Polygraphers trigger fear response in Federal prosecutors.

Submitted by Charlton Stanley, (aka Otteray Scribe) guest blogger

Polygraph tests are 20th-century witchcraft.
 -Sen. Sam Ervin (1896-1995)

ImageAs the Obama administration and the Department of Justice ramps up the crackdown on security violators and leakers, the whole thing has taken a bizarre turn. There is an ongoing criminal investigation of instructors who claim they can teach job applicants how to pass lie-detector tests. The two men are Doug Williams, who operates Polygraph.com, and Chad Dixon, who had a website called “PolygraphExpert.net” which has been taken down. Chad Dixon has entered a guilty plea, but the charges against him are being kept secret under seal. Dixon faces a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison; however, prosecutors are asking for a two-year sentence. Williams has not been charged with any crime; at least not yet, but is said to be under investigation. His only publiccomment was to say he has done nothing wrong.

The criminal investigation has not been acknowledged publicly. What little news that has come out is the claim it is meant to discourage criminals and spies from infiltrating the U.S. government by using so-called polygraph-beating techniques. Several current or former polygraph examiners are alleged to have been providing training materials and classes on how lie detector devices work and how to “beat” them.

Doug Williams and Chad Dixon’s business records were seized. The records are believed to include the names of as many as 5,000 persons who sought advice from the two men. The government claims about twenty of those people applied for positions with the government or government contractors. About half of that group was hired, including one or more getting jobs with the National Security Agency (NSA).

Federal officials have adopted a unique and controversial legal theory that teaching clients how lie detectors work and how to pass the test is a crime, and not protected under the First Amendment.

I find this more than curious. By way of full disclosure, I own a voice stress analysis machine and several biofeedback devices. I first became interested in the detection of malingering, dissimulation and outright lying when I was still in graduate school, and have maintained that interest ever since. Some people lie to look good, and some lie to look bad. Some lie and don’t even know they are lying. Some lie when the truth would serve them better.

In this piece, we will take a look at exactly what it is the Feds are talking about. And we will puzzle about why they want to make it a crime for anyone to teach people how the machines work. Or more accurately, don’t work.

Everyone is familiar with anxiety. Hands sweat, voice trembles, breathing may become more rapid, and the heart races. Many times trembling is visible to the naked eye. Anxiety is a fear reaction. Both the polygraph and voice stress analysis take advantage of these physiological reactions to fear, and take measurements of them. The theory behind both machines is that an anxious person will react. Practitioners of polygraphy and voice stress analysis operate on the assumption that telling a lie will result in a predictable and measurable physiological reaction.

Voice stress analysis and the polygraph: A tale of two different machines with a common purpose.

There is undisputed rivalry between both technologies, and even among different manufacturers of the machines about which is “best.” One thing is undisputed among scientists. Both technologies measure stress, and do it rather well. ‘Stress’ is a term borrowed from physics, as is another physics term, ‘tension.’ Mental health professions describe the psychophysiological reaction to anxiety-producing situations as a stress reaction.

If both machines measure stress, then the next question is about detection of lies or truth. This is the problem. None of them does. All these machines are based on the unproven assumption that a lying subject will always be stressed, whereas little or no stress will be present if they are telling the truth.

One of the foremost authorities on the subject of lie detection was Dr. David Lykken, a psychologist and neuropsychiatrist at the University of Minnesota for 43 years. Lykken and his staff did pioneering research in human physiology and behavioral genetics.

In 1991, Dr. Lykken gave the Invited Address to the 1991 Convention of the American Psychological Association, acknowledging the Award for Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in the Public Interest.1 In that address, he pointed to research over the previous forty years, including his own work and that of others. Dr. Lykken emphasized that science had proven conclusively there is no such thing as a “lie detector.” Dr. Lykken summarized much of the research in his book, A Tremor in the Blood.2 The media interviewed him many times. He told reporters the same thing each time he was asked the question: This technology is junk science.

This exchange with a reporter from People Magazine3 was typical of his exasperation with the continued use of the polygraph and voice stress analysis by law enforcement and private industry:

People magazine reporter: “How reliable are the tests?”
Dr. David Lykken: “Half of innocent people fail them. You’d do as well flipping a coin. In particular, people with strong consciences and religious beliefs can be easily made to feel guilt and anxiety.”

