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Federal Official Declares That Anyone Who Speaks Out Against Lie Detector Tests Should Be Criminally Investigated

from the insanity dept

The Obama administration's war on whistleblowers was already fairly crazy, what with its official designation of "leakers" as "aiding the enemy," but now apparently it's extending even further. Federal agents have now launched criminal investigations into some instructors who claim they can teach you to beat a lie detector test, all done under the mandate of the war against whistleblowers.
Federal agents have launched a criminal investigation of instructors who claim they can teach job applicants how to pass lie detector tests as part of the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on security violators and leakers.

The criminal inquiry, which hasn’t been acknowledged publicly, is aimed at discouraging criminals and spies from infiltrating the U.S. government by using the polygraph-beating techniques, which are said to include controlled breathing, muscle tensing, tongue biting and mental arithmetic.
Methods for how to beat lie detector tests have been around for ages, and they are unreliable to begin with — so much so that many experts and groups have expressed doubt about polygraphs or disavowed them entirely. The National Research Council, the National Academy of Sciences, the Congress Office of Technology Assessment, the American Psychological Association, the Supreme Court — the list of doubters goes on and on, and any discussion of the question inevitably covers the ways people intentionally trick the test, to the point that these methods are practically common knowledge. Even Mythbusters has tested whether or not you can beat the polygraph, as has Penn & Teller: Bullshit! in an episode where they taught volunteers how to beat a test on camera. I wonder if these shows should now be investigated as well?

Either way, it seems like a huge stretch to claim that merely teaching potential methods for beating a lie detector should be considered a crime. At the very least, that seems to test the bounds of the First Amendment. One of the instructors targeted has already plead guilty, but to "obstructing an agency proceeding and wire fraud," while the feds are pushing for two years in jail for the other one. While some of the details are under seal, it appears that federal agents basically set up a "sting" operation, in which they induced the two people to teach them how to trick a polygraph, and in the process "admitted" to the instructors certain crimes that they were involved in. This sounds a like borderline entrapment. In fact, the report notes that the people who "sought out" the information from the two men who were investigated generally just wanted books or videos -- not the "one on one" lessons the feds set up.

The impact of all of this is creating serious chilling effects just on those who oppose the use of polygraphs in general:
Some opponents of polygraph testing, including a Wisconsin police chief, said they were concerned that the federal government also might be secretly investigating them, not for helping criminals to lie but for being critical of the government’s polygraph programs. In his speech to the American Association of Police Polygraphists, Schwartz said he thought that those who “protest the loudest and the longest” against polygraph testing “are the ones that I believe we need to focus our attention on.”
The "Schwartz" quoted there is John Schwartz, a Customs and Border Patrol official who is involved in the investigations. So, yeah, that's a federal government agent specifically claiming that he wants to focus his criminal investigatory power on those who speak out against polygraph testing. If I were to take a polygraph test right now it would note that I'm telling the truth when I say that sounds a hell of a lot like a police state, where federal agents publicly declare that they're going to use their criminal investigation powers to target people who oppose a program they support. Talk about chilling effects and a massive First Amendment violation.

To have a federal official, with investigatory power, whose already involved in existing investigations flat out say that he wants to target those who speak out, is incredible. That's not the way our government is supposed to work.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 11:40am

    There's no credibility left...

    Can we raze the government to the ground and start over after breaking the United States up into smaller countries?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 11:42am

    Do you think...

    That Obama has a picture of Joseph Stalin in his bedroom?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 11:53am

    while the feds are pushing for two years in jail for the other one

    Give a man a fish, you get 35 years. Teach a man to fish, you get two.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:04pm

    I'm afraid to say what I think of these programs since everything I type is being analyzed by some spook.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Bt Garner (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:07pm

    Welcome to the land of the free. Please check your freedom as you enter the country.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:08pm

    If there are techniques to beat lie detectors. They don't work,seems simple enough.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:11pm

    So what should we do with those that confess to lying and you don't need a lie detector to verify? James Clapper comes immediately to mind. This isn't some one speaking out against it, this is someone saying they intentionally did so with the express purpose of lying to the Congressional Oversight Committee.

    When should we expect Federal Officials to instigate criminal proceedings?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:11pm

    And the elephant in the room is...

    The fact that it's even possible for someone to teach techniques to beat a polygraph machine, means the machines are anything but accurate.

