Newspaper Reporter Reveals How He ‘Beat’ Polygraph Exam

Over the weekend, I came across an article that speaks volumes about the implications of the federal government’s continued reliance on century-old polygraph technology instead of a challenger proven more effective during more than four decades of use. In two short paragraphs, it reveals how news reporter John Funk “beat” a polygraph machine without training in the use of countermeasures:

PolygraphFrom the moment the test began, I started visualizing the number four — not six — written on the the paper under my leg.

When he got to four, I flexed my biceps and intentionally made my breathing shallow. At six, I made a conscious effort to relax as much as possible.

It’s a good thing he didn’t go into more detail about how he defeated the machine; that could have gotten him arrested. But I digress.

If reporter John Funk was able to beat the polygraph with ZERO training, is it so surprising that Edward Snowden was able to pass two polygraphs and gain access to America’s most precious secrets? Hardly!

And how many more Snowdens are lurking among the millions of people who hold U.S. Government security clearances? Plenty!

Click image above to read article.

Click image above to read article.

Less than a week ago, Department of Defense leaders vowed to overhaul the personnel screening process. Sadly, they made no mention of moving away from the polygraph to the non-polygraph technology that’s been proven more effective.

If you want to read up-close accounts of how the non-polygraph technology has been used in places like Guantanamo Bay and Baghdad and by law enforcement professionals at more than 1,800 state and local agencies across the United States, read my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

Based on the findings of my exhaustive four-year investigation into the federal government’s use of so-called credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph, THE CLAPPER MEMO has received rave reviews from people who know what it’s like to have a “dog in the fight.” a

To learn more about it, visit http://TheClapperMemo.com. To order a copy of the book, click here or on the graphic below.

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.

Two Years Down, 13 to Go for Michael Behenna

EDITOR’S NOTE: On July 31, 2008, Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna was charged with the premeditated murder of Ali Mansur, a known Al-Qaeda agent operating near Albu Toma, an area north of Baghdad.  Seven months later, the leader of the 18-member Delta Company, 5th platoon of the Army 101st Airborne Infantry Division was convicted of unpremeditated murder and sentenced to 25 years confinement at Fort Leavenworth.  Though his sentence has been reduced to 15 years, Behenna remains behind bars for a killing that should have been deemed self-defense.  Today, I share the latest update from Michael’s parents, Scott and Vicki Behenna:

1st Lt. Michael Behenna

To the thousands of Michael Behenna supporters,

On March 20th it will have been two years since Michael’s freedom was taken away from him.  Shortly after that horrific day he was publicly paraded through three airports en route to Ft. Leavenworth to begin serving a 25 year sentence for killing a known al-Qaida terrorist.  When Michael first went to prison he was bitter for the incredible injustice that had been done to him by a country he put his life on the line for.  But that bitterness was soon replaced by an attitude of inner peace and a desire to discover himself.

Today Michael works 5 days a week in exterior grounds maintenance, lifts weights in the prison gym, reads his numerous cards and letters, and has immersed himself in books sent to him or that he checks out from the prison library.  He is treated well at Leavenworth because many of the MP’s know that his situation is vastly different than most incarcerated there.  However, it is still a prison with the associated hardships of “groundhog day” monotony, violent flair-ups of inmates, strip searches, full prison lockdowns, and the predictable food menu every week.  He lives in his own cell and he finds solace among the other Leavenworth 10 soldiers who have been convicted of similar war crimes. They have been a Godsend for one another as they have a common bond and each are remarkable individuals and soldiers who have been entangled in a bizarre legal quagmire for unknown political purposes. Your generous contributions to Michael’s canteen account enable him to call home regularly and we are lucky enough to live a few hours away from Leavenworth so that either family or friends can visit him almost every weekend.

Michael recently wrote a letter about what he has learned while he has been in prison.  We wanted to share it with you now:

Since arriving in prison I have begun a journey of continuous refining of both my thought and my action; the way I relate to others, an appreciation for life, and self-understanding.  As Emerson once wrote ‘What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us’ and I am finding that what lies within us knows no limits.

I have no access to the outside world except through newspapers and magazines and phone calls and weekend visits with my family.  Yet I am not confined to my cell so long as I have books that take me to places I have never been.  Books have become my avenue to knowledge and it is through them that I have met some magnificent people whose lives have inspired me to not only continue my fight for freedom, but to find freedom behind these bars.

