Tag Archives: interrogation technology

CURTAIN CALL: Report Marks End of 10-Year Online Journey; Books Remain on Sale at Amazon With More to Follow

In contrast to my 2014 year-in-review piece in which I lamented the disappearance of more than 5,000 articles written and published on my site since October 2006, I’m sharing no news this year about suspected cyberattacks and other forms of online skulduggery. Instead, after writing and publishing more than 300 additional articles during the past 18 months, it’s time to say goodbye. Yes, this is the final curtain call on my 10-year career as an online purveyor of opinions, investigative reports and an occasional dose of humor.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Why the curtain call? Because I recently accepted a position with a Fortune 500 company and, due to time constraints, am no longer able to continue this endeavor. I must say, however, that it’s been an interesting ride since the days when my website was known as “BMW: The Ultimate Blogging Machine” and ranked #82 among the world’s Top 100 Conservative Blogs.

Original caricature by David Donar.

My cartoonist friend, David Donar, drew this for my use as the “Ultimate Blogging Machine.”

As the virtual fabric of this curtain call, I’d like to challenge other journalists — including those “citizen” journalists so often looked down upon by many of my college journalism-school brethren — to pick up the torch and keep the sunlight of disinfectant shining on a handful of topics (below) that deserve continued attention:

• THE PENTAGON’S SEXUAL ASSAULT WITCH HUNT

Click on graphic above to order a copy of Three Days In August by Bob McCarty.

Click on graphic above to order a copy of Three Days In August by Bob McCarty.

Since the October 2011 release of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, I’ve been contacted by hundreds of individuals in search of help after they or a loved one found themselves falsely accused of crimes — usually involving members of the opposite sex — and, too often, convicted of those crimes in the military justice system. The case I’ve followed most closely since late August involves Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin and will be, if I can possibly make it happen, the subject of my next book. It’s a big “IF” due to the career change, but I hope to make it happen nonetheless. My 49-minute Skype interview with Major Martin offers an overview of the people and allegations involved in this case prior to multiple dead bodies being discovered only a week ahead of the date on which the major’s court-martial was set to begin. It has now been pushed back to an as-yet-undetermined date in March 2016.

• INTERROGATION TECHNOLOGY

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.

In April 2008, I wrote a short piece about the Pentagon’s plan to deploy portable polygraph technology to war zones, purportedly for use in interrogating terror suspects and others whose information might be valuable to our war effort. Twelve months later, I asked Pentagon officials a handful of questions about how well the portable polygraphs had worked during their first year of use. Unsatisfied with the answers I received which seemed to indicate the portable polygraph technology had failed miserably, I launched an investigation that would last more than four years and result in learning about an extremely accurate and effective interrogation technology that Department of Defense leaders had yanked from the “toolkits” of our warfighters.

Along the way, I interviewed men who had used that technology with much success. Among them, Defense Intelligence Agency contractors who interrogated members of Saddam Hussein’s “Deck of Cards” as well as al-Qaeda and Taliban terror suspects and Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs who had used that technology with much success on the battlefield. In addition, I obtained never-before-published copies of letters and reports written by men who had used that technology with much success to interrogate detainees at Guantanamo Bay during the early days of the Global War On Terror. In May 2013, I shared the results of my investigation in the form of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo.

• The Oklahoma City Bombing Trial in Salt Lake City

Though many Americans don’t even realize it’s taking place, I’ve been writing about an Oklahoma City Bombing trial that’s been slogging its way through a federal court in Salt Lake City as part of a 19-year (so far) search for the truth. My most recent piece about the trial appeared under the July 1 headline, Pre-Blast Videotapes FBI Claims ‘Might Have Been Misfiled’ Remain at Center of Ongoing Oklahoma City Bombing Trial. Other recent pieces covered topics such as allegations of FBI witness tampering and the judge’s threat to slap FBI agents with contempt of court charges. In the interest of time and understanding what’s at stake, I recommend you watch this chilling one-hour video before you read my other posts about the Oklahoma City Bombing Trial.

Radiation Contamination in the St. Louis Area

In January 2012, I wrote my first report about radioactive waste issues in the St. Louis area. It had to do with a report about cancer concerns related to the Weldon Spring Site in St. Charles County, Mo., the county just west and northwest of St. Louis County (Mo.). Three years later, I offered an update under the headline, New Weldon Spring Cancer Report Due Out Early 2016. Sadly, state health department officials have refused to provide answers to my latest queries. As a result, the final word remains to be written on this subject.

