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28 December 2004 UK: Lie detectors will be used to catch benefit fraudsters
Nigel Morris and Ben Russel report for the Independent on secret UK government plans to use voice stress analysis to evaluate work-related claims:

Secret plans by the Government to use lie detectors to weed out fraudulent benefit and compensation claims were last night condemned as an invasion of privacy.

Ministers are examining whether to adopt a controversial technique recently adopted by insurance companies to catch bogus claimants.

Government documents obtained by The Independent show both the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are considering proposals to monitor telephone calls from the public to detect signs of stress in the voice that can betray false claims.

The move was condemned by opposition MPs, who attacked lie detector technology as unreliable and said it was no basis for determining the honesty of claimants.

DTI documents have privately acknowledged that using the technology could be "presentationally very sensitive" and should be kept secret for the moment.

The plan has been drawn up by DTI civil servants handling a scheme awarding compensation to miners who suffer vibration white finger, which is caused by working with chainsaws and drills.

The biggest scheme of its kind in the world, a large backlog in dealing with claims from former miners and their families has built up. About 600 cases of suspected fraud are being investigated by an insurance company employed by the DTI to assess the claims.

A memo to Nigel Griffiths, a trade and industry minister, says: "Using this technology is likely to be presentationally very sensitive if, after the pilot, we do go ahead. However, we think it is worth looking into it."

It discloses that the DWP is also looking at the same technology, but tells ministers that if the lie detector technique is used "it will be the first time this method is put into practice in the private sector".

It urges ministers to hold a pilot in absolute secrecy and not to tell solicitors who are representing claimants.

Mr Griffiths is understood to be strongly resisting the proposal, while the DWP denied that it was considering using the technology. A spokesman said the department "has no plans" to use lie detectors. The technology could be used both for miners who make claims and their families and helpers.

But Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrats' work and pensions spokesman, expressed concern abut the technology's use in the benefits system. He said: "These things are black boxes. How can you appeal against the decision of a black box? People's cases should be determined on the individual facts."

26 December 2004 Women in Athens police sex case pass portions of lie detection test
Decatur Daily staff writer Holly Hollman reports on the use of Computer Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA) in Athens, Alabama:

ATHENS — Females alleging they had sexual relations with Athens police officers passed portions of a lie detection test, Mayor Dan Williams said.

The mayor said the women, former Athens City Jail inmates, took a computer voice stress analyzer as part of an internal investigation.

"I don't know how many females took it," Williams said, "but it did seem to confirm some things. It indicated there is something to their allegations."

Athens police Capt. Tracy Harrison has said that one former female inmate made an allegation and that during the internal investigation, other females made allegations.

He said the allegations are that the females had sexual relations with three officers.

Williams said the internal investigation is not complete.

"We've talked to officers and inmates, and there may be others we need to talk to," Williams said. "We've got to determine what really happened." A police officer who asked not to be identified said the incidents allegedly occurred over several months outside the jail, and that there was at least one incident at the jail. The officer said the women have been in jail for prostitution and drugs.

Athens police Capt. Marty Bruce, who would not give specifics about the allegations or comment on whether former female inmates took a lie detector test, said the accusations are not criminal allegations.

"It's allegations along the lines of conduct unbecoming an officer," he said.

Athens police Chief Wayne Harper is in Hawaii visiting family and will return to work Jan. 10. Williams said that if any disciplinary action is needed, that he, the chief, other superior officers and Human Resources would make that decision.

"Depending on what really happened, it could be anything from a letter of reprimand to suspension without pay to termination," Williams said.

Officials in Athens, Alabama need to understand that "passing" a CVSA "test" cannot confirm a person's statement, just as "failing" cannot disconfirm it. While CVSA may be yielding a cash flow for the hucksters at the National Institute of Truth Verification who peddle it, it's not yielding valid diagnoses of truth versus deception. A Magic-8 Ball produces equally valid results at a fraction of the price.