One of the problems with any so-called lie detector machine is that no two people have the same stress reaction to any given stressor. Extensive research on psychopaths shows they have little or no anticipatory anxiety. They do not react to threat in the same manner as a normal person. By the same token, some people respond to almost any stimulus as a threat, and everything makes them anxious. One of the things emphasized during my training, was that any form of stress detection system, whether polygraph or voice stress, was useless in cases involving sex. As one experienced polygrapher instructor put it in his lecture, “In our culture, any discussion of sex makes everybody anxious.”

Two Swedish researchers, Anders Eriksson and Francisco Lacerda, published an analysis of VRA (aka Voice Stress Analysis) in the International Journal of Speech Language and Law.4 Here is the abstract of their paper, verbatim:

 “A lie detector which can reveal lie and deception in some automatic and perfectly reliable way is an old idea we have often met with in science fiction books and comic strips. This is all very well. It is when machines claimed to be lie detectors appear in the context of criminal investigations or security applications that we need to be concerned. In the present paper we will describe two types of ‘deception’ or ‘stress detectors’ (euphemisms to refer to what quite clearly are known as ‘lie detectors’). Both types of detection are claimed to be based on voice analysis but we found no scientific evidence to support the manufacturers’ claims. Indeed, our review of scientific studies will show that these machines perform at chance level when tested for reliability. Given such results and the absence of scientific support for the underlying principles it is justified to view the use of these machines as charlatanry and we argue that there are serious ethical and security reasons to demand that responsible authorities and institutions should not get involved in such practices.”

That journal article in the International Journal of Speech Language and the Law pointed out “discrepancies between the claims the producers and vendors make and what their products are capable of delivering.” As a result of that journal article, the authors were threatened with a libel suit by one of the companies making these devices. The journal received similar threats and, rather disappointingly, took the article offline. But hey, this is the Internet age, and stuff has a way of hanging around forever. All the threatened lawsuit and ensuing caving in by the journal did was trigger the Streisand Effect. Here is the full journal article, preserved by the magic of the Internet. It has been published and republished many times, on many sites, including Wikileaks.

In summary, lie detector technology has no known statistical properties with regard to detecting deception of any kind. It has not been accepted as science in the scientific community. The only thing scientists seem to agree on is most of these machines measure stress reactions in humans, and to that extent, they can measure stress in people who feel stress—that’s it. There are too many variables in the psychology and physiology of deceptiveness for reliable data to be measured with any confidence at all.

Peer reviewed articles about detection of deception published in mainstream scientific journals state flatly that no technology invented thus far can be considered a reliable and valid detector of deception. Every “blind” research project has resulted in “inconclusive” findings; that is, the technology has no better results than chance. A caveat: One has to be careful to differentiate between rigorously controlled studies done by independent scientists and published in reputable peer-reviewed journals, and studies sponsored by manufacturers or groups with a financial interest in the outcome. Also, testimonials are not science.

A quick search of the Internet for information on how to beat lie detectors yields a lot of hits. Same thing on how to beat the MMPI-2, which is used for screening applicants for many types of jobs, including law enforcement. Because of the ongoing government investigation, several online web sites providing this type of educational information have shut down.

So let’s get this straight. There is a junk science out there that does not work, as established by research study after research study over more than a half century. Despite the scientific evidence, the government not only continues to use it, but wants to prosecute critics? One Wisconsin police chief has been quoted as saying he thinks he may be under investigation simply because he has been a public critic of this technology.

I like this observation by California attorney Gene Iredale, as quoted in a McClatchy news article:

Citing the scientific skepticism, [Mr. Iredale] compared the prosecution of polygraph instructors to indicting someone for practicing voodoo.

If someone stabs a voodoo doll in the heart with a pin and the victim they intended to kill drops dead of a heart attack, are they guilty of murder?” asked Gene Iredale, a California attorney who often represents federal defendants. “What if the person who dropped dead believed in voodoo?

These are the types of questions that are generally debated in law school, not inside a courtroom. The real question should be: Does the federal government want to use its resources to pursue this kind of case? I would argue it does not.”

