Tag Archives: immigration

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!

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Click on image above to order Bob's books.

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Donald Trump: A Watershed Moment in History

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a guest post by Paul R. Hollrah, a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico and retired corporate government relations executive whose life experience includes having served two terms as a member of the Electoral College. Even if you disagree with him, this piece will make you think long and hard.

Donald J. Trump

Donald J. Trump

After weeks of agonizing by establishment Republicans and the mainstream media… agonizing over the question of what a bull-in-the-China-shop candidate like Donald Trump is doing among the largest-ever field of well-qualified Republican presidential candidates… Trump has announced a simple, straightforward plan for immigration reform, a plan that could represent a “watershed moment” in U.S. history.  The Trump Plan is based on three core principles:

1. That the U.S.-Mexican border must be secured by building a wall or a fence along the entirety of our southern border,

2. That all immigration laws currently on the books must be fully and rigidly enforced, and

3. That the number one priority for any future immigration plan must be based on what is in the best cultural and economic interests of the American people… and nothing else.

As part of his immigration plan, Trump calls for a nationwide system to identify and locate all illegal aliens… those who have entered the country illegally, as well as those who’ve entered legally and overstayed their visas.  To accomplish that end, Trump proposes tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

What he suggests is precisely what conservatives and Republicans have been promoting ever since mass illegal immigration began.  However, Trump departs from Republican orthodoxy by taking a totally no-nonsense approach to the problem of the so-called “anchor babies,” defined as infants born to pregnant foreign women who come to the Unites States, illegally, just to insure that their babies can acquire U.S. citizenship by being born on American soil.

The purpose of the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, was to grant U.S. citizenship to former slaves and their children who were born on U.S. soil.  The authors of the amendment could never have conceived of a time when pregnant women would travel great distances from foreign lands for the sole purpose of taking advantage of the 14th Amendment.  The “anchor baby” concept has created an entire underclass of undocumented aliens who are allowed to remain in the country under an unwritten law that protects families from being separated and prevents infants with U.S. citizenship from being forcibly deported along with their illegal alien parents.  Trump, who says what conservatives and Republicans have always feared to say, merely scoffs at suggestions that to deport all illegal aliens would separate foreign parents from their minor children.  In an Aug. 16 appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he made his position on “anchor babies” crystal clear, saying, “We have to keep the families together, but they have to go.”

He also ventures outside Republican orthodoxy by taking a no-nonsense approach to the status of Obama’s so-called “Dreamers” -– non-citizens who were brought to the United States illegally as children, who’ve grown up here, who’ve been educated here, and who would be political and cultural strangers in the native lands of their parents.  He expresses no desire to separate “Dreamers” from their illegal alien parents by allowing them to remain in the United States while their parents are deported.  Instead, he insists that Obama’s executive order shielding the “Dreamers” from deportation must be rescinded.

So what is it about Trump’s immigration reform plan that would qualify it as a “watershed moment” in American history?  Its significance is not that it has a chance of being enacted and fully implemented; as a nation we are still far too politically correct and we have far too many “squeaky wheels” among liberals and Hispanic activists to accomplish that anytime soon.  No, the significance of Trump’s immigration reform proposal is much more subtle.  Just as Rush Limbaugh’s major contribution to our national persona is not that he has caused elections to be won or lost, but that he has caused millions of politically uncommitted Americans to understand where they fit in the political spectrum, Trump’s straightforward approach to solving the illegal immigration problem has made it okay for previously hesitant Americans to openly agree with his no-nonsense approach.  It is what most Americans have always believed, but were afraid to put into words for fear that they would be branded as racists or xenophobes.

The point is, Americans are fair and reasonable people.  Scratch almost any American and you’ll find a person who would fully expect to be deported from a foreign country where they were living illegally.  So why would they not expect foreigners living in the United States illegally to react in the same way?  In short, it’s time we expected our uninvited guests to act like grownups, and Trump’s no-nonsense approach to the problem of illegal immigration gives us all license to finally put those expectations into words.

But more importantly, his courageous stance on illegal immigration also provides us with the opportunity to bring other critically important issues to the fore… issues that, until now, have been stuck in quagmires of constitutional uncertainties and/or political correctness.  Of these, none are more important than the unrelenting invasion of radicalized Muslims and the chilling threat of Islamic terrorism inside our own borders.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, “Islamists arrive in the United States despising the country and all it represents, intending to make converts, exploit the freedoms and rights granted them, and build a movement that will effect basic changes in the country’s way of life and its government.  The superpower status of the United States makes it especially attractive to those who wish to change the world order; what better place to start?  Islamists do not accept the United States as it is but want to change it into a majority Muslim country where the Qur’an replaces the Constitution.”

