne Wallis said more research was still needed following the tests, by two American polygraph examiners, in the West Midlands, Northumberland and Surrey.
"If it worked and if there was a robust, demonstrable level of reliability it may be that there would be a place for that as a piece of supporting information in our management of sex offenders," Ms Wallis told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
A total of 30 sex offenders on probation were asked a series of questions about their past offending, current behaviour and fantasies.
They were asked if they had been in contact with children or on the lookout for victims.
The BBC reported that the tests prevented at least three offenders from committing further crimes.
Sex offenders have been subjected to lie detectors in the US state of Arizona for the last 12 years.
Sandy Gray, a polygraph examiner for the US state, told BBC Breakfast: "They [paedophiles] are very deviant and usually very skilled at being manipulative.
"By monitoring, the polygraph examination is, by far, better than simply accepting and taking their word for what they are doing."
Ms Gray said the machines monitored blood pressure, heart rate, sweating and breathing patterns.
As well as sex offenders, detectors in the US have also been used in criminal investigations, custody evaluations and professional sexual misconduct cases, while US police departments have even been known to use them in pre-employment checks.
Doubts over the accuracy of polygraphs mean they cannot currently be used by police in the UK and are not accepted as evidence in the courts.
Polygraph examiner Bruce Burgess is one of only two working in the UK and his clients include employers who suspect staff of theft or fraud, and people checking if their partners are being faithful.
Forensic psychiatrist Professor Don Grubin, who oversaw the tests, said the convicted paedophiles had disclosed unauthorised contact with children and that they had visited areas where they might meet children.
But Roger Stoodley, who led the investigation into the paedophile network that included the notorious child killer Sidney Cooke, said he was sceptical of the development.
Sex offenders are practised liars and would be able to fool the most sophisticated equipment, he said.
18 August 2002 "Lie-Detecting Devices: Truth or Consequences?"
Washington Post staff writer Ariana Eunjung Cha reports. Excerpt:
NEW YORK -- "Lie detectors," those controversial assessors of truth, are making their way into everyday life.
Insurance companies use them to help catch people filing fraudulent claims. Suspicious spouses use handheld versions to judge whether their significant others are cheating. U.S. government interrogators use them to double-check analyses of who might be a terrorist.
Polygraphs, which have been used for decades, have been joined by new systems that purportedly analyze a person's voice, blush, pupil size and even brain waves for signs of deception. The devices range from costly experimental devices that use strings of electrodes or thermal imaging to $19.95 palm-sized versions.
No studies have ever proven that lie detectors work. Many show that they assess truth as accurately as a coin flip; in other words, not at all. Still, some people have come to depend on them.
Liz Saul, a radio-station ad executive, got a call from a man who said he was from an Internet lottery company and wanted to buy $315,000 worth of advertising. He was eager and charming, but Saul thought that something was not quite right.
Her worries grew as he tried to cancel the contract and then reactivate it, and cancel and reactivate it again. Saul was in a quandary: If the ads started running and the man never paid, she would have wasted her time and her company's. But if she dropped a sincere customer, she would have missed out on thousands of dollars in commissions.
She decided she needed a second opinion -- from a machine.
As she and the man talked one day, Saul screened his voice with a "truth phone," which, its maker says, measures inaudible microtremors in a person's voice to determine the likelihood that he was lying. The digital numerical display that indicates stress level hit the danger zone. The guy was a faker, according to the machine.
Saul politely ended the call, and the contract.
"I don't have to waste my time or build my hopes up thinking about something anymore. It helps me to live in a world of reality," said Saul, 36, a Manhattan resident who bought the $3,000 device made by CCS International Ltd. from a local spy shop.
The successful marketing of pseudoscientific "voice stress analyzers" documented in this article reaffirms showman P.T. Barnum's observation that "there's a sucker born every minute."
17 August 2002 Canada: Polygraph No Solution in Failed Military Leak Investigation
David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen reports in an article titled, "Forces grill reservists over Citizen." Excerpt:
Military sleuths subjected part-time soldiers to lie-detector tests and tracked leads for seven months in an unsuccessful attempt to uncover how the Citizen got the inside scoop on a secret commando training mission at Ottawa airport.
Military police tried to determine how Citizen journalist Gary Dimmock found out about an Oct. 24 exercise in which the Joint Task Force 2 counterterrorist squad practised storming a passenger jet.
Investigators were particularly interested that Mr. Dimmock reported on specific details about what had occurred inside the plane.
This caused investigators to suspect his source was among the volunteer reserve soldiers on board the aircraft who were playing the role of hostages.
Police brought in a polygraph specialist to administer lie-detector tests to several of the young soldiers, according to the investigation report, obtained by the Citizen under the Access to Information law.
Others were asked whether they had relatives in the news media. One of the teenagers was quizzed whether he had told his fellow classmates at Woodroofe High School about the exercise.
The military launched the investigation a few days after the Citizen article appeared, and only suspended the probe in May after they failed to determine where the newspaper's information came from.
17 August 2002 "Polygraph Misuse Complicates Hearing"
Associated Press writer Catherine Wilson reports. Excerpt:
MIAMI (AP) -- A polygraph examiner has admitted he broke the rules of his profession during a February undercover investigation into the 1990 murder of a policeman.
Broward County sheriff's polygrapher Richard Hoffman testified he was ordered to perform the lie detector test as a ruse, didn't ask required control questions and wrote a misleading report on test subject Andrew Johnson. The report showed Johnson was being deceptive when he said he never shot a deputy.
Johnson had emerged as a suspect in the Nov. 13, 1990, slaying of Deputy Patrick Behan -- a murder for which a 26-year-old retarded man is serving a life term in prison.
Testifying on the final day of hearing seeking a new hearing for convicted killer Timothy Brown, Hoffman admitted last week that he violated the standards of the Florida Polygraph Association.
"This test should not ever have been run," he said. "The test is worthless. The report is worthless."
The fact that Florida Polygraph Association member Richard Hoffman rigged a polygraph "test" speaks to the true level of his faith in polygraphy.
16 August 2002 "Records Show Judge's Qualms Over F.B.I. Acts"
New York Times reporter Benjamin Weiser reports on developments in the case of Abdallah Higazy, a falsely accused exchange student from whom an as yet un-named FBI polygrapher extracted a false confession. Excerpt:
Newly released court documents show that a federal judge in Manhattan briefly considered appointing a special prosecutor to investigate how the F.B.I. had obtained a confession from an innocent Egyptian student detained in connection with the attack on the World Trade Center.
The documents show that the judge, Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court, raised questions of whether the student, Abdallah Higazy, was coerced into confessing to an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation who was administering a polygraph test about a radio that was said to be in his hotel room.
The judge also said he was "apparently seriously misled" into believing the confession was true, though it proved to be false.
The government vigorously opposed the appointment of a special prosecutor, or a second option, to have the judge hold a hearing into the circumstances of the confession. Judge Rakoff ultimately agreed on an option proposed by prosecutors, ordering them on Aug. 5 to conduct their own investigation and report back to him by Oct. 31.
Mr. Higazy's case remains one of the more unusual chapters in the Sept. 11 investigation. Mr. Higazy was first held last December as a material witness in the investigation after a hotel security guard said he found an aviation radio in the safe in the room where Mr. Higazy was staying at the time of the attack. The room overlooked the trade center.
Mr. Higazy was charged with lying when he denied owning the radio, and spent about a month in jail in solitary confinement. In January, Mr. Higazy was released and the charges dropped after the guard admitted making up the story about the radio.
The previously sealed court documents show that Judge Rakoff held a court conference on Jan. 18, one day after learning through the news media that the charges against Mr. Higazy had been dismissed, and he expressed concern that in keeping Mr. Higazy in jail, he had relied on the government's representation that the student had confessed.
The documents offer more detail than previously known about the confession. They say that Mr. Higazy, without his lawyer present, gave the F.B.I. agent three versions of how he had obtained the radio. He said that he had found it in a subway station near City Hall, had found it underneath the Brooklyn Bridge and had stolen it from the Egyptian Air Corps, in which he had once served. The assertions were all untrue.
The documents suggest that Judge Rakoff was seriously concerned that the F.B.I. agent, who is not named, was using an investigative tool of questionable reliability and may have taken advantage of an individual who was "nervous and under stress" to effectively transform a lie detector test "into an uncounseled interrogation."
The whole purpose of a polygraph "test" in the context of a criminal investigation is to trick the person being "tested" into submitting to an uncounseled interrogation. Anyone suspected of a crime -- whether innocent or guilty -- would be wise to refuse any polygraph "test." The "test" is a pseudoscientific fraud, as explained in detail in Chapter 3 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.
16 August 2002 "Judge Releases Documents in [Abdallah Higazy] Case"
Associated Press correspondent Devlin Barrett reports. Excerpt:
NEW YORK- A federal judge believes he was misled by the government before he ordered the detention of an Egyptian student suspected of involvement in the Sept. 11 attack, newly released documents show.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff on Thursday unsealed more than 100 pages of court papers in the case of Abdallah Higazy, who was detained after an aviation radio was found in his hotel room overlooking the World Trade Center. Higazy was held without bail for 30 days before being released.
According to a transcript of a hearing on March 18, the judge said the court "is of the preliminary view that it was apparently seriously misled on two occasions in connection with the detention of Mr. Higazy."
Both occasions centered on prosecutors' descriptions of a confession obtained from Higazy that was later shown to be false, according to the documents.
When first questioned by authorities, Higazy denied the radio was his, even though a hotel security guard told the FBI he found it in a safe in his room. The radio could be used to communicate with commercial pilots.
Prosecutors said Higazy, 31, later confessed during a polygraph examination that the radio was his, and he was charged in January with lying to investigators.
But the charges were dropped after a pilot came forward to say the radio belonged to him and the security guard recanted his story.
