Category Archives: The Clapper Memo

FLASHBACK: What Works in Mumbai Might Work in D.C.

EDITOR’S NOTE: While diving into my archives, I came across a piece I wrote and published seven years ago this week. Because direct links to a newspaper report and a public opinion survey cited in the article were “dead,” I replaced them with Wayback Machine links. Considering recent terror events such as the ones in Paris last month and the one in San Bernadino, Calif., yesterday, I think the article remains worth sharing. See if you agree.

Click on image above to view article via Wayback Machine.

Click on image above to view article via Wayback Machine.

After reading a British newspaper report about plans law enforcement officials in Mumbai have to use truth serum on the only Islamic terrorist captured following last week’s attacks, I couldn’t help but think this “narcoanalysis” might come in handy as a tool for cleaning up the mess being being made of this country by our elected officials in Washington, D.C.

Though the use of truth serum is, according to the TimesOnline report, banned in most democracies, I think most Americans would approve an exception as long as it is applied in a bipartisan fashion as follows:

• First in line to have truth serum administered would be President-elect Barack Obama.  He would, of course, set the example for others to follow as he answered questions that required him to tell the truth about where he was born, about his core beliefs and about the plans he has for this country.

• Next up, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).  They would be asked a series of questions aimed at determining, once and for all, whether either is truly smarter than a fifth grader.

• Finally, the other 433 members of Congress — who, as a group, garner an approval rating of only 19 percent — would be given the opportunity to come clean about any skeletons they might have in their closets.  Members who disclose illegal and/or unethical behavior would be given two options:  resign or face prosecution.

For those who think the use of truth serum constitutes a step too radical for the planet’s longest-lasting constitutional republic, I offer a final thought for your consideration:

What’s more damaging to the nation’s long-term interests: An attack by radical Islamic terrorists from some distant land that does millions of dollars in damage and kills a few hundred or a few thousand lives OR the seemingly-endless assault on American citizens — let’s call it “domestic terrorism” — by elected officials who, with each passing year, drift further away from the intent of the nation’s founding fathers? I say the latter.

Now how do we get this ball rolling?  Ideas?

ENDNOTE: At the time I wrote the piece above, I had not yet begun the four-year investigation of the federal government’s use of so-called “credibility assessment technologies” that would result in the publication of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo. If you’re interested in learning about a painless and touch-free tool that has already been used with great success to interrogate detainees at Guantanamo Bay, members of Saddam Hussein’s “Deck of Cards” and members of both al-Qaeda and the Taliban, you should order a copy of the book. Likewise, if you’re interested in learning why the Department of Defense banned the same tool from use by our warfighters, you need to order a copy of the book.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

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Government Funds Program to Develop Voice Stress-Based Vetting Technology Despite Fact Technology Already Exists

Would it surprise you to learn the federal government has been spending millions of dollars to develop a voice stress-based credibility-assessment technology to vet foreign individuals seeking entry into the United States from places like Syria? Hardly. But it might surprise you to learn the money has been spent despite the fact that kind of technology already exists and has proven itself over and over again in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.

AVATAR – University of Arizona BORDERS Program

AVATAR – University of Arizona BORDERS Program

During an exhaustive four-year investigation of the federal government’s use of credibility-assessment technologies, including the polygraph, I found numerous individuals — most of whom worked with or for government agencies — eager to disparage the idea that one can detect deception by measuring stress in the human voice. Toward the end of my investigation, I learned about a government-funded effort at the University of Arizona to develop a voice stress-based technology despite the fact such a technology already exists and has proven itself to the point that more state and local law enforcement agencies use it than use the polygraph.

Slightly modified with the addition of links in place of footnotes for stand-alone publication, details of my brief electronic exchanges with a man involved in the aforementioned research at the U of A appear below as excerpted from my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo:

Click image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

Click image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

If, as polygraph loyalists have claimed for decades, it is not possible to detect stress in the human voice, then why have so many taxpayer dollars been dedicated to pairing the study of the human voice with credibility-assessment technologies?

Seeking an answer to that question, I contacted Jay F. Nunamaker, Ph.D. and lead researcher at the National Center for Border Security and Immigration  (a.k.a., “BORDERS”) at the University of Arizona in Tucson.  In reply to my inquiry August 6, 2012, Dr. Nunamaker shared details about the project.

He began by explaining that the program has received funding from several sources, including — but not limited to — the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and no fewer than three branches of the U.S. military.

Next, he described the history of the project.

“We started down this path to develop a non-intrusive, non-invasive next-generation polygraph about 10 years ago with funding from the Polygraph Institute at Ft. Jackson,” he wrote.

Ten years?

If, per Dr. Nunamaker, the effort began 10 years ago at Polygraph Headquarters, that means it got its start at about the same time the 2003 National Research Council report, “The Polygraph and Lie Detection,” was published and offered, among other things, that the majority of 57 research studies touted by the American Polygraph Association were “unreliable, unscientific and biased.”

In a message August 31, 2012, Dr. Nunamaker offered more details about his research.