22 December 2004 Polygraph Dragnet in Idaho Industrial Sabotage Investigation
KPVI News Channel 6 reports in an article titled, "Wastewater Investigation" regarding an investigation into sabotage at a water treatment facility in the city of Blackfoot, Idaho. This short item is cited here in full:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is still searching for any information on those responsible for tampering with Blackfoot's wastewater treatment facility's gas line.

FBI agents administered lie detector tests to employees and former employees of the Blackfoot facility to help find out who may have tampered with the gas line. Officials say that say that seven or eight people took the test over the weekend and Monday.

In late November, someone opened the natural gas line at the Blackfoot wastewater treatment plant. An employee could smell the gas in the facility and quickly shut off the gas to the facility. By doing this it may have prevented an explosion that could have left the city without water for months.

Blackfoot police say they expect to hear from the FBI sometime after Christmas about the results from the tests.

The Idaho State Journal reported on this planned polygraph dragnet on 9 December 2004 in an article by Debbie Bryce titled, "Blackfoot looks into gasline tampering," which is cited here in full:

BLACKFOOT - Blackfoot Chief of Police Dave Moore said the investigation of an incident last week at the city's waste water treatment center has heated up.

Someone tampered with a gas line at the Blackfoot Waste Water Treatment Center, Moore said. An employee shut off the gas line averting a potential explosion that would have disrupted services to the entire city.

"The only reason that plant is still standing is because it was so saturated with gas it sucked all the oxygen out of the building," Moore said.

Blackfoot investigators interviewed full-time, part-time and past employees and this week contractors who worked at the facility will be questioned.

Blackfoot officers, in cooperation with the FBI will begin conducting polygraph examinations to narrow their investigation.

"We will pick certain key people and conduct polygraphs to eliminate them," Moore said. "There are no suspects and everyone is a suspect."

The department is making the ongoing investigation a priority due to the seriousness of the situation.

A $10 million project to upgrade the Blackfoot facility was recently completed.

Investigators in the case are working to determine who had knowledge and motive to commit the crime.

Chief Moore's notion that the polygraph can be used to eliminate suspects is a dangerous delusion. Polygraph "testing" has no scientific basis, and the results not a reliable indication of truth or deception. Moreover, the "test" is easily circumvented through the use of simple countermeasures. Indeed, the long lead time between the public announcement of the planned polygraph dragnet and the administration of the polygraph interrogations ensured that the perpetrator would have ample time to learn how to pass the polygraph.

17 December 2004 Marion Jones wants BALCO founder to take lie detector
Dick Patrick reports for USA Today:

Continuing efforts to clear her name that includes a $25 million lawsuit filed this week against Victor Conte, Olympic sprinter Marion Jones on Thursday challenged the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative founder to take a lie detector test.

Conte has accused Jones of taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Jones, whose defense team arranged a lie detector test that she passed, wants Conte to answer three questions:

•On April 21, 2001, did you observe Marion Jones inject herself with performance-enhancing drugs?

Conte told ABC's 20/20 newsmagazine and ESPN The Magazine that he did see the five-time Olympic medalist from the 2000 Games do so.

•Have you ever leaked any grand jury testimony or other evidence related to the current criminal proceeding pending in federal court against you?

Conte has been indicted on federal charges of steroid distribution and money laundering.

•Have you ever observed Marion Jones illegally taking any performance-enhancing drugs?

16 December 2004 Jones Wants Lie Detector Test for BALCO Head
Reuters correspondent Adam Tanner reports:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The lawyer for triple Olympic champion Marion Jones has challenged the indicted head of the BALCO laboratory to take a lie detector test after he alleged he had seen her taking performance-enhancing drugs.

The challenge comes a day after Jones sued Victor Conte $25 million for defamation, saying he had falsely accused her of doping.

"Today we challenge Mr Conte to take and make public a lie detector examination from a qualified, well-respected polygrapher," Jones's attorney Rich Nichols said in a statement.

"Marion Jones took, passed and made public a lie detector test, which confirmed what she has said publicly, what her then coach has reportedly said and what her doctor reported -- she has never, ever used performance enhancing drugs."

"To date, Mr Conte has not taken a lie detector test."