    Something that actually was able to tell the truth of a statement, rather than say, being based upon temperature of a room(higher temp = more sweating), how calm a person is when being questioned(someone who's guilty but is sure the cops don't have enough evidence to bust him is going to be a lot calmer than an innocent person that the cops have been interrogating for a few hours) or any number of other tiny little factors would not be able to be beat by any technique other than honesty.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to put some cookies in the oven for the imminent SWAT assault, I heard the local team likes macadamia nut the best.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Do you think...

    Probably tattooed on his butt... you know, the place he seems to use for thinking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:13pm

    Re: There's no credibility left...

    I claim king of Ohiostan.

    My army of cows will destroy those filthy Indianians.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Do you think...

    Are you kidding? No one with an ego that large has pictures of anything or anyone but themselves in their bedroom.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    SolkeshNaranek (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:17pm

    Re: And the elephant in the room is...

    And the elephant in the room is...

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to put some cookies in the oven for the imminent SWAT assault, I heard the local team likes macadamia nut the best.



    I would recommend putting the copious amounts of elephant poop you are going to acquire into the cookies instead.

    Would serve the SWAT team right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:18pm

    As an attorney and with my unfortunate experience with the criminal justice system, I've noticed two types of lie detector advocates. The first type realize the tests are complete BS but skillfully use then to draw out confessions.

    The second type are scary, they're absolute true believers. And like any true believer, they're dogmatic and prone to anger when confronted with actual verifiable evidence.

    I'm assuming (based upon my own subjective opinion) that John Schwartz falls into the latter group.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Machin Shin (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:18pm

    "That's not the way our government is supposed to work."

    It is very sad that this sentence might as well just stay in reporters clipboard these days. Seems like non-stop run of stories of different examples of "That's not the way our government is supposed to work."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Rikuo (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:18pm

    Re: And the elephant in the room is...

    You fiend! Your plan is to cause an allergic reaction in the patriotic, freedom-loving SWAT officers, isn't it? You should be shot like the commie-hippy you are!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:19pm

    Another casualty of the department of plea bargain or we'll use the fact that you refused to plea bargain as evidence for stricter sentencing (formerly known as the department of justice).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:19pm

    Wait ... huh?

    So the implication is it may be a crime to teach a party how to beat a test that one cannot be forced to take in the first place and often cannot be used as evidence against someone who is accused of a crime? I'm dizzy from the circularity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Wait ... huh?

    No, it's a crime to teach a party how to beat a test that one cannot be forced to take in the first place and often cannot be used as evidence against someone who is accused of a crime if, during the course of teaching said party, said party says they have committed a crime but are actually lying about the crime they committed. See, doesn't that make much more sense?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:25pm

    Re: There's no credibility left...

    Can we raze the government to the ground and start over after breaking the United States up into smaller countries?

    Once you raze the federal government to the ground, what you will have is a bunch of smaller countries.

    Very Nixonian. Of course, Nixon knew that polygraphs didn't work, but his intent was to scare the FBI straight.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Wait ... huh?

    I just went from dizzy to nauseated.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:45pm

    The Spanish Inquisition failed to suppress Heretical religions, and they were able to use torture.. The KGB also failed to suppress dissidents, and they had the Gulags. Why does the US government think that it will do any better?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:47pm

    Too much faith

    If I were to take a polygraph test right now it would note that I'm telling the truth


    Maybe, but maybe not. One of the things about lie detectors is that they have a fairly high rate of false positives. The test may indicate you're lying when you're not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    Robotsbeepboop (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:49pm

    First, let me share www.antipolygraph.org.

    The creator of the polygraph had one other well known invention- the comic book character Wonder Woman. I am not making this up.

    There is no science behind the polygraph- it is beloved by inquisitors as an excuse to carry out invasive interrogations.

    It is outrageous and unacceptable that this nonscientific widget is being used under the rubric of protecting our country.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:51pm

    Typo

    To have a federal official, with investigatory power, whose already involved in existing investigations

    Who's

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    CivilLibertarian (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:57pm

    Prosecute This!

    "The Lie Behind the Lie Detector", 4th digital edition. Get your copy here:
    https://antipolygraph.org/lie-behind-the-lie-detector.pdf

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:05pm

    They don't want anyone to know HOW polygraphs can be bypassed because of the simple fact that a polygraph is entirely placebo-based.

    If the big-scary machine says you're guilty you better fess up or you'll be servin' time as big-bubba's bitch in san quentin.........

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    Paul Renault (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:05pm

    Ruh-roh, they're going to have to ban...

    ..Cory Doctorow's Homeland. There's passage where the hero is in some federal goons' car, clenching and unclenching his...
    http://craphound.com/homeland/

    Way to go, US Gov, you're now banning YA ficton! What next? 1984?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:05pm

    EDIT: This is why they have the moving needles etc...its to make the machine more dramatic in front of the accused.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Ruh-roh, they're going to have to ban...