Higazy and his lawyer charge an unidentified FBI agent extracted the confession by making veiled threats against Higazy's family in Egypt. Rakoff decided earlier this month to let the U.S. attorney's office conduct an internal review before deciding whether to launch a separate probe of the incident.
16 August 2002 Bristol Co., MA: "Former Southeastern Regional School District official passes lie detector test, denies she stole money from district"
Brockton, Massachusetts Enterprise staff writer Maureen Boyle reports. Excerpt:
For two hours, Barbara Ataman sat in her lawyer's office last month and underwent a polygraph examination.
"Did you steal money from the Southeastern Regional School District?" the former transportation supervisor for the school district was asked. "Did you plan with anyone to steal money from the Southeastern Regional School District?"
"No," Ataman answered to each question.
That test on July 25 marked the first round in Ataman's attempt to fight charges that she and another former Southeastern Regional School District employee, Patricia Cheromcka, stole money from the school district and conspired with each other to steal cash.
"I wasn't worried," Ataman said. "Because I'm not guilty."
Getting the polygraph test results admitted as evidence in the case, however, will be an uphill battle in the courts.
Her attorney, Kevin Reddington, is trying to convince Bristol County prosecutors to give Ataman another polygraph test, then either drop the charges or let the results in as evidence.
"She is innocent," Reddington said. "They are going to have to fish or cut bait."
Reddington said he will try to first convince prosecutors, then a judge, to accept the validity of the polygraph test given to Ataman in his bid to clear her of the larceny and conspiracy charges.
Citing U.S. Supreme Court and state court decisions on the admissibility of scientific evidence, Reddington said he will show that polygraph tests are scientifically reliable and should be entered as evidence in court.
It is an argument that has been used before with little success.
"There is still some debate on the reliability of the test," said Paul J. Martinek, editor of Lawyers Weekly USA. "People are loathe to have a test that really tests our nervousness."
The state Supreme Judicial Court as recently as 1999 left it up to judges to decide if the tests are reliable and if it meets the scientific reliability test set by the U.S. Supreme Court in dealing with scientific evidence.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in Daubert vs. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, a case involving whether the drug Bendectin caused birth defects, found that the theory and technique to be introduced as evidence has to be subjected to peer review and publication, there has to be a known or potential rate of error, there has to be standards controlling the technique and there must be a general acceptance of it in the general scientific community.
With lie detector tests, there isn't enough acceptance in the scientific community to justify admission as evidence, said Dana Curhan, an appellate attorney.
He said the examinations may test someone's reaction to a question but can't tell if the person is telling the truth.
"They are junk science. They don't work," he said of the tests. "Nobody has been able to prove that they work. ... There is really no clear scientific basis that they work."
15 August 2002 Some Nuclear Scientists Say SAY: Senator is blamed for forcing test on scientists but refuses to take it himself
Sean Reilly, of the Mobile Register Washington bureau reports. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON -- As the FBI hunts the source of a news leak involving the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, some members of Congress have agreed to undergo lie detector tests. U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama isn't one of them.
"The Senate, and I assume, the House, has always investigated their own," Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, recently told the Associated Press, arguing that the tests would violate the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches of government.
That nuanced argument doesn't sit well with some scientists at the nation's high-security nuclear weapons labs, who blame Shelby for bluntly forcing the controversial test on many of their colleagues after a furor over alleged Chinese espionage.
"He's not only a hypocrite, he's illogical," said Dr. Alan Zelicoff, a senior scientist and physician at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. If Congress can require lie-detector tests at executive branch departments, Zelicoff suggested Wednesday, why not the reverse?
The dispute in effect went national last week. In an opinion piece published in The Washington Post, Zelicoff accused Shelby of adding language to a defense bill two years ago that subjected 15,000 scientists to polygraph tests -- with their security clearances on the line if they refused. The Mobile Register ran the column in Wednesday's newspaper.
In an interview Wednesday, Zelicoff said his information came from congressional sources that he would not name.
In response, Shelby spokeswoman Andrea Andrews denied responsibility for the lie-detector language. Shelby's sole action, she said, was to offer an amendment pertaining to waivers from the testing requirements. Andrews could not immediately say late in the afternoon whether Shelby supported the new, expanded requirements.
Whoever bears responsibility, the exchange underscores the unease that continues to surround lie-detector machines, also known as polygraphs. They operate on the principle that heart rate, perspiration and other physical responses are tell-tale signals of someone's truthfulness.
The problem is that experience just doesn't bear out that assumption, critics charge. Not only have some notorious spies succeeded in beating the machine, they say, but polygraphs sometimes mistakenly indicate that someone is lying.
"As long as even one person is being polygraphed, there's a problem because it's an unreliable device," said Patrick Weidhaas, a long-time computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
Several members of the U.S. Supreme Court summed up the debate in a 1998 decision.
"There is simply no consensus that polygraph evidence is reliable," they concluded. "To this day, the scientific community remains extremely polarized about the reliability of polygraph techniques."
15 August 2002 War Plans Leak Investigation to Include Polygraphs?
Lenny Savino reports for the Tampa Tribune in an article titled, "Probe of War Plan Leak Widens." Excerpt:
MacDILL AIR FORCE BASE - The investigation into a leak to The New York Times of an Iraqi invasion plan drafted by U.S. Central Command here is far larger than originally believed and is being conducted like an espionage probe, officials said Wednesday.
OSI originally said it had 15 agents pursuing the war plan leak. But Maj. Mike Richmond, an OSI spokesman, said that number has grown to 30.
Shari Wagner, a retired OSI investigator based at MacDill in the 1990s, said when she was assigned to similar cases that had no suspect, the agency used a series of ``investigative steps'' to zero in on suspects.
The steps are a process of elimination through which people with access to the information in question would be interviewed several times, Wagner said.
``Let's say you've got 32 people in an office,'' Wagner said. ``You interview each one and ask them preselected questions, generic questions like, `What do you think would happen to the individual that committed this crime?' ''
The interviews are designed in part to produce vital information about such things as how a given crime might have been committed, Wagner said.
For example, asking someone how classified material might have been removed from a secure area might supply agents with real scenarios that in turn could be used to find a culprit.
``They'll know more about their workplace where the crime was committed than you'll ever know,'' Wagner said. ``Their procedures may be different than in other offices. It's the human factor.''
After each round of interviews, investigators grade each interviewee's responses for ``guilt indicators.''
Polygraphs Could Be Given
When the number of suspects is reduced to two or three, Wagner said, each might be asked to take a polygraph before a final interview. Psychological profiles might be prepared on suspects as well, Richmond said.
Richmond acknowledged that polygraphs are a ``tool available to us that we will use when and where it is appropriate, and only with the consent of the person being interviewed.''
Some current and former federal agents say voluntary polygraphs are intimidating and have never identified a U.S. spy or leak.
``I think the fact that the polygraph is voluntary is a little disingenuous,'' said Mark Mullah [sic, correct: Mallah], a former FBI agent in New York. ``If you don't volunteer, there are adverse consequences.''
Mullah learned that taking the test could have adverse consequences, too.
In 1994, after CIA agent Aldrich Ames was arrested for spying for the Soviets, the FBI decided to give polygraphs to its own agents to see if any had been compromised.
Mullah was told he failed his test - that he had lied about having had contact with Israel, he said. Mullah insisted he was telling the truth.
There was a two-year investigation, during which Mullah was reassigned. Finally he was cleared. Disgusted with his ordeal, he resigned to practice law in California.
During his nine years in the FBI, Mullah said he witnessed two leak investigations. They have a chilling effect, he said.
``My supervisor at the time said this is why it's better not to know too much,'' Mullah said. ``Then you get snared into these investigations.''
14 August 2002 Hatfill Attorney Says Kristof Wrong on Polygraphs
In a 13 August 2002 op-ed piece titled "The Anthrax Files," New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof reported that anthrax investigation "person of interest" Dr. Steven J. Hatfill had "failed" three polygraph "tests" since January and declined a fourth. In an article titled "New Anthrax Clue, Same Hatfill Focus," Hartford Courant staff writers Jack Dolan and Dave Altimari report that Dr. Hatfill's lawyer, Victor M. Glasberg, has contested Kristof's claim. Excerpt:
On Tuesday, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof said Hatfill has failed three successive lie detector tests. In a statement issued through [Hatfill friend and spokesman Patrick] Clawson, Glasberg said, "Kristof is wrong on the polygraphs."
13 August 2002 First Lawmaker Agrees to Lie Detector Test
This short Associated Press report, found on FoxNews.com, is cited here in full:
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. ‹ A central New York congressman said he would be willing to take a lie detector test as part of the FBI's probe into intelligence leaks.
Republican Sherwood Boehlert -- a member of the House Intelligence Committee -- dismissed concerns expressed by some colleagues who say polygraph exams on lawmakers would be inappropriate.
Critics of the idea say it raises constitutional issues involving the separation of the legislative and executive branches of government.
But Boehlert told Binghamton radio station WNBF that the FBI has asked him whether he would submit to a lie detector test and he said he would. The Utica-area congressman added that he doubts he'll actually have to submit to such a test.
Boehlert said national security is too important to allow a policy debate to interfere in the effort to find who's been leaking sensitive information.
13 August 2002 Anthrax Investigation "Person of Interest" Dr. Steven J. Hatfill Allegedly "Failed" Three Polygraph "Tests" Since January
In a New York Times op-ed piece titled "The Anthrax Files," columnist Nicholas D. Kristof writes that virologist Dr. Steven J. Hatfill "has...failed three successive polygraph examinations since January, and canceled plans for another polygraph exam two weeks ago." Kristof does not state his source for this information. For discussion of the use of polygraphs in the ongoing anthrax investigation, see the AntiPolygraph.org message board thread Federal Anthrax Probe Turns to Polygraph.
