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20 August 2003 Whistleblower Fired Based on Failed Polygraph
Beacon Journal staff writer Craig Webb reports in an article titled, "Falls police dispatcher loses job." Excerpt:
The Cuyahoga Falls police dispatcher whose allegations about her bosses led to a major departmental shake-up is no longer on the job.
Mayor Don Robart said Tuesday that Kathleen M. Ball was fired as the result of a continuing departmental investigation.
Robart said the part-time dispatcher was dismissed earlier this month because investigators looking into police department problems did not believe she was truthful on a polygraph.
Robart also said Ball was talking publicly about the probe when she had been warned not to.
Ball, through a relative, declined to comment.
Based on Ball's allegations of inappropriate behavior, the city last year spent $25,000 on a probe by personnel consultants Clemans, Nelson & Associates of the department's top brass. The investigation did not result in any criminal charges but brought about leadership changes.
Police Chief Gordon Tomlinson was demoted in December to sergeant of the midnight shift and ordered to undergo sexual harassment training and alcohol counseling or face firing.
His brother, Capt. Thomas Tomlinson, agreed to retire in exchange for not being fired.
The city did fire Sgt. Thomas Coffman for a variety of infractions, including using city computers to work on an outside venture, showing pornographic images and making inappropriate comments to co-workers. He is appealing the firing and seeking reinstatement to the force.
A "failed" polygraph "test" is a convenient pretext for retaliation against whistleblowers. This story speaks to the need for passage of a Comprehensive Employee Polygraph Protection Act.
15 August 2003 Ohio: "Probe for missing petitions now using polygraph"
Beacon Journal staff writer Julie Wallace reports. Excerpt:
The investigation into the missing petitions at the Summit County Board of Elections has moved to a new level -- lie-detector tests.
This week, investigators from the Summit County Sheriff's Office started picking employees from the roughly 35 full-timers and 21 part-timers and asking them to submit to the test, Capt. Larry Momchilov said.
The tests are voluntary, but no one has refused so far, Momchilov said. He said he cannot say how many of the tests will be administered or if everyone will be asked to submit to one.
15 August 2003 "When Lie Detectors Lie -- Or Don't"
Richard A. Muller, a physics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, writes for Technology Review. Erroneously assuming that polygraphy is a valid diagnostic technique with an 85% accuracy rate, and ignoring the issue of countermeasures, Muller concludes that polygraph "evidence" should be admissible in court:
Now we come to the true paradox. Lie detector results are inadmissible as evidence for criminal trials in most states. But I have been present at a trial in which the judge instructed the jury that it was their responsibility, not his, to determine the truth of the testimony. To do this, they were told to take into account "the demeanor" of the witness, his directness in answering questions, and anything else that they thought indicated truthfulness. Ironically, scientific tests show that the average person's probability of catching a lie in this way is only "slightly better than chance," according to Ekman. Moreover, the jurors who use this approach have the conviction that their accuracy is near 100 percent, despite their knowledge that most witnesses are extensively coached in methods of appearing sympathetic and truthful--in other words, in methods to defeat the system.
Polygraphy is not allowed in courts because 85 percent accuracy is not good enough. Instead courts use a system that is demonstrably worse--which could be a big part of the reason why so many convictions are now being overturned by DNA evidence. Where is the wisdom in that?
The Technology Review website includes a forum for discussion of articles, where George Maschke of AntiPolygraph.org has posted a response:
13 August 2003 "Workman claims test proves witness lied"
Amanda Wardle reports for the Nashville City Newspaper. Excerpt:
Attorneys have asked Gov. Phil Bredesen to review and consider clemency in the case of Tennessee death row inmate Philip Workman, pointing to evidence that an eyewitness in a 1982 capital murder trial was actually lying when he fingered Workman as the man who killed a Shelby County police officer.
Post-Conviction Defender Donald Dawson and attorney Jefferson Dorsey Tuesday morning said they have the results of a lie detector test which allegedly proves Harold Davis, one of the state's key witnesses in Workman's trial, was not telling the truth when he said he watched Workman shoot Memphis police Lt. Ronald Oliver in the chest while the officer attempted to apprehend Workman for robbing a Wendy's restaurant.
Representatives for the state Post-Conviction Defender's Office Tuesday morning presented an 11-page request to Bredesen, accompanied by several hundred pages of court documents and other evidence, asking that the governor commute the death sentence in Workman's case. Workman is scheduled to die by lethal injection Sept. 24 at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.
Davis, who is serving time for robbery in a California prison, submitted to the polygraph test June 17, the results of which indicate he is telling the truth when he claims his testimony at Workman's trial was false, according to the request.
Davis recanted his testimony from Workman's trial, stating under oath at an evidentiary hearing several years ago before a Shelby County judge that he was not telling the truth when he told jurors at Workman's trial that he witnessed much of what occurred on the night of Workman's arrest.
Defense attorneys said they do not know of any motive that would suggest why Davis, who called police to report that he had witnessed the crime, might have perjured himself. Davis is reported to be a longtime drug user who was under the influence on the night the incident occurred.
Workman's defense said Tuesday morning that polygraph tests are not always allowable in court proceedings, but noted that the governor has complete discretion to take them into consideration in the clemency request.