What has been established by research is that most of the “positive” results of these devices have been due to the interrogation skills of the examiner and not the machine. Most experienced examiners are skilled at convincing the subject to confess. I have done that myself. This is where claims of success come from. It is called confirmation bias.

As Dr. Lykken said in his famous speech, when raw data from these “tests” are presented to experienced examiners in blind studies, they score no better than chance. There was one case where a suspect was brought into the police station. This was in the 1960s, when the first Xerox machines became available and a lot of people had never seen one. The detectives had some wires and a vacuum cleaner hose which they attached to the suspect. The other ends were tucked behind their brand new Xerox machine. Every time they asked him if he had committed the crime, an officer poked the button on the Xerox machine. Out would come a piece of paper with, “HE’S LYING” in big block letters. The suspect confessed. I suppose that meant Xerox makes a great lie detector machine.

There are several ongoing research studies to see whether the fMRI can detect deception with any reliability and validity. The research is still in its infancy, with no results that can be considered even remotely conclusive enough to meet any legal evidentiary standard.

The criminalization of imparting information that is widely available in this Internet age appears be a dangerous precedent. I would like to hear a clear and unambiguous explanation why teaching someone to “beat” a machine that hard science research over more than a half century has shown to not work, is illegal, and to prosecute them does not violate their First Amendment rights?

The floor is open for discussion.


1 Lykken, D. T. (1991, August). Science, lies, and controversy: An epitaph for the lie detector. Invited Address to the 1991 Convention of the American Psychological Association, Acknowledging The Award for Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in the Public Interest. American Psychological Association annual convention, San Francisco, CA.

2 Lykken, D. T. (1998). A tremor in the blood: Uses and abuses of the lie detector. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Basic Books.

 3 Witt, L. (1981, May 11). The truth about lie detectors, says David Lykken, is that they can’t detect a lie. People, 15(18)

 4 Eriksson, A., & Lacerda, F. (2007). Charlatanry in forensic speech science: a problem to be taken seriously . International Journal of Speech Language and Law, 14(2), 169-193


49 thoughts on “Polygraphers trigger fear response in Federal prosecutors.”

  1. Thanks Jonathan – I look forward to reading more… I’m glad I found your site – I have seen you on TV often and have always been impressed with your thoughtful insight. I will be a loyal follower now that I have found you.

  2. Doug,
    I had to dig your comment out of the spam filter. The WordPress spam filter is quirky lately, often interpreting long comments as spam.

    Thanks for your input.

    FYI, I am following this developing story. The cognitive dissonance is stunning.