13 August 2002 Dr. Steven J. Hatfill Reportedly "Failed" CIA Polygraph
MSNBC.com reports in an article titled, "FBI tries to link Hatfill to mailbox." Excerpt:
FAILED CIA POLYGRAPH
Hatfill worked until September 1999 for the U.S. Army Medical Institute of Infectious Disease at Fort Detrick, Md., which is the primary custodian of the virulent Ames strain of anthrax found in last fall's deadly letters.
Subsequently, he went to work for Science Applications International Corp., a Virginia-based defense company working on contract for the infectious diseases agency. Although Hatfill probably had access to anthrax, his primary duties did not involve working with it, a spokesman for the base has said.
The company dismissed Hatfill in March. He has since then been placed on administrative leave with pay from Louisiana State University's National Center for Biomedical Research and Training, which he joined after his dismissal from Science Applications.
Hatfill complained that he lost his job with Science Applications because of a constant barrage of media calls, which he said had ruined his career. But U.S. officials indicated Tuesday that Hatfill actually was fired because he failed a CIA polygraph examination in August 2001.
One of the officials told NBC News that the polygraph was administered because Hatfill needed to upgrade his security clearance to work on a CIA counterterrorism contract awarded to Science Applications.
Once Hatfill had failed the polygraph, another U.S. official said, the CIA informed the Defense Security Service, which regulates security clearances. As a result, Hatfill was stripped of all of his security clearances, which led Science Applications to dismiss him.
The U.S. official would not say what questions Hatfill was believed to have answered less than truthfully, nor would he say what projects Hatfill would have been working on had he obtained the necessary clearance.
However, referring to a report in Tuesday's editions of the New York Post, which said Hatfill stumbled on questions related to his purported service with a white Rhodesian commando unit, the official said, "That story is largely accurate."
13 August 2002 "'Anthrax' Doctor Failed Lie Test"
Niles Lathem reports for the New York Post. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON - A month before the first anthrax-laced letters were mailed, the bio-warfare expert now at the center of the probe failed a CIA-administered polygraph test over questions surrounding his mysterious past with a secret commando force in Rhodesia, The Post has learned.
Dr. Steven Hatfill, 48, the former Army bio-weapons expert publicly named as a "person of interest" in the federal anthrax probe, told friends and colleagues that flunking the lie-detector test cost him his security clearance and his job.
FBI officials say they have no physical evidence that connects Hatfill to the letters mailed last September and October.
But Hatfill remains one of 12 bio-warfare scientists under investigation, and law-enforcement officials say the loss of his job at the giant defense contractor Science Applications International Corp. remains a focus of the investigation.
Hatfill called a press conference Sunday to deny he was responsible and to blast the government for destroying his career.
He said he lost his job at the McClean, Va.-based firm in March because journalists began calling company officials, "all but accusing me of mailing the anthrax letters."
But law-enforcement officials and Hatfill's former colleagues at the company gave a different account.
They claimed that in August 2001, Hatfill had an opportunity to work on a huge CIA-sponsored project for the company and had to "upgrade" his low-level government security clearance for the job.
But when Hatfill failed the polygraph, even his existing clearance was revoked.
Company officials say they gave him six months to get it restored, and fired him in March because he was unable to do so.
The CIA has refused comment on the polygraph.
13 August 2002 South Africa: "Guards end strike over lie-detector test"
Graeme Hosken of the Durban, South Africa Daily News reports. Excerpt:
The three-day strike by Fidelity Cash Management Services employees ended on Tuesday when workers and management agreed to sit down and talk about their disputes.
Fidelity Cash Management Services employees went on strike on Saturday to protest about the compulsory polygraph test which workers are required to take in the event of an armed robbery.
Strikers were demanding that the polygraph tests, which have been conducted for eight years, be ended immediately.
12 August 2002 South Africa: "Fidelity Cash men on strike in Durban"
Graeme Hosken of the Durban, South Africa Daily News reports on a strike over polygraph "testing." This short article is cited here in full:
Scores of Durban's automatic teller machines (ATMs) and businesses are expected to run dry on Monday after Fidelity Cash Management Services (FCMS) employees went on strike over the weekend.
The strike - which began on Saturday and is set to continue throughout the week and possibly into next week - is expected to affect hundreds of ATMs and businesses in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
The strike is over a compulsory polygraph test as well as, say workers, the fact that they are being forced to pay for cash boxes that are damaged during robberies.
Strikers are demanding the polygraph tests, which have been conducted for the last eight years, be ended immediately.
Rob Nimmo, operations director for FCMS, said on Saturday strikers demanded that management put a moratorium on the polygraph tests.
"We obviously refused. The aim of the test, which is conducted in the event of an incident such as a robbery, is to prove the staff's innocence and to clear their names. Not to prove their guilt," he said.
Nimmo said there was no substance to allegations that crews were being forced to pay for damaged cash boxes.
9 August 2002 "Polygraph Hypocrisy"
Dr. Alan P. Zelicoff, a senior scientist at the Center for National Security and Arms Control in Albuquerque writes in this Washington Post opinion article. Excerpt:
Last month Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, ranking Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, set about investigating an apparent congressional leak. It involved a National Security Agency intercept of a telephone conversation in Arabic conducted on Sept. 10, 2001, and proclaiming that the following day was to be "zero hour."
Unable to find the source of the leak themselves, the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees, Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), asked the FBI for assistance, pledging the full cooperation of committee members and their staffs.
And that is what the FBI was getting -- until the FBI took a step that is pretty much routine in investigations of this kind: It requested that certain key figures take polygraph examination -- in this case members of Congress. They refused.
"I don't know who among us would take a lie-detector test,'' said Sen. Shelby. "First of all, they're not even admissible in court, and second of all, the leadership [of both parties] have told us not to do that."
This from the man who recently created a massive program to polygraph some 15,000 scientists at Department of Energy laboratories and to remove their security clearances if they declined. In 2000, when he was then chairman of the Senate intelligence panel, Shelby was outraged over possible loss of nuclear weapons data from Los Alamos National Labs to China. Determined to find "the spy" (no spy has ever been found), Shelby dramatically expanded the use of polygraphs at the National Laboratories (Sandia, Los Alamos and Livermore ) by crafting amendments to the defense authorization bill. At the last minute, in conference, he inserted language that prevented the secretary of energy from waiving the polygraph under any circumstances.
This action by Shelby was taken in the face of a slew of scientific evidence showing that polygraphs are useless or worse in ferreting out spies. Indeed, as senior management and technical staff at each of the labs informed Congress, an unfocused, widespread use of polygraphs would actually undermine national security by demoralizing staff and forcing some scientists to quit doing unique work in protest, or because of "false positives," which are ubiquitous in the world of polygraphing. This is precisely what has occurred.
Shelby is not alone, of course, in once placing blind faith in the accuracy of the polygraph; few members of Congress dare question the longstanding tradition of polygraphing everyone who works at the CIA or in other sensitive national security positions, such as the nuclear weapons program at the Department of Energy.
But every first-year medical student knows that the four parameters measured by the polygraph -- blood pressure, pulse, sweat production and breathing rate -- are affected by an uncountable myriad of emotions: joy, hate, elation, sadness, anxiety, depression and so forth. Dozens of studies conducted in psychology departments and medical schools all over the world have shown that the polygraph cannot distinguish between truth-telling and lying. Claims from polygraphers notwithstanding, no evidence exists that they can find spies.
Double agents Aldrich Ames, Karl Koecher, Larry Wu-Tai Chin and Ana Belen Montes all passed their polygraphs before doing tremendous damage that led, among other things, to the deaths of American operatives overseas.
Ironically, there is some possibility the polygraph can produce useful evidence when it is used in a highly targeted and restricted fashion, as it might be against congressional committee members and staffers. But it is this particular variant of use that Shelby and some of his colleagues now resist so indignantly.
6 August 2002 "F.B.I. Faces Inquiry on a False Confession From an Egyptian Student"
New York Times correspondent Benjamin Weiser reports. Excerpt:
A federal judge in Manhattan took the unusual step yesterday of ordering federal prosecutors to investigate how the F.B.I. had obtained a confession from an innocent Egyptian student who was detained in connection with the attack on the World Trade Center.
The judge, Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court, also agreed to unseal virtually all documents that have been kept secret in the case of the student, Abdallah Higazy. He was initially held as a material witness in the Sept. 11 investigation after a security guard said he had found an aviation radio in the safe in Mr. Higazy's hotel room, which overlooked the trade center site.
Mr. Higazy was later charged with perjury when he denied owning the radio, and spent about a month in jail. He was released after the guard admitted making up the story about the radio.
But while Mr. Higazy was in jail, prosecutors told Judge Rakoff that the student had confessed to an F.B.I. agent that he owned the radio, an admission now known to be untrue.
Mr. Higazy asked for a polygraph exam to prove his innocence, the judge said, and an F.B.I. agent administered it without his lawyer present. But at some point, the F.B.I. agent, who has not been identified, stopped, and reportedly began to question Mr. Higazy, who then confessed, the judge noted. The confession fueled suspicions he might be tied to the hijackers.
"The alleged misbehavior here," Judge Rakoff said, "consists, worst case, of an F.B.I. agent's taking unfair advantage of a situation created during a polygraph testing expressly requested by the witness to obtain from the witness a coerced or uncounseled confession that could be used to bring criminal charges against the witness."
Although Mr. Higazy made no claims of physical abuse, he said recently that after he was left alone for several hours with the agent, he started hyperventilating and was ready to say anything. Mr. Higazy also said the agent had threatened his family's safety if he did not confess, the judge noted, adding that the government denied that allegation.