12 August 2003 "Workman's lawyers release lie detector test"
Chris Bundgaard reports for WKRN-TV News 2. Excerpt:
Philip Workman faces execution in September for the 1981 shooting death of a Memphis police officer. On Tuesday, attorneys asked Governor Phil Bredesen to spare the inmate's life, saying a lie detector test supports their claims that an eyewitness lied.
For years, lawyers for Workman have contended that Harold Davis perjured himself at the original trial of their client. They've said that Davis backed off testimony that he saw Workman shoot police officer Ronnie Oliver to death outside a Memphis Wendy's in 1981.
Attorney Jefferson Dorsey said, "Short of time travel, I cannot think of a more powerful way to show that Harold Davis was not there and that he lied at trial"
Monday morning, as they released a clemency petition filed with Gov. Bredesen, Workman's lawyers showed a new picture of Davis as he recently underwent a polygraph administered by Kenneth Vardell - a former career FBI agent touted by the lawyers to be well-respected in the field. "He says absolutely that Harold Davis was telling the truth when he did not see Philip Workman shoot Lt. Oliver," said Dorsey.
12 August 2003 Florida Woman's Probation Extended Based on Polygraph Results
Missy Stoddard reports for the Tampa Tribune in an article titled, "Judge Keeps Woman's Probation." This short article is cited here in full:
DADE CITY - A judge Monday denied a request to terminate the probation of a former Zephyrhills woman who had sex with two neighborhood teens.
Zephyrhills police arrested Lynne Cunneen, 37, in May 2000 after two boys, then 13 and 14, reported that Cunneen performed sex acts on them and sometimes gave them alcohol.
In October 2001, Cunneen pleaded no contest to two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation.
She was sentenced to a year of house arrest followed by two years of probation.
Circuit Judge Wayne Cobb denied Cunneen's request for early termination of probation based in part, he said, because she failed a polygraph exam required as part of the terms of her probation.
Her attorney, Chip Mander, objected to the polygraph being considered, saying it is improper for the court to do so. Also, he does not know what questions she allegedly failed, he said.
Cobb told Mander that Cunneen can renew her request in six months.
11 August 2003 Informant Who Provided Accurate Info on Uday and Qusay Hussein's Location Was Doubted Because of Failed Polygraph
Romesh Ratnesar reports for Time magazine in an article titled, "Hot on Saddam's Trail" that a truth-telling Iraqi informant was disbelieved because he "failed" a polygraph "test." Excerpt:
...The noose around Saddam began to tighten on July 19 when U.S. forces received a tip about the whereabouts of Uday and Qusay. At the time, the source was not regarded as reliable. (According to a senior U.S. military official, the informant failed a polygraph test.) But intelligence units soon picked up an electronic signal that suggested the possible presence of high-level resisters in the same location in Mosul that the source had identified. Just after they began investigating the tip, U.S. forces were approached by Nawaf al-Zaydan Mohammed, a Mosul businessman who told them the brothers were staying at his house....
6 August 2003 Polygraph "Evidence" Rejected in Federal Detention Hearing
John Cook reports for the Seattle Intelligencer in an article titled "Judge frees Znetix pair from prison; death plot discounted." Excerpt:
Znetix defendants Michael Culp and Steven Reimer have been released from prison after a federal judge discounted statements of convicted bank robber Darres Park, who testified that the two men discussed killing an FBI agent while incarcerated at the Sea-Tac Detention Facility this spring.
U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman said Monday that there was not clear and convincing evidence that Culp and Reimer were conspiring to kill special agent Joe Quinn, who has played a key role in the investigation of the Znetix stock fraud.
Pechman reversed a ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge Monica Benton, who ordered the men detained May 27 in connection with the alleged plot.
Free on bond, Culp and Reimer are awaiting trial on multiple counts of fraud and money laundering for the roles they allegedly played with Bainbridge Island-based Znetix and affiliated companies.
The case, described as the largest stock swindle ever to originate in the state, includes more than 5,000 investors and up to $100 million.
The detention hearing hinged on the testimony of Park, a martial arts expert and self-described tough guy who shared a cell block with the Znetix defendants from March 27 to April 1.
During that period, Park alleged that Culp and Reimer discussed killing special agent Quinn on many occasions. Reimer was so "fixated" on the idea that he went so far as to ask how much it would cost and where he could send the money, according to Park's testimony.
But attorneys for Culp and Reimer attacked Park's credibility and his past, which included three armed bank robberies and a faked racial incident outside a Belltown nightclub in 1990. As part of the defense, attorneys also submitted a letter from Park's sister that described him as a "chronic liar."
"Usually criminal defense attorneys don't get a chance to cross-examine witnesses like this, who are so easy to cross-examine in the sense that their lies are so easy to expose," said James Vonasch, the attorney representing Culp.
"From my point of view, it was very obvious that you couldn't make a decision based on this person's testimony."
While Park passed a lie detector test administered by the FBI, the defense team called an expert witness who said so-called control question tests are flawed.
Drew Richardson, a former FBI agent who specializes in lie detection, said the tests can be defeated if a person employs simple physical tasks such as biting his cheek or mental exercises such as doing complex arithmetic.
"The results of this polygraph should not be indicative of the truth," Richardson said.
5 August 2003 "Police union asks city leaders to evaluate polygraph policy"
Ryan Panitz reports for KTVB News. Excerpt:
The Boise Police Union wants the city to re-evaluate the polygraph policy.
