Cops Nationwide Embrace Alternative to Polygraph

You haven’t seen it in a movie or on television yet, but law enforcement agencies in Atlanta, New Orleans, Nashville, Baltimore and Miami have been using something other than the polygraph — some of them for years. Even the California Highway Patrol relies upon it. What is it? It’s the technology polygraph loyalists love to hate that’s at the center of the decades-old “turf war” described in my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

The book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, is shown superimposed on a photo of an M4 carbine. Photo credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ken Scar.

The book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, is shown superimposed on a photo of an M4 carbine. Photo credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ken Scar.

In a news release issued today, officials with the National Association of Computer Voice Stress Analysts list it as an accurate and efficient crime-fighting technology that, like DNA analysis, helps clear the innocent and find the guilty:

Law Enforcement Embracing Improved Accuracy and Efficiency of New Crime Fighting Technologies

LEWES, Del., March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Innocent people are being exonerated in record numbers as new technologies such as DNA become more sophisticated and the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) is increasingly being used for truth verification instead of the old polygraph. This is according to Clifford Payne, an Investigator with the Atlanta (GA) Police Department who also serves as a Regional Director of the National Association of Computer Voice Stress Analysts, an organization representing the nearly 2,000 US law enforcement agencies that utilize the CVSA.

“As law enforcement professionals, our main goal is to make sure only the guilty are prosecuted,” stated Payne. “With the refinement of DNA testing we are now better able to accurately determine where the criminal justice system failed in the past as innocent men and women, some whose lives are ruined forever, are being released from prison on a regular basis. This is in no small part due to organizations such as the Innocence Project, improved DNA testing, and the help of technologies such as the CVSA.”

Miami-Dade (FL) Police Det. Lisa Morales is among the thousands of detectives that have experienced this first hand. Det./CVSA Analyst Lisa Morales reported that a female subject was accused of repeatedly stabbing her ex-boyfriend and children’s father. There was an adult male witness that implicated the female and uniformed officers were poised to arrest her based on both men’s statements even though the female insisted that she was being “framed” by the two men. The investigating detective just had one of those feelings and asked if Det. Morales would run a CVSA exam on the female. She passed and the “witness” ultimately confessed that he stabbed his uncle and they conspired to have the female falsely arrested so that the father could get custody of the children because the female refused to reconcile with him. According to the NACVSA, this is just another example of the CVSA exam being used to clear someone rather than implicate them. (Read more Real Cases at CVSA1.com/realcases.htm)

Payne stated that before the CVSA, law enforcement had to rely on the old polygraph. “Our main problem was that 30% of polygraph examinations are ‘inconclusive’, meaning that there were no discernible results. With the CVSA, there are always correct results 100% of the time. When you also take in to account that it takes eight weeks to train a polygraph examiner and only five days to train a CVSA examiner, plus the fact that polygraph exams take between 2-3 hours and the CVSA exam can be performed in 1 hour with perfect results, it is clear which system to use.” The Atlanta Police Department discontinued the polygraph in 2003 in favor of the CVSA.

Major US law enforcement agencies such as those in Atlanta, New Orleans, Nashville, Baltimore, and Miami, as well as the California Highway Patrol, depend upon the CVSA to investigate criminal cases as well as for screening police applicants. “As an investigative and decision support tool the CVSA has proven itself to be invaluable to law enforcement,” stated Lt. Kenneth Merchant, of the Erie, PA Police Department, who serves as the Legislative Affairs Director for the NACVSA.

To learn more about CVSA® and THE CLAPPER MEMO, listen to the audio of my recent two-hour guest appearance on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory.

To understand the entire story of this turf war between polygraph and CVSA®, order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

If Polygraph Countermeasures Don’t Work, Why Arrest Those Who Teach Others About Them?

A Reason TV article published today highlights a video in which troubling concerns are raised about the federal government’s stated justification for going after individuals who instruct others how to pass polygraph exams.