Review of a video or audio tape recording of Mr. Higazy's polygraph interrogation would remove any doubt as to whether his FBI polygrapher threatened his family's safety if he did not confess. But the FBI's standard operating procedure of not recording polygraph interrogations gives unscrupulous polygraphers the power to lie with impunity about what transpired during any polygraph interrogation.
6 August 2002 "Hatch refuses lie detector test Senator: FBI request violates doctrine in U.S. Constitution"
Donald W. Meyers reports for the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Excerpt:
PROVO -- The FBI shouldn't try to hook senators up to lie detectors to find intelligence leaks, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch said.
Hatch, R-Utah, said the FBI's request that members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence submit to polygraph examinations violates the separationof powers doctrine in the U.S. Constitution.
"Under the separation of powers, we cannot put up with this, especially from an agency that we oversee," said Hatch, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The committee oversees the FBI, CIA and other intelligence-gathering agencies.
Last week, the FBI asked members of the intelligence committee to submit to lie detector tests to determine if any of them were leaking information on what U.S. intelligence agencies knew before the Sept. 11 attacks to the press. Sen. Richard C. Shelby, the ranking Republican on the committee, urged members not to submit to the test.
Hatch said he and other senators are refusing to take the test. If senators agree to take the test, it would make overseeing the FBI's actions that more difficult, he explained.
"If they come in and say they're going to polygraph you, how can you oversee them?" he said.
Hatch said it is unlikely information came from the intelligence committee. He said the leaked information was already published by the time the intelligence committee found out about it.
The polygraph tests were part of an investigation House and Senate intelligence committee leaders requested to find out who was talking.
5 August 2002 "Kyl volunteers for polygraph in FBI search for Sept. 10 leak"
Associated Press writer Robert Gehrke reports in this article published in the Tuscon Citizen website (and wrongly dated 8 August). Excerpt:
WASHINGTON ‹ Sen. Jon Kyl says he would gladly take a lie detector test and his colleagues should do the same to help the FBI find out who leaked intelligence information gathered before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Arizona Republican is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which along with its counterpart in the House are investigating the handling of information prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.
The chairmen of the two committees asked the FBI to investigate leaks from the committees after CNN and other news organizations reported that Arabic conversations apparently referring to the attacks had been intercepted on Sept. 10.
Kyl said he was asked by FBI agents last week if he would be willing to take a polygraph test and he said he would.
"I have volunteered and I think it would be appropriate for all of my colleagues to do the same," Kyl said Monday.
Several members of the committee, including two leaders of the inquiry ‹ House Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. ‹ have said the tests intrude on the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.
"We're investigating the executive branch. They could claim separation of powers on that," he said. "There are appropriate oversight responsibilities of Congress to look into activities of the executive branch and there are appropriate investigative activities of the executive branch."
4 August 2002 "Daschle, Lott Oppose Polygraphs"
The Associated Press reports. This short article is cited here in full:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate leaders agreed Sunday that members of Congress should not submit to lie detector tests as part of an FBI investigation of intelligence leaks.Arguments that lie detector "testing" of members of Congress would violate the separation of powers don't wash. Congress invited the Department of Justice to investigate the leaks, pledging its full cooperation. If, in Congress's view, polygraphs are good enough for CIA, FBI, DoD, DOE, and other federal employees with high level security clearances, why aren't they good enough for the members of Congress themselves? To discuss congressional hypocrisy on polygraphs, see the AntiPolygraph.org message board thread, Congressional Refusal to Take Polygraphs.
``I think it's a bad idea. I think that it's an infringement constitutionally on the legislative branch. And I don't think there's much support for it,'' said Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
The Republican leader, Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, agreed the ``separation of powers is certainly a difficult one'' but that lawmakers should heed Bush administration warnings about leaks.
``I have to say that the thing for members of Congress to do is to keep their mouths shut when it involves sensitive and classified information,'' said Lott, who appeared with Daschle on ABC's ``This Week.''
The FBI investigation was requested by congressional intelligence committees after news organizations reported details of Arabic conversations intercepted by the National Security Agency on Sept. 10. The conversations made vague references to an impending attack on the United States.
FBI officials have said polygraph tests are a standard investigative technique and are always voluntary.
4 August 2002 Sen. Joe Lieberman Supports Polygraphs for Congress
Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT), speaking on "Fox News Sunday," expressed his support for polygraph "testing" of members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The following is an excerpt from the program transcript:
[TONY] SNOW [FOX NEWS]: First, there's a proposal, or actually the FBI wants to submit some members of intelligence committees to polygraph tests, because it seems to have been established that somebody in Congress leaked classified information to the press in violation of federal law.
Now, all those staffers have been polygraphed and a number of others have been polygraphed. All of a sudden members say they don't want it. Senator John Kerry says he thinks it ought to happen.
SNOW: What do you think? Do you think senators ought to submit themselves to polygraphs, so we can figure out who leaked this information to the press?
LIEBERMAN: I do. There's much too much leaking going on in Washington. And at a time when leaks can lead to death, that's serious. There's too much leaking from within the administration about potential war plans against Saddam Hussein. And you can't have a functioning and congressional committee overseeing intelligence if folks in the intelligence community come and report things to members of Congress and then they're out in the media.
This investigation was called for by the co-chairs of the Intelligence Committee, and I think they're absolutely right. And I do believe that our colleagues ought to submit to the polygraph test. I know polygraph tests are not 100 percent accurate. But everything we can do to send the message that no one, members of Congress included, certainly staff, should compromise personal and national security by leaking information publicly that is classified, and we ought to do it.
3 August 2002 "Lawmakers split on taking FBI lie tests"
Boston Globe staff writer Robert Schlesinger reports. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON - The mystery of who leaked classified intelligence intercepted Sept. 10 to the media is splitting members of Congress into two camps: Those who are ready and willing to take a polygraph test and those who are not.
At least five current or former members of the House and Senate intelligence committees have said they are willing to take the test.
At issue is the FBI's investigation - requested by members of Congress - into the source of news reports that quoted suspected terrorists recorded on Sept. 10 talking about the following day being ''zero hour,'' and saying ''the match is about to begin.''
FBI agents have interviewed most of the 37 House and Senate members on the joint committee investigating the performance of the intelligence community - including the FBI - before the Sept. 11 attacks. They have in some cases raised the possibility of lie-detector tests and, in turn, caused a stir in Congress.
Those who have agreed to take the test see the dissemination of classified information as a danger to the democratic system because it compromises operations and risks lives.
''I have been interviewed by the FBI and will cooperate with any requests they may have,'' said Representative Richard M. Burr, a North Carolina Republican who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. ''The objective is to stop the leaks. Anything we can do to aid in accomplishing this is in the interest of the American people.''
Senator John F. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat who served on the Intelligence Committee from 1996 to 2000, said he would support the FBI investigation and would have submitted to a lie-detector test if asked. ''When I was on the committee, I was happy to submit to any test,'' he said. ''This is the highest level of trust, and when somebody breaches it, I have no patience with it. ... I'm glad the FBI is investigating, and I hope they find out who did it. This is unpatriotic.''
But other current and former members of the House and Senate intelligence committees say they would not submit and are concerned about the potentially corrosive effect on separation of powers of an FBI investigation of Congress.
''I don't think it's appropriate for the Justice Department to be conducting lie-detector tests on Intelligence Committee members,'' said Representative Charles Bass, a Republican of New Hampshire and former member of the House Intelligence Committee. ''If the system reaches a point where members of Congress can't be trusted to be patriotic Americans, I just don't know where we go as a country.''
3 August 2002 "Congress, FBI Clash on Lie Test" Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau chief Lynn Sweet reports. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON--The FBI is trying to find out whether lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committees have been leaking classified information about the Sept. 11 attacks, even asking them if they would be willing to take lie detector tests.
But some of the lawmakers are balking at submitting to a polygraph.
''The Senate and, I assume, the House, has always investigated their own,'' Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told the Associated Press.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the intelligence panel, was interviewed by the FBI for about 20 minutes in a special room at the Capitol--a super secure soundproof chamber swept for electronic listening devices.
Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), on the House intelligence panel, also was quizzed for about 30 minutes.
Durbin, in Springfield on Friday, did not want to comment on the leak probe, said Joe Shoemaker, his press secretary. He said Durbin did not tell him about the contents of the FBI interview because "it is all classified.''
"The senator is certainly not going to comment on a leak investigation by leaking,'' Shoemaker said.
LaHood "can't say a whole lot about it,'' said Tim Butler, his press secretary.
The House and Senate committee members were not asked to take a polygraph exam; the FBI asked if they would be willing to submit to one if requested.
Shoemaker said he did not know what Durbin told the FBI. Butler said LaHood would be willing to take the test if the committee members, in a vote, decided that was the best course to take. That way, no one would be singled out.
There is always a question about the reliability of polygraphs, and the results of such tests are not admissible in court.
2 August 2002 "FBI Leak Probe Irks Lawmakers: Many Spurn Polygraph Requests On Issue of NSA's 9/11 Intercept"
Washington Post staff writer Dana Priest reports in this front page article. Excerpt:
FBI agents have questioned nearly all 37 members of the Senate and House intelligence committees and have asked many if they would be willing to submit to lie detector tests as part of a broad investigation into leaks of classified information related to the Sept. 11 attacks, according to officials involved in the inquiry.
Most of the lawmakers have told the FBI they would refuse a polygraph, citing the constitutional separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches of government and the unreliability of the exam, those involved in the inquiry said.
Although the chairmen of the intelligence committees, Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), asked the FBI to conduct the inquiry, its unprecedented scale has angered some lawmakers, according to people close to the investigation. The lawmakers are unhappy that the FBI, an agency they oversee, is investigating them.
In addition to committee members, FBI agents have questioned 60 congressional staff members and officials at the CIA, the Defense Department and the National Security Agency. They are trying to find the source of news stories that quoted Arabic communications making vague references to an impending attack on the United States, which were intercepted by the NSA on Sept. 10 but not translated until Sept. 12.