The union says the police department's internal rules about taking lie detector tests are not fair if Boise Police Chief Don Pierce does not have to take one.
"The police officers are asking that the chief be held to the same standards as are they," said Boise Police Union attorney Brian Donesley.
The Boise police union voted "no confidence" in Pierce on Monday. Union leaders took the step after Pierce refused to answer questions on a lie detector about his involvement in the administration of former Mayor Brent Coles and the investigation into misuse of public money.
The union argues if the chief can say no to a polygraph, then the current policy is not fair or consistent.
"The integrity of the whole thing is under challenge by his refusal to use it," said Donesley. "He shouldn't be able to order others to do it when he won't submit to the same process."
5 August 2003 "Boise Police Union Wants to Get Rid of Polygraphs"
Starlyn Klein reports for KCBI-TV in Boise, Idaho. Excerpt:
BOISE - Before the Boise police officers voted no-confidence in their chief, Don Pierce refused to take a polygraph test requested by the police union.
They wanted to ask him questions about the shake-up at City Hall. Pierce also refused to meet with the entire union body. "All we're saying is why not and we're assuming that his reason is that he doesn't trust the polygraph if that's the case let's be fair and not apply it to anyone," said Boise Police Union Attorney, Brian Donesley.
5 August 2003 "Enquirer challenges Affleck to lie detector"
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Bill Zwecker reports. Excerpt:
The Jennifer Lopez-Ben Affleck relationship is certainly being tested these days. And the failure of their first film together, ''Gigli,'' could be the least of their problems. Foremost is likely the National Enquirer story--that has now taken yet another twist--about Affleck allegedly engaging in some raunchy behavior with a stripper in Vancouver.
The supermarket tabloid has challenged the actor to take a lie detector test on the matter, claiming that its sources on the story have already submitted to such a test and passed it. Affleck has angrily denied the story--though he's admitted to being at the club with pals Tara Reid, and Christian Slater and his wife, Ryan Haddon. At this point, Affleck is considering ''his legal options,'' according to his spokesman.
But there is good news for the actor. The exotic dancer in question--known by her stage name, ''Felicia''--may prove to be an important witness, if Affleck sues and the case ever gets to court. The stripper firmly denies that there was any physical contact with the Oscar winner, telling the New York Post, ''We did a little show, and that was it. Put it this way. Brandi, the owner of the club, was watching the whole thing on a monitor. The absolute rule is no contact. That's her liquor license on the line.''
As for taking a lie-detector test, Affleck's rep considers that request ''ridiculous'' given that ''it's so clear that story is such a piece of total garbage. ... This is now in the lawyers' hands.''
5 August 2003 Federal Judge Refuses to Dismiss Polygraph-Related Discrimination Lawsuit
Penny Brown Roberts reports for the Baton Rouge, Louisiana Advocate in an article titled, 'Shocking' discrimination suit kept alive." Excerpt:
A federal judge has refused to dismiss a former detective's claims that he endured racial harassment and discrimination in the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office for years, and was wrongly fired for assisting a 2001 Louisiana State Police investigation of one of the sheriff's friends.
In a ruling released Monday, U.S. District Judge James Brady said Willie Turner's allegations -- one of which the judge described as "shocking" -- "more than meet the standard for establishing a hostile work environment."
In doing so, Brady refused a request by Sheriff Willie Graves, who denies Turner's allegations, to dismiss the lawsuit.
"Direct evidence of discrimination is a rare thing indeed," Brady wrote. "For summary judgment purposes, the court is convinced that direct evidence of discrimination rears its ugly head in this case."
Turner, a former professional football player, joined the Sheriff's Office in 1987 as a road deputy and was promoted to detective a year later. He was fired in August 2001 and sued Graves in April 2002.
In his lawsuit, Turner -- who claims he began keeping a record of the alleged incidents in 1996 -- alleges colleagues regularly referred to black people as "blue gums," "little black Sambos" and other ethnic slurs, sometimes over the police radio.
Turner also alleges officers routinely spit coffee and tobacco across his desk, incident reports and family photos; left food stamps in his chair; and -- when a fruit tray was delivered to the office -- told him "we left you some watermelon."
Graves alleges Turner was fired after the sheriff discovered he had provided documents to St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Deputy Rod Volgamore, who was assisting State Police in an investigation.
According to evidence the Sheriff's Office filed in federal court, the documents became part of an investigation by the State Police Gaming Division of Livingston Parish businessman Rudy Chandler.
Chandler -- alleged in court documents to be a close friend of Graves -- is co-owner of a video gaming truck stop on Highway 16 in St. Helena Parish. No charges were ever filed in the case.
Graves claims Turner provided criminal history records -- including a rap sheet, photographs and offense reports -- to Volgamore, who also works security for a competing video gaming establishment. Additional documents implied the Sheriff's Office had attempted to cover up the investigation, Graves alleges in court documents.
Turner allegedly failed a polygraph exam when questioned about the documents. Graves then instructed Turner's supervisor, Kearney Foster, to fire him.
"He was fired for violating my policy and procedure," Graves said. "There was no whistle-blowing on any investigation. He was fired for releasing documents he did not have the authority to release."
3 August 2003 "The truth about polygraphs"
Charles P. Pierce writes on pre-employment polygraph screening in the cover story of the 3 August 2003 edition of the Boston Globe Magazine. Excerpt:
WAS HE SWEATING?