Here’s the dilemma in a nutshell:  Polygraph loyalists claim they can easily spot anyone trying to use countermeasures to defeat their century-old technology’s alleged ability to measure physiological indicators of deception (i.e., blood pressure, pulse, respiration, etc.).

If, indeed, that’s the case, then why are federal government agents arresting individuals for teaching others how to exploit the polygraph’s weaknesses through the use of countermeasures?  Of course, that doesn’t make sense!

Click image above to order book.

Click image above to order book.

Details about the federal government’s seemingly-incongruous love affair with the polygraph can be found inside my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, which bears the name and image of Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. on its cover.

Other details remain in the hands of Defense Intelligence Agency officials who seem to feel comfortable thumbing their noses at the Freedom of Information Act.  To date, they’ve stonewalled one of my FOIA requests for 574 days and counting.

Do DIA officials fear the release of unclassified information I seek about Defense Department contracts related to polygraph equipment purchases will implicate them in another scandal?  Capt. Larry W. Bailey, U.S. Navy Ret., thinks they do.  After reading THE CLAPPER MEMO, the former commander of the U.S. Navy SEALs training program described what I reveal in the book as “an unconscionable cover-up.”

THE CLAPPER MEMO is available in paperback and ebook versions.  Order your copy today.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Woman Found Innocent Eight Years After Polygraph Exam

Eight years after being subjected to a police polygraph exam and, later, convicted of murder in the 2005 death of her four-year-old son, Nicole Harris is listed among 87 individuals exonerated during 2013, according to a report released today by officials at the National Registry of Exonerations.

Click image above to download exoneration report (pdf).

Click image above to download exoneration report (pdf).

The Chicago Tribune reported on Harris’ exoneration June 18, 2013:

In a strongly worded opinion, the justices of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in October that there were reasons to question the confession, including an alleged eyewitness account by her then-5-year-old son.

They also cited the fact that physical evidence contradicted one version of her alleged confession — police said she first confessed to killing Jaquari by wrapping a phone cord around his neck. The medical examiner determined that a phone cord was not used. The court also noted that the confession came after she took a polygraph. The Tribune examined Harris’ case as part of its investigation earlier this year into Chicago police’s use of polygraphs in obtaining false confessions.

One needs only take a look at the Chicago Tribune‘s many articles about false confessions — several of which mention the role polygraph exams played in obtaining wrongful convictions — to understand the scope of this problem and realize Harris isn’t alone.

Click image above to order.

Click image above to order.

To understand more about century-old polygraph technology and the impact its continued exclusive use by several federal government agencies is having on individuals in civilian, military and intelligence circles, one needs only read my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

The product of an exhaustive four-year investigation, THE CLAPPER MEMO has received high praise from several individuals who appreciate its implications. Notably, a retired Navy SEALs training program commander who endorsed the book described what I reveal in it as “an unconscionable cover-up.”

THE CLAPPER MEMO is available in paperback and ebook versions. Order a copy today!

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Analysts Group Mentions Book

My latest nonfiction book received a bit of free publicity today, courtesy the National Association of Computer Voice Stress Analysts. Officials with the group mentioned THE CLAPPER MEMO in a news release, an excerpt of which appears below:

Click image above to order.

Click image above to order.

LEWES, Del., Jan. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly 1,900 US law enforcement agencies have dropped the old polygraph in favor of the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA®) according to the National Association of Computer Voice Stress Analysts (NACVSA), an organization representing over 2,000 law enforcement, security and military agencies worldwide.

Starting in 1989, mostly with smaller police agencies, the switch to the CVSA includes such large metropolitan police agencies as Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans, Miami, the California Highway Patrol, as well as many state and federal agencies. According to the NACVSA, this is due to the low cost, ease of operation, adaptability, and high accuracy rate of the CVSA. Additionally, the old polygraph has been discredited at the highest levels of government because of its many high-profile failures including: NSA defector Edward Snowden, CIA traitor Aldrich Ames, the mass murderer known as the “Green River Killer,” and Defense Department traitor and Cuban spy Ana Montes.

