During an exhaustive four-year investigation into credibility assessment and deception-detection tools — sometimes erroneously referred to as “lie detectors” — I discovered that so-called “subject-matter experts” in that field are not always right.
Several experts I encountered en route to publishing my latest book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, told me the polygraph, while not perfect, remains the best credibility assessment tool available at the present time.
Often, they would point to a handful of government-funded research studies as the bases for making less-than-complimentary statements about other credibility assessment technologies competing with the polygraph.
Some went so far as to point out that future technologies would soon replace the polygraph as the investigative tool of choice for law enforcement and military applications. The future technology mentioned most often was Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging — or fMRI.
According to the November 2010 study, Lying in the scanner: Covert countermeasures disrupt deception detection by functional magnetic resonance imaging, however, fMRI appears to be even less worthy than polygraph when it comes to deception detection accuracy. From the abstract of the study, this summary speaks volumes:
…in single participants, deception detection accuracy was 100% without countermeasures, using activation in ventrolateral and medial prefrontal cortices, but fell to 33% with countermeasures. These findings show that fMRI-based deception detection measures can be vulnerable to countermeasures, calling for caution before applying these methods to real-world situations.
In other words, fMRI works well until one applies countermeasures, and then it only works about one-third of the time; therefore, it appears that those in the polygraph countermeasures business — for which a virtual cottage industry exists — will merely have to replace a few words and publish new marketing materials if fMRI becomes the standard to replace the polygraph.
Is there an alternative to polygraph and fMRI? Yes, there is.
Inside the pages of THE CLAPPER MEMO, I reveal what it is, how it works, and how it has performed exceptionally in places around the world — including Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, Kuwait, Mexico and Qatar, just to name a few — and from a sampling of the more than 1,800 U.S. law enforcement agencies now using it.
I offer insider information about how this non-polygraph technology delivers highly-accurate results without ever yielding the “inconclusive” or “no opinion” results so common with polygraph exams.
I disclose how I stumbled upon a “turf war” that’s been raging silently for more than 40 years between polygraph loyalists and all challengers to their century-old technology — including the non-polygraph alternative.
Most unfortunately, I share details of how that turf war has resulted in Department of Defense officials banning the use of all non-polygraph technologies. As a direct result, hundreds of American and Coalition Forces personnel have paid the price as casualties — victims of “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks conducted in Afghanistan by so-called “allies” wearing the uniforms of Afghan military, police and security agencies.
In short, I connect the dots have yet to see.
Every American should read THE CLAPPER MEMO and, afterward, demand their elected officials in the nation’s capitol reverse DoD’s ban on this non-polygraph technology.