Note: this statement originally appeared on StopPolygraph.com.
I had always wanted to be an FBI agent. With that singular goal in mind, I enrolled in Southwest Texas State University in the fall of 1988. My major was Law Enforcement with a minor in Economics. I graduated in December 1990 and I took the written FBI exam that next January. I passed and was scheduled for an interview in March of 1991. The interview went great and I achieved a perfect score. However, the FBI determined that I needed more experience and informed me to re-apply in two years. I immediately took the Law School Admissions Test and applied to South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas. I was excepted for the class beginning in January 1991. I was fortunate in that I was able to obtain employment on a full time basis with the Harris County District Attorney's Office - Economic Crime Division. I remember my new boss asking me after he interviewed me what I planned on achieving with a law career. I immediately responded that I wanted a career with the FBI. Everyone who I met knew that that was my goal.
Working full time for the District Attorney while attending law school at night was tough, but I knew I had to get the right kind of experience and education to make myself the best possible candidate for the FBI. Upon graduation from law school (Dec. 1994), I re-applied with the FBI. I was scheduled to take the written exam on a Monday following the Bar exam. I again passed the written exam and had to wait to be selected for the interview. I wrote letters nearly every month to the applicant coordinator asking to be interviewed and explaining what I was doing each month. Finally, I was selected to be interviewed in Kansas City in July of 1996. Seven of us in our region were selected to go, but only two of us passed the interview process. Myself and another girl. I was on top of the world, knowing that I was about to realize my dream.
The polygraph exam was next, August 7, 1996, in San Antonio, Texas. I knew I had nothing to worry about, since I had never violated the FBI's drug policy and I had not lied on my application. The agent administering the polygraph noted during the pre- polygraph interview that I had attended a university that he believed was a "party school" and that I needed to tell him what drugs I used when I went there. I stated that I had taken none, that I didn't live on campus, I lived in another city, and that I was an older student and wasn't influenced to do such things. He repeated that that couldnít be the case and told me again to tell him what illegal drugs I had done. I countered again that that just wasn't the case and that I was telling the truth. This went back and forth for about 10 minutes and he seemed to be getting upset that I wouldnít admit to taking drugs. Finally he stated that if I was lying he was about to find out. I was upset at the unbelievable accusations he was making. Up until that point I had been treated with the utmost professionalism by the FBI staff, now I was being treated like an accused criminal. After the polygraph was over, he told me I had failed. I almost passed out in disbelief
I wrote several letters to FBI Director Freeh, and in October of 1996 I was polygraphed again, by another agent with the first agent who polygraphed me present. The results were the same, he told me I had failed. I just could not believe it. I had not lied on the polygraph. Even the first agent that had polygraphed me told me as I was leaving that he now believed me, that I was telling the truth. I wrote the Director several more times to no avail, my application was terminated in November of that year. My dreams were shattered.
Finally, as a side note, I later applied with the Secret Service. I did just as well in the testing and interview stages as I had with the FBI. When it came time for the polygraph, the agent administering it asked me if I had been polygraphed before. I told him yes, and under what circumstances and the results. He thanked me for my honesty, unhooked me from the polygraph without testing me and told me that he would have to contact his superiors for their advice. I could not believe it. Two months later I received a form letter stating that I was no longer competitive with the other agent applicants. I am a licensed attorney, professional pilot, have law enforcement experience and with top scores but I was not competitive? Obviously I had been "black balled" by the erroneous polygraph results from the FBI.
I will probably always be effected by the injustice of what happened. I wrote a final letter to Director Freeh this summer asking for another polygraph. I even offered to pay all expenses associated with retaking it if I were to fail. I guess I still haven't accepted that you can fail a polygraph while telling the truth. Or the fact that the FBI could make this kind of mistake. I had always looked up to that agency as the pinnacle of professionalism. I received the same form letter back that I had received almost two years earlier. It is a shame, since all I wanted to do was to have a chance to serve my country and make my family proud.
Mark C. Doyal
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