Solitude was necessary for me to know myself.  Once I began to truly know myself I began the journey of transformation. I have a notebook where I write down anything that I find meaningful in the books and letters I read.  I have learned that it is not how much one knows, but what one does with what one knows.

There is a story of an old Cherokee who told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside of every person – it is a battle between two wolves.  One wolf is life-taking:  it is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, guilt, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego.  The other wolf is life-giving:  it is joy, peace, love, hope serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.  The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather which wolf won.  The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed’.  I am working on only feeding the wolf who gives life.

One of the most inspiring books I’ve received is called ‘Gives Me Hope’.  It is filled with true stories of kindness and generosity and I highly recommend it.  When I first came to prison I had very little hope and a whole lot of bitterness.  That is no longer the case.  To all those who have supported me through this struggle I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that YOU GAVE ME HOPE!  And still do…

As you can see, Michael’s attitude through this ordeal remains unbelievably good.  His greatest fear going to prison was that he would be forgotten.  Quite to the contrary (and to the dismay of the Army) Michael’s case is getting more attention than ever and there are things in the works that are going to put it in the spotlight even more so. Every week we hear from someone who tells us they knew nothing about Michael’s case until they saw a DefendMichael.com wristband or bumper sticker.  It is a grass roots effort that keeps getting bigger and bigger.

The status of Michael’s appeals currently sits with the Army Court of Appeals.  They should make a decision on the many legal issues of Michael’s case sometime later this year.

Keep spreading the word about Michael’s case and continue writing letters to your representatives.  And please keep sending Michael cards and letters that ‘Give Him Hope’.  That is a gift that we will be forever indebted to you for.

Proud Parents of 1LT Michael Behenna

Scott and Vicki Behenna

www.DefendMichael.com

To read nearly four-dozen other posts about Michael, click here.

FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

Islamic Countries Most Dangerous for Christians (Update)

Despite communist North Korea topping the list for the ninth consecutive year, the most dangerous countries in which to practice Christianity are overwhelmingly Islamic ones, according to the annual Open Doors World Watch List.

Of the top 10 countries on the 2011 WWL, eight have Islamic majorities and persecution of Christians has increased in seven of them. They are:

  • Iran, which clamps down on a growing house church movement;
  • Afghanistan, where thousands of believers cluster deep underground;
  • Saudi Arabia, which still refuses to allow any Saudi person to convert to Christianity;
  • Somalia, ruled by bloodthirsty terrorists threatening to kill Christian aid workers who feed Somalia’s starving, impoverished people;
  • Maldives, which mistakenly boasts it is 100 percent Islamic;
  • Yemen with its determination to expel all Christian workers; and
  • Iraq, which saw extremists massacre 58 Christians in a Baghdad cathedral on Oct. 31.

Click to view Top 50.

Of the top 30 countries on the list, only seven have a source other than Islamic extremists as the main persecutors of Christians.

The top 10 in order are North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Maldives, Yemen, Iraq, Uzbekistan and Laos, which has a Communist government. Iraq is new to the top 10 list while Mauritania dropped out, going from No. 8 to No. 13.

The annual World Watch List is compiled by the research department of Open Doors International. It tracks the shifting conditions under which Christians live in 77 societies and then ranks the top 50 where it is hardest to practice the Christian faith.

“Being a Muslim Background Believer or ‘Secret Believer’ in a Muslim-dominated country puts a bulls-eye on the backs of Christians,” said Dr. Carl Moeller, president and CEO of Open Doors USA. “There is either no freedom to believe or little freedom of religion. And as the 2011 World Watch List reflects, the persecution of Christians in these Muslim countries continues to increase.

Asia Noreen

The country with the largest Christian community on the list is Pakistan with more than 5 million believers.  One of those is Asia Noreen who was sentenced to death on a false blasphemy charge, Moeller said.

Pakistani Christians also faced a sharp erosion of their religious liberty with the country leaping from No. 14 to No. 11 on the current list, according to the news release announcing the 2011 list. Twenty-nine Christians were martyred in the reporting period with at least one killing occurring every month. Four Christians were sentenced to long terms in jail for blasphemy against Islam, at least 58 Christians were kidnapped, more than 100 Christians were assaulted and 14 churches and properties were damaged.