Of course he was sweating.
But he didn't want to be sweating, and he didn't want his heart to race this way, because he knew what that did to his blood pressure, and he knew that he was in a situation here in the Boston office of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Everybody there knew him from the days when he'd been the law-enforcement equivalent of a phenom pitcher straight out of the minors. So they knew why he was standing there, and he knew why he was standing there, and they knew that he knew. He was standing there because there was a man behind a closed door with a machine that claimed to know the truth of him better than he did. And he wasn't sure what the machine knew about him that he didn't know. He knew this situation well. He'd been trained to put suspects in this kind of a box.
Once, when he was 16 and at a party, he'd smoked a little weed. The joint came by -- maybe once, maybe twice -- and he'd taken a puff. Maybe two. It was a long time ago and hard to remember, but it was long before he'd become interested in law enforcement and long before he'd become so good at it. It was long before he'd graduated from Northeastern University summa cum laude with his degree in criminal justice and long before the co-op job with the DEA. He'd planned on entering the DEA upon graduation but was tripped up by the budget shutdown of the mid-'90s.
It was long before he'd gone to work for that antidrug task force down on Cape Cod, long before he'd grown his hair long and his beard out to go undercover to chase the speed labs and the dope-running boats, and it was long before someone had waved the gun at him in the crack house in New Bedford. It was long before he'd gotten a pilot's license because he'd heard the DEA had an air wing, and he thought he might like to be part of that, too. It was long before the awards and the citations, and it was long before he'd applied for the full-time job at DEA when the government reopened for business.
He sailed through all the preliminary background checks and the physical test and scored in the 90th percentile on the oral examinations. And then they'd strapped him to a polygraph and asked him about any drug use, and he'd told them about when he was 16 and the joint came by at the party. He knew there were cameras on his eyes. He knew there were sensors in the seat. He gave his answer. The polygrapher looked at the machine and frowned.
There's a problem right here with this question, the examiner told him. There were "issues" with regard to his answers about his "past drug use." Why don't you go out and think about what the problem might be, the polygrapher suggested gravely. That was how he came to be here, sweating, in front of all the people who knew him so well.
30 July 2003 "Non-invasive polygraph technology based on optical analysis"
Optics.org reports on a recent patent application in its "Patent Highlights" feature:
Title: Non-invasive polygraph technology based on optical analysis
Applicant: Defense Group, US
International application number: WO 03/057003
Infrared laser pulses could soon be used to determine whether someone is telling the truth or is under stress. In patent application WO 03/057003, US firm Defense Group describes a non-invasive polygraph machine that fires infrared pulses at the subject. The reflected and scattered pulses are gathered and analysed by a receiver. "The receiver is connected to an information processing device capable of determining various physiological characteristics exhibited by the human subject," say the authors.
29 July 2003 VA: Polygraph Evidence Inadmissible in Probation Hearing
The following was posted to the SW Virginia law blog :
Polygraph evidence inadmissible in probation hearing
In White v. Com., the Virginia Court of Appeals in an opinion by Judge Benton joined by Judge Clements and Senior Judge Hodges held that evidence that a probationer failed a polygraph test is inadmissible in a hearing on probation revocation, and the trial court's consideration of such evidence was apparently not harmless error, even though the probationer was a sex offender and the trial court had resolved not "to gamble with with this man and young children."
25 July 2003 South Africa: "IFP Resorts to Lie Detectors"
Jaspreet Kindra reports for the Mail and Guardian. Excerpt:
The Inkatha Freedom Party apparently wants to subject its national council members to a lie detector test to establish whether they have leaked confidential information to the media and other organisations.
The IFP's intentions were disclosed at its council meeting during the party's national conference in Ulundi two weeks ago, the Mail & Guardian has established.
The M&G has learnt that the IFP had engaged the services of Durban-based company LieTech to conduct the tests, and the company had already started doing some work for the party.
National council members at the conference were asked to fill in a questionnaire prepared by the company. Among the questions were:
- "Will you be willing to undergo a lie detector test?"
- "Have you ever leaked National Council minutes?"
- "Have you ever leaked the speech of our president, Prince MG Buthelezi?"
- "Who do you suspect is the mole within our party?"
- "What must happen to the mole? Must he be suspended from the party?"
The IFP's national organiser, Albert Mncwango, said he was not aware that the party had hired the services of a lie detecting concern, nor had he filled in any questionnaire.
He said, however, that the party had the "right to do whatever it takes to beef up its internal security".
LieTech's Ben Lombaard said he could neither confirm nor deny that the IFP had hired the services of his company. "We respect our client's confidentiality," he said.
The IFP's lie detector tests come shortly after the M&G revealed that the party was plotting to use taxpayers' money to enhance the profile of its provincial ministers and to weaken the African National Congress ahead of the 2004 elections.
22 July 2003 "Polygraph tests as good as tea leaves"
Mike Levsen writes for the Aberdeen, South Dakota American News. Excerpt:
I'm going on record right now. I will not submit voluntarily to a polygraph test at any time, for any reason. Even if I'm innocent - especially if I'm innocent.
The use of the lie-detector test has not gone the way of reading bumps on the head and tea leaves as it should have, and people must stand up against it.