Ranit Schmelzer, spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.), said Daschle had "grave concerns about the congressional separation of powers issues raised by having one branch of government asking to polygraph employees of another branch." But, she added in a statement, "this matter is between the House and Senate intelligence committees and the Justice Department. The intelligence committees asked the Justice Department to conduct this investigation and it is up to these parties to determine the appropriate guidance" for members regarding the polygraph.
2 August 2002 "Leak Probe: FBI Wants Polygraphs for Lawmakers"
The Associated Press reports in this article carried on the CNN.com website:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Several members of the House and Senate intelligence committees have been asked by the FBI to take lie-detector tests as part of an investigation into the leak of documents related to the September 11 attacks, a law enforcement official said.
The official emphasized that the polygraph exams "are always voluntary."
"Lie-detector tests are a standard element of FBI investigations and they are meant to eliminate people from suspicion," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity late Thursday.
The Washington Post reported in Friday editions that nearly all 37 members of the intelligence committees have been questioned and many have been asked to take polygraphs.
Several lawmakers have refused to take the test, citing the constitutional separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches of government, along with the unreliability of the exams, the newspaper said.
2 August 2002 "F.B.I. Inquiry on 9/11 Leak Upsets Lawmakers on Committees"
Christopher Marquis reports for the New York Times. This short article is cited here in full:
WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 -- The F.B.I. has interviewed dozens of members of the House and Senate intelligence committees and asked them to submit to lie detector tests as part of an effort to learn who leaked classified material to reporters in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Congressional officials said today.
But a number of the lawmakers on the committees have refused to take the polygraph tests and have voiced uneasiness over the constitutional precedent of being investigated by the agency they oversee, the officials said.
Ranit Schmelzer, a spokeswoman for Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, the majority leader, said the inquiry had provoked "grave concerns about the constitutional separation of powers issues raised by having one branch of government administering a polygraph to employees of another branch."
Still, Ms. Schmelzer said, the matter "is between the House and Senate intelligence committees and the Justice Department."
The committee had asked that the F.B.I. conduct the investigation into accusations of leaks of secret information by someone affiliated with the committee and, Ms. Schmelzer said, it was up to the bureau and the committee officials to develop appropriate guidelines.
Lawmakers' complaints about the F.B.I. inquiry were first reported in the Friday issue of The Washington Post, which said nearly all 37 members of the two committees had been interviewed, as well as 60 Congressional staff members and officials at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon and the National Security Agency.
The F.B.I. inquiry was requested by the chairmen of the intelligence committees, Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, and Representative Porter J. Goss, Republican of Florida, after news organizations reported on Arabic conversations that had been intercepted by the National Security Agency a day before the attacks.
That disclosure embarrassed the officials at the security agency, which failed to translate conversations that anticipated the attacks until Sept. 12. The agency intercepts reportedly included the remark: "Tomorrow is zero hour."
1 August 2002 "FBI's Sept. 11 Leak Probe Irks Senators"
John Bresnahan reports for Roll Call. Excerpt:
FBI agents began fanning out on Capitol Hill in recent weeks, questioning Senators serving on the Intelligence Committee as part of an unprecedented effort to find out who leaked classified information from the Congressional probe of intelligence failures prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
FBI officials are also asking Hill staffers caught up in the investigation to submit to polygraph examinations, according to Congressional sources.
FBI agents are asking the staffers if they would undergo polygraphs, although the number of staffers who have actually been tested so far cannot be determined. No similar requests have been made of lawmakers who serve on the panels.
1 August 2002 "Officer sues town over lie detector"
Brian Falk reports for the Old Colony Memorial of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Excerpt:
PLYMOUTH (Aug. 1) - A Plymouth police officer is suing the town for making him take a lie detector test during an internal investigation of an allegation that he improperly touched two young boys.
At the time, the district attorney had already conducted an investigation and decided not to press any charges against officer Kevin J. Furtado. The two boys' parents had also said they were satisfied that Furtado had done nothing inappropriate.
In the suit, Furtado, 49, claims the town violated his rights under state law by requiring the polygraph as a condition of his employment. According to documents filed in Plymouth Superior Court, Furtado claims damages exceeding $350,000.
The suit, filed July 25 by attorney Joseph Gallitano, also claims unspecified punitive damages for defamation of character, slander and libel by the town. The town's actions contributed to the dissolution of Furtado's marriage, according to the suit.
Along with the town, town manager Eleanor Beth and Police Chief Robert Pomeroy are named as individual defendants. Beth said she was served Tuesday, but neither she nor Pomeroy would comment.
"I don't comment on pending litigation," Beth said Wednesday. "I have referred it to the town's insurance company and they will be assigning counsel."
Pomeroy also said he couldn't comment on a pending lawsuit.
According to the court documents, two young children, aged 5 and 7, alleged in July 1999 that Furtado touched their private parts while off duty. Pomeroy put Furtado on paid administrative leave and referred the allegation to the district attorney's office.
After an investigation, the district attorney's office told Pomeroy in September 1999 it was not filing charges. But a few days later, Pomeroy told Furtado he would conduct an internal investigation before the officer could return to work.
Pomeroy ordered Furtado to write a report in response to the allegations. Furtado admitted to knowing the boys but denied that he had ever touched them improperly. Furtado was granted immunity against any criminal charges for the purpose of Pomeroy's investigation.
The complaint also includes a November 1999 letter from the boys' parents, saying that the the allegations were a misunderstanding. The parents urged the chief to reinstate Furtado.
According to the parents' letter, they took the boys to a pediatrician to "make sense of what (our youngest son) was telling us." Based on something the younger boy said that concerned her, the pediatrician referred the matter to the department of social services, the letter states. The parents said they complied with the district attorney's investigation, but thought the situation got out of hand.
They also spoke with Furtado about the allegations and were convinced that he had done nothing wrong, according to their letter.
However, after receiving letters from Furtado and the boys' parents, Pomeroy asked Furtado to submit to a state police polygraph examination, or lie detector test.
Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 149, Section 19B, says an employer cannot require a polygraph test as a condition of employment. The only exception is a polygraph administered by police in a criminal investigation. Furtado's criminal investigation had ended at that point.
According to Gallitano's complaint, the polygraph "established that there were no grounds for any charges of any kind... and that (Furtado) was entitled to return to work."
But Gallitano claims Pomeroy still asked Furtado to retire or resign before taking the test results to town hall. Furtado refused, and after a cancelled termination hearing, he was reinstated in January 2000.
31 July 2002 Australia: "Lie test plan to stop rape"
Tanya Giles reports in this article published by the Melbourne, Australia Herald Sun. Excerpt:
SEX offenders would be forced to take regular lie detector tests after their release from prison under a plan to stop them re-offending.
Police also would be given the power to use any information obtained from the hi-tech tests to launch new investigations and help victims.
The proposal, prepared by an FBI-trained forensic polygraph expert, is based on a program used in 36 US states and is being considered in Britain.
The [Victoria, Australia] State Government said it would consider any proposal by law enforcement agencies.
The Opposition promised to introduce the tests if elected.
Victims-of-crime support groups also backed the plan.
The expert behind the plan believes random lie detector tests would help stop pedophiles and rapists.
Steven Van Aperen, who regularly helps police on high-profile homicide cases, said polygraph testing had been shown to control the behaviour of sex offenders back in the community.
"The reality is, parole or probation officers cannot supervise sex offenders 24 hours a day," he said.
"The advantage of polygraph surveillance is that it can regulate and control the behaviour of sex offenders. It acts as an artificial conscience."
Under the US programs, sex offenders volunteer to sit lie detector tests every three to 12 months. The tests, which they pay for, are a condition of their parole.
If the parolee fails a test, they face further investigation, increased parole supervision and other sanctions.
Because polygraph "tests" are easily beaten through the use of simple countermeasures that polygraphers cannot detect, reliance on any such screening program has the potential to shield and enable recidivists who understand "the lie behind the lie detector."
30 July 2002 "Man who said he heard call by terrorists (Michael Hamdan) passes lie test"
Las Vegas Sun correspondent Mary Manning reports. Excerpt:
Results of an independent lie detector test taken by Michael Hamdan, the man who said he intercepted a terrorist threat to Las Vegas on his cell phone, indicate he was telling the truth, he said.
The alleged threat on June 15 focused on the July Fourth holiday in Las Vegas. Hamdan said he overheard a conversation in Arabic in which the speakers were discussing an unspecified terrorist act in Las Vegas.
"We are going to hit them on the day of freedom," one of the voices said, according to Hamdan.
The FBI met with Hamdan three times and conducted a polygraph test.
"On June 21, 2002, the FBI publicly stated that Mr. Hamdan's information was not credible. This assessment was based on several factors, not just a polygraph," said Special Agent Daron Borst, a spokesman for the FBI's Las Vegas office. "Our assessment has not changed."
Hamdan is not currently facing any charges related to his statement and the investigation into his allegations is complete, Borst said.
Hamdan said his attorney, Steven Wolfson, referred him to Ed Gonzalez, a security consultant and a member of the Nevada board that licenses polygraphers.
Gonzalez performed a polygraph test on Hamdan July 22 at his Las Vegas office. He reported that the results revealed "no deception indicated to relevant test questions."
"I just want to prove I didn't lie," Hamdan said Monday.
In addition to asking Hamdan if he had lied to the FBI and whether he told the truth about hearing an Arabic conversation, Gonzalez asked Hamdan if he had gotten any sleep and whether he was taking medication at the time of the first test.
Hamdan said he didn't sleep for 72 hours after hearing the phone call and he had taken medication. These factors could have affected his performance on the FBI's test, Hamdan said.