Interest in the CVSA by government agencies worldwide has increased dramatically due to a recently published research study in the 2012 annual edition of the scientific journal “Criminalistics and Court Expertise” which reports the accuracy rate of the CVSA exceeds 95%, an assertion long made by law enforcement users of the system.

The 18-year field study was conducted by Professor James L. Chapman, the world’s foremost authority on the application of Voice Stress Analysis technologies. The peer-reviewed study, titled “Long-Term Field Evaluation of Voice Stress Analysis In a North American Criminal Justice Setting” was ground-breaking in that it validated the tremendous decades-long success of the CVSA in the criminal justice system.

Further, a recently released book, “The Clapper Memo” by investigative journalist and author Bob McCarty, provides details about the failed efforts of the US polygraph community to maintain its relevancy based on the worldwide success of the CVSA.

To read the entire news release, click here.

To learn what I discovered during my exhaustive four-year investigation into the use of credibility assessment technologies — including the polygraph — by federal government agencies, order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO.

Available in paperback and ebook versions, the book has received several high-profile endorsements, including one by a retired Navy SEALs training program commander. He describes what I reveal inside the book as “an unconscionable cover-up.”

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Is Anti-Polygraph Activist Skeptical About Everything?

A recent tweet of mine attracted the attention of George Maschke, the well-known polygraph skeptic behind the website, AntiPolygraph.org. Needless to say, the virtual conversation that followed was interesting.  At times, however, it left me scratching my head in disbelief and wondering if Maschke was against everything.

Winnipeg Poly Story BMW

Click image above to read story.

The conversation-starting tweet, related to my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, went public as follows at 2:05 p.m. Central Sunday:

As you read, forget that the polygraph is the only credibility assessment technology approved for use inside DoD. http://ow.ly/rMGeb.

The statement made in the tweet refers to the content of a 2007 memo issued by James R. Clapper Jr. that made the polygraph the Department of Defense‘s credibility assessment “tool of choice.”  The link at the end of the tweet led to my then-latest piece, Man Confesses to Murder Days After Polygraph Exonerates Him, related to the book inspired by the memo — THE CLAPPER MEMO.

During the next 24 hours, more than 20 tweets were exchanged.

“Like polygraphy, CVSA is without scientific basis,” Maschke wrote in his first reply to my tweet, adding “Both are junk science developed by non-scientists.”

His criticism of CVSA®, short for Computer Voice Stress Analyzer®, was no surprise.  Anyone who visits his website will see he bashes it as a credibility assessment technology as readily as he does polygraph.  The second part of his tweet was a surprise.

Apparently, according to Maschke, a technology must be developed or invented by scientists in order to be legitimate. Embracing such a position requires one to conclude, for example, that Guglielmo Marconi‘s work in radio transmission is a scam, that Henry Ford’s mastery of the assembly line remains unproven and that Bill Gates’ little software enterprise stands as an unvalidated fad. Obviously, such conclusions would be ludicrous — as would any about CVSA® being “junk science” simply because it was developed by three retired Army intelligence officers instead of scientists.

Rather than express that opinion to Maschke, however, I told him something else.

“You make your living as a skeptic just like polygraph loyalists make their living off ‘junk science.’ I have no ‘dog’ in the fight.” [Note: I discovered later that he actually works a "day job" as a legal translator, so I retract that tweet here and now.]

In response, Maschke wrote that I should be more skeptical of CVSA®, because “It’s maker admitted in court that it can’t detect lies.”

In addition, Maschke included a link to a page on his website via which one can connect to an article that appears to have been lifted from the Nov. 7, 2004, edition of the Indianapolis Star.

“There’s nothing wrong with that admission,” I replied. “The makers of CVSA only claim that their technology detects stress indicating deception.”

I did not, however, mention the fact that John Tuohy, the writer of the aforementioned article, failed to include some key information — probably as a result of relying too heavily upon one source — that might cause a reader to pause.

