Tag Archives: warfighters

FLASHBACK: What Works in Mumbai Might Work in D.C.

EDITOR’S NOTE: While diving into my archives, I came across a piece I wrote and published seven years ago this week. Because direct links to a newspaper report and a public opinion survey cited in the article were “dead,” I replaced them with Wayback Machine links. Considering recent terror events such as the ones in Paris last month and the one in San Bernadino, Calif., yesterday, I think the article remains worth sharing. See if you agree.

Click on image above to view article via Wayback Machine.

Click on image above to view article via Wayback Machine.

After reading a British newspaper report about plans law enforcement officials in Mumbai have to use truth serum on the only Islamic terrorist captured following last week’s attacks, I couldn’t help but think this “narcoanalysis” might come in handy as a tool for cleaning up the mess being being made of this country by our elected officials in Washington, D.C.

Though the use of truth serum is, according to the TimesOnline report, banned in most democracies, I think most Americans would approve an exception as long as it is applied in a bipartisan fashion as follows:

• First in line to have truth serum administered would be President-elect Barack Obama.  He would, of course, set the example for others to follow as he answered questions that required him to tell the truth about where he was born, about his core beliefs and about the plans he has for this country.

• Next up, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).  They would be asked a series of questions aimed at determining, once and for all, whether either is truly smarter than a fifth grader.

• Finally, the other 433 members of Congress — who, as a group, garner an approval rating of only 19 percent — would be given the opportunity to come clean about any skeletons they might have in their closets.  Members who disclose illegal and/or unethical behavior would be given two options:  resign or face prosecution.

For those who think the use of truth serum constitutes a step too radical for the planet’s longest-lasting constitutional republic, I offer a final thought for your consideration:

What’s more damaging to the nation’s long-term interests: An attack by radical Islamic terrorists from some distant land that does millions of dollars in damage and kills a few hundred or a few thousand lives OR the seemingly-endless assault on American citizens — let’s call it “domestic terrorism” — by elected officials who, with each passing year, drift further away from the intent of the nation’s founding fathers? I say the latter.

Now how do we get this ball rolling?  Ideas?

ENDNOTE: At the time I wrote the piece above, I had not yet begun the four-year investigation of the federal government’s use of so-called “credibility assessment technologies” that would result in the publication of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo. If you’re interested in learning about a painless and touch-free tool that has already been used with great success to interrogate detainees at Guantanamo Bay, members of Saddam Hussein’s “Deck of Cards” and members of both al-Qaeda and the Taliban, you should order a copy of the book. Likewise, if you’re interested in learning why the Department of Defense banned the same tool from use by our warfighters, you need to order a copy of the book.

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.

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.

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.