“The UA team has created an Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessment in Real-Time (AVATAR) that uses an embodied conversational agent–an animated human face backed by biometric sensors and intelligent agents–to conduct interviews,” he explained.  “It is currently being used at the Nogales, Mexico-U.S. border and is designed to detect changes in arousal, behavior and cognitive effort that may signal stress, risk or credibility.”

In the same message, Dr. Nunamaker pointed me to a then-recent article in which the AVATAR system was described as one that uses “speech recognition and voice-anomaly-detection software” to flag certain exchanges “as questionable and worthy of follow-up interrogation.”

Those exchanges, according to the article, “are color coded green, yellow or red to highlight the potential severity of questionable responses.”  Ring familiar?

Further into the article, reporter Larry Greenemeier relied upon Aaron Elkins, a post-doctoral researcher who helped develop the system, to provide an explanation of how anomaly detection is employed by AVATAR.

After stating that it is based on vocal characteristics, Elkins explained a number of ways in which a person’s voice might tip the program.  One of his explanations was particularly interesting.

“The kiosk’s speech recognition software monitors the content of an interviewee’s answers and can flag a response indicating when, for example, a person acknowledges having a criminal record.”

Elkins clarified his views further during an interview eight days later.

“I will stress that is a very large leap to say that they’re lying…or what they’re saying is untrue — but what it does is draw attention that there is something going on,” he said.  At the end of that statement, reporter Som Lisaius added seven words — precisely the intent behind any credibility assessment — with which I’m certain every [sic] Computer Voice Stress Analyzer® examiner I’ve interviews during the past four years would agree.

To even the most-impartial observer, Elkins’ explanations confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that BORDERS researchers believe stress can be detected in the voice utterances of individuals facing real-life jeopardy.

NOTE:  Though I tried twice between August 2012 and February 2013 to find out from officials at the BORDERS program how much funding they have received from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and all other sources since the inception of the program, I received no replies to my inquiries.

To learn more about why federal government agencies are funding this kind of research despite the fact a polygraph replacement already exists and has proven itself in a wide range of applications, one must understand that a technological “turf war” is to blame and has been raging silently for more than 40 years.  Details of that turf war can be found inside The Clapper Memo.

It comes highly recommended. ORDER A COPY TODAY!

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Order My Books, and Send Me Your Photos!

I love it when people show their support for my work the way one man from Tennessee did after purchasing all three of my titles as eBooks at Amazon.com. Steve Jennings sent me a photo of my books as they appeared as “purchased titles” on his Kindle screen!

Click on the image above to order copies of my books at Amazon.com.

Click on the image above to order copies of my books at Amazon.com.

In case you’re new to my work and not familiar with the titles shown in the photo, let me bring you up to date: I’ve written two nonfiction books, Three Days In August (October 2011) and The Clapper Memo (May 2013), that seem to appeal to law enforcement, military and intelligence folks as well as one crime-fiction novel, The National Bet (November 2014) and a romantic-comedy screenplay, “Apply Inside,” the first 30 pages of which can be found here.

To learn more about each of the books, just  visit BobMcCarty.com and click on the tab at the top that corresponds with the title of the book in which you’re interested.

If you’ve purchased one or more of my books, take a photo of yourself holding the book(s) or eBooks on a tablet, phone or other screen and then send it to me via email message to bobmccartywrites (at) gmail (dot) com or send me a friend request on Facebook and then forward the photo via Facebook message. After I receive it, I might share it on my website and with folks in my social media universe. Thanks in advance!

P.S. My books make great Christmas gifts and signed copies are available. To learn how to obtain signed copies, click here.

UPDATE 11/14/2015 at 11 a.m. Central: Take a look at the latest “glamour shot” of one of my readers, Ivan Nikolov, shown (below) holding up his copy of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo. Thanks, Ivan!

Facebook friend Ivan Nikolov holds up a copy of The Clapper Memo.

Facebook friend Ivan Nikolov holds up a copy of The Clapper Memo.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter

Dr. Ben Carson Raises Good Question About Syrian Refugees

I’m not ready to cast my vote for Dr. Ben Carson, but I applaud the Republican presidential candidate. On Monday night, the retired neurosurgeon from Maryland raised the same question I raised earlier the same day — How Will We Screen Out Terrorists Among Syrian Refugees?

Raised during an interview with CNN’s John Berman Monday, Dr. Carson’s concerns came, much like mine did, less than 48 hours after President Barack Obama announced the United States will welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees for resettlement over the next 12 months. Now, I’m left wondering if he read the article I published yesterday. But I digress. UPDATE 9/16/2015 at 4:01 p.m. Central: It turns out that the president is going to allow 10,000 more than originally planned. For details, see this Bloomberg report published today.

If you have a close or direct connection to Dr. Carson’s campaign team, please let me know. I’d love to send him a copy of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, or meet with members of his team to bring them up to date on the proven vetting technology discussed in the book.

The technology discussed in The Clapper Memo was proven highly accurate and effective in places like Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq before it was unceremoniously banned by the powers that be inside the Department of Defense, including James R. Clapper Jr., the man now serving as director of National Intelligence. It’s now being used by more state and local law enforcement agencies than any other, including polygraph. And it should must be used on every prospective refugee trying to enter the country, regardless of their country of origin.

