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"...the theory and methods of polygraphic lie detection are not rocket science, indeed, they are not science at all."

Emeritus Professor
David T. Lykken
(1928-2006)

"The so-called 'control' question 'test' polygraph is a technological flight of fancy. It is often used as a psychological rubber hose to induce confessions. Founded on lies, it spreads distrust while posing as the path to truth."

Emeritus Professor
John J. Furedy
(1940-2016)

"The lie detector, in many places, is nothing more than a psychological third-degree aimed at extorting a confession as the old physical beatings were. At times I'm sorry I ever had any part in its development."

polygraph pioneer
John A. Larson

"[Polygraph screening] is completely without any theoretical foundation and has absolutely no validity...the diagnostic value of this type of testing is no more than that of astrology or tea-leaf reading."

former Supervisory
Special Agent
Dr. Drew C. Richardson, (1951-2016)
FBI Laboratory Division

"Polygraph testing has been the gold standard, but it's obviously fool's gold."

Prof. Stephen E. Fienberg (1942-2016)
Chairman, Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph,
National Academy of Sciences

"If we had medical tests that had the same failure rate as a polygraph, then physicians that use those tests would be convicted of malpractice."

Dr. Alan P. Zelicoff, M.D.

"Polygraph is more art than science, and unless an admission is obtained, the final determination is frequently what we refer to as a scientific wild-ass guess (SWAG)"

retired
CIA polygrapher
John F. Sullivan

"If you choose to implement this astrology surrogate, and to treat us with such deep disrespect, do not confuse our contempt for arrogance."

physicist
David Dearborn
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

"People in the security community are so wedded to polygraph testing that they are just going to ignore the scientific facts about this."

scientist
Jeffrey D. Colvin
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

"Whether it is screening applicants or screening employees, the polygraph is a failure. I suspect that its days as a screening tool are deservedly near an end."

former FBI Special Agent
Mark Mallah

"The US is, so far as I know, the only nation which places such extensive reliance on the polygraph....It has gotten us into a lot of trouble."

convicted spy
Aldrich H. Ames

"[The CIA's] reliance on the polygraph is truly insane"

former CIA Director
John M. Deutch

"...the use of this highly flawed instrument should be radically curtailed."

former CIA Director
R. James Woolsey

"You have to go in there with a gladiator mentality."

retired FBI polygrapher
Jack Trimarco

"It's kind of like...confessing to a priest..."

T.V. O'Malley
Past President,
American Polygraph Association

"If you come in concerned and scared, that's normal and a good thing."

David M. Renzelman
Former DOE Polygraph
Program Chief

"I don't know anything about polygraphs, and I don't know how accurate they are, but I know they'll scare the hell out of people."

President
Richard M. Nixon

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"The whole process smacks of 20th century witchcraft." U.S. Senator Sam Ervin (1896-1985)

Polygraph "testing" has no scientific basis.
The lie detector is itself based on lies...

Did you know:

Educate yourself. Before playing Russian roulette with your reputation, learn how to protect yourself against this invalid test. Download AntiPolygraph.org's free book (1 mb PDF):

The Lie Behind the Lie Detector

The dirty little secret behind the polygraph is that the "test" depends on trickery, not science. The person being "tested" is not supposed to know that while the polygraph operator declares that all questions must be answered truthfully, warning that the slightest hint of deception will be detected, he secretly assumes that denials in response to certain questions -- called "control" questions -- will be less than truthful. An example of a commonly used control question is, "Did you ever lie to get out of trouble?" The polygrapher steers the examinee into a denial by warning, for example, that anyone who would do so is the same kind of person who would commit the kind of behavior that is under investigation and then lie about it. But secretly, it is assumed that everyone has lied to get out of trouble.

The polygraph pens don't do a special dance when a person lies. The polygrapher scores the test by comparing physiological responses (breathing, blood pressure, heart, and perspiration rates) to these probable-lie control questions with reactions to relevant questions such as, "Did you ever commit an act of espionage against the United States?" (commonly asked in security screening). If the former reactions are greater, the examinee passes; if the latter are greater, he fails. If responses to both "control" and relevant questions are about the same, the result is deemed inconclusive.

The test also includes irrelevant questions such as, "Are the lights on in this room?" The polygrapher falsely explains that such questions provide a "baseline for truth," because the true answer is obvious. But in reality, they are not scored at all! They merely serve as buffers between pairs of relevant and "control" questions.

The simplistic methodology used in polygraph testing has no grounding in the scientific method: it is no more scientific than astrology or tarot cards. Government agencies value it because people who don't realize it's a fraud sometimes make damaging admissions. But as a result of reliance on this voodoo science, the truthful are often falsely branded as liars while the deceptive pass through.

Perversely, the "test" is inherently biased against the truthful, because the more honestly one answers the "control" questions, and as a consequence feels less stress when answering them, the more likely one is to fail. Conversely, liars can beat the test by covertly augmenting their physiological reactions to the "control" questions. This can be done, for example, by doing mental arithmetic, thinking exciting thoughts, altering one's breathing pattern, or simply biting the side of the tongue. Truthful persons can also use these techniques to protect themselves against the risk of a false positive outcome. Although polygraphers frequently claim they can detect such countermeasures, no polygrapher has ever demonstrated any ability to do so, and peer-reviewed research suggests that they can't.