Jones, the only woman to win five track and field medals at a single Olympics, is seeking to restore her reputation after the BALCO scandal cast doubt on her past achievements. The International Olympic Committee recently set up a disciplinary commission to investigate Conte's allegations.

Conte, who faces charges of steroid distribution and money laundering, said this month in a U.S. television interview and article that he had supplied steroids to top athletes including Jones.

Her lawyer wants Conte to answer whether he ever saw her take performance-enhancing drugs and if he had leaked any grand jury testimony.

"It is easy to go on national television and, as the lawsuit states, make 'false, 'malicious' and 'misleading' statements designed to do harm to Ms. Jones' character and reputation," Nichols said. "However, it is quite another matter to take a polygraph examination that will test whether one is a truthful person or an untruthful person who engages in deception."

Conte, a former bass guitarist and then self-educated nutritionist who lives south of San Francisco, did not immediately respond to the latest challenge.

On Wednesday he stood by his statement that Jones had used performance enhancing drugs.

"This is nothing more than a PR stunt by a desperate woman, who has regularly used drugs throughout her career," he said in an e-mail. I am telling the truth and Marion is lying."

Conte, his deputy and two coaches are due to go to trial next year in the BALCO case that has also tarnished the reputations of athletes such as baseball's Barry Bonds.

Unfortunately, Marion Jones's passed polygraph examination proves nothing. Similarly, a polygraph examination of Mr. Conte would prove nothing. Polygraph testing has no scientific basis, has an inherent bias against the truthful, and yet is easily passed through the use of simple countermeasures that polygraphers cannot detect.

16 December 2004 Babysitter passes lie detector: Unknown if charges stemming from shaken baby syndrome will be dropped
Matthew Penix reports for the Slidell, Louisiana Sentry-News:

SLIDELL -- A nanny accused of shaking an infant so badly its brain started to bleed and hemorrhage will likely be absolved of criminal charges after passing a lie detector test, a defense attorney said Wednesday.

Jeannine Parker, 27, formerly of Slidell, passed the test Tuesday, backing her claim of innocence months after she was arrested on June 4 on two counts of second-degree battery in the abuse of Hayden Patzer. Parker had cared for the infant, who was four months old at the time, numerous times.

Investigators believed Parker was a main suspect, responsible for causing Patzer's "unusual" illness -- an odd combination of projectile vomiting, fever and lethargy uncommon in infants, Slidell police said.

On Jan. 5, Slidell Memorial Hospital officials alerted police of possible abuse after Wendy Patzer burst through the emergency doors with sick Hayden cradled in her arms. Doctors immediately examined Hayden and found bleeding inside Hayden's skull consistent with shaken baby syndrome, a condition caused by vigorous shaking of a child that can result in mental retardation, speech impediments and death.

"She was always there when Hayden got sick," said Rob Callahan, Slidell Police spokesman. "She would call the mother Wendy and tell her Hayden is sick.

"Some of the blood they found in the brain was current, some was from an earlier date in December," said Callahan. "Apparently this had happened before."

Pediatricians worked the same symptoms in Hayden months earlier. Suspicion set in on Parker.

After months of legal maneuvering and continued court dates, Parker met with an attorney and the district attorney's office and proclaimed her innocence, her lawyer Richard Swartz said.

She agreed to take a polygraph and passed.

Although the results of lie detector tests aren't 100 percent conclusive and can't be admitted into a criminal trial, many law enforcement officials tend to view them as credible, said Swartz.

"Even though this is not something admissible in court, it is generally accepted by the legal community as accurate," he said. "The District Attorney's Office is very conscience [sic] against filling [sic] correct charges. They've treated us very fairly."

Swartz expects the District Attorney's Office to announce within several days if it will go forward with the charges brought against Parker despite the lie detector results. District Attorney spokesman Bart Pepperman was not in his office Tuesday and unavailable for comment.

Some speculated that if not Parker or family members -- Wendy had reluctantly taken a polygraph and passed -- then who was responsible for Hayden's scars?