    Describing my training as teaching “countermeasures” so liars can pass the polygraph “test” is the same thing as describing the polygraph as a “lie detector”! Both descriptions are PURE, UNADULTERATED BS!
    Why do polygraph operators tell people not to research the polygraph before they take their test? It is very simple – the only way they can intimidate people with the polygraph is to keep them ignorant about how it works. When polygraph operators say I teach people “countermeasures” in order for them to “beat the test”. I simply say, that’s bullshit, because polygraph operators routinely call truthful people liars – and my technique is the only way for honest, truthful people to protect themselves from being falsely accused of lying. Go to the MEDIA page of my website http://www.polygraph.com, and watch the CBS 60 MINUTES investigative report I helped to produce and see the proof yourself – three out of three polygraph operators called three different truthful people liars on a crime that never even happened! You may also enjoy watching me prove THE LIE DETECTOR IS BULLSHIT on Showtime’s PENN & TELLER: BULLSHIT!
    So, let me emphasize this – I DON’T TEACH SO-CALLED “COUNTERMEASURES” – I simply teach people how to ALWAYS PASS by knowing how to show a perfect “truthful” polygraph chart! The word “countermeasures” is a word that has been misappropriated by polygraph examiners – it is used to describe what they say is a means to thwart their ability to detect deception. But polygraph operators have always maintained that they can tell when a person is using these so-called “countermeasures”. If that is true, how can anyone use them “beat” the test? But, for the sake of argument, let me ask a few more pertinent questions: If people can indeed be taught to use “countermeasures” to “beat the test”, wouldn’t that prove the polygraph is not a “lie detector”? Does the validity and reliability of the polygraph test demand that the subjects of the test must be ignorant about how it works? If anyone could be taught how to produce and/or prevent a reaction on the polygraph at will, wouldn’t that make the whole idea of a “lie detector” a fraud? And wouldn’t polygraph operators have to admit their little machine is actually just a sick joke – and that the polygraph instrument is simply a prop used by an interrogator to frighten people into making admissions and confessions? And would it not be prudent for the government to quit wasting money on something that is nothing but a fraud and a con job? The fact is the answer to all these questions is a resounding YES!
    Polygraph operators do not want to debate the validity of the polygraph as a “lie detector” because they will lose – and they certainly don’t want to answer any of these questions! They know they cannot prove the polygraph is valid and reliable as a “lie detector”, and they know they can’t justify their actions – so they just say that people who get my training are all lying and are only doing research on the polygraph in order to “beat the test”. Again, I say that is just BULLSHIT! I have spent almost forty years proving that the “lie detector” is just a myth, and it is common knowledge that just telling the truth only works half the time, so people are smart enough to know that they must LEARN HOW TO PASS or they will be falsely accused of lying. I don’t teach any so-called “countermeasures”! I don’t teach people how to “beat” the test! The fact is, people are getting my manual & video/DVD and my personal training because they are telling the truth and just want to make sure they pass – they know that just telling the truth doesn’t work! The methods I teach are very simple. I just show people how to remain calm when answering a relevant question and how to produce a reaction when answering the control questions so as to always produce what the polygraph operators say is a “truthful chart”. I have a manual, entitled HOW TO STING THE POLYGRAPH, and a DVD that teaches people exactly how to do this – it is available on my website http://www.polygraph.com. I also give practice polygraph tests on my own polygraph instrument to show them how well my technique works – for more information about this, go to the PERSONAL TRAINING page of my website.
    I was instrumental in getting most polygraph testing outlawed in the private sector. In 1988, with the passage of the EMPLOYEE POLYGRAPH PROTECTION ACT, administering polygraph tests actually became a federal crime! Even the U.S. Supreme Court refused to admit polygraph results into evidence, and ironically it was the U.S. Justice Department who argued that the polygraph results were not reliable and should not be admitted into evidence! I was a member of the Office of Technology Assessment, (an investigative arm of the U.S. Congress), studying the validity and reliability of the polygraph – our report basically said it was worthless as a “lie detector”. I also testified in the U.S. Congress in support of the EPPA. {Here is an interesting piece of historical trivia: When I testified in Congress, I put my manual, HOW TO STING THE POLYGRAPH into the Congressional Record, and the Senators and Representatives distributed more copies of my manual between 1984 and 1988 than anyone has ever distributed – including me! They sent them out by the tens of thousands in response to requests from constituents.} But, there were exclusions written into the law that allowed the government – local state and federal – to continue to use the polygraph. They attempt to justify these exclusions on the grounds that the government needs this tool to protect national security and the law enforcement officials need it to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system. I have proved the polygraph is not a “lie detector” – the Congress, the Justice Department, the OTA, and all the scientific evidence agrees with me, so there is no justification for the government to continue to use it on the pretext that it protects our national security or the integrity of the criminal justice system.
    It is FOOLISH and DANGEROUS to use the polygraph as “lie detector” – the theory of “lie detection” is nothing but junk science. It is based on a faulty scientific premise. The polygraph operators have the audacity to say that there is such a thing as a “reaction indicative of deception”, when I can prove that “lying reaction” is simply a nervous reaction commonly referred to as the fight or flight syndrome. In fact, the polygraph is nothing but a psychological billy club that is used to coerce a person into making admissions or confessions. It is FOOLISH and DANGEROUS for government agencies to rely on the polygraph to “test” applicants, or to conduct any type of investigations relating to national security. It is FOOLISH and DANGEROUS for the criminal justice system to rely on an instrument that has been thoroughly discredited to determine whether or not a person is truthful or deceptive, or to use it to guide their investigations in any way – especially when the results cannot even be used as evidence in a court of law! And it is FOOLISH and DANGEROUS for anyone to believe they will pass their polygraph “test” if they just tell the truth! When you factor in all the damage done to people who are falsely branded as liars by these con men and their unconscionable conduct, this fraud of “lie detection” perpetrated by the polygraph industry should be a federal crime! The protection provided to some people by the EPPA should be extended to protect everyone from this insidious Orwellian instrument of torture! Shame on anyone who administers these “tests” – and shame on the government for continuing to allow this state sponsored sadism!