Wolfson said he made the referral to protect Hamdan, as the FBI could charge him with making a false report about the phone call. The attorney said he spoke to the FBI about three weeks ago, but no mention was made of any charges.
29 July 2002 "Vegas Man Who Reported Terror Threat (Michael Hamdan) Passes Independent Polygraph"
J.J. Johnson of the Sierra Times reports. Excerpt:
Las Vegas - As reported on June 26, the Federal Bureau of [I]nvestigation had threatened Henderson resident Michael Hamdan with arrest for giving false information related to a possible July 4th terrorist threat based on an FBI administered polygraph. Sierra Times has learned that Hamdan recently took a second independent polygraph test - and passed with flying colors.
Edward Gonzales, a Nevada licensed examiner administered the examination on July 22. At issue was the infamous phone call that Hamdan said he overheard via cell phone on June 15:
"..We are in the city of corruption. We are in the city of gambling and prostitution. And they are talking about freedom. We are going to hit them on their day of freedom."
Although he insists he heard the phone call spoken in Arabic, the FBI made the following statement after interviewing Hamdan:
"The FBI's investigation into the allegations made by Michael Hamdan is substantially complete. The remainder is expected to be concluded in the next several days. Results of the investigation to date do not substantiate these allegations and the FBI has determined that this information is not credible." - FBI Press Release - June 21, 2002
According to the polygraph report that was obtained by The Sierra Times, Hamdan "did not lie to the agents about hearing that conversation in Arabic"
The report gave Hamdan an "NDI" (No [D]eception Indicated) score of +9.
The above-linked article also provides copies of the polygraph report prepared by polygrapher Edward Gonzalez.
22 July 2002 "After 17 Years, He Walks Free" (Faith in Polygraph Helped Keep Innocent Man in Prison)
Newsday staff correspondent Joshua Robin reports on the case of Angelo Martinez, who was wrongly convicted of murder. Excerpt:
Buffalo -- A Brooklyn man wrongly convicted of murder 17 years ago walked free yesterday into the arms of his mother, who said she never lost faith she'd see justice for her youngest son.
Gloria Viruet, 62, of Bensonhurst, stooped from arthritis and clutching a worn handkerchief, collapsed in the embrace of her son Angelo Martinez in the courthouse lobby. A moment later, the pair burst outside into a muggy afternoon.
"Fresh air for Chulo," Viruet called to Martinez, 36, using his boyhood nickname and waving the air into his face. He marveled at walking outside free of guards and shackles.
"A few months ago I didn't think this would ever happen," Martinez said after U.S. District Court Judge John T. Curtin released him on $10,000 bond.
"My mom, boy, she was my rock. She kept me strong," said Martinez, who spent 10 years in prison even after another man confessed to the crime. Martinez must return to court in September to face sentencing for selling drugs from prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. predicted that after a total of 17 years locked up, Martinez would be placed on probation when sentenced in September. Martinez, who has surpassed sentencing guidelines for selling drugs, has said he sold the drugs so he could afford a better attorney.
Martinez was 20 when a Queens judge sentenced him to 25 years to life for the April 10, 1985, murder of Rudolph Marasco, 70, who was killed while leaving an Ozone Park bingo hall.
Martinez's current lawyer, Oscar Michelen, said his client's attorney during the murder trial has since been disbarred. He said she ignored a 1991 letter informing her another man had confessed to the crime during a federal drug probe.
Authorities didn't believe Charles Rivera, a federal prisoner in the witness protection program, because he failed a lie detector test, which Michelen said was flawed.
Further investigation by the Queens district attorney's office later confirmed Rivera's confession that he killed Marasco as a favor to another man over a rent dispute.
At the urging of Executive Assistant District Attorney James Clark Quinn, the case was reopened.
"If this happened in Texas, he'd have been dead already," Michelen said.
22 July 2002 "Equipment tests voice for honesty"
Chery Sabol reports for the Daily Inter Lake of Kalispell, Montana uncritically reports on "Computerized Voice Stress Analysis" (CVSA). Excerpt:
It sounds metaphysical.
Without ever laying eyes on you, detective Lance Norman of the [Flathead County] sheriff's department believes he can tell if you are lying.
Spoken answers reveal to him ‹ directly, on the telephone or on audio tape, in any language, from any subject young or old, even if the speaker has no larynx ‹ whether someone is being deceptive.
Norman and deputy Jeanne Landis are certified in the use of a Computer Voice Stress Analyzer ‹ a device that exceeds the accuracy of old polygraph tests, he said.
"CVSA, on a bad day, is about 93 percent" accurate, he said. Polygraphs run around 80 percent, he said.
It's not metaphysics; it's science, Norman said.
The voice-stress test measures an inaudible part of human vocalization.
People speak in AM and FM, Norman explained. Amplified modulation is what we hear. Frequency modulation isn't audible, but it's the key to detecting deception, he said.
Stress caused by lying is measurable in FM levels. It is specific to lying, Norman said. While a person might answer questions about an event that was stressful, it is the irrespressible stress of a lie that reliably measures on Norman's gauges.
"As stress increases in the human body, FM decreases in voice tones," he said. "If we as humans could hear FM, no one would ever get away with lying in the world."
That's how the voice-stress test outperforms polygraphs, Norman said. There are ways to control pulse rates, respiration and other reactions recorded by a polygraph.
There is no way to control FM levels.
"A skilled pathological liar can not cheat CVSA. It can't be done," Norman said.
Despite Detective Lance Norman's enthusiasm for it, CVSA, like polygraphy, has not been proven through peer-reviewed scientific research to differentiate between truth and deception at better-than-chance levels. While techniques for "cheating the CVSA" by altering one's voice may not be available, the behavioral countermeasures described in Chapter 4 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector should be helpful for anyone facing a pseudoscientific CVSA "test" in the context of an application for employment. As with the polygraph, anyone suspected of a crime should refuse to submit to any CVSA interrogation and get a lawyer.
21 July 2002 FBI May Polygraph Congressional Staff in Leaks Probe
Los Angeles Times staff writers Paul Richter and Greg Miller report in an article titled, "White House Moves to Tighten Loose Lips, Stop Leaks to Media." Excerpt:
WASHINGTON --The Bush administration, until now considered one of the most effective ever at controlling information, is suddenly struggling to plug leaks that threaten political embarrassment and, officials say, harm to national security.
FBI investigators recently were interrogating the staff of a congressional panel probing intelligence failures of Sept. 11, and they may take the unprecedented step of using polygraph exams.
After a public display of anger by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Pentagon officials have begun an inquiry into who gave newspapers draft war plans for a possible attack on Iraq. And the State Department took the highly unusual step recently of detaining a reporter at its Foggy Bottom headquarters in an effort to find out who leaked a classified diplomatic cable that contained embarrassing information about the department's visa program.
Top administration officials have said from the beginning of President Bush's term that they are serious about enforcing the laws that make it a crime to leak classified documents. But not until now has it become fully apparent how vigorous they are willing to be.
The cases also demonstrate the limits on how tightly any administration can control information. Though Bush's team is known for keeping the lid on--even Cabinet members were unaware of Bush's plan to create a Department of Homeland Security--the president's team has not been able to control everyone in the executive branch or in Congress.
And questions are beginning to arise about the wisdom of even trying to root out the sources of leaks.
William Kristol, who was chief of staff to former Vice President Dan Quayle, said the government should only mobilize against leaks that genuinely threaten lives and national security.
"There's not much evidence that any of the leaks here are of that character," said Kristol, now editor of the Weekly Standard magazine.
The Capitol Hill investigation was launched last month after news organizations, citing congressional sources, disclosed contents of a classified briefing by the ultra-secret National Security Agency.
In closed-door testimony, NSA officials reportedly acknowledged that the agency had intercepted Al Qaeda messages Sept. 10 saying "tomorrow is zero day" and "the match begins tomorrow," but had not translated the messages from Arabic until Sept. 12. Within hours of the officials' testimony, those messages were being reported on television and on the Internet.
Angered by the disclosure, Vice President Dick Cheney called the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees, demanding a crackdown. The lawmakers, Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), responded by sending a letter to Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft inviting an inquiry.
Among the questions staff members faced was whether they would be willing to submit to polygraph tests, according to one aide.
19 July 2002 "Polygraphs aren't so reliable"
The Press of Atlantic City, New Jersey published the following letter by Mark Hollingsworth regarding Madelaine Vitale's 14 July article, "What's the truth about polygraphs." Mr. Hollingsworth's letter is cited here in full:
Polygraphs aren't so reliable
Regarding the July 14 story, "What's the truth about polygraphs?":
C'mon! An 85 percent to 95 percent success rate? Who told you that? The American Polygraph Association, citing its own studies, no doubt?
That's sort of like putting the fox in charge of the hen house, isn't it? Did State Police Sgt. Chris Pukenas happen to mention how many inmates are currently sitting in prison who did pass the polygraph?
There is no independent, repeatable, verifiable scientific evidence supporting polygraphy. It is pseudoscience at its best, witchcraft at its worse. You might as well be reading tea leaves.
But Pukenas would have us believe otherwise - indeed, his occupation depends on it.
17 July 2002 "Justice Agency Accused of Rights Violations"
Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle staff writer Johnny Edwards reports. Excerpt:
The Atlanta chapter of the Service Employees International Union, which covers state employees, is accusing the Department of Juvenile Justice of using polygraph tests to muzzle Augusta workers and possibly violating their First Amendment rights.
Guards and nurses at the Augusta Youth Development Campus who have spoken out in recent months haven't had nice things to say about the facility for incarcerated teens.
Speaking both publicly and anonymously, they have told of unfair working conditions for black workers, policy violations, sex between boys in custody and allegations of rape and abuse.
Now reports have seeped out that the administration is using lie detector tests to find out who's been talking to the media and how The Augusta Chronicle obtained incident reports and medical documents backing up employees' accounts.