One theory is that someone close to Parker, such as a significant other, friend or relative, might have had access to Hayden. Though not considered a suspect Wendy's mother and sister have not taken a polygraph test although asked by local police. They are not considered a suspect.

Since the incident, Hayden underwent three surgeries and was saved from what some doctors expected was blindness. Wendy could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

In a March, 2004, interview with the Slidell-Sentry News, Wendy said Hayden had a red scar on his head with tube bubbling up under his scalp. He seemed to constantly cry.

"A baby's brain is floating in its skull," she said. "When a baby is shaken the brain hits the walls of the skull. The pressure causes the blood vessels to burst and the blood had accumulated between the brain and the skull. I have a hard time with trust. If I can't see him, I assume somebody is doing something to him."

Attorney Richard Swartz is correct when he states that many law enforcement officials tend to view lie detector "tests" as credible. But those law enforcement officials are dead wrong.

16 December 2004 Marion Jones sues BALCO founder, challenges him to polygraph
Associated Press legal affairs writer David Kravets reports in this article published by the San Francisco Chronicle. Excerpt:

Olympic track star Marion Jones has filed a defamation lawsuit against Victor Conte and challenged the BALCO head to take a lie detector test regarding his accusations that she used performance-enhancing drugs.

Jones is seeking $25 million in the suit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, alleging Conte tarnished her reputation when he made the statement broadcast Dec. 3 on ABC's "20/20."

Conte and three others connected to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative were indicted in February by a federal grand jury for a variety of alleged offenses, including illegally distributing steroids.

The suit said Jones passed a lie detector test and includes a statement from her doctor saying she never used steroids. Jones won three gold medals and two bronzes during the 2000 Olympics.

Conte's statements, the suit said, "are false and malicious."

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Conte said the lawsuit was "nothing more than a PR stunt by a desperate woman, who has regularly used drugs throughout her career. I look forward with all confidence to the court proceedings as I stand by everything I said on the '20/20' special."

Jones' attorneys offered Thursday to pay for Conte to take a lie-detector test and wants three questions asked of him:

* Did he observe Jones injecting herself with performance enhancing drugs on April 21, 2001, as he stated on national television?

* Has he ever leaked any grand jury testimony or other evidence related to the BALCO investigation?

* Has he ever observed Marion Jones illegally taking any performance-enhancing drugs?


A former FBI polygraph examiner said he tested Jones on June 16 about whether she ever used performance-enhancing drugs or was lying about "any personal use of performance-enhancing drugs."

"It is my opinion that these responses are not indicative of deception," former agent Ronald Homer wrote in the lawsuit.

13 December 2004 Voice technology has a say when the truth counts
Bill Bishop of the Eugene, Oregon Register-Guard reports. Excerpt:

The mysterious murder of Cottage Grove resident Anita Cantu Lemmon in March brought sheriff's investigators to their usual starting point: the next of kin.

But this time they had a new investigative tool, a Computer Voice Stress Analyzer, or CVSA.

Touted as the next generation lie detector, the device measures inaudible changes in the frequency of a person's voice caused by the body's involuntary response to stress. Theoretically, people can't hide a big lie.

The Lane County sheriff's office is among agencies using software that analyzes the voice patterns of suspects for signs of deception.

"It cleared the husband right away," he said.

But, like the polygraph before it, the new technology is a magnet for criticism.

Criminal defense lawyers caution against its possible misuse to prosecute the innocent.

Polygraph experts, and government agencies that are heavily invested in the older technology, churn out studies to discredit voice stress analysis.

The National Academy of Sciences lambasted the entire truth-finding industry in a 2001 report. So many studies are so heavily influenced by vested interests, the academy charged, that their unreliability threatens the credibility of the entire body of research literature on the topic of lie detection.

David Hughes, executive director of the National Institute for Truth Verification, said the "polygraph mafia" is out to kill the voice stress analysis industry because they know it works, is easier to use than a polygraph and is less expensive.

Hughes' institute manufactures the CVSA equipment used by the Lane County sheriff's office, Eugene police, about 1,400 other police agencies and the military. CVSA software is installed in a laptop computer. The person interviewed speaks into a microphone whose signal is converted into charts depicting voice frequencies. Trained examiners read the charts to detect deception.