That source was Frank Horvath. Tuohy described him as a professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University but did not mention he had served a term (1991-92) as president of the — drumroll pleaseAmerican Polygraph Association, the world’s largest association of polygraph professionals. Major omission.

Citing that article also made me wonder if Maschke was being honest in subsequent tweets when, among other things, he assured me he had read THE CLAPPER MEMO. But I digress.

Regarding admissions by the makers of CVSA® (i.e., the National Institute for Truth Verification), Maschke said they were “playing word games.”

When I asked Maschke if he thinks Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, GITMO interrogators and others — that is, people whose experiences appear in my book — were not telling the truth about CVSA®, he at first changed the subject.

“They haven’t done double-blind studies of CVSA, which would show it to be as unreliable, if not more so, than polygraphy,” he said, again seeming as if he had not read THE CLAPPER MEMO and, in particular, the CVSA®-focused research highlighted in Chapter 22.

Looking back, I should have asked Maschke to devise a legitimate double-blind study of CVSA® — but not an artificial, mock crime or “laboratory effort” — that features the real-life consequences/jeopardy required for a valid exam.  Because I know he’ll read this, I’ll consider the question asked.

It wasn’t long before Maschke shot another tweet my way.

“CVSA operators may become convinced what they’re doing is valid based on confessions obtained. Happens with polygraphers, too.”

I fired back.

“The study of real-world cases highlighted in Chapter 22 of THE CLAPPER MEMO renders your argument moot,” I wrote, “but I’m sure you’ll disagree.”

Professor James Chapman (7/04/1942 – 4/17/2012)

Professor James Chapman
(7/04/1942 – 4/17/2012)

And he did.

In fact, he went on to besmirch the fact that the research — conducted by Professor James L. Chapman and research scientist Marigo Stathis, highlighted in Chapter 22 and, more recently, here — was published outside the United States.  Strange for an expat living and working in The Hague, Netherlands.  And odd that such a learned man — he has graduate and post-graduate degrees under his belt — was willing to ignore the credentials of the researchers.

Those credentials?  Professor Chapman was a man who had some 15,000 CVSA® exams under his belt and was recognized as a leader in his field.  And did I mention his background included service as a United States Marine and a police officer before he ascended the ranks of higher education as a professor? Well, it’s true!  Stathis, meanwhile, is a woman who counts among her accomplishments more than two dozen published research papers.

Approaching the end of our virtual conversation, I tweeted to Maschke again:

“I think the avg American places more trust in the findings of a Marine turned cop turned university prof than in ivory tower types.”

Maschke ignored my tweet, opting instead to ask me if I could send him an electronic copy of the study by Professor Chapman and Stathis.

“I’m not in the business of doing legwork for others,” I replied.  “The crux of the study is in Chapter 22 of THE CLAPPER MEMO.  #TheClapperMemo”

Maschke ended his part of our conversation, tweeting, “Using confessions as the criterion for determining ground truth introduces a sampling bias inflating perceived accuracy.”

That statement, however, reveals Maschke either did not read THE CLAPPER MEMO or thinks himself better able to analyze statistics than the experts at Johns Hopkins University from whom Chapman and Stathis received assistance. Or, perhaps, he just didn’t make it to Chapter 22 where he would have seen the study’s authors explain CVSA® yielded a 96.4 percent-verified confession rate.

Click to order.

My half of the conversation ended with me tweeting the message below at 10:47 a.m. Central Monday:

Gonna have to let readers of THE CLAPPER MEMO decide if they trust you, the skeptic, or me, the investigator seeking truth. Goodbye!

Want to find out what all of the fuss is about?  Order a copy of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

The end product of an exhaustive four-year investigation, THE CLAPPER MEMO reveals the existence of a “turf war” that’s been raging for more than 40 years between polygraph loyalists and all challengers to their “bread and butter” technology, one of which is CVSA®. You’ll be shocked by what I reveal.

Available in paperback and ebook versions, the book has been endorsed by several high-profile Americans who understand the implications of my findings. Order your copy today!