Polygraph Countermeasure Challenge
On 28 January 2002, the late polygraph expert Dr. Drew C. Richardson, a former FBI scientist and supervisory special agent, reiterated his challenge to the polygraph community to prove their claimed ability to detect countermeasures (techniques for passing -- or beating -- the polygraph). His challenge went 14 years without any takers. What are the polygraph operators afraid of? (Listen to a personal message from Dr. Richardson.)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Polygraph "Test for Espionage, Sabotage, and Corruption" Exposed
In 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, unable to fill available positions because of the agency’s roughly 70% pre-employment polygraph failure rate, began a "pilot program" whereby instead of using the probable-lie Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Test technique used by other federal law enforcement agencies, CBP applicants would instead be subjected to a new direct-lie technique based on the Test for Espionage and Sabotage, which is used by the Departments of Defense and Energy for security screening.

WikiLeaks CIA Vault 7 Leak and Child Pornography Suspect Joshua Adam Schulte Passed Multiple Polygraphs
On 23 August 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted former CIA employee Joshua Adam Schulte for receipt, possession, and transportation of child pornography dating back to 2009.

NCCA Test Data Analysis Pamphlet
AntiPolygraph.org has today published the National Center for Credibility Assessment’s “Test Data Analysis: Numerical Scoring System Pamphlet” dated August 2017 (488 kb PDF). A note before the table of contents documents the changes made over the years.

NCCA Polygraph Countermeasure Course Files Leaked
AntiPolygraph.org has today published a collection of documents associated with the National Center for Credibility Assessment’s training courses on polygraph countermeasures. These documents, which date to circa 2013, describe the U.S. government’s best efforts to detect polygraph countermeasures.

Gordon H. Barland on Polygraph Countermeasures
Gordon H. Barland, Ph.D. worked at the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute (now the National Center for Credibility Assessment) from 1986 until his retirement in 2000. During this period, he conducted research on polygraph countermeasures, and by his own estimation, "[p]rior to his retirement from DoDPI, he was the Federal Government's primary authority on polygraph countermeasures."

Mitchell Lynn Bacom, Cleared After Polygraph "Test" in 1980 Kidnaping, Rape, and Murder of 14-Year-Old Suzanne Bombardier, Implicated by DNA Evidence
Nate Gartrell of the Bay Area News Group reports that a man charged with the "1980 kidnapping, sexual assault, and stabbing death of a young Antioch [California] honor roll student" had been cleared by investigators "when he took a polygraph with 'inconclusive' results."

Suggest all USSS Applicants Consider Refusing a Polygraph Exam from Special Agent Ellen Ripperger
There are a number of consequences to failing a polygraph exam which will not be disclosed to an applicant. Any United States Secret Service (USSS) applicant should review the following true case and consider refusing to take a USSS polygraph examination, especially with Special Agent Ellen Ripperger....

Alyssa Nicole on Why Lie Detectors Can’t Be Trusted
True crime vlogger Alyssa Nicole explains the history of the pseudoscience of polygraphy and why it's not to be trusted.

NCCA White Paper on Polygraph Countermeasure Detection Training
AntiPolygraph.org has received an archive of National Center for Credibility Assessment (NCCA) documents about polygraph countermeasures....

NSA Polygraph Neither Detected Nor Deterred Nghia Hoang Pho's Security Violations
National Security Agency employee Nghia Hoang Pho, who worked in one of NSA's most sensitive units, Tailored Access Operations, on Friday, 1 December 2017 pleaded guilty to violating the Espionage Act by removing classified material to his home from 2010 to March 2015. It's likely that Pho faced a polygraph screening "test" during this period, and polygraph screening typically includes questions about mishandling classified information....

Convicted Sex Offender Jay Leavitt Beat Mandatory Polygraph Screening "Tests"
The Alaska Native News reports that convicted sex offender Jay Leavitt beat mandatory lie detector "tests" while on probation for attempted sexual abuse of a minor.

Polygraph Statement of "Public Service Applicant"
After waiting for the "examiner" to type my information from my personal history questionnaire into his system I was ready for my "test," or so I thought I was. It never dawned on me to google/research information on taking a polygraph test or to obtain information on what is involved in taking a polygraph test. I just KNEW whatever it took I would pass it because I have nothing to hide. I was simply taking a test for a Public Safety Data Assistant job.

Polygraph Dragnet at NSA in Shadow Brokers Mole Hunt
The New York Times reports that the NSA is relying on the pseudoscience of polygraphy in its hunt for "the Shadow Brokers," a person or group of persons who have collected, and are making public, NSA hacking tools.

Lie Detectors Lie: The Pentagon's False Promise of Assured Loyalty
This 1985 Washington Post op-ed by Peter J. Ognibene remains salient today, as polygraph techniques have not improved in any significant way in the intervening years. Ognibene argues that "To increase our reliance on polygraph testing in the name of national security can only jeopardize our security."

17 Years Online
Monday, 18 September 2017 marks the 17th anniversary of AntiPolygraph.org going online. We have plans for the coming year to share.

White House May (Or May Not) Resort to Lie Detectors to Identify Leakers
On Friday, 4 May 2017, on the Fox News program Fox & Friends, presenter Steve Doocy asked President Trump's counselor Kellyanne Conway why they don't use lie detectors to identify who leaked the transcripts of President Trump's phone conversations with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull...

 


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