There are, of course, many more topics I’d like to highlight, but I’ll let you peruse them via the drop-down menu of categories located just below the “SEARCH” block in the right sidebar.

Before closing, allow me to suggest you show any appreciation you might have for my decade of work by purchasing copies of my books as Christmas gifts for the readers in your life:

• Chronicling the life story and wrongful prosecution of an elite Army Green Beret, Three Days In August received endorsements from Pamela Gellar of Atlas Shrugs and Richard Miniter, New York Times’ best selling author and investigative reporter. For more details about the book, visit http://ThreeDaysInAugust.com.

• To read the list of high-power endorsements of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, visit http://TheClapperMemo.com.

Click on image above to order book.

Click on image above to order book.

• For pure entertainment value, I recommend you read about FBI Special Agent Joseph L. Wilson and his effort to solve the mystery behind the deaths of thousands of Americans during the Fourth of July weekend. The biggest challenge of his law enforcement career, the investigation becomes personal after Wilson realizes he shares one thing in common with those who died: The National Bet.

To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

Thanks for everything and Merry Christmas to you and yours! It’s been a great ride!

FYI: Because I might write a few more pieces before the end of the year, I’ll leave this as a “Featured Post” until then. And, oh yes, I will keep posting occasional thoughts on my Facebook page.

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.

The Uniformed Military Balked at ‘Enhanced Interrogation’ Because They Had Better Option in Now-Banned Technology

The headline above a recent Stars and Stripes article caught my eye, because it included four words — the uniformed military balked — that became familiar to me as I conducted an exhaustive four-year investigation into the federal government’s use of credibility assessment and interrogation technologies.

Click image above to read article.

Click image above to read article.

Those four words reminded me of the memos issued by three top DoD officials in an attempt to remove one interrogation technology from the toolkits of our nation’s top military and intelligence warfighters. Worth repeating is the fact that it took three memos, because most warfighters simply refused to give up the tool after the first two memos were issued in June 2004 and in 2007. In other words, the uniformed military balked. It was only after a third memo was issued in June 2008 that the technology was finally removed from warfighters’ toolkits.

Some of our nation’s top warfighters described their reactions to the memo-backed efforts to take away one of their most-effective interrogation tools.

A former member of the Navy SEALs, who spoke with me on the condition I not reveal his identity, said the second memo, issued by then-Under Secretary of Defense James R. Clapper Jr., was a contributing factor in his decision to retire from the military much earlier than he could have. He went on to say that the people responsible for efforts to remove that technology from the hands of warfighters “should face charges and do time.”

A former Army Green Beret, who used the now-banned technology to conduct some 500 interrogations of enemy combatants and other detainees, spoke with me under the same condition. He told me he “would testify in front of Congress that this piece of equipment is essential for (Human Intelligence) personnel on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.  If they want to save lives, they’ve got to put this piece of equipment back into that theater. Every unit should have this equipment.”

Why did members of the uniformed military balk at giving up this particular piece of interrogation technology? Because it works far better than any kind of torture or “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

There’s only one place where you’ll find the details about how well this technology worked with detainees at Guantanamo Bay, on members of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle (a.k.a., “The Deck of Cards”) and on members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban — inside the pages of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo.

Click here to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

Click here to read the high-profile endorsements the book has received.

UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 1:25 p.m. Central: Check out the limited-time free-books offer here.

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.  Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Throwback Thursday: Intelligence Agency Spotlights Clapper

Something interesting showed up in my inbox a few minutes after noon today under the headline, Throwback Thursday: DNI Clapper as DIA director.

Click on image above (if you dare) to read full article on DNI website.

Click on image above (if you dare) to read full article on DNI website.

Released by the Defense Intelligence Agency Office of Corporate Communications, this nostalgic piece begins by reminding all of how then-Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr. was sworn in as the DIA’s 11th director Nov. 18, 1991. It ends by noting that Clapper now serves as director of national intelligence. I, however, am more interested in an action Clapper took while serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, before he assumed his present role as our nation’s top intelligence official.

As our nation’s fourth USDI in October 2007, Clapper issued a memo in which he declared the polygraph to be the only credibility assessment technology authorized for use by employees of the Department of Defense. In doing that, according to Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs with whom I spoke during a four-year investigation into the federal government’s use of credibility assessment technologies, he effectively removed the best interrogation technology in existence from warfighters’ toolkits.

To understand the serious implications of Clapper’s directive, read some of the endorsements of the book — including two from retired, high-ranking military officers — that appear near the bottom of this page. To learn even more, order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.