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Five Examples of Hollywood’s Love Affair With Polygraph

Hollywood has a love affair with the polygraph.  Unfortunately, that love affair isn’t based on the reliability and performance of the century-old technology, erroneously referred to as a “lie detector.”  Instead, it’s based upon the misguided notion that it actually works.  Below are five examples of Hollywood’s use of the polygraph:

1.  In “The Beard,” a 1995 episode of “Seinfeld,” Jerry is subjected to a polygraph exam during which the examiner tries to determine whether or not he has watched the television show, “Melrose Place.”

2.  In the 2004 movie, “Meet the Parents,” Robert DeNiro plays the role of a father who subjects his son-in-law (Ben Stiller) to a polygraph exam to determine whether he’s a good “fit” for his daughter.

3.  In “The Springfield Files,” episode 8 of the tenth season of “The Simpsons” animated television show, Homer Simpson is subjected to a polygraph exam that ends badly.

4.  In the 2008 movie, “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” Keanu Reeves plays the role of an alien who, after being captured by humans, is subjected to a polygraph exam that also ends badly.

5.  One of the most-accurate observations about the polygraph’s shortcomings appears after the 1:28 mark in a discussion of the 2012 documentary, “The Imposter.”  Private investigator Charlie Parker says Frederic Bourdin, the Frenchman who is the subject of the film, “passed the polygraph, and we knew he was lying.”  An all-too-common occurrence.

If you’ve ever been curious about the credibility assessment arena in which polygraph loyalists operate, order a copy of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.  The end product of an exhaustive four-year investigation, it reveals the existence of a “turf war” that’s been raging for more than 40 years between polygraph loyalists and all challengers to their “bread and butter” technology.  You’ll be shocked by what I reveal.

Available in paperback and ebook versions, THE CLAPPER MEMO has been endorsed by several high-profile Americans who understand the implications of my findings. Order your copy today!

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Man Confesses to Murder Days After Polygraph Exonerates Him

The headline of a Winnipeg (Mb.) Free Press article published Sunday refers to Michael Lynn Pearce as “an unlikely killer” and raises the question, “How could ‘gentle’ artist confess to such a brutal crime?” While I can neither pretend to know what goes on in the mind of a man like Pearce nor answer the 10-word question, I can point out the role a polygraph exam played in this Canadian criminal case: It got everything wrong!

Winnipeg Free Press LogoOn July 10, 2007, according to the article, Pearce voluntarily took a polygraph examination at the behest of police, passed it easily and seemingly exonerated himself of the murder of his friend and occasional lover Stuart Mark almost six months earlier. Most importantly, the police polygraph examiner reportedly told Pearce, “I’m going to tell investigators that you’re not involved in this at all.” Then, five days later, Pearce returned to the police station and confessed to the crime.

Had he not returned to the police station, it’s quite possible the crime would have gone unsolved or someone else might have been suspected of committing the crime and/or — worst-case scenario — prosecuted, convicted and sentenced for something he didn’t do.

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13This murder case reminds me of a high-profile crime I highlighted in my book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

On Feb. 23, 2005, nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford was kidnapped in the middle of the night from her grandparents’ home in Homosassa, Fla., never to be seen alive by her loves ones again.

Lieutenant David Wyllie, the now-retired criminal investigator who headed up the Citrus County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit investigating the case, told me he used a non-polygraph technology known as the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer® to conduct an exam of the girl’s father, Mark Lunsford. Following that exam, he was able to clear the father of any involvement.

Conversely, he said, polygraph exams of the father conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI yielded conflicting results — one “deceptive” and the other “inconclusive.”

Fortunately for Mark Lunsford, the results of the CVSA® exam were proven accurate after John Evander Couey, a 46-year-old convicted sex offender, confessed to abducting Jessica Lunsford and then burying her alive.

The Lunsford case is one of several about which I provide details in THE CLAPPER MEMO. The product of an exhaustive four-year investigation, the book is available in paperback and ebook versions and has been endorsed by several high-profile Americans who understand the implications of my findings. Order your copy today!

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.