Polygraphs are ostensibly used to indicate whether or not a person is lying. However, authorities are always careful to not call it a "lie-detector" because they know it isn't. They say it's a "tool" they use in investigations. Well, it's a tool to find the truth the same as a rubber hose is a tool to get a confession. It's used to intimidate.
The general public believes in this junk science. When a person "refuses to take a polygraph" much of the public assumes guilt. When a defense attorney says "my client will take a lie-detector test" they know potential jurors will think it means something.
It means nothing. In fact, it means less than nothing. The very high degree of false results makes the polygraph "evidence" a red herring. One might as well offer as evidence of guilt that the suspect called heads and the coin came up tails. Even if it was 90 percent accurate (which it isn't), how do we know who is in the 10 percent. Would we accept fingerprints if they were 90 percent accurate?
Study after study after study proves the machine doesn't work. It measures physiological reactions, and can be fooled intentionally or accidentally. Aldrich Ames, the CIA spy, passed his test repeatedly. Thousands of completely innocent job seekers have been denied government jobs because of false readings. The National Academy of Science rejects it, and all courts reject it as phony science.
21 July 2003 Saddam's loyalists thwart polygraph tests
Washington Times staff writer Rowan Scarborough reports. Excerpt:
Captured Saddam Hussein loyalists in Iraq are proving adept at beating lie-detector tests, frustrating attempts to find banned weapons and to learn what happened to Navy Capt. Michael Scott Speicher.
U.S. officials and military officers say trained interrogators in Baghdad have caught Iraqi Ba'ath Party loyalists lying while hooked up to the machine, which showed they were not being deceptive.
Officials attribute the lying to many factors. They say it may have become part of the culture of Saddam's regime to lie routinely. In other cases, the Iraqi intelligence service and Special Security Organization trained operators how to "beat" the machine. And there is the issue that polygraphs, which measure changes in heartbeat, respiration and perspiration, are simply not accurate.
In one incident, an Iraqi involved in a weapons program was shown two pictures. In one, officials cut his image out of a photo of workers at a weapons factory. He agreed that the cut-out image was of him. They then showed him the full photo, with his image restored. This time, he denied that he was in the photo. The polygraph did not catch him in this blatant lie.
"Polygraphs are being used in the interrogation process with mixed results," a military officer in Iraq said. "Many of the suspects being interrogated were formerly part of the Ba'ath Party intelligence apparatus, so they would reasonably understand how the device works."
Asked to comment, a defense official at the Pentagon said, "We do not discuss such matters of intelligence as a matter of policy."
Interrogation teams include personnel from the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and the Army's Criminal Investigative Command.
To discuss this article, see the AntiPolygraph.org message board thread, Saddam's Loyalists Thwart Polygraph Tests.
16 July 2003 Polygraph Relied on in Search for Missing Navy Pilot Michael Scott Speicher
Washington Times staff writer Rowan Scarborough reports in a an article titled "Navy pilot's fate now looks grim". Excerpt:
A secret Pentagon report states that once-promising leads in the hunt for Capt. Michael Scott Speicher in Iraq have turned up no evidence of his whereabouts, contradicting public official comments that the search was producing positive results.
The classified document also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the Iraqi defector who first raised hopes in the United States that the Navy pilot was alive and a captive in Iraq after his plane was shot down in 1991.
The defector claims to have seen Capt. Speicher alive in 1998. But Iraqis interviewed by U.S. investigators say he is lying, according to the report prepared for Gen. Richard B. Myers, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman.
The internal report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, quotes one Iraqi as saying the defector is a "born liar." U.S. officials are said to now have serious questions about the unnamed defector's veracity.
The report reveals that the main source for a report last year that Capt. Speicher survived the crash is a defector from Saddam Hussein's Special Security Organization (SSO), which maintained the dictator's rule in Baghdad.
The defector, whom U.S. officials call "defector No. 2314," provided names of witnesses who he says support his story. But when contacted by the U.S. search team, the Iraqis deny the defector's account.
"None of the information provided by 2314 has proven accurate," the Pentagon report states.
...[T]he defector's story, in part, prompted the Navy to change his status to missing-captured and to promote him from commander to the rank of captain.
This information created a storm of prewar news coverage that Saddam might still be holding an American he was supposed to release, with all other prisoners of war, after the March 1991 cease-fire.
But the secret Pentagon report lists a number of leads that turned out to be bogus:
- Defector No. 2314 provided the names of several doctors who he said had knowledge of Capt. Speicher's whereabouts. "All denied having any knowledge; two have passed a polygraph exam," the Pentagon report says.
- The defector said his supervisor at SSO also knew of Capt. Speicher's imprisonment. But the supervisor denied this, passed a polygraph and called No. 2314 "a born liar."
- The source said a psychiatrist at the Rashid prison worked there during Capt. Speicher's purported captivity. But the psychiatrist "denied any knowledge."
- U.S. Central Command has recovered thousands of POW-related files in Iraq. "To date, analysts have found only one reference to Speicher. The reference indicates he ejected and lists his status as 'unknown.' "
Concludes the report, "U.S. CentCom has searched every known location associated with Speicher. Other than at Hakimiyah prison, where U.S. forces found the initials 'MSS' carved in a cell wall, no significant evidence of his status has been discovered."