    So, here we have this diabolical dichotomy – the government protects some people from polygraph abuse and perpetrates polygraph abuse on others! The Congress outlaws the use of the polygraph in the private sector, (and distributes my manuals, teaching people how to pass their tests), the Justice Department argues that it should not be used as evidence in court, the Supreme Courts agrees and refuses to allow polygraph results into evidence, and the OTA issues a report saying all the scientific evidence proves it is not reliable – yet, after all this, many government agencies greatly expand the use of the polygraph to numbers never seen before in the history of the country!
    So what explains this schizophrenia in the government? Why do they outlaw it in one area and expand it in another? I’m afraid I know – I think President Nixon told us why the government uses it when he said, “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, and that’s why I like to use them!” That mentality regarding the polygraph is the very reason I do what I do! I educate people about the polygraph so that the polygraph thugs can’t use it to scare the hell out of them – and even worse, call them liars simply because they have a nervous reaction on a relevant question! I teach people how to prove they are telling the truth because just telling the truth really only works about half the time! A person will probably fail their polygraph test unless they are trained to show the polygraph examiner what he expects to see from a truthful person. I have been asked this question many times: Can liars use this information to pass just as easily as truthful people? The answer to that question is YES! I have no control over who gets the information in my manual and video/DVD. But let me make this perfectly clear – I assume that people come to me for personal training because they know that just telling the truth only works about half the time. And, except for frivolous cases such as fidelity testing, or for demonstrations on television programs, speaking engagements and seminars, I will not knowingly teach a person to deliberately lie! Besides, liars can pass easily whether they have been trained or not – history is full of people who have lied and passed polygraphs with no problem – Aldridge Ames the notorious spy passed many polygraph exams! As a matter of fact there has never been even one spy ever caught by the polygraph! I have often demonstrated how simple it is to “beat the box” on national television programs. It is true that anyone can use my techniques to pass their polygraph test regardless of whether they are nervous or not, lying or not, no matter what. I have said that for over 40 years. I say it in hopes that those who use this instrument will realize that it is not accurate or reliable as a “lie detector” and will quit using it!
    By describing my training as “countermeasures” that people use in order to pass a polygraph as a form of cheating, or something used only by liars who are trying to “beat” the “lie detector”, polygraph operators are asserting something as a fact that is absolutely false – something that all evidence proves is false; i.e. that the polygraph is accurate, reliable, and effective in detecting truth and detecting deception. All the scientific evidence available proves that the polygraph is none of those things. The polygraph is no more accurate than the toss of a coin – in other words it is only able to detect deception approximately 50% of the time. This also means that unless truthful people get prepared to pass the test, over 50% of the time the polygraph con men will brand them as liars just because they are nervous. A sad irony is that often the people polygraph operators accuse people of using “countermeasures” are those who have no idea what that even means! As a matter of fact, polygraph operators are now so paranoid that one of the questions frequently asked on the polygraph test itself is if the subject has read my manual. Many of these unscrupulous jerks will fail or disqualify people just because they are suspected of the horrible Orwellian “thought crime” of educating themselves! But trying to “catch” anyone who uses the information in my manual and video/DVD to pass their polygraph test is an exercise in futility on the part of the polygraph operator, because everyone who uses the Sting Technique will ALWAYS PASS – and the only thing the polygraph operator will see is a perfect, natural truthful chart! As a matter of fact, the information in my manual is so effective, (and because the polygraph as a “lie detector” is so ineffective), the information in my manual and video/DVD is considered to be “contraband” – it is actually prohibited by Big Brother polygraphers in the government! This proves that polygraph operators are today’s version of the thugs employed by Orwell’s Ministry of Truth!