A tool that works

The concept emerged in the 1970s and has evolved with improved technology. Neither polygraph testing nor voice stress analysis may be admitted as evidence in court because of unreliability. However, both may be used by investigators developing cases.

"This is a tool. We state as strongly as we can that this alone should never be used to make an investigative decision," Hughes said.

Training and proper analysis of the voice charts are critical to accuracy, he said.

"The most important thing we teach people is how to couch the questions," Hughes said. "The difference is night and day."

Criminal defense lawyers agree on that point, and often advise clients to decline to give an interview under voice stress analysis.

"It's another Ouija board that police will use to dupe people into believing the technology is foolproof, which, in truth, it isn't - and the police know it. It's just another way to get some hapless individual to spill the beans on himself," said John Henry Hingson III, an Oregon City lawyer and past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

The big danger comes when police rely on the machine to reinforce a misguided theory about a case, to "search for the truth as they see it," Hingson said.

"When it happens, it's not malicious. The police think they're doing the right thing," he said. "The problem is sometimes they are wrong."

Eugene defense lawyer Shaun McCrea said that very thing happened to a client she had a few years ago in Josephine County. An officer using a polygraph machine elicited a "confession" from the client, an elderly man with a hearing problem.

McCrea, a past president of the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said she vigorously investigated the case and the charges against her client eventually were dismissed without prosecution.

"The people using it want to believe it. If it says the person is stressed, that is going to convince the cops the person is guilty. The alternative hypothesis goes out the window," McCrea said.

A shout line in this article characterizes the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) as "A tool that works." But the "National Institute of Truth Verification," which markets CVSA, has conceded in court that it "is not capable of lie detection."

3 December 2004 South Africa: Lie detector tests for anti-poaching team
This short article by the Cape Times' environmental writer is reproduced here in full:

Lie detector tests for anti-poaching team

December 3, 2004

The Overstrand Municipality is looking for a tough, committed group of people to join their revamped anti-poaching unit and who will be prepared to undergo lie detector tests before they get their jobs.

Last month, three Marines were suspended after they were found with perlemoen [abalone] in their vehicle.

Johann Erasmus, senior project manager of the Overstrand Marines, said yesterday they would be employing an extra 30 staff members to swell their staff complement to 43.

The Marines will work closely with Marine and Coastal Management who will also be employing extra fisheries inspectors in the area.

This will form part of the new Operation Trident anti-poaching initiative to replace the defunct police Operation Neptune anti-poaching project.

Erasmus said yesterday: "We've encountered so much corruption in the anti-poaching work, which is just unacceptable."

"The public put their trust in us to do the job and we can't afford to have anyone who is corrupt."

"Only people who agree to take a lie detector test in the interview and agree to undergo random lie detector tests once they are employed, will be considered for the job."

"If they fail it, they won't get the job. If they fail it once they are employed, they will be fired."

The Marines will be on patrol in shifts for 24 hours, on foot, by vehicle and by boat.

The Marines will also set up a 24-hour operations centre where the public can report suspected poaching incidents anonymously.

For further information, telephone 028 271 8120. The closing date for applications is December 15. - Environment Writer.

Johann Erasmus' desire to root out corruption is commendable. But his decision to rely on the pseudoscience of polygraphy is wrongheaded. Polygraphy has an inherent bias against truthful of persons. Conversely, it is easily defeated by liars who understand the trickery on which the "test" depends. By relying on lie detectors, agencies will tend to systematically screen out their most honest applicants. The lie detector is a poor substitute for real background investigations and snap inspections.

1 December 2004 Polygraph Abuse Alleged in Oregon Murder Investigation
Nick Budnick reports for Willamette Week in an article titled, "True Lies? Polygraph Expert Questions Francke Investigation Tactics." Excerpt:

In three decades of giving so-called "lie detector" tests, you'd think Ken Simmons would have seen everything; but after reviewing a string of reports in the controversial Michael Francke murder case, he's stunned.

