Tag Archives: polygraph examiner

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. The golden nugget I took from the piece appeared in the fourth paragraph:

While the technology has improved, polygraph tests are still considered by many to be unreliable forms of evidence.

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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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.

Retired Defense Intelligence Agency Investigator Accuses DoD Polygraph Veteran of Violating Espionage Act of 1917

The folks at Anti-Polygraph.org published a startling claim today related to Dr. Donald Krapohl, a longtime polygraph loyalist whose name appears three times in my book, The Clapper Memo:

TRUE BELIEVER by Scott W Carmichael

TRUE BELIEVER by Scott W Carmichael

Scott W. Carmichael, a recently retired counterintelligence investigator with the Defense Intelligence Agency, has accused Donald Krapohl, Special Assistant to the Chief, National Center for Credibility Assessment (NCCA) and longtime editor of the American Polygraph Association quarterly, Polygraph, of violating the Espionage Act of 1917. In an e-mail message to retired FBI polygraph examiner Robert Drdak dated 3 September 2014, a copy of which was received by AntiPolygraph.org, Carmichael alleges that Krapohl manipulated Drdak in an elaborate scheme to funnel classified information about polygraph countermeasures to the government of Singapore.

Carmichael played a key role in the investigation of Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes, according to the A-P.org, and authored a 2009 book about her case, TRUE BELIEVER: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba’s Master Spy. The claim, in turn, is said to stem from an e-mail exchanged between Carmichael and Robert Drdak, a retired FBI polygraph examiner.

To the non-lawyer in me, who spent four years investigating the federal government’s use of credibility assessment technologies — including the polygraph — and cases like the one involving Montes, this allegation of espionage appears serious no matter which way one looks at it! Does it surprise me? Not one bit.

To understand the seriousness of this allegation and why I’m not surprised by it, read the A-P article, then order a copy of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo. Only after you read my book will you understand the this scandal and who, in addition to Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., is involved.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Award-Winning Polygraph Examiner Blowing Smoke

After reading what Fort Bend County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office Lt. James Fontenot allegedly told a reporter about polygraph countermeasures, I’d love to hear the veteran polygraph examiner explain why the Customs and Border Patrol arrested Chad Dixon for teaching people polygraph countermeasures. In other words, I think he’s blowing smoke.

Polygraph Exam

“I have never met anyone who I felt could beat the polygraph. That stuff online on how to beat a polygraph test does NOT work, these behaviors are easily recognized by a polygraph examiner,” said Lieutenant Fontenot, a man who, according to a Houston Chronicle article published today, recently received the Tim Kennedy Examiner of the Year Award presented by the Texas Association of Law Enforcement Polygraph Investigators for 2014, the top honor for polygraph examiners in the state.

In case you missed it, 34-year-old Dixon was uprooted from his life in Marion, Ind., and sentenced in September 2013 to eight months in prison for teaching polygraph countermeasures Lieutenant Fontenot — a man described as having conduct some 3,000 polygraph examinations — claims do not work.

Why am I so interested in the statement made by this Houston-area polygraph examiner?  Because I conducted an extensive four-year investigation of credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph, and reveal what I uncovered in my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo. And, trust me, what you see on television and in the movies about polygraph exams is chock full of holes.

To learn more about The Clapper Memo, read other posts about the book.

To understand everything I’ve uncovered about the polygraph and its competitors, 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.

CORRECTION: In the original version of this article, I incorrectly listed the FBI instead of CBP as the arresting agency.

It’s Time to Stop Putting ‘Lipstick’ on the Polygraph ‘Pig’

Federal government officials keep putting the proverbial “lipstick” on the “pig” that is the polygraph despite the fact a newer technology — proven far more accurate and effective in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay — is available and being used by more than 1,800 local and state law enforcement agencies.

FBI--Concealed Information Test

The latest effort to improve the appearance of the polygraph appears in an article by Blake McConnell and Timothy J. Weber, Ed.D. — a retired FBI polygraph examiner and a former federal polygraph instructor, respectively — in the Aug. 5 edition of FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin.

Beneath the article’s headline, the authors go to great lengths to describe the differences between the traditional polygraph and this new approach, known as the Concealed Information Test.  What they ignore, however, is the “elephant in the room” — that is, the fact that countermeasures exist to defeat the century-old polygraph technology.

After spending most of four years investigating the federal government’s use of so-called credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph, I challenge anyone who doesn’t believe the polygraph can be defeated by countermeasures to explain how so many federal government employees and contractors have passed periodic polygraph exams conditional with their initial and/or continued employment — usually with high-level security clearances — before going on to commit espionage and/or leak national security secrets — against the United States.

In addition, I challenge anyone to disprove my contention that a turf war has been raging for more than 40 years between polygraph loyalists and challengers to the polygraph who simply want investigators — in the federal military, law enforcement and intelligence communities — to have access to the best tools available.

Before you accept my challenge, I suggest you read the rest of the findings from my investigation. They appear in my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo.

Featuring never-before-published details obtained from top government officials, including individuals who used non-polygraph technology to interrogate members of Saddam Hussein‘s inner circle (i.e., “Deck of Cards”) and detainees at Guantanamo Bay, The Clapper Memo has received rave reviews from people whose names you might recognize (i.e., people who know what it’s like to be in the fight).

To learn more about this turf war and the non-polygraph technology being suppressed by federal government agencies, read more posts about the book. To understand everything I’ve uncovered, order a copy of The Clapper Memo. You’ll be glad you did!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.