    It is bad, (but perhaps understandable, and even sometimes necessary), to use the polygraph as a prop for polygraph interrogators to frighten and intimidate people in order to get confessions or admissions of wrong doing – but it is never acceptable to take it a step further and disqualify applicants, deny security clearances, and revoke probations simply because a person has a nervous reaction on the polygraph “test” or because the polygrapher accuses them of using so-called “countermeasures”. Most polygraph operators and all polygraph associations say that the polygraph should only be used as an aid to guide investigators, and that the polygraph test reults should never be the sole determinant of guilt or innocence, or truth or deception, or whether or not a person gets or keeps a job or a security clearance, (see AAPP statement in footnote below) – but the sad fact is, that happens every day to thousands of people. That fact alone should be the basis for malpractice lawsuits against polygraph operators! Polygraph operators are out of control – they no longer abide by the commonly accepted protocols agreed upon by their own professional associations – they don’t answer to anyone, and they don’t give a damn about the millions of people who are traumatized, and whose lives are ruined by their arbitrary and capricious actions. That is not only wrong, it should be illegal! It is tantamount to criminal negligence on the part of our government to allow this so-called “lie detector” testing to continue!
    Now back to the so-called “countermeasures”. I have always said that I do not teach countermeasures simply because of the negative connotations associated with the term. I teach people how to protect themselves from being falsely accused of lying simply because they happen to have a nervous reaction on the wrong question. The late Professor David T. Lykken, who was the preeminent scientific expert on polygraphy, observed “If I were somehow forced to take a polygraph test in relation to some important matter, I would certainly use these proven, (techniques taught in my manual HOW TO STING THE POLYGRAPH), rather than rely on the truth and my innocence as safeguards; an innocent (person) has nearly a 50:50 chance of failing. And those odds are considerably worse than those involved in Russian roulette.” When the EPPA was enacted into law, the word “protection” was not put in the title of that law by accident. It was put there deliberately because the legislators in their wisdom knew that people needed to be protected from this unreliable instrument, and that they needed to be protected from being falsely accused of lying simply because they were nervous. So if you’re going to take a polygraph examination and, as Dr. Lykken said, you have a 50% chance of failing just because you’re nervous on the wrong question it would only be prudent to utilize my training so as to mitigate the danger of being accused of being deceptive when in fact you are simply nervous.
    So, I don’t use this word “countermeasures” to describe what I do. As I said, that is a word that is misused by polygraph operators. All I do is educate people about the polygraph and teach them how to control every tracing on the polygraph charts so as to always produce what the polygraph examiner expects to see from a truthful subject. Since many people do not have the protection afforded by the Employee Polygraph PROTECTION Act, they must have some way to protect themselves from being falsely branded as liars!
    For almost 40 years, I have been crusading against the use of the “lie detector” and the abuses caused by what its inventor, Dr. John Larson, described as “Frankenstein’s Monster”. This is what Larson said about his own invention: “The lie detector is nothing more than a psychological third-degree aimed at extorting a confession as the old physical beating were. I’m sorry I ever had any part in its development.” I would like nothing better than to stop my crusade. I would love to shut down my website and quit – my goal has always been to put myself out of business. My fervent hope, a hope shared by millions of polygraph victims, is that the day will soon come when no one will need my services because the polygraph is no longer being used. I am tired of this never ending, and very frustrating fight – and I will be happy to quit the day after all the polygraph operators quit running their scam! But I can’t give up yet – I still get far too many calls and emails from people telling me how the polygraph has ruined their lives. I started this crusade in 1979 and I plan to finish it. For more information about what I have done for all these years, get my book FROM COP TO CRUSADER: THE STORY OF MY FIGHT AGAINST THE DANGEROUS MYTH OF “LIE DETECTION” – it is available on Amazon or STORE on my website http://www.polygraph.com. You can help me in my fight by getting this book and sending it to as many people as you possibly can! But, as long as the thugs and con men who call themselves polygraphers continue to use the “lie detector” to frighten and intimidate people, I will continue to fight them! I am committed to this fight – I must continue to help people who are faced with what is the most traumatic experience they will ever have to endure, because I am the only one who can and will do it. Until the polygraph is no longer being used, and people’s lives are no longer being ruined by this myth of “lie detection”, I will teach people how to protect themselves from being falsely accused of being a liar.

    Footnote: The American Association of Police Polygraphists: “Polygraph testing, forensic psychophysiology, and credibility assessment, are evolving fields of science, intended to be used as decision support tools. These tools should aid investigators and referring agencies in making decisions about the truthfulness or deception of individuals in diagnostic and screening test circumstances. The role of scientific testing is to provide information, while professional evaluators are the final authority on all matters that require expert judgment.”