"I've done polygraphs for 29 years, and I haven't seen anything like this," says Simmons, a longtime Oregon State Police polygrapher who is considered by law-enforcement officials and defense lawyers to be among the best in his field. "This is unbelievable.... This is really bizarre."

In January 1989, someone killed Francke, the head of Oregon's prison system. Prosecutors pushed a theory that it was a random car burglary and convicted a small-time drug dealer, Frank Gable.

Gable, however, maintains his innocence and, through an intermediary, has recently released records of the murder investigation to reporters ("The Murder That Would Not Die," WW, Nov. 23, 2004). The documents raise several questions about the investigation, particularly the probe's heavy reliance on polygraphs.

"Some of the techniques that are used here are simply unacceptable," says Simmons, now in private practice, who reviewed a dozen polygraph reports in the case records at WW's request. "These just aren't things we would do [today]. I'm surprised they would be done then."

Polygraphs are not really "lie detectors," which is one reason most courts won't allow them as evidence. The machines measure changes in pulse, perspiration and blood pressure but can be misled, particularly by addicts whose brains have been fried by methamphetamine or crack cocaine. There are also plenty of examples of people who flunked even when telling the truth.

"I do polygraphs for a living, and I have a lot of faith in them," says Simmons. "But when they're done badly, I have no faith in them." He places most of the Francke-probe polygraphs he reviewed in the latter category, saying that although he has no reason to think Gable is innocent, "I am very confident that I would not want to base any prosecution on these polygraph results."

In the Francke case, state polygraphers tested about 100 people and eliminated dozens of potential suspects based on their results. Later, in September 1989, when the case was at a standstill, detectives used Gable's failure of two polygraphs to make him a prime suspect.

According to reports by Gable's investigators, at least five people polygraphed by police as potential witnesses said later that police used the devices to shape their statements.

John Kevin Walker, a top prosecution witness, told a defense investigator after the trial that cops cited his initial polygraph to claim he was lying and implied he would be charged as an accomplice if he didn't tell him what they wanted to hear. "I told the truth. They came back, said, 'No, you're not tellin' the truth," Walker told the investigator.

A friend of another key witness, Mark Gesner, told investigators Gesner described the exact same experience.

Yet another key witness, Jodie Swearingen, also told a defense investigator that police subjected her to repeated polygraphs until she told them what they wanted to hear. Simmons and other polygraphers told WW that a witness would normally be given three tests at most--after that, the machine becomes easier to beat. But after reviewing the reports on Swearingen, Simmons said she was tested 22 times in less than five months. This was particularly surprising to Simmons since he administered one of Swearingen's exams--causing him to conclude that the teenage meth addict was a poor subject for any polygraph test.

The alleged use of polygraph "test" results to coerce witnesses into providing perjured testimony is deadly serious. When police wrongly believe that the lie detector is a highly accurate scientific means of detecting deception, when in fact polygraphy has no scientific basis at all, they can easily end up committing the kinds of abuses alleged here, even without necessarily acting in bad faith. For discussion of the issues raised by this article, see the message board discussion thread, Polygraph Abuse Alleged in Oregon Murder Case.

1 December 2004 Justice Department Inspector General Reviews Polygraph Policy
Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy reports in the Project's Secrecy News e-mail publication:


The Department of Justice Inspector General is undertaking a review of the use of polygraph testing throughout the Department.

"Polygraph examinations are used in criminal investigations and counterintelligence operations, as a pre-condition of employment or access to classified information, in background investigations, and in administrative misconduct investigations," the IG noted in a new report to Congress.

"The review focuses on the legal authorities and statutory and regulatory requirements governing the use of polygraph examinations, Department policy and oversight of polygraph examinations, and Department compliance with federal and professional standards for managing polygraph examinations."

See "Top Management Challenges in the Department of Justice 2004," transmitted November 22, which addresses a host of issues facing the Department, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has launched a petition drive calling for the declassification of a classified Inspector General report on her allegations of misconduct and incompetence in the FBI translation unit. See:

1 December 2004 Special Forces Reportedly Using CVSA in Iraq, Afghanistan
A report about Computer Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA) on the website of Central Ohio television station WBNS ("Tool Catches Fibbing Suspects") concludes by mentioning that the Special Forces are using CVSA to interrogate suspected terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. The entire report is reproduced here:

More and more police departments in Ohio are turning to technology used in war zones to question suspected terrorists and to determine if someone is telling the truth.

