Tag Archives: vetting technology

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.

Dr. Ben Carson Raises Good Question About Syrian Refugees

I’m not ready to cast my vote for Dr. Ben Carson, but I applaud the Republican presidential candidate. On Monday night, the retired neurosurgeon from Maryland raised the same question I raised earlier the same day — How Will We Screen Out Terrorists Among Syrian Refugees?

Raised during an interview with CNN’s John Berman Monday, Dr. Carson’s concerns came, much like mine did, less than 48 hours after President Barack Obama announced the United States will welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees for resettlement over the next 12 months. Now, I’m left wondering if he read the article I published yesterday. But I digress. UPDATE 9/16/2015 at 4:01 p.m. Central: It turns out that the president is going to allow 10,000 more than originally planned. For details, see this Bloomberg report published today.

If you have a close or direct connection to Dr. Carson’s campaign team, please let me know. I’d love to send him a copy of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, or meet with members of his team to bring them up to date on the proven vetting technology discussed in the book.

The technology discussed in The Clapper Memo was proven highly accurate and effective in places like Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq before it was unceremoniously banned by the powers that be inside the Department of Defense, including James R. Clapper Jr., the man now serving as director of National Intelligence. It’s now being used by more state and local law enforcement agencies than any other, including polygraph. And it should must be used on every prospective refugee trying to enter the country, regardless of their country of origin.

Hope to hear from someone in the Carson Camp soon!

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.

Preventable ‘Green-on-Blue’ Attack Costs Two American Lives

Two U.S. Airmen were killed early Thursday in Afghanistan in what appears to have been another “Green-on-Blue (a.k.a., ‘Insider’)” attack at Camp Antonik in Helmand province. According to an Air Force news release, Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members returned fire and killed the shooters.

"Green-on-Blue" Casualties: Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31.

“Green-on-Blue” Casualties: Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31.

The attack on the special tactics experts came three years and 17 days after three Marines, Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson, Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley Jr. and Cpl. Richard Rivera Jr., died as a result of a similar attack at Forward Operating Base Delhi. And it comes as only the most recent attack among dozens of attacks over the years that have resulted in hundreds of American and coalition casualties, including at least 150 dead and 186 wounded.

Believing they had been systematically misled about the death of their loved one at the hands of an Afghan “ally” during the days and weeks following the attack, family members of Lance Corporal Buckley filed a lawsuit against DoD seeking only information, not money. The complaint, according to a Washington Post report, was filed Oct. 16, 2014, in U.S. District Court in New York, and named the Department of Defense, the Navy Department and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service as defendants. In addition, it named Gen. James F. Amos, the now-retired commandant of the Marine Corps as defendants. The lawsuit is still active, according to Lance Corporal Buckley’s aunt, MaryLiz Grossetto, whom I contacted today by phone.

News of the lawsuit brought back memories of Grossetto’s response to a question — Should families of U.S. Soldiers be able to sue Department of Defense? — I raised Aug. 23, 2013, and posted on the Facebook page dedicated to her 21-year-old nephew who was killed during a “Green-on-Blue” (a.k.a., “Insider”) attack in Afghanistan Aug. 10, 2012.

Click on image above to read article.

Click on image above to read article.

Excerpts from her response appear below with only minor edits:

Bob, if you had asked anyone in my family that question a year ago I’m pretty sure the answer would have been “NO.”

What a difference a year makes!

A year ago, I would have thought, “God forbid something happens, that’s the risk you were willing to take.”

Of course, a year ago I was under the mistaken impression that this country was doing all it could to protect & provide for our military. Sadly, today I know that is not the case. This administration is more concerned with how the Afghans will perceive things than making sure our own men are as safe as possible.

Having learned a lot during the first year after her nephew’s death, Grossetto asked and answered some pointed questions late in her response:

Did we take measures to ensure our military would be safe? Did we order our men to carry loaded weapons at all times? Did we provide “Guardian Angels” to watch over our soldiers when they were most vulnerable? NO! WHY? Because we were too busy handing out pamphlets & ordering our soldiers to attend “culture & sensitivity training” so our heroes would not “offend” Afghans.

Did we use the best, most advanced equipment when it came to vetting these Afghan soldiers / police? NO!

Have we thoroughly investigated what happened to Extortion 17? NO!

Have we investigated & spoken the truth about Benghazi? NO!

Grossetto concluded her response this way:

So, in answer to your question, I guess we should start suing. Maybe that will help this administration get it’s priorities in order! Until Then, God Help Us All!

After reading my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, Grossetto recognized how I had connected the dots between three memos — including one issued by James R. Clapper Jr., now the nation’s top intelligence official — and the toll from Green-on-Blue attacks like the one that killed her nephew. In addition, she offered the following endorsement of my book:

“Read this book & you will see how our government has for many, many years deprived our military of the best possible tool for vetting & weeding out the enemy.”MaryLiz Grossetto.