"The spotlight was on the department, but once the cameras are off, they go back to what they were doing, which is to harass and intimidate," said Ralph Williams, the president of Local 1985 of the union.
Mr. Williams said polygraphs are used to discredit and demean employees. The tests, administered by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, can be a scarlet letter on a worker once they're over, he said.
Union representatives will be in the parking lot of the facility off Mike Padgett Highway today interviewing workers as their shifts end, Mr. Williams said. Preparing for litigation, the union wants to know how many people have been given lie detector tests and whether anyone has been harassed for speaking out about working conditions.
An attorney for the union sent a letter last week to Mike Sorrells, the deputy commissioner of human resources. The letter accused the department of retaliating against employees for speaking out on workplace conditions by requiring them to take polygraph tests, changing their work shifts or threatening the loss of their jobs if the Augusta YDC becomes privatized because employees can't get along.
16 July 2002 Polygraph Dragnet Leads Nowhere in Spokane Parking Theft Investigation
This short report from the Spokane, Washington Spokesman-Review, published under the title, "Deposit bags stolen from parking garage," is cited here in full:
Almost $8,000 was stolen from the River Park Square parking garage on or about June 29, the Saturday of Hoopfest.
Two deposit bags were taken from the garage office safe within the parking garage.
Both bags contained cash and checks. One was valued at $3,910, and the other at $4,009.25, according to a report from River Park Square manager Bob Robideaux to the Public Parking Development Authority board of directors.
According to that report, the theft was discovered July 1.
Nine employees were given polygraph tests. According to the report, the results of those tests indicated that the employees did not take the deposit bags or know who had taken them.
The garage has a $5,000 insurance deductible in the case of employee theft and a $2,500 deductible for nonemployee theft.
An investigation continues.
16 July 2002 "Wrongfully Accused Man Sues Cops"
Chicago Sun-Times staff writer Lucio Guerrero reports on an outrageous case of police misconduct involving polygraph abuse. Excerpt:
A man wrongfully charged with killing his mother is suing the city of Chicago and five police officers claiming he was coerced--mentally and physically--into confessing.
Attorneys for Corethian Bell, 26, filed the lawsuit Monday and are asking for an unspecified amount of money damages. Bell was held for 17 months in the Cook County Jail before a DNA test proved his innocence in the July 2000 murder. He was released in January.
The DNA matched that of another man who was later charged with stabbing and sexually assaulting a Chicago woman in December 2000 about five blocks from Bell's mother's home.
"Bell's case is a shocking example of police abuse," said Locke Bowman, legal director of the MacArthur Justice Center and one of Bell's attorneys. "It is unconscionable for the police to take an obviously innocent man, who was grieving and in shock at the brutal murder of his own mother, and then mercilessly interrogate him for 50 hours to force him to confess.
"The police should pay for this outrage."
According to the lawsuit, police interrogated Bell immediately following the murder and purposely lied to him in order to get him to confess. Bell was isolated during the interrogation, subjected to a polygraph, and told details of the murder that Bell later used in his confession.
But Bell's attorneys said police lied about outcome of the polygraph, telling him that he had failed and then used physical force to get him to sign a confession. The confession was videotaped, but that, too, is being questioned.
"What happened to Mr. Bell during the 50 hours of 'interrogation' before the police decided to turn on the video cameras?" said Craig Futterman, an attorney for Bell.
Evidence collected at the murder scene--including blood and semen samples--would be key to absolving Bell. However, that evidence was not tested for nearly a year after the crime.
Once the results were in, charges against Bell were dropped.
"In addition to the obvious cruelty of falsely accusing and incarcerating an innocent man for the murder of his mother, the framing of Mr. Bell allowed the real killer to brutally rape and to stab another woman just months after his murder of Mr. Bell's mom," Futterman said. "A simple DNA test might have thus prevented this double travesty."
A copy of the complaint filed by the MacArthur Justice Center in Mr. Bell's behalf is available on the Center's website at:
15 July 2002 Victims/Suspects in Arson-Homicide Case Refuse Polygraph
Pasadena (California) Star News staff writer Emmanuel Parker reports in an article titled, "Fatal fire in 200 remains unsolved." Excerpt:
ALTADENA -- Sometimes the simplest crimes are the hardest to solve. So it is with the death of Justine Marie Kaposy, 14, a popular Rose City High School student burned beyond recognition on December 3, 2000, in a house fire in the 1700 block of Oxford Avenue.
Sheriff's Homicide Bureau detectives labeled the fire an arson and Justine's death a homicide. But 18 months after her death, no one has been charged or arrested and, as one investigator put it, the case "is not going anyplace."
"The mother, brother and Justine were the only ones present," when the fire destroyed the house, Sgt. Rich Longshore said. Mother and son escaped with minor injuries, Justine didn't.
"We know it was not an accidental fire. One of those three started it. One of them is dead and the other two are not cooperating with law enforcement," he said.
The case stalled after detectives asked Emily Marie Kaposy, 47, the mother, and her son, Sean Kaposy, 12, to take polygraph tests. They initially agreed.
"But they never showed up or called and since then we haven't been able to contact them," Longshore said. "We can't force them to take the tests, which are not admissible as evidence in California courts."
Justine's father, Paul Kaposy, 51, said after detectives requested the tests he consulted an attorney who said they shouldn't submit.
He added the family is indignant that the detectives treated Sean as a suspect.
"They questioned him and my wife the night of the fire at the Altadena Sheriff's Station. They separated them and were trying to get Sean to admit he started the fire. He was devastated. He left the station crying," said Kaposy, who said he advised them not to take the tests.
"My son didn't have anything to do with the fire," he added. "The kid risked his life trying to save his sister.
"I told the detectives `If you've got a case, make it,' " Kaposy said. "I assume they were just fishing and really had nothing to go on."
Guilty or innocent, anyone suspected of a crime is well advised to refuse to submit to any polygraph interrogation. The "test" is little more than a pretext for interrogating a suspect without a lawyer. If you are ever asked to submit to a polygraph "test" with regard to a criminal investigation (whether or not you've been told you're a suspect), be sure to read Chapter 3 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector first.
15 July 2002 American Taliban soldier John Walker Lindh to be polygraphed as part of plea deal
P. Mitchell Prothero of United Press International reports that as part of a plea agreement between John Walker Lindh and federal prosecutors, Walker Lindh "will be required to cooperate with investigators, take repeated polygraph examinations, and appear as a witness in any trial at which he might be needed." Prothero's article on the plea deal has been published by the Washington Times under the title, "Walker Lindh pleads guilty to two charges."
14 July 2002 "What's the truth about polygraphs?"
Madelaine Vitale reports for The Press of Atlantic City (New Jersey). Excerpt:
The prosecution's key witness in the Lloyd Massey II triple-murder trial failed a polygraph.
The jury never heard about the lie detector.
While polygraphs are considered valuable tools in helping law enforcement rule out potential suspects in crimes or focus on a particular person, they rarely play a key role in court.
The results of the tests are admissible in some federal circuits and some states, but only if the person taking the test signs an agreement saying it can be used for or against him in court.
Some jurisdictions ban polygraph results as evidence. Test results also cannot be used as the reason for a motion for a mistrial or a retrial, according to the American Polygraph Association.
Like the Massey case, there have been other trials in which key witnesses for the state failed lie-detector tests, but their testimony still was presented to the jury.
In Utah, in June 2001, Elroy Tillman, the state's oldest death-row inmate, argued prosecutorial misconduct because attorneys for the state did not turn over the failed polygraph results of his accomplice, Carla Sagers.
The defense attorneys argued that Sagers' inconsistent testimony and failed polygraphs should be used as evidence for the judge to stay the defendant's execution. The decision is pending, but attorneys anticipate the judge will sign another death warrant.
Despite many court rulings that polygraphs results are not admissible, municipalities all over the state often use polygraph examinations.
In a case in June 2001, in which two women made allegations of sexual assault by a Camp County, Texas, police officer, two women took polygraph tests and passed. The officer, William Henson, took a polygraph test and failed. He then admitted his guilt and was convicted.
The Supreme Court has said the examinations raise the issue of a person's Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. The high court still has not ruled on the admissibility of polygraphs, so the process varies in different federal circuits.
Proponents of the polygraph say studies show that the test, which hasn't changed much since the 1920s, has an accuracy rate of 85 percent to 95 percent. Opponents say results depend on who is giving the test, and that the examiner can cause a person to fail a test just by the questions asked.
Sgt. Chris Pukenas, one of three members of the New Jersey State Police Polygraph Unit, travels all over the state to give these examinations, in many cases for municipalities who do not have their own examiner or just prefer to use the State Police unit.
Pukenas gave the test to Jesse Timmendequas, who was convicted of raping and killing 7-year-old Megan Kanka in 1994 in Hamilton, Mercer County, after luring her into his home with a puppy.
He couldn't discuss the results of that test because the case is under appeal, but there were reports that Timmendequas failed the polygraph.
Pukenas stands behind the effectiveness of the tests.
"The tests work. They cut out countless hours of police work and often rule out potential suspects and sometimes help to identify a particular suspect in a crime," Pukenas said.
"I had a man indicted for murder. He insisted he wasn't at the crime scene. He insisted he didn't do it," Pukenas said. "He passed the test and a few days after the test police captured the real killer."
Pukenas, who is nearing his 14th year in the Polygraph Unit, gives anywhere from 100 to 125 polygraphs a year. He said only about 10 percent of his polygraph results are tests where the subject signed a waiver that the results could be heard in court.
That doesn't mean polygraph results do not affect how a case is presented.
Pukenas said often the questions asked and statements taken by law enforcement before the polygraph is given are admitted into evidence. He testifies on what was asked and what the witness or the defendant said.