Critics call it "junk science," but a central Ohio detective swears it turns suspects into confessors.

When Detective Dave King walks into an interrogation room, he brings a secret weapon. It's a computer that measures stress in a person's voice.

Detective King says the computer never lies. "These computers are now used in more than 140 Ohio police departments. At $10,000 a piece, they are actually a cost saver to departments that can't afford a full time polygraph unit," says King.

Critics say the voice stress computer is junk science and officers are using trickery to gain confessions.

10-TV Reporter Kevin Landers put the computer to a test.

Detective King hooked a microphone to him, and answered two questions. One question he answered truthfully and one with a lie. King says the results from the machine tell him when Kevin is lying.

King says, "There have been times when people come in and I totally bought their story."

Then he turns the machine on.

"Had it not been for CVSA, I, and other investigators, would have believed what they told us and they would have gotten away with it," says King.

Voice stress analyzers are also in use in Iraq and Afghanistan. Special Forces units use them to interrogate suspected terrorists.

The critics who call CVSA junk science are supported by the National Institute of Truth Verification (the company that peddles CVSA) itself, which has reportedly acknowledged in a court filing that CVSA "is not capable of lie detection."

That the U.S. Government is relying on the junk science of voice stress analysis to interrogate suspected terrorists is corroborated by the testimony of a former Guantanamo detainee. See the discussion thread, Polygraph & Voice Stress Test Relied on at Gitmo.

7 November 2004 Israel: Vilan Critical of Polygraph for IDF Officers
The following report from is cited here in full. It makes reference to the compulsory polygraph "testing" of Israeli officers in an attempt to track the source of a media leak about a military disagreement with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon:

( MK (Yahad) Avshalom Vilan, who served in an elite IDF unit, expressed sharp criticism against the decision to compel IDF commanders in Gaza to submit to a polygraph exam.

The move has resulted in the resignation from his post of Brigadier-General Shmuel Zakkai, Commander of Forces in Gaza, who angrily explained that if senior command lacks trust in him and his decision-making ability, he cannot continue to serve in his current command. At present, it remains to be seen if Zakkai will continue in the IDF or will decide to leave the service as a result.

Vilan concurred, adding if the system does not trust its commanders there is a serious problem which cannot be rectified by a polygraph, which he added in inconclusive at best.

7 November 2004 CVSA Manufacturer Admits Device Cannot Detect Lies!
John Tuohy reports for the Indianapolis Star in an article titled, "Voice analyzers draw praise, flak." Excerpt:

Police departments across Indiana and the country are spending thousands of dollars apiece on a truth verification device that some scientists say doesn't work.

The Computer Voice Stress Analyzer, designed by a former Indianapolis Police Department officer, claims to help officers assess truthfulness by measuring changes in one's voice.

Eighty-five Indiana police departments, including IPD, use the machines, which start at $10,700 each.

The designer, Charles Humble, now is chairman and CEO of the National Institute for Truth Verification, which makes the machines. In its literature, the Palm Beach, Fla., company touts it as "a very reliable investigative tool for verifying statements of witnesses, denials of suspects and for determining the validity of allegations made against police officers."

But several scientific experiments have shown the machine, which went on the market in 1988, is no more than 50 percent reliable -- in other words, a coin toss.

In addition, the manufacturer conceded in a product liability lawsuit in California that the machine can't measure whether someone is lying.


In San Diego, murder charges were dropped against two teenagers after it was determined their confessions were coerced after they flunked voice stress tests.

One of the boys sued the National Institute for Truth Verification, claiming the analyzer was used to get the false confession.

In a court filing, the manufacturer said: "NITV acknowledges that the CVSA is not capable of lie detection and specifically cautions its users regarding the proper use of the device." Home Page > Polygraph News