    1. Doug Williams,

      I applaud your efforts and your work. I would also like to remind people that they have the right not to take a polygraph exam and it would be prudent to exercise that right, even when under police coercion.

  4. Polygraph tests and the like are pseudo-science and to fire/hire or imprison people based upon their outcomes is a charade of justice.

  5. The right to lie was tested in Alvarez v U.S. and affirmed by the Supremes:

    Saints may always tell the truth, but for mortals living means lying. We lie to protect our privacy (“No, I don’t live around here”); to avoid hurt feelings (“Friday is my study night”); to make others feel better (“Gee you’ve gotten skinny”); to avoid recriminations (“I only lost $10 at poker”); to prevent grief (“The doc says you’re getting better”); to maintain domestic tranquility (“She’s just a friend”); to avoid social stigma (“I just haven’t met the right woman”); for career advancement (“I’m sooo lucky to have a smart boss like you”); to avoid being lonely (“I love opera”); to eliminate a rival (“He has a boyfriend”); to achieve an objective (“But I love you so much”); to defeat an objective (“I’m allergic to latex”); to make an exit (“It’s not you, it’s me”); to delay the inevitable (“The check is in the mail”); to communicate displeasure (“There’s nothing wrong”); to get someone off your back (“I’ll call you about lunch”); to escape a nudnik (“My mother’s on the other line”); to namedrop (“We go way back”); to set up a surprise party (“I need help moving the piano”); to buy time (“I’m on my way”); to keep up appearances (“We’re not talking divorce”); to avoid taking out the trash (“My back hurts”); to duck an obligation (“I’ve got a headache”); to maintain a public image (“I go to church every Sunday”); to make a point (“Ich bin ein Berliner”); to save face (“I had too much to drink”); to humor (“Correct as usual, King Friday”); to avoid embarrassment (“That wasn’t me”); to curry favor (“I’ve read all your books”); to get a clerkship (“You’re the greatest living jurist”); to save a dollar (“I gave at the office”); or to maintain innocence (“There are eight tiny reindeer on the rooftop”).

    And we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk, as reflected by the popularity of plastic surgery, elevator shoes, wood veneer paneling, cubic zirconia, toupees, artificial turf and cross-dressing. Last year, Americans spent $40 billion on cosmetics — an industry devoted almost entirely to helping people deceive each other about their appearance. It doesn’t matter whether we think that such lies are despicable or cause more harm than good. An important aspect of personal autonomy is the right to shape one’s public and private persona by choosing when to tell the truth about oneself, when to conceal and when to deceive. Of course, lies are often disbelieved or discovered, and that too is part of the pull and tug of social intercourse. But it’s critical to leave such interactions in private hands, so that we can make choices about who we are. How can you develop a reputation as a straight shooter if lying is not an option?

    That was the case where lying was made a federal crime if it involved military medals.

    Hands down, politicians who seek office as well as those who then inhabit a government office are the biggest liars going.

    And they want to test people to see if they are telling the truth or not about whistleblowing and the like.

    If the government made about 90% of classified material unclassified as it should be, this acute paranoia would go away because the crimes the secrecy covers would have to go away.

  6. Blouise 1, August 18, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    … if one is learning how to detect lies, one is also learning how to lie without detection.
    Good point.

  7. I should add that the actual test using the computer does not start until 1 hour into the video. You need an inquiring mind and coffee for this.
    The 45 minutes before that are the operator explaining the tech, preparing the subject and rehearsing the questions/answers.
    The actual test takes about 1 minute.

    It could be argued/innocently-assumed that the CVSA tech is actually very reliable.
    The software used in the video test comes from The National Institute for Truth Verification ( Federal Services ) TM. http://www.cvsa1.com/

    – National !!!
    – Institute !!!
    – Truth Verification
    – (Federal)
    You just know that sort of stuff has to be infallible. Holy Moly! It’s not just some commercial outfit pimping their product.

  8. I think that the fuss goes beyond the ability to check if applicants for Security jobs are a tiny bit stressed for some reason or other.