But the jury cannot have knowledge of the polygraph in those instances. If Pukenas got on the stand and muttered the word "polygraph" it could lead to an immediate motion for a mistrial because the test has the potential to sway the jury, he said.
Some opponents of the polygraph have a Web site called Antipolygraph.org where critics cite reasons that polygraphs should be banned. These reasons include: no scientific basis for the polygraph, deceptive techniques used by the examiners to make the person taking the test fail, and how a person, if taught properly, can beat the polygraph.
12 July 2002 "FBI gives polygraph tests to mothers"
Stephen Beaven reports for The Oregonian. Excerpt:
OREGON CITY -- The mothers of two missing girls took lie-detector tests this week, family friends said Thursday.
Lori Pond, the mother of Ashley Pond, and Michelle Duffey, the mother of Miranda Gaddis, took the tests at the Oregon City Police Department on Wednesday.
An FBI spokeswoman declined to discuss the tests. It was not clear why the two women were asked to take them more than six months after the investigation began.
Sharonda Garrett, a friend of Duffey, said Thursday that investigators finally had accepted Duffey's offer to take a polygraph test.
"She's offered since the very beginning," Garrett said. "Just to get (other) people to take the polygraph, Michelle thought she should take one."
Duffey's test took about 90 minutes, Garrett said. She declined to say what questions were asked. Duffey could not be reached for comment.
Pond also took a test on Thursday, said James Keightley, her boyfriend. He did not know what was asked. Pond could not be reached for comment.
Ashley disappeared Jan. 9 from the Newell Creek Village apartments in Oregon City. Miranda disappeared from the same complex on March 8. Both are 13 years old and were in seventh grade at Gardiner Middle School.
Investigators think the girls were kidnapped by the same person or persons. The FBI and local police are looking closely at 10 to 20 people, all of whom are thought to live in Oregon. But no forensic evidence has been found, and no crime scene is known.
11 July 2002 "Polygraph allowed in murder trial"
Staff writer Sharron Haley reporters for the Sumter, South Carolina Item. Excerpt:
MANNING -- In what some are calling a landmark decision, At-Large Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman allowed a defense attorney to introduce results from a polygraph test in the murder trial of Anthony Ray White.
White, who authorities say did not appear to be lying on a lie detector test, is charged with murder in the 2000 bludgeoning death of Mary Johnson. Johnson, 52, was found by family members in the living room of her Manning home.
"It's very big," defense attorney Harry Devoe said Wednesday about the judge's ruling. "The Council case (a case used by Devoe to argue that the polygraph information be allowed) opened the door, and the new rules of evidence made it possible."
The case, which began Tuesday at the Clarendon County Courthouse, is expected to go to the jury today for deliberations. The trial is expected to resume at 9 a.m. with closing arguments.
Prosecutor Ferrell Cothran says White killed Johnson in order to rob her of her money and illegal drugs. However, Devoe contends White is not the killer and never visited Johnson the night of the killing.
With the jury out of the courtroom on Wednesday, the prosecution and defense argued before Newman for almost 30 minutes on whether polygraph results should be allowed as evidence.
State Law Enforcement Division special agent Rick Charles, who has been administering polygraph exams for more than 15 years, told the judge that polygraph results are more reliable than handwriting analysis and eyewitness reports. Certain reports, he said, listed polygraph accuracy at between 85 and 95 percent.
Newman ultimately ruled in the defense's behalf.
The admissibility of polygraph results is believed to be a first for general sessions court in South Carolina.
"I cannot recall," retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Ernest Finney said late Wednesday from his home in Sumter. "It's been a while and things have changed, but I do not recall it (polygraphs used in court)."
Third Circuit Solicitor Kelly Jackson agreed with Finney. He said that he's never tried to use polygraph results because they weren't accepted.
After the jury was allowed back into the courtroom, Devoe presented only two witnesses -- Charles and the defendant.
Charles, who administered the polygraph exam to White in September 2001, testified concerning the questions that were asked during the exam.
To the question "Did you beat that woman?" White answered no, Charles said, noting there were no apparent signs that White was trying to be deceptive.
Charles testified that White also had answered no to similar questions with no apparent attempts to hide the truth.
Judge Clifton Newman has set a dangerous precedent. As Professor William G. Iacono notes in his article, "Forensic 'Lie Detection': Procedures Without Scientific Basis," polygraph "testing" has no grounding in the scientific method. Moreover, polygraph "tests" are easily passed through the use of simple countermeasures that polygraphers cannot detect. (Did the suspect in this case know "the lie behind the lie detector?") Polygraph chart readings have no probative value and should not be admitted as evidence in a court of law.
7 July 2002 U.S. Pressures Australia to Embrace Polygraph Screening
Brian Toohey writes for the Sydney Morning Herald in an article titled, "Security proves a complicated affair." Excerpt:
The war on terrorism also means that US intelligence officials want tough action taken against any Australian minister who has an affair which they regard as a security risk.
Although ministers will want to be exempt, the US is applying strong pressure to force Australian officials to undergo polygraph tests about their sex lives and other personal matters.
Because US officials believe politicians can be compromised by illicit affairs, they will no longer accept the relaxed approach previously taken by Australian security officials to ministers' sexual indiscretions.
Even before September 11, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation agreed to undertake a trial of US polygraph tests designed to see if its staff lie when asked about their sex lives, finances and political sympathies.
On June 25, the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, signed a new, legally binding, pact with the US to protect classified information. Although no details were spelled out in the pact, the US wants Australian officials who have access to highly classified US intelligence material to be subjected to the same polygraph tests that routinely apply to American officials.
The rationale is that ministers leave themselves open to blackmail.
The Australian public is unlikely to accept that security officials should be able to march into Parliament House and hook ministers up to a polygraph machine to check whether they curl up with more than a copy of Hansard at night in their lonely Canberra digs.
3 July 2002 "Challenging an American icon"
The Japan Times Online published the following reader's letter:
Challenging an American icon
Regarding the June 21 Washington Post article "Private eye who found Levy bone declines lie test": If most people challenged or disregarded the place of the polygraph test in American police investigations the way that private investigator Joe McCann is reported to have done in the case of murdered federal intern Chandra Levy, they would probably fall under suspicion of holding aberrant political beliefs. In the current climate, they might even be viewed as terrorist threats.
Separate from the matter of the accuracy and reliability of the polygraph at detecting lies is the socially enshrined belief that it does so. It has practically become a kind of litmus test of one's social propriety. But the polygraph test detects and measures stress -- not lies. To persist in calling it a "lie detector test" is just plain stupid. But as a myth of modern society, it contributes to easy litigation and an easy conscience.
Judging by the place the polygraph occupies in police investigations reported in the media and its frequent appearance in entertainment dramatizations of police work, it seems an object example of the faith the common man in the American street places in technology. The polygraph test and electric chair may be as much icons of American culture as the Coca-Cola bottle, Marilyn Monroe, Uncle Sam and G.I. Joe. But I prefer not to believe in it wholeheartedly and, regardless of his reasons for declining to undergo the test, I admire McCann.
1 July 2002 "U.S. Judge May Probe 'Confession'"
Benjamin Weiser of the New York Times reports on the case of Abdallah Higazy, from whom an FBI polygrapher coerced a false confession, resulting in Higazy wrongly spending a month in solitary confinement. (This article, re-printed in the International Herald Tribune, was first published in the New York Times on 29 June 2002.) Excerpt:
Innocent Egyptian was jailed in FBI's Sept. 11 investigation
NEW YORK A federal judge in Manhattan is considering opening an inquiry into how the FBI got a criminal confession from an innocent Egyptian student who was detained in connection with the attack on the World Trade Center, people with knowledge of the case said. The judge, Jed Rakoff, of U.S. District Court, could conduct the inquiry under a rarely invoked authority in which judges are considered supervisors of the grand jury. It was during the grand jury investigation of the Sept. 11 terror attacks that the issue of the false confession arose.
The judge has held a series of closed preliminary hearings on the matter, which is also being looked at by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan.
The tale of the student, Abdallah Higazy, remains one of the oddest epi-sodes of the post-Sept. 11 world. Higazy was arrested in December 2001 as a material witness in the terrorism investigation after a security guard at the Millennium Hilton Hotel, in Lower Manhattan, said that an aviation radio had been found in the safe in Higazy's room, which had a view of the World Trade Center. Higazy spent a month in jail, mostly in solitary confinement, but was released after the security guard admitted making up the story.
During his first three weeks in custody, Higazy protested his innocence and volunteered to take a polygraph test. During the test, administered by an FBI agent, however, he confessed to owning the radio, and gave various stories as to how he had obtained it, the authorities have said.
The confession fueled suspicions that Higazy might be tied to the hijackers. The radio could have been used to communicate with a plane in flight, and Higazy had also once worked in the Egyptian Air Corps, where he repaired radios that were used to communicate with people on the ground.
On the advice of his lawyer, Higazy will say little about the circumstances of his confession. He does not make any allegations of physical abuse. But in a telephone interview recently, he said that after he was left alone for several hours with the FBI agent, he had been ready to say anything.
"I hyperventilated," he said. "I couldn't breathe. I felt I was going to faint. I wanted out of that room any possible way."
He said that his lawyer, Robert Dunn, had been told to stand outside the door. Dunn said that when the FBI agent emerged from the room, he said Higazy had not completed the polygraph test, but had admitted owning the radio.
"He said, 'Well, we don't have a polygraph, but we have a confession,'" said Dunn, who added that he went in and asked Higazy about the agent's report. He said Higazy replied: "'This guy's got me so upset that I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I'm not sure what I said, but I believe I did admit to having the radio. But it's a lie.'"
Dunn said he is limited in what he can say about the inquiry. "The matter is still pending before Judge Rakoff," Dunn said. "One of the issues that remains under consideration is how it is that a false confession came to be extracted from Higazy."
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