The Iraq Survey Group cell was also to interview an ethnic Iraqi U.S. citizen who had been held at another Baghdad prison, Abu Ghurab. "This individual reported to U.S. Marines that he heard Iraqi guards discussing the 'U.S. pilot.' "
The paper says the cell administered a polygraph exam to the defector, but it does not give the results. It says the military has asked the CIA "to conduct an independent polygraph of 2314."
A CIA spokesman yesterday said the agency does not comment on polygraph issues.
To discuss this story, see the AntiPolygraph.org message board thread, The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher.
11 July 2003 "Irondale officials want answers"
Birmingham Post-Herald reporter Taylor Bright covers the developing scandal in Irondale, Alabama, whose mayor had sought polygraph testing at city hall in an attempt to find a whistleblower. Excerpt:
Two Irondale City Council members want some answers -- and perhaps an investigation into their own Police Department.
Councilman Simpson Berry said he has received many inquiries from Irondale residents after questions were raised about an incident in which police say they found a city councilman's son with 3 pounds of what officers believed was marijuana. The 19-year-old son has never been charged in the incident, police and court documents show.
Berry, who said the city of Irondale also is being portrayed in a bad light on local talk radio stations, said he wants to put an end to the controversy by getting some questions answered.
"We want the public to have correct information, and we want the correct information," Berry said Thursday. "Sometimes we can be blinded."
Berry and Councilman Jack Boone called a public meeting for 4 p.m. today to discuss bringing in an outside person to investigate the Police Department.
"There might be some things we all need to know and possibly consider bringing some additional experts in to look at this whole affair," Berry said.
"Just from the council, city attorney and the mayor, we need some other people to come in ... and suggest to us some things that we can do and some things we should have done," Berry said. "Maybe some of us are a little too close to the situation."
The controversy centers on a police report detailing how police stopped Matthew Chandler Jackson, son of Irondale Councilman Ray Jackson, on April 28 and found three gallon-size bags of a substance believed to be marijuana in his car.
Matt Jackson was never charged with a crime nor booked into Irondale jail for the incident. The Jefferson County district attorney's office is investigating whether a charge should have been brought.
Irondale city attorney Greg Morris declined to comment on the meeting or the councilmen's request for an investigation.
Boone and Berry also said they want to find out whether the City Council was informed adequately about a request made by the Birmingham Post-Herald to see the police report. City officials made the report public after first giving an array of answers why the Post-Herald couldn't see it.
"We can let the public know we are credible people; we're not trying to hide anything and we want the truth," Berry said.
Berry also said he wanted to discuss the demand by Mayor Allen Ramsey that city employees take lie-detector tests after a copy of the police report was leaked to the media, which led to the Jackson incident coming to light. Ramsey wanted polygraph tests to find out who released the report. He since has relented from the demand.
For discussion of this story, see the AntiPolygraph.org message board thread, Irondale, Alabama Mayor Orders Polygraph Dragnet at City Hall.
11 July 2003 "Smithfield Packing settles lawsuit"
The Virginian-Pilot reports that a settlement has been reached in an $18 million Employee Polygraph Protection Act lawsuit. Excerpt:
NORFOLK -- A lawsuit filed by a former Smithfield Packing Co. saleswoman against the meatpacker has been settled on the eve of trial this week.
The terms were not disclosed.
The former employee, Julie M. Bannister, claimed in the $18 million suit that the company tried to force her to take a lie-detector test after she filed a sexual-harassment complaint. She also claimed she was defamed by a supervisor.
Papers filed in U.S. District Court June 24 say that the case was settled, but no details were provided. The trial was set to open this week.
This case was the subject of a 10 October 2002 Virginian-Pilot article titled, "Ex-employee sues Smithfield over polygraph."
8 July 2003 "Investigation continues into leak"
Birmingham News staff writer Anita Debro reports on the scandal in the Irondale, Alabama city government. Excerpt:
Irondale officials remained tight-lipped Monday about an investigation into the police department and who may have leaked information about a drug case involving a city councilman's son.
Irondale's Public Safety Committee, charged with handling the internal investigation into who leaked information about the drug investigation, has yet to interview any employees or ask any to take a polygraph test as Irondale Mayor Allen Ramsey had suggested.
Ramsey requested last week that City Hall employees be interviewed and given a polygraph test if necessary to find out who gave a police report about the drug investigation to radio talk show hosts Russ and Dee Fine.
City Attorney Greg Morris said no polygraph tests are scheduled for the near future. He denied published reports that the committee has backed off giving the lie detector tests altogether.
"We may have to (ask for a polygraph), but we may not have to," he said. "We are just in the fact-finding stage."
Before Ramsey turned the investigation over to the committee, several police officers had already submitted to the polygraph tests, including acting Police Chief Norman Stapp.
7 July 2003 Irondale Polygraph Inquisition Shelved
In an article titled, "Councilman's son faces jail term," Birmingham Post-Herald reporter Taylor Bright writes that Irondale, AL mayor Allen Ramsey's planned polygraph dragnet at city hall has been put on hold, and that the mayor himself is now under investigation.
The son of an Irondale city councilman is expected to be sentenced to prison today, but not for a police incident that led to the city's mayor demanding polygraph tests of employees.
Matthew C. Jackson, 19, son of Irondale Councilman Ray Jackson, pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery and is expected to be sentenced to the St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville, according to court records. Jackson was charged with robbing a Domino's Pizza in Leeds and CVS Pharmacy in Trussville in March 2002. Both counts are felonies.
