Normal Topic The Polygraph vs. National Security (Read 6324 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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The Polygraph vs. National Security
Mar 12th, 2004 at 9:34am
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Dr. Alan P. Zelicoff, until recently a senior scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, writes about the retaliation he experienced for publicly criticizing the Department of Energy's reliance on polygraphs in "The Polygraph Vs. National Security," (17 kb PDF):

http://www.fas.org/sgp/eprint/zelicoff.pdf

"There may be a serious problem at the Department of Energy National Laboratories, one that goes beyond missing hard drives, credit-card fraud, and sloppy handling of classified computer codes. The Labs' raison-d'Ítre -- what management likes to say distinguishes them from crass commercial enterprises -- is their claim on selfless objectivity: providing 'service in the national interest based on sound science' despite the ebb and flow of political tides. If my recent experience is any reflection, this code of conduct is conditional...."
  

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Re: The Polygraph vs. National Security
Reply #1 - Mar 16th, 2004 at 4:50pm
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So how many more scientists of Dr. Zelicoff's caliber will DOE have to lose before they get the message?
  

"Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." &&U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Make-believe science yields
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Re: The Polygraph vs. National Security
Reply #2 - Mar 20th, 2004 at 12:27pm
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Jonathan Knight wrote about Dr. Zelicoff's statement in an article titled, "Outspoken nuclear scientist 'forced out' over polygraph row" published in the news section of the prestigious scientific journal Nature, Vol. 428, p. 243. This short article is cited here in full:

Quote:
A national security expert says he was forced to resign last year because of his vocal opposition to the use of lie detectors at his nuclear weapons lab.

Alan Zelicoff, formerly a senior scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, last week spoke for the first time about his resignation last July. He quit following disciplinary action against him for public criticism of polygraph testing. The lab denies any link between Zelicoff's departure and his public statements.

The Department of Energy instituted routine polygraph screening for employees at all nuclear weapons laboratories in 1999 to check for leaks of classified information. Zelicoff headed the many scientists at Sandia who objected to the move.

He published opinion pieces and cited research that suggested polygraph tests might finger innocent employees rather than catching spies.

A series of disciplinary actions followed the outbursts, culminating in a week-long suspension from the lab in June 2003, according to internal memos provided by Zelicoff. When he returned, he was barred from working on the disease-surveillance software he had developed (see Nature 411, 228; 2001). The lab claimed there was a commercial conflict of interest, which he denies.

John German, a spokesman for Sandia, said that while he could not discuss Zelicoff's case, lab employees must follow procedures before speaking publicly on matters of national security. The lab memos refer to failures in this area, as well as to an alleged security infraction.

Zelicoff insists that he followed necessary procedures and says the charges in the memos are groundless. He spoke out about the affair after becoming frustrated that members of Congress to whom he had complained failed to act. Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, is dismayed by Zelicoff's claims: "It tells scientists not to rock the boat."
  

George W. Maschke
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
E-mail/iMessage/FaceTime: antipolygraph.org@protonmail.com
Wire: @ap_org
Threema: A4PYDD5S
Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: The Polygraph vs. National Security
Reply #3 - Mar 21st, 2004 at 8:48am
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Bob Park of the American Physical Society mentions the retaliation Dr. Zelicoff encountered for his public speech on polygraph policy in his weekly What's New column dated 19 March 2004:

Quote:
3. POLYGRAPH: IS TELLING THE TRUTH PUBLICLY AS BAD AS LYING?
About a year ago the National Academy of Sciences completed a review of scientific evidence on the polygraph, "The Polygraph and Lie Detection." It concluded that the use of polygraph tests for DOE employee security screening was unacceptable because of the high rate of false positives. DOE took the position that a lot of false positives must mean the test is very sensitive, and simply reissued its old polygraph policies without change (WN 18 Apr 03). A nuclear scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, Alan Zelicoff, thought that was pretty dumb, which it was, and he said so publicly. Sandia took disciplinary action, and Zelicoff says he was forced to resign.
  

George W. Maschke
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
E-mail/iMessage/FaceTime: antipolygraph.org@protonmail.com
Wire: @ap_org
Threema: A4PYDD5S
Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"
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The Polygraph vs. National Security

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