    No Amazon already banned 1984...."in error" of course....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:08pm

    My teacher taught me how to read. I can use that knowledge to read instructions on how to make a bomb. My teacher should be investigated for potentially creating more Boston bombers.

    My science teacher explained how some explosives work, this can also help me build a bomb, he should also be arrested!

    I'm totally concerned about my former teachers creating more terrorists, honest! It's totally NOT that I hate my reading teacher for making me read boring books, or that I hate my science teacher for teaching me about evolution and global warming that I consider bogus theories!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. icon
    Xianoth (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:08pm

    Democrasy vs. Despotism

    I saw this yesterday on Youtube.

    The more news I read, the more I fear this applies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:09pm

    Re:

    Soon I hope. I keep waiting patiently to hear the news.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:11pm

    Re:

    Exactly. They work as well as, and on the same principle as, the old timey "donkey in the tent" test:

    Put the testee in a dark tent with a donkey. He's told to hold the donkey's tail and that the donkey will bray if he utters an untruth. He's then questioned, sight unseen.

    The trick is that the donkey's tail is covered with soot. If he emerges from the tent with clean hands, he was trying to dodge the test and therefore was likely to be lying.

    What both the donkey test and the polygraph have in common is that whatever efficacy they have (which isn't great) depends entirely on the subject believing in the infallibility of the test.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:14pm

    Re:

    Egos the size of galaxies. "We are right. Anyone who criticizes us is wrong. Anyone who opposes us is a terrorist." You know the type; the idiot boss and his yes men.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Bengie, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:17pm

    Re:

    We are free of Freedom, and good riddance. /sarc

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:19pm

    Re:

    It is not a belief that they can do better, it is a belief they are doing the right thing, and that is far worse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    DigDug, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:40pm

    Hey Mr. Schwartz

    Lie Detectors are a scam, a fraud, pure bull shit - they have been repeatedly proven ineffective in over 80% of their uses.

    Anyone on any kind of nerve-calming medications, anti-depressants, some pain meds, amongst other things can pass these with flying colors while lying through their teeth. Anyone can train themselves to remain calm while lying, it doesn't require any kind education to learn how.

    So take your fucking polygraph and shove it up your fucking ass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Wait ... huh?

    Right!

    And rather admit that the fact someone can be trained to beat the test makes the test fairly useless, they go after those instructing how to beat the test.

    It's just easier to trust the shitty test than admit the test is shitty to begin with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:43pm

    Polygraph == Ouija board

    The defenders of both are absolute morons who have absolutely no business serving the public: they're far too stupid to be worthy of such a lofty privilege.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:51pm

    Didn't the US government passed a law criminalizing people from using voice stress analyzers on political recordings to see if they were lying a while back?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    Kaleb Thorpe, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 2:11pm

    Speak

    Lie detectors are bullshit!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 2:22pm

    Yes, try to criminally investigate us, like the fools you are. You idiots are only fueling the hate in others for you. Nothing more. Sooner or later you'll have to realize this. And when you do maybe you'll learn to look into the people's reasons behind things instead of merely resorting to your own opinions.

    There's a common saying, it's that "ignorance is bliss." Have you ever wondered why it's so ignored, so misunderstood (if understood at all) and just not taken seriously enough? Society is just too used to it and you guys are the source of the problem.

    And besides, lie detectors do not work. They work, they just don't work on one hundred percent of people a hundred percent of the time. Get over it, stop denying it and learn to face to facts every once in a while. I knwo that cognitive dissonance is hard for you to deal but it's not the end of the world. So suck it, bitches.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. icon
    Atkray (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 2:23pm

    Re:

    Because they have American Stars Dancing with Idols. And free healthcare.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. icon
    Anonymous Monkey (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Wait ... huh?

    head a'splode
    @.@

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. icon
    aldestrawk (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 2:46pm

    An easy way to avoid prosecution is simply to not take any customers who mention specifics about how they are going to use this knowledge, just like the head shops that can legally sell pipes and bongs as long as their customers do not mention the M-word or any of its synonyms. The end result is that the courses continue as before. What may happen is that the feds periodically investigate and use that excuse to gain the list of customers. All such customers are then eliminated from government positions requiring lie detector tests. If a judge won't allow a search warrant could they use a National Security Letter?
    Whatever happens next you can be sure that Chad Dixon is absolutely getting shafted because the feds need him to make an example of.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 2:53pm

    >That's not the way our government is supposed to work.