Hope to hear from someone in the Carson Camp soon!

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

How Will We Screen Out Terrorists Among Syrian Refugees?

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama announced the United States will welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees for resettlement over the next 12 months. Now, sane Americans must wonder how government officials will screen out terrorists among the refugees entering the country through refugee processing centers in almost every state.

This U.S. Department of State map shows where refugees, including those from Syria, will be sent.

This U.S. Department of State map shows where refugees, including those from Syria, will be sent.

The transcript of a State Department background briefing for reporters Sept. 9 offers some clues about how those ostensibly in charge of the nation’s foreign affairs programs — including Secretary of State John “F’n” Kerry and other left-wing political appointees — plan to ensure no members of the Islamic State and other Islamic terror groups enter the United States under the guise of being refugees. Michael Gordon of The New York Times asked the first question:

“Could you tell us, please, what the range of numbers is? You say you want to – the Secretary wants to increase the number of refugees that are admitted, so what is the range you’re looking at and what does that cost? And then it seems that part of the problem is vetting, in that the UN has submitted a list but it takes a long time to vet these people. Are you looking at committing more resources to speed up that vetting process? Thank you.”

As someone who spent four years investigating the federal government’s use of so-called credibility assessment technologies in places like Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq, I’m more aware than most of the capabilities that exist within our defense and intelligence agencies for conducting background checks and vetting (a.k.a., “screening”) foreign nationals. That awareness makes me more than a bit interested in the response of an unidentified “senior State Department official” to Gordon’s question. It appears below with acronyms deciphered by yours truly:

“The Secretary talked about a range of different numbers, but I will not be sharing them with you today. And there was varying views within the group from the judiciary committees of the House and Senate about how receptive they were to increasing the numbers of refugees coming.

“And the process to bring refugees here is careful and deliberate, and that’s – as a result, it takes a while. It takes between 18 to 24 months between when a refugee is referred to us and when they – if approved, when they end up arriving in the United States. And a big reason for this is the care that’s put into the security vetting for them. It involves several aspects. Part of it is that every refugee has their sort of case file put together with help from organizations that we fund overseas, and then those files and the refugees’ families themselves are interviewed by someone from the Department of Homeland Security, from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. And then we also check their names against a whole series of U.S. Government databases to make sure that they’re not already in there – some sort of derogatory information about them.

“What we’re trying to do is weed out people who are liars, who are criminals, or would-be terrorists. And this is something that slows down the process and it’s taken very seriously by everyone involved in it.”

The response, especially the description of the security vetting process having “several aspects” and being “careful and deliberate,” reminds me of what I was told repeatedly over a period of several months in 2012 by U.S. military public affairs officers speaking on behalf of the now-defunct International Security Assistance Force, precursor to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. An excerpt from a July 12, 2012, statement appears below:

“We (ISAF) have today, just as we discussed back in April, advise the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in assisting them to develop improvements to the overall vetting and recruitment process for the ANSF. The 8-step vetting process, which we have discussed in the past, is the result of our advising on this issue. Just like everything else that we (ISAF) advise on in Afghanistan, it is an ongoing and continuous process. We continually advise our Afghan partners on ways to improve processes. Again, the Afghans have the lead and are responsible for vetting their recruits into their security forces.”

Two months after receiving the statement above via email, I learned Afghans had not been in charge of all of the vetting taking place in that country. Instead, U.S. Army personnel were doing much of the vetting and, by September 2012, had grown “increasingly frustrated” with the eight-step vetting process that turned out to be largely ineffective at stopping so-called “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks, the often-deadly surprise attacks waged against U.S. and coalition forces by allegedly-trustworthy Afghans wearing the uniforms of Afghan military, police or security agencies.

And therein lies the problem with vetting 10,000 Syrian refugees, a group Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, described as “clearly a population of concern” during a meeting of the House Committee on Homeland Security last week. [UPDATE at 7:55 p.m. Central: UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been warned that two out of every 100 Syrian refugees are Islamic State fighters.]

If federal government officials are not willing to subject Syrian refugees to the same highly-effective interrogation technology that was used to interrogate members of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle (a.k.a., “The Deck of Cards”) as well as hundreds of al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists and other detainees at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere around the world, then we might as well plan to see a significant increase in the number of terror attacks waged on U.S. soil.

At a bare minimum, we will likely see more cities experience the types of refugee problems the folks in Minneapolis are facing.

Click on image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo by Bob McCarty.

Click on image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo by Bob McCarty.

To learn more about the no-touch, no-torture, no-pain non-polygraph interrogation technology that was used with great success before its use by Department of Defense personnel was banned in October 2007 by James R. Clapper Jr., then Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and now Director of National Intelligence (i.e., nation’s top intelligence official), visit TheClapperMemo.com. There, you’ll find an overview of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, as well as several stellar endorsements the book has received. FYI: You’ll also be able to order a copy of the book!

h/t Zero Hedge

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.