According to records in the Jefferson County criminal clerk's office, Circuit Judge James Hard is expected to sentence Matt Jackson to 20 years, of which three will be served in St. Clair. He will receive five years' probation after that, and if he completes the probation without incident, the rest of his sentence will be suspended.
In an unrelated incident, the Jefferson County district attorney's office has begun an investigation into how the Irondale Police Department handled a case involving Matt Jackson.
"We are looking at whether there was a criminal case or should have been a criminal case, but we're not interested in the leak of information, as it's been called," said Roger Brown, chief deputy district attorney for Jefferson County. Brown declined to name the individuals involved.
According to police reports provided to the Birmingham Post-Herald, Irondale police stopped Matt Jackson in front of his parents' home, where they found three gallon-size plastic bags containing a substance that appeared to be marijuana.
According to the report, Jackson fled after the discovery, and police pursued for several blocks. Although the report stated "felony warrants are pending," no charges were filed and there is no record ofJackson being booked into the Irondale Jail for the incident, according to the Irondale Police Department Jail Log.
An unidentified person released the report detailing the incident to morning talk show hosts Russ and Dee Fine at WYDE (101.1 FM).
Irondale Mayor Allen Ramsey at first demanded city employees take lie-detector tests to find out who sent out the report, which he called "confidential information." The city won't release the report and late last week denied it exists.
The plan for lie-detector tests demanded by Ramsey have been abandoned, said Greg Morris, Irondale city attorney.
"The fact is no other actions are being taken at this point," Morris said.
Morris said the city would cooperate with the district attorney's investigation and said Ramsey and Ray Jackson are not involved in any internal investigation led by the City Council Public Safety Committee.
"Because the mayor and Councilman Jackson have been alleged to have been involved in some type of scheme, they have withdrawn from any discussions of this matter with me and or the Public Safety Committee, and that's probably rightfully so," Morris said.
Irondale continues has not released the incident report, even though public-records experts say the report is a public record.
"The attorney general has come out with an opinion that the front page (of the police report) is a public record and he said the claim that the rest of the report is not a public record is somewhat specious unless there is some danger in releasing the names like a rape case," said Ed Mullins, chairman of the journalism department at the University of Alabama.
Late last week, Irondale officials gave varying answers to why the report could not be seen.
The clerk who is in charge of letting the public see reports said the report regarding Jackson could not be seen without going through the mayor or Norman Stapp, the interim Irondale police chief. A sergeant at the station said the records could not be viewed because it's an "active investigation."
Stapp later said the records did not exist.
"There's not an arrest report. I can say that. There's not one," Stapp said.
Stapp had no comment when a reporter produced a copy of the police report detailing Matt Jackson's marijuana incident and deferred to Morris.
"We might should have it, we maybe have it," Morris said. Morris wouldn't release any information and demanded that a written request be submitted to him.
Mullins called the demand to file a written request "a harassment."
6 July 2003 "Loved ones' doubts allow truth to be sold"
Leonora LaPeter reports for the St. Petersburg Times. Excerpt:
TAMPA - Here are a few of the questions that polygraph examiner Mike Alaiwat asked a 60-something woman during a lie detector test recently:
"Did you leave a razor in Mr. Jones' bathroom?"
"Do you know who put the razor in Mr. Jones' bathroom?
"Are you lying about the shaver?"
The woman had asked for the test because the Mr. Jones in question had accused her of leaving her razor in his shower to make another girlfriend jealous.
The woman denied the accusations but wanted proof.
She paid Alaiwat $350 for the test. She cried with relief upon learning the results, which said she was truthful, and took Alaiwat's report to her boyfriend.
Once the purview of law enforcement officials, attorneys and employers, lie detector tests now are becoming a popular way for the public to resolve personal issues.
Polygraph examiners all report more and more calls to resolve questions of infidelity, theft, cheating on fishing or golf tournaments and just about any other fact that two people can dispute.
Did the 16-year-old throw a hard-boiled egg at his aunt's car?
Did the employee put feces in his co-worker's lunch container?
Did a woman have sex with her boyfriend's best friend?
Polygraph examiners, who now number a dozen in local phone books up from two a decade ago, attribute the newfound popularity of the polygraph to its use on daytime talk shows such as Ricki Lake, Maury Povich and Sally Jessy Raphael.
Meet the Parents, a show in which parents question three prospective mates for their son or daughter while they are hooked up to a polygraph, also has produced a lot of interest in lie detector tests, examiners say.
But some question the legitimacy of using the polygraph in making decisions that can alter lives.
"I think it's a waste of these people's money because the results of the polygraph are unreliable," said George W. Maschke, co-author of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector and a founder of www.antipolygraph.org "Why? Because the whole procedure has no scientific basis at all. It's pseudoscience. The public needs to know about this, especially people making major life decisions about marriage and relationships - or, God forbid, children - based on lie detector tests."
3 July 2003 "D.A. Targets Irondale: Drug case against official's son probed" Taylor Bright of the Birmingham Post-Herald reports on the scandal in Irondale, Alabama in which the mayor has ordered wide-ranging polygraph "testing" of municipal employees. Excerpt:
The mayor of Irondale has gone on the offensive to find the person who released a police report naming a city councilman's son in a marijuana trafficking incident.