    The sad thing is, there's a whole bunch of that going now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. icon
    aldestrawk (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 3:02pm

    legal problems

    I am not a lawyer but it seems this tactic can lead to some very awkward, a severe understatement, legal situations. If the feds can prosecute this in the context of lie detector tests for government jobs, wouldn't this argument also apply to criminal prosecution where a suspect agrees to taking a lie detector test? Even if the results are not used in court, you could be, essentially, obstructing justice by preventing confessions.
    Also, a good part of the reason that lie detectors work at all is that subjects have bought into the fiction that the devices work. So, studying the efficacy of lie detectors, or even speaking about the results of those studies could be construed as a crime if you tell someone who is about to undergo a lie detector exam. I don't see how the law can separate this aspect from teaching methods to defeat the tests.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. identicon
    Spiffy the Wonder Hamster, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 3:06pm

    So lemme get this straight

    It is now, apparently, a crime to tell someone else how to beat a completely inaccurate and unscientific test, that has been _repeatedly_ shown to literally be worse than useless (the error rate is that high), and that likely will affect their livelihood or their life itself.

    This sounds exactly like the America in the 21st century I've come to know and loathe. I do not find this surprising in the least.

    More points for the "most open and participatory administration in history" (that's from whitehouse.gov).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 3:17pm

    I disagree, Mike. In fact, I have personally designed a newer, more accurate method of lie detection more specific to the purpose at hand. I call it the "quarter flip". I'd like to use this opportunity to present this method to the world.

    1. Obtain a USD $0.25 coin - a "quarter" of a dollar
    2. Stand in front of subject to be tested
    3. Place "quarter" on your thumb
    4. Release your thumb upwards
    5. Find the "quarter"
    6. Analysis stage. If the "quarter" displays the face of George Washington, a true patriot, the test subject is likewise a true patriot. If the "quarter" instead shows the White House, the subject has been distributing the administration's secrets and should be punished accordingly. If the "quarter" lands in any other configuration (edge, etc.) the test subject is a WIZARD and should be TERMINATED IMMEDIATELY.

    We may safely dissolve the Federal and State court systems, secure in the knowledge that this test approaches 50% accuracy. This is more than any other method available on the market today.

    "Quarter Flip Method" (c) 2013, you no use.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 4:13pm

    when is it going to be accepted that the USA is now a Police State? even worse, when is it going to be admitted that it is a Police State? what on earth has happened to make a country stoop so low as to want to class everyone, even it's own citizens, as enemies. after what happened between East and West Germany, you would think lessons would be learned, but it appears not!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. icon
    Tex Arcana (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 5:17pm

    Re: Wait ... huh?

    It's also a crime to speak out on beating or how to beat polygraphs. Of course, I've been able to beat them since day one, without any special training, so I guess I need to be locked right up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 6:03pm

    Response to: Bt Garner on Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:07pm

    Freedom is slavery.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. identicon
    George Maschke, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 7:55pm

    Correction and Comments

    I'm a co-founder of AntiPolygraph.org and am cited in the McClatchy article upon which this post is based. (In May of this year, I received suspicious e-mails that seemed like an entrapment attempt.)

    I'd like first to correct a factual error in this Techdirt post. It states: "One of the instructors targeted has already plead guilty, but to 'obstructing an agency proceeding and wire fraud,' while the feds are pushing for two years in jail for the other one."

    Actually, it is the one who pled guilty, Chad Dixon, for whom the feds are pushing for a two-year jail sentence. The other, Doug Williams, who runs Polygraph.com, has to date not been charged with any crime. Earlier this week, Oklahoma City News 9 aired an interview with him.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection Special Agent John Schwartz's remark that those who "protest the loudest and the longest are the ones that I believe we need to focus our attention on" suggests that the motivation for this criminal investigation, dubbed Operation Lie Busters, is political, and constitutes retaliation for speech the government doesn't like.

    If you agree that it should not be a crime to teach others about how to pass a polygraph "test" (a pseudoscientific procedure that is inherently biased against the truthful), then please consider downloading a copy of AntiPolygraph.org's free e-book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (1 mb PDF) and sharing it with friends. The information about polygraph countermeasures that some in the U.S. Government would like to suppress is to be found in Chapter 4.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. identicon
    nofx, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 1:10am

    regaining unconsciousness

    First they put away the dealers,
    keep our kids safe and off the street.
    Then they put away the prostitutes,
    keep married men cloistered at home.

    Then they shooed away the bums,
    then they beat and bashed the queers,
    turned away asylum-seekers,
    fed us suspicions and fears.
    We didn't raise our voice,
    we didn't make a fuss.
    It's funny there was no one left to notice
    when they came for us.

