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."
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
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."
The researcher who developed the U.S. Government's polygraph Test for Espionage and Sabotage "thought the whole security screening program should be shut down?"
The National Academy of Sciences concluded that "[polygraph testing's] accuracy in distinguishing actual or potential security violators from innocent test takers is insufficient to justify reliance on its use in employee security screening in federal agencies?"
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
"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
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
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.
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.
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."
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....
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...