Saturday, August 17, 2013
Did you know?
Instructing people in ways and methods to defeat a polygraph is an illegal activity, in a roundabout way.
The undercover stings are being cited as the latest examples of the Obama administration’s emphasis on rooting out “insider threats,” a catchall phrase meant to describe employees who might become spies, leak to the news media, commit crimes or become corrupted in some way.Voodoo justice would get along very well with the voodoo economics we have endured these last 30 years.
The federal government previously treated such instructors only as nuisances, partly because the polygraph-beating techniques are unproven. Instructors have openly advertised and discussed their techniques online, in books and on national television. As many as 30 people or businesses across the country claim in Web advertisements that they can teach someone how to beat a polygraph test, according to U.S. government estimates.
In the last year, authorities have launched stings targeting Doug Williams, a former Oklahoma City police polygrapher, and Chad Dixon, an Indiana man who’s said to have been inspired by Williams’ book on the techniques, people who are familiar with the investigation told McClatchy. Dixon has pleaded guilty to federal charges of obstructing an agency proceeding and wire fraud. Prosecutors have indicated that they plan to ask a federal judge to sentence Dixon to two years in prison. Williams declined to comment other than to say he’s done nothing wrong.
While legal experts agree that authorities could pursue the prosecution, some accused the government of overreaching in the name of national security.
The federal government polygraphs about 70,000 people a year for security clearances and jobs, but most courts won’t allow polygraph results to be submitted as evidence, citing the machines’ unreliability. Scientists question whether polygraphers can identify liars by interpreting measurements of blood pressure, sweat activity and respiration. Researchers say the polygraph-beating techniques can’t be detected with certainty, either.
Citing the scientific skepticism, one attorney compared the prosecution of polygraph instructors to indicting someone for practicing voodoo.
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