Jefferson County District Attorney David Barber is now investigating police handling of the case, according to a published report, and Irondale Mayor Allen Ramsey is demanding police officers take lie detector tests to find out who gave the police report to a morning radio talk show.
"We're looking into it. That's all I'm going to say," Barber said.
An Irondale police report names Matt Jackson, 19, son of Councilman Ray Jackson, as the defendant in an April 28 marijuana trafficking incident. Officers found 3 gallon-sized plastic zipper bags of a green, leafy substance "believed to be marijuana" in the car he was driving, according to the police report.
In the report, an Irondale officer wrote that he told an Irondale detective "that the subject (Jackson) was under arrest for possession of marijuana." The report stated the offense was trafficking marijuana. Marijuana trafficking is a felony offense.
Jackson, according to the report, ran from the officers, who lost him after pursuing him for a few blocks. The report also stated that "felony warrants are pending."
It was not clear this morning whether Jackson was ever formally charged.
A Jefferson County District Attorney's office official said today that normally, when someone is arrested for a felony, that person is taken before a judge within 72 hours, and charges and a bond are determined there.
Ramsey said at a City Council meeting Tuesday that the police reports are confidential.
However, Dennis Bailey, an attorney who specializes in freedom-of-information cases and works with the Alabama Press Association, disagrees.
"It should raise questions as to why this individual report was not available to the public except by a whistleblower," Bailey said.
"By and large these reports are made available to the public and they should be to prevent this situation from happening, i.e., a connected person doesn't have their report made available while if it were Joe Blow on the street it would be public record for them."
At the council meeting Tuesday, Ramsey said he wanted to submit city employees to a polygraph test.
None of the Irondale City Council members contacted Wednesday would comment on the police report. Messages left for Irondale Police Chief Norman Stapp were not returned Wednesday.
The district attorney's investigation began after someone gave Russ and Dee Fine, morning radio hosts at WYDE (101.1 FM), a copy of the arrest report detailing the arrest.
"I think it smells bad. I think it appears as though Ray Jackson's son is receiving preferential treatment," Dee Fine said.
Fine said she notified Ramsey, then Barber and the FBI.
She said she was surprised by Ramsey's reaction to the information she brought him. Instead of launching an investigation into the fact that Matt Jackson had never been charged, Ramsey "circles the wagons," Fine said.
The plan to use a lie detector on city police officers has Irondale council members divided.
"I'll be the first one in line to take it," Councilwoman Sue Miles said.
Miles said she didn't want to say anything else because of Barber's investigation.
Other members remain steadfast against the test.
"I'm not in favor of giving the lie detector test," Councilman Ronald Bagwell said. Bagwell said he wouldn't take the test.
Councilman Jack Boone said he wouldn't take a test, but he would vote for giving the test to others if the polygraph operator came from outside the city of Irondale.
"I wouldn't have any problem voting for it if we brought somebody from outside that wasn't affiliated with anybody in the city," Boone said.
Councilman Pete Crye wouldn't comment on the lie detector tests, but he said he objected to what he called the release of "confidential information" from the Police Department.
"The front (of the report) is (public record), the back isn't," Crye said.
Crye said the back could include witness names and addresses, which he said weren't public record. There are no names of witnesses on the report for Matt Jackson, except the police officer's names. Bailey said, in some instances, the backs of police reports are not made public ‹ usually if there is some investigative work included on the back.
There is only a recount of the incident on the back of the report, as shown in a copy obtained by the Birmingham Post-Herald.
3 July 2003 "Irondale (Alabama) spending $200 per truth test"
Staff writer Anita Debro reports for the Birmingham News. Excerpt:
The City of Irondale will spend $200 for each polygraph test given to employees and city officials in an effort to find out who leaked confidential police information.
There are about 60 people who work in the municipal complex on 20th Street South who could be asked to take the test.
Money for the tests will come from Irondale's general fund, Mayor Allen Ramsey said Wednesday.
Ramsey said earlier this week that he would ask every employee at Irondale City Hall to submit to a polygraph test to find out who gave radio show hosts Russ and Dee Fine information about an ongoing police investigation.
Ramsey said that whoever leaked the information may have endangered the lives of those involved in the police investigation.
Ramsey has volunteered to take a lie detector test and encouraged the seven other City Council members to do the same.
City Council members Ron Bagwell and Jack Boone said Wednesday they would not take a polygraph test.
"I believe it's a trap," Boone said. "They are out to get somebody."
Boone said testing so many employees is a waste of money for a city that had to lay off 30 employees last fall.
2 July 2003 "Irondale (Alabama) plans lie detector tests: Mayor orders City Hall polygraphs to trace leaks"
Staff writer Anita Debro reports for the Birmingham News. Excerpt:
Irondale Mayor Allen Ramsey is ordering all City Hall employees to undergo a polygraph test to determine who may have leaked confidential police information.
Ramsey said Tuesday night he will submit to the testing and he is also asking members of the Irondale City Council to do the same.
"In leaking confidential police information, those persons are guilty of impeding an active ongoing investigation," Ramsey said.
According to Ramsey, someone made allegations of misconduct in the Irondale Police Department and leaked confidential information to radio talk show hosts Russ and Dee Fine late last week.
The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office is now investigating claims of wrongdoing in the Irondale Police Department.
For discussion of this story, see the message board thread Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City Hall.
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