Grossetto’s endorsement joined those of five others, including a former U.S. Navy SEALs commander, a former U.S. Army general, the parents of a member of the U.S. Navy’s SEAL TEAM SIX and the man who served as chief investigative counsel during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Read their conclusions about the book here.

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

To understand everything I’ve uncovered, including details about how “Green-on-Blue” attacks can be prevented, order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

SEE ALSO:

Did Pentagon Do Enough to Prevent ‘Green-on-Blue’ Attacks? Questions Remain on Third Anniversary of Deadly Attack;

News About Lawsuit Filed By Marine’s Family Gains Traction;

Veteran Interrogator’s Words Strike Chord With Author;

Family Members of Fallen Marine File Lawsuit Against DoD.; and

DoD Still Keeping Best Vetting Technology From Warfighters.

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.

DoD Still Keeping Best Vetting Technology From Warfighters

I’ve asked a lot of questions in recent years about the measures being employed to stop so-called “Green-on-Blue” attacks by members of the Afghan National Security Force against the U.S. and coalition personnel.  Two years ago today, I concluded that some — if not all — of the answers I had received from official U.S. and coalition spokespersons in Afghanistan were simply not true. Today, Defense Department leaders are keeping the best vetting technology on the market out of the hands of our nation’s warfighters.

TCM_Bailey_Endorsement

Click image above to learn more about the book and see who has endorsed it.

My conclusion stemmed from what I read in the first paragraph of TIME/World reporter John Wendle’s article published Sept. 4, 2012:

Alam Gul, a potential Afghan Local Police (ALP) recruit sat cross-legged on a mat outside the unit’s crumbling, mud-brick headquarters in the village of Tabin, in Kandahar’s restive Arghandab district, alternately looking at his hands and at the sky as he answered a series of questions.  Two ALP members sat watching nearby, while others washed motorbikes or lounged in the sun.  The U.S. Army specialist and staff sergeant in charge of the interview were getting increasingly frustrated with the young man.

The words in the final sentence of that paragraph revealed what the reporter interpreted was happening before his eyes.  At the same time, they ran counter to everything I had been told since April 4, 2012.

After I asked Army Lt. Colonel Jimmie E. Cummings about the process via which ANSF members are being vetted prior to working alongside U.S. and coalition forces, the International Security Assistance Force public affairs officer told me via email that “ISAF or U.S. are not responsible for vetting Afghans for either the Afghan National Army or Police. The Afghans use a 8-step process in vetting their candidates.”

Responding to similar questions July 4, Colonel Cummings reassured me nothing had changed and that Afghans were still in charge:

“We (ISAF) have today, just as we discussed back in April, advise the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in assisting them to develop improvements to the overall vetting and recruitment process for the ANSF. The 8-step vetting process, which we have discussed in the past, is the result of our advising on this issue. Just like everything else that we (ISAF) advise on in Afghanistan, it is an ongoing and continuous process. We continually advise our Afghan partners on ways to improve processes. Again, the Afghans have the lead and are responsible for vetting their recruits into their security forces.”

On Aug. 23, Colonel Cummings’ replacement in Afghanistan, Air Force Maj. Lori Hodge, confirmed again via email that Afghans were in charge of vetting Afghans:

“In response to your question on the vetting procedures adopted by the Afghans, the Afghan National Security Force is working hard to make their vetting processes more robust.”

As examples of the measures being taken, the major listed the following:

The ANSF introduced re-vetting procedures for Afghan National Army soldiers returning from leave;

• The ANSF outlawed the sale of uniforms; and

• The ANSF established an anonymous reporting system.

Further, the major explained that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had issued a presidential decree which mandates that Afghan National Army recruits be interviewed by a four-person council consisting of officials from the Ministries of Defense and Interior as well as from the Afghan National Directorate of Security and medical department officials.

In closing, Major Hodge reiterated what I had been told by her predecessor and referred me to the Afghan MoD for further information on vetting procedures:

“While we advise our Afghan counterparts, the vetting of recruits and personnel is an Afghan-led and -owned process and they would be the appropriate authorities to discuss it in more detail.”

Maybe Wendle misinterpreted what was taking place before his eyes.  But I doubt it.

One thing I’m certain about is that Department of Defense leaders are still doing everything they can to keep the best vetting technology available out of the hands of our warfighters.

Be sure to tune in to Freedom 560 with Ken Clark Thursday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Central Time. I’ll be talking with host Ken Clark about “Green-on-Blue” attacks, Rules of Engagement and other hot topics — many of which I tackle in my book, The Clapper Memo.  More details here.

To learn more about the The Clapper Memo and read some of the endorsements it has received, click here. To order a copy, click here.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.