The United States has already provided refugee status for more Muslims than all the other nations in the world combined.  Yet, in spite of that insanity, the Obama administration has recently announced that we are prepared to receive an additional 70,000 unvetted Muslim refugees, including many with strong ties to ISIS and al-Qaeda.  Some come seeking safety, some come seeking a better life, but many others come in the hope of doing us great harm.

In order to neutralize and reverse radical Islam’s contribution to the cultural infestation of the United States, we must attack the problem of Muslim immigration with the same level of courage with which Donald Trump approaches illegal immigration.  In short, we should not hesitate to confront Muslim infiltration by enacting new legislation, tailoring the language of the Communist Control Act of 1954 to read as follows:

SEC. 1.  PREAMBLE.  The Congress hereby finds and declares that certain organizations exist within our borders which, although purporting to be political or religious in nature, are in fact instrumentalities of foreign political or religious entities or ideologies whose purpose it is to overthrow the Government of the United States by any available means, including force and violence.  Such organizations operate as authoritarian dictatorships within our borders, demanding for themselves the rights and privileges generally accorded to all political parties and religious denominations, but denying to all others the liberties guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution.

SEC. 2. PROSCRIBED ORGANIZATIONS.  Any political or religious organization as described herein, or any successors or affiliates of such organizations, regardless of the assumed name, whose object or purpose is to overthrow the government of the United States by force or violence, or the government of any State, Territory, District, possession, or political subdivision thereof, are not entitled to any of the rights, privileges, and immunities attendant upon legal bodies created under the jurisdiction of the laws of the United States or its political subdivisions; and whatever rights, privileges, and immunities heretofore granted to said religious or political organizations, or any subsidiary or affiliate organizations, by reason of the laws of the United States or any political subdivision thereof, are hereby rescinded:  Provided that nothing in this section shall be construed as amending the Internal Security Act of 1950, as amended.

With that statute on the books, making the practice or the promotion of Islamic jihad illegal, we can make it very uncomfortable for radical Islamists.  We can make their presence in our country so unpleasant that they will long for a return to whatever hellhole they and their predecessors crawled out of, ccausing them to self-repatriate in increasingly large numbers.  With eyes and ears planted in every mosque and every Muslim cultural center in America, radical Islamists could be readily identified and FBI agents could quickly make arrests.

American policymakers could take a lesson from the Slovakians.  When asked by United Nations officials to accept “their share” of Muslim refugees, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Ivan Metic, replied, “We could take 800 Muslims, but we don’t have any mosques in Slovakia so how can Muslims be integrated if they are not going to like it here?”  Clearly, what Metic was saying is that building permits for mosques might be very difficult to obtain in Slovakia.  Officials in the United States and other western nations should learn to be equally “welcoming” to Islamists.

What Donald Trump’s straightforward no-nonsense approach has done is to finally make it acceptable to debate some of our major national problems by putting political correctness behind us.  When all is said and done, Trump may not be electable.  However, if his presence in the race ultimately makes it permissible for us to deal with racial discord, immigration reform, and the threat of radical Islam without fear of being branded racist, Islamophobic, xenophobic, or politically incorrect, his candidacy will truly be seen as a “watershed moment” in U.S. history.

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.

Does String of Incidents Show Donald Trump Right?

Evidence of the Obama Administration’s failure to secure our nation’s borders has surfaced in no fewer than three highly-publicized incidents involving illegal immigrants who, after being deported as many as five times, stand linked to the deaths of innocent Americans in 2015. Perhaps, Donald Trump is right, and the United States does have an immigration problem.

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore

The first incident resulted in back-to-back murders the morning of January 31. Suspected of the murders is 31-year-old Victor Manuel Reyes, a man who was sentenced to 5 years for drug possession in 2010, according to Harris County, Texas, court records. Officials also said an immigration hold had been placed on Reyes, because he was here illegally.

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The second incident took place June 20 and resulted in the death of Bob Barry Jr., 58, a beloved sportscaster in Oklahoma. Multiple news reports reveal Gustavo Castillo Gutierrez, 26, was charged with causing an accident without a valid driver’s license and drug possession on Tuesday. In addition, authorities confirmed Gutierrez had previously been deported three times.

The most-recent incident took place in San Francisco during the Independence Day weekend and resulted in the fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle, 32. Accused of the seemingly-random murder is 45-year-old Francisco Sanchez, a man who was reportedly deported five times prior to the incident after settling in the “sanctuary city” by the bay.

Unfortunately, few members of Congress seem interested in immigration reforms and border security changes that might prevent atrocities like those outlined above. Same goes for the White House where President Barack Obama and his lackeys have blood on their hands.

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.