Other countries that rose markedly on the new WWL were Afghanistan, up from No. 6 to No. 3, especially in the wake of ugly demonstrations when footage of Muslims being baptized was shown on network television. Dozens of Christians from the tiny Afghan church have had to move due to subsequent death threats, and in August a 10-person medical aid team from a Christian organization was slaughtered.

The year’s grisliest headlines were found in No. 26 Nigeria, however, where a staggering 2,000 Christians lost their lives in riots caused by Muslim extremists in some of the northern states in the country. Tension has been growing for more than a generation in northern Nigeria, and escalated after 1999 when 12 northern states adopted Sharia (strict Islamic law). On Christmas Eve Compass Direct News reported the killing of a Baptist pastor and five other Christians in northern Nigeria. More killings of Christians were also reported in the last two weeks.

Egypt is ranked No. 19 on the WWL and could be a focus of persecution this year as 21 Christians were killed in a bomb blast on New Year’s Day outside the Church of Two Saints in Alexandria.

FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

UPDATE 1/6/11 at 6:33 p.m. Central: Cross-posted at Andrew Breitbart’s BigPeace.com.

Top Three Defense Stories of 2010 Revisited

During 2010, I researched, wrote and published several stories about issues impacting people on the front lines in defense of this country.  I revisit some of those stories below:

MICHAEL BEHENNA

1st Lt. Michael Behenna

On July 31, 2008, Army Ranger 1st. Lt. Michael Behenna was charged with the premeditated murder of Ali Mansur, a known Al-Qaeda agent operating near Albu Toma, an area north of Baghdad.  Seven months later, the leader of the 18-member Delta Company, 5th platoon of the Army’s 101st Airborne Infantry Division was convicted of unpremeditated murder and sentenced to 25 years confinement at Fort Leavenworth.  Though his sentence has been reduced to 15 years, Behenna remains behind bars for a killing that should have been deemed self-defense.

A native Oklahoman like yours truly, Behenna was the subject of two-dozen posts on this blog during 2010.  Click here to read the most-recent one.

KELLY A. STEWART

SFC Kelly A. Stewart

On Nov. 7, 2008, Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart’s life turned upside down after a German woman accused him, among other things, of raping and kidnapping her two and a half months earlier during a one-night stand that ended in his hotel room in Sindelfingen, Germany.  Nine months later, he found himself convicted on multiple charges — including kidnapping, forcible sodomy and aggravated sexual assault of a woman — based almost entirely on the testimony of his accuser.

Along with being sentenced to eight years confinement — later reduce to three — at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the combat veteran and Bronze Star recipient was reduced in rank to E-1, stripped of all pay and allowances and recommended for dishonorable discharge upon release.

Click here to read my Dec. 22 post in which I announced that Stewart’s story is the subject of my soon-to-be-published book, Three Days in August.

THE CLAPPER MEMO

Detainees at Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.

On April 9, 2008, I read an article about the Army’s deployment of portable polygraph devices into combat zones and published a lighthearted post about the possibility of citizens using the devices on candidates for public office.  A year later, I decided to find out how well the devices performed for the Army.

When officials at the Pentagon stonewalled me during my search for answers, I put on my investigative reporter hat and discovered the existence of an alternative to the polygraph that is being kept from troops on the front lines of combat in the Middle East, Southwest Asia, along our nation’s southern border and at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.

To date, I’ve interviewed dozens of people and uncovered enough material to write more than three-dozen posts and, in the not-too-distant future, publish a second book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

Click here to read my Dec. 7 post featuring an exclusive interview with a Special Forces soldier who used the non-polygraph technology to conduct some 500 interrogations of enemy combatants and third country nationals in Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar during the past decade.

Click here to read my Dec. 28 post detailing how Congress is leading Customs and Border Patrol down the same wrong path as DoD when it comes to interrogation equipment.

Rest assured, I’ll report more stories like the ones above during 2011.

UPDATES:  The working titles of the books mentioned above changed and have been updated above.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you enjoy this blog and want to help keep reading stories like the ones highlighted above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right.  Thanks in advance for your support! Have a wonderful 2011!