    I have seen it said that ‘lie detection technology’ is an aid to breaking a subject more that determining if the subject is lying.
    If the subjects do not believe that the technology actually works or have had guidance on how to work around the technology, then LE in general loses a useful tool.

    They don’t even want to topic of reliability to get any public visibility. Prosecutions risk a Streisand Effect.

    I’ve only seen a polygraph in movies. C’mon! Lots of wires and waving inky stuff. It’s just got to be scientific!
    I didn’t know about the completely different Computerized Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA) tech until I watched a video a real CVSA test being conducted after a shooting.

    This comment is not intended to raise the ghost of a trial.
    The comment is looking for comments on the video of a real CVSA test – that just happens to be Zimmerman.

    Three things struck me about the test.
    1) The subject himself requested it. Two completely different interpretations of this arise.
    2) The two questions forming the core of the test were not particularly probing. The test was done by someone with only a very slight familiarity with the case – and before any detailed investigation of the circumstances had been completed.
    a) “Did you confront him?” – A matter of individual perception. I have seen many people argue that “Why are you following me” was to initiate a confrontation.
    b) “Were you in fear of your life when you shot him?” Well, he very probably was.
    3) The subject was given the opportunity to consider the questions and rehearse answering them in advance of the actual test.

    What happens in the 15 minutes of the video before the test is merely interesting in regard to Zimmerman’s pre-existing friendly relationship with SPD and in regard to why a plainclothes cop with stern commanding presence never had to shoot anybody 🙂
    That’s just entertainment. The main event begins at 0:15:00.

    Overall, when I looked at that video, my impression of the technology was “This is rubbish”.
    It could be that it was mainly the conduct of that particular session that gave me the impression. It might be that another operator would do things very differently.
    Perhaps those who are familiar with the field could view the video and comment?

    The actual session begins at 0:15:00 in the video.
    It’s interesting that it is titled “…… [Lie Detector/Polygraph” – whereas it was a CVSA.
    My understanding is that CVSA is far less reliable than a Polygraph – and I have read that a Polygraph is only somewhat more reliable that tossing a coin.

  9. going around the web im seeing alot of people talking about revolution. Not just the quacks either. Think it will come to that? I dont see how it cant come to that. It almost has to be that way.

  10. you guys ever sit back and realize that one day we are going to have to do something about all of this or sit back as virtual slaves right? We cant just keep ignoring it or not doing anything about it but complain

  11. I bought the book Lie Spotting.

    I enjoyed it, it is more heuristic than deductive.
    But it has to be taken in context.

  12. Mike,
    Some of the web sites and training operations have already shut down, no doubt out of fear. If you Google “how to beat the mmpi-2” you will get a lot of hits. I am wondering what the reacton of those site operators will be. If they are targeting a Wisconsin police chief and others who dare criticise, I figure I just painted a large target on myself with this post.

  13. LK,
    I am a slowpoke compared to my youngest. When she types it sounds like pouring shelled corn into a tin dishpan. Well over 100 wpm. She has the eye hand coordination of a safecracker.

  14. Blouise: “Several years ago I had to take a series of classes on detecting lies …. if one is learning how to detect lies, one is also learning how to lie without detection.”

    So many of your postings have… implications. You are a woman of mystery. 😉

  15. Rafflaw, “If the person tells them they want to know so that they can lie to government officials, aren’t there other charges that are more logical?”

    In reading the article I believe that one of them was charged with interfering with an official proceeding or words to that effect. When the government starts charging people with crimes like that you know there’s a whole lot of BS built into the situation.

    Just to be a contrarian on the subject (not of course a contrarian to you), why should there be any charges because you want to lie to the government? Except for having the power to make lying to the government illegal, what inherent right does the government have to the truth from its citizens? There might be good and practical reasons why the truth is desirable and advantageous to the government and society but why would or should the government, at any level, believe that the truth from a citizen is an inherent right? Lol, it’s certainly not a reciprocal aspect of the relationship.

  16. Mike,
    They are using “obstructing” investigations or something similar as an excuse. Rather like the woman videotaping police from her front porch was arrested for “obstructing” them.

    1. OS,

      It’s a bogus prosecution and they know it. They’re doing it to cause more fear and because they can get away with it. Self righteous bullies with sublimated sadistic tendencies.

Comments are closed.