Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Polygraph Makes Headlines for Age, Not Reliability

As the author of The Clapper Memo, a book in which I share findings from my exhaustive four-year investigation of credibility assessment technologies, I subscribe to online alerts for articles in which century-old polygraph technology is mentioned. And, let me tell you, Monday was a banner day! Below, I share what I call “golden nuggets” from three articles that came to my attention.

Click on image above to read Mashable article.

Click on image above to read Mashable article.

According to a Mashable article, Monday marked the 80th anniversary of the first occasion on which the polygraph was used to help bring about a conviction in a U.S. court. Polygraph technology has continued to improve considerably over the years, but still, is thought to be unreliable by some. You can personally buy your own from websites like https://liedetectors-uk.com – What do you think of the technology? Lie detector kits used to be used in court but their use has been discontinued. The question is….

Click on image above to read Bloomberg article.

Click on image above to read Bloomberg article.

Beginning on the same trail, a Bloomberg article by Matt Stroud appears under the headline, Will Lie Detectors Ever Get Their Day In Court Again? The golden nugget appears seven paragraphs into the piece:

“The political and legal argument some make in favor of the polygraph is that it’s very accurate depending on who the examiner is,” says Dr. Judith G. Edersheim, co-director of Harvard’s Center for Law, Brain & Behavior. “But for a scientist, saying it’s examiner-dependent means it’s not reliable.”

Also notable about the Bloomberg piece is Stroud’s inclusion of news about other credibility assessment technologies, including the AVATAR screening system — short for Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time — at the University of Arizona. It’s notable to me, because I devote an entire chapter of The Clapper Memo to the work of Dr. Jay Nunamaker, the man leading the project at the National Center for Border Security and Immigration (a.k.a., “BORDERS”) at the university in Tucson.

Finally, in an editorial published Monday in the Butler Eagle, the newspaper of record in Butler County, Pa., Nic Landon offered applause for Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger and his decision “not to honor the polygraph deal” for a man accused of committing some sort of sexual offense. Though the editorial contains several golden nuggets, one stands as my favorite. It appears in the next-to-last paragraph:

The only current literature I have found supporting the use of the polygraph for purposes of “lie detection” comes from the community of polygraph examiners who, like psychic-detectives, appear to spend their time defending the false claims of magical thinking.

To learn the truth about credibility assessment technologies, including one that’s enjoying widespread use in law enforcement while being kept out of the hands of our nation’s military and intelligence warfighters by top Department of Defense officials, order a copy of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo.

WORTH NOTING: Today, I also came across a piece by Josh Gerstein. Published under the headline, Intelligence agencies tout transparency, it prompted me to add a comment about government transparency. In case Politico opts to moderate my comment out of existence, I share it below for posterity:

TRANSPARENCY? HARDLY! After waiting almost two years for Defense Intelligence Agency officials to respond transparently to my Freedom of Information Act request for copies of unclassified contract documents related to the Department of Defense’s purchase of polygraph equipment since 2000, I finally ran out of resources to continue my pursuit. Why wouldn’t they be transparent with me? Because they know that sharing the information with me would make them look bad. Either way, they still look bad as a result of my four-year investigation into the federal government’s use of credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph. The findings of my investigation appear in The Clapper Memo, my second nonfiction book and a book David P. Schippers said “represents perhaps the most thorough investigative reporting I have encountered in years.” FYI: Schippers served as the U.S. House of Representatives chief investigative counsel during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. I hope you, Mr. Gerstein, will read it before you write your next piece on this topic.

UPDATE 2/4/2015 at 6:37 a.m. Central: A Daily Beast article today includes the following golden nugget quote about the polygraph from Northwestern University Professor Dr. Ken Adler: “The lie detector is essentially used in practice as a way to get people to confess to crimes.”

UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 1:21 p.m. Central: Check out the limited-time free-books offer here.

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Click on image above to order Bob's books.

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Rolling Stone Reporter Boasts ‘Finely Tuned Bullshit Detector’

As an investigative reporter and author, I’ve talked with hundreds of people over the years. Many were politicians with agendas. One had a felony record. Others were experts at determining when people were being deceptive. And then there is journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely who revealed she has a super power!

Charles Johnson at GotNews.com reported today that the Rolling Stone writer, who now faces allegations she fabricated a story about a gang rape at a fraternity house on the University of Virginia campus, told an audience at the University of Pennsylvania she has “a finely tuned bullshit detector and when it goes off I pay close attention because it doesn’t tend to go off without a reason.”

Of course, she added a caveat: “I’m not a person who assumes that everything is bullshit. If something strikes me as being off I tend to question more deeply about that thing.”

Makes me wonder if she has a future as an Army prosecutor like the one involved in the kangaroo court-martial chronicled in my book, Three Days In August, or, better yet, a polygraph examiner like the many spotlighted in my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo.

If you like this article and my other efforts, 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.