    Looks like witches are in season,
    you better fly your flag and be aware
    of anyone who might fit the description,
    diversity is now our biggest fear.

    Now with our conversations tapped
    and our differences exposed,
    how ya supposed to love your neighbor
    with our minds and curtains closed?
    We used to worry 'bout big brother,
    now we got a big father and an even bigger mother.

    And you still believe
    this aristocracy gives a fuck about you.
    They put the mock in democracy
    and you swallowed every hook.

    The sad truth is
    you'd rather follow the school into the net
    'cause swimming alone at sea
    is not the kind of freedom that you actually want.

    So go back to your crib and suck on a tit
    go bask in the warmth of your diaper.
    You're sitting in shit and piss
    while sucking a giant pacifier,
    a country of adult infants.
    A legion of mental midgets,
    a country of adult infants,
    a country of adult infants.
    all regaining their unconsciousness
    “There are a lot of bad people out there. . . . This will help us remove some of those pests from society."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. icon
    Postulator (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 3:06am

    The US is practically the only country that has any faith (and yes, that word is deliberately chosen) in lie detectors. They are unscientific to the point that the person behind the machine will admit that they rely on their own judgement rather than the machine that they are allegedly operating.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 4:37am

    Re:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. identicon
    Wolfy, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 6:31am

    I don't know why the Feds have their collective panties in a bunch... even though they have all their screening eggs in the "polygraph basket", portable EEG's will prove even better and more flexible. Want to catch a religious crazy trying to take down a plane? Walk one past the portable scanner, and now you have the "religious crazy" signature. Now you can scan for "religious crazy" for all Fed. jobs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. identicon
    Harry Bottinga, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 8:10am

    lie det. test

    Women in medieval Europa were sometimes said to be a witch.To test that they were then bound, gagged and probably weighed down. Over the railing they went, if they floated, they were a witch and killed, if they sunk well to bad they probably should have been a witch anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. icon
    hopponit (profile), Aug 24th, 2013 @ 12:13am

    lie detector

    Back in '80 at the end of my first enlistment I went to work for a building supply warehouse in Savannah, Ga. We started having a problem with theft. The management had everyone take a lie detector test. They found NOTHING, however two people were fired because of the operators judgement about their answers! After having everybody retested a couple more times they left a safe open and hid till the crook showed up. The managers nephew had been doing it. Turns out he was a sociopath type and he believed his lies as he told them. No training needed. Oh by the way as a minor he wasn't charged. And with no proof he didn't even have to pay back the earlier money!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60. icon
    Richard (profile), Aug 24th, 2013 @ 5:17pm

    Re: And the elephant in the room is...

    Not so much an elephant as a fairy, "a la" Tinkerbell...you have to believe. The whole polygraph scam is based on the subject being sufficiently "suggestible" (read "gullible") to believe that he will evince an orienting response ( http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/432446/orienting-response ) when lying. The chap administering the test has to tell you convincingly that lies produce orienting responses. If you don't believe, Tinkerbell dies.

    I suggest they try auguring with the entrails of federal officials. It's similarly accurate and WAY more useful.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 6:31pm

    Teaching people how to get away with lying

    It doesn't seem to matter to any of the commenters, or to Mike - perhaps because it detracts from the Big Government theme of the story, but not one in the story seems to be being investigated because of their criticism of polygraphs. Rather, the people targeted in stings were offering to teach people how to lie in polygraph exams and still pass them. Oh, and they get paid big bucks for these "lessons." Why is it these guys are supposed to be heroes again?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62. identicon
    anonymous, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 6:43pm

    How accurate are polygraph tests? I didn't think the Government believedin them. Can they be used in court as evidence?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), Aug 24th, 2013 @ 7:27pm

    Re: Teaching people how to get away with lying

    Maybe because teaching that information shouldn't be a crime?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64. icon
    dennisearlbaker (profile), Aug 24th, 2013 @ 8:00pm

    polygraph evidence

    polygraph evidence would result in prisons full of police!

    that's the only reason they are unacceptable as evidence in court.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Aug 25th, 2013 @ 12:42am

    Re:

    In order: 1) You'd have higher accuracy from flipping a coin, and 2) No, because with how they 'work' the test is very easily skewed by any number of factors, including bias on the part of the tester, the temperature of the room, stress levels completely unrelated to guilt/innocence, and probably the biggest strike against them, they rely almost entirely upon the placebo effect, and if the one being tested doesn't believe they work, they don't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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