Convicted Army Officer Denied Clemency (Update)

EDITOR’S NOTE: On July 31, 2008, Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna was charged with the premeditated murder of Ali Mansur, a known Al-Qaeda agent operating near Albu Toma, an area north of Baghdad.  Seven months later, the leader of the 18-member Delta Company, 5th platoon of the Army 101st Airborne Infantry Division was convicted of unpremeditated murder and sentenced to 25 years confinement at Fort Leavenworth.  Though his sentence has been reduced to 15 years, Behenna remains behind bars for a killing that should have been deemed self-defense.  Today, I share the latest update from Michael’s parents, Scott and Vicki Behenna:

To the thousands of Michael Supporters,

God bless each of you.  We have been in this fight together for the past two years and your encouragement and support has been the driving force behind all we have been able to accomplish.  Last year, the Clemency Board gave Michael a reduction of 5 years off his 20 year sentence.  On December 2nd we again pleaded Michael’s case before the Army Clemency Board.  We pointed out to them that Michael’s sentence was 50% larger than the highest sentence given to any soldier convicted of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone.  We also addressed Michael’s unblemished record in prison for the past two years, his many accomplishments while incarcerated, and his unblemished civilian record. We stressed that he was not a threat to anyone and offered many letters of reference including those from the Governor of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Attorney General, Law Enforcement Agency Heads, and all of the supporters who took the time to write letters of support for Michael.  In addition, the entire Oklahoma Congressional Delegation offered their support for Michael’s clemency. We also had three letters of immediate employment for Michael upon his release.  After our arguments to the Clemency Board, the Board had no additional uncompleted factors for Michael, and the Chairman of the Clemency Board stated that Michael had “turned the corner.”  Unfortunately, on December 22nd, Michael was notified that all of our efforts fell on deaf ears and he was denied even ONE day of clemency by the Clemency Board and the Secretary of the Army John McHugh.  We have no idea why they denied Michael’s clemency request and can only surmise that the Secretary of the Army desires Michael to spend a substantial amount of time in prison.

Michael’s Appeal Hearing before the Army Appeal Court took place on December 9th in Washington, DC and was well attended by Michael’s family and a courtroom full of supporters who drove many hours to attend the hearing.  In the Appeal’s Hearing the Army seemed to be taking a new position on the facts of the case.  During Michael’s trial in February 2009 the crux of the entire case revolved around whether Ali Mansur was sitting and executed or standing and reaching for Michael’s gun.  The Army prosecutor’s theory was that Michael executed Mansur while Mansur sat on a rock in a culvert.  Michael’s testimony was that he was questioning Mansur in the culvert when Mansur stood up and lunged for his weapon.  The Army prosecutors claimed Michael’s testimony was “impossible” and “self-serving” despite all the forensic evidence supporting Michael’s version (including their own expert witness who they sent home rather than have testify.)  During the appeal’s hearing the Army seemed to back away from its original theory stating that even if Mansur was standing and reaching for Michael’s weapon Michael would still be guilty of murder because he lost his right to defend himself by pointing a loaded gun at Mansur.   Telling a soldier that they lost their right to defend themselves in a war zone….against a known terrorist… is just plain crazy talk by people who have never been in harm’s way.  It reinforces the point made by a newly elected Congressman who said that soldiers have to watch their back against JAG officers even more than an enemy that is trying to kill them.  But the most disappointing thing we learned at the hearing was that a decision on Michael’s appeal could take as long as 15 months.

I promise you as we have promised Michael:  we will never cease fighting for Michael’s freedom no matter how high or how hard the climb.  When we spoke to Michael this week he wanted us to wish each of you a blessed Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year; and to let you know his spirit is as strong as ever because of all YOUR support – for that, we Thank You!

We appreciate the many letters to Michael inspiring him to fight through this ordeal.  We encourage you to continue to write to him with your kind words of support (his prison address can be found on the website, DefendMichael.com.)  Also please continue to write to your Congressmen and Senators to ensure that they are aware of your feelings about our government treating its enemies better than we treat our bravest heroes.

Here are some articles by two writers who attended the Appellate Hearing:

DianaWest.net

NewsOK.com

Peace to you and your families,

Scott & Vicki Behenna

www.DefendMichael.com

To learn more about Michael’s story, read the three-dozen posts I’ve written about him during the past 18 months or download the unofficial brochure about his case (right) that is current as of March 2010.

UPDATE 12/26/10 at 3:35 p.m. Central: Cross-posted at Andrew Breitbart’s BigPeace.com.

Soldier’s Parents Offer Update on Clemency Hearing (Update)

EDITOR’S NOTE: One week ago, I shared news about two Army panels getting ready to review the case of 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, the Army Ranger convicted of unpremeditated murder in the death of Ali Mansur, a known Al-Qaeda agent operating near Albu Toma, an area north of Baghdad.  Today, I share an update from Scott and Vicki Behenna, the parents of this brave warrior:

1st Lt. Michael Behenna

Merry Christmas to all Michael Behenna Supporters,

We wanted to give everyone an update regarding Michael’s clemency hearing which was held on December 2nd in Washington D.C.  The Army Clemency Board gave us ample time to discuss Michael’s case.  They seemed genuinely interested in Michael’s story as well as the mitigating circumstances of his case. The Board asked relevant questions which led us to believe they not only knew the narrative, but also were concerned about Michael’s future.

Hearing from Michael’s parents as well as his girlfriend Shannon, the Clemency Board listened to us for almost 50 minutes.  We asked the Board to either suspend the rest of Michael’s sentence or to significantly reduce it.  Michel’s sentence for unpremeditated murder is now at 15 years; which is still 50% higher than any other combat related unpremeditated murder sentence.  In other cases the sentences handed out ranged from 1 to 10 years.  We expect to hear a decision from the Army Clemency Board in 1 to 2 weeks.

Next up is the long awaited appeal of Michael’s conviction.  The oral arguments will be heard this Thursday, December 9th, at 10am at the Army Court of Appeals, 901 N. Stuart, Arlington, Virginia.  The hearing is open to the public and if you are in the area we would love to have your support.  The Hearing is expected to last about one hour. If you cannot attend, we would just ask that you say a prayer for a good outcome.  It is this court that we hope will finally reverse Michael’s conviction and set him free.  We will let you know how it went in our next newsletter.

At this point it would take a miracle to prevent Michael from spending another Christmas in prison.  But we count it among our many blessings that we will be able to spend Christmas with our son in the visitation room.  We have much to be grateful for as we head into 2011.  The support you have given to Michael and to our family has truly been a gift from God.  Michael’s story has continued to grow exponentially as has all the stories of the Leavenworth 10.  Please keep the letters coming for all these brave American soldiers.

Finally, here is a NewsOK.com video that discusses what we covered in the Clemency Hearing.

We want to wish each of you a wonderful Merry Christmas.  Bless you and thank you for all your support.

Scott & Vicki Behenna
www.DefendMichael.com

Stay tuned to this blog for further news from the clemency board and from the appeals process.  Until then, be sure to read the more than 40 posts I’ve written and published about Michael Behenna’s case, click here.

UPDATE 12/22/10 at 5:22 p.m. Central: According to a NewsOK.com report today, the Army Clemency and Parole Board denied Behenna’s Dec. 2 request for clemency.

Army Panels to Review Case of Michael Behenna

1st Lt. Michael Behenna

On July 31, 2008, Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna was charged with the premeditated murder of Ali Mansur, a known Al-Qaeda agent operating near Albu Toma, an area north of Baghdad.  Seven months later, the leader of the 18-member Delta Company, 5th Platoon of the Army 101st Airborne Infantry Division was convicted of unpremeditated murder and sentenced to 25 years confinement at Fort Leavenworth.  Today, after having his sentenced reduced to 15 years, he faces perhaps the two most important days of his life.

Two Army panels in Washington, D.C., will review Behenna’s murder conviction during the next 10 days:  On Dec. 2, his case will be the subject of a clemency hearing; and, on Dec. 9, it will be the subject of an appellate hearing during which oral arguments for his appeal will be heard.

To learn more:

Read “The Michael Behenna Story (pdf)” by Carrie Fatigante;

Read more than 40 posts I’ve written and published about Behenna; and

Visit DefendMichael.com for the most up-to-date information about Michael’s case.

See also: A local television news report on the story.