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back to article US nuke boffins rubbish polygraph testing

Lie detectors might work in the movies, but a US congressional report says that when it comes to screening nuclear scientists, you might as well reinstitute the ducking stool. The US Congressional Research Service last month updated a report looking into the use of polygraphs or "lie detectors" in the US government. The report …

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So whose going to tell the Home Secretary it doesn't work?

After all it was only a few months ago that the Home Office proposed to introduce compulsory polygraphing for sex offenders (presumably shortly before making it compulsory for the rest of us on the grounds that 'if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear')

But I don't suppose the fact the whole lie-detector malarkey is ethically, scientifically and technologically dubious will hold them back; if the Home Office starts relying on evidence to implement policy then the remainder of Labour's rabid, right-wing, technopornographic, lorranorda Emperor's New Clothes would evaporate into a puff of wasted public money.

And where would be the fun in that?

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Good morning Mr. Rist.

DOE:

"Good morning Mr. Rist, can I get your first name please?"

TIROR:

"Yes, my name is Tiror."

DOE:

"welcome to the DoE offices, this is just a short meeting to check your suitability, now please... don't mind the men attaching electrodes do your head, or the heavily armed men ready to take you to Guantanamo bay if you should fail this test.."

<short pause>

DOE:

"Are you ready?"

TIROR:

"Yes"

DOE:

"I understand you have a PhD in nuclear engineering, which University was that from please?"

TIROR:

"My degree from The Qaeda Valley university, very good, we do many practical experiments. Excellent mail order degree. Register today get free caesium."

DOE:

"Excellent, and how long did you study there?"

TIROR:

"4 year, many field trips to Pakistan. Much fun."

DOE:

"Good Good. Now, sorry I have to ask you these but its just because of the job you understand... Have you ever wished to harm Americans?"

TIROR:

<pause and frown> No.

DOE:

<looks at polygraph> "Mr Rist?"

TIROR:

"Well, yes. But who hasn’t? Ha Ha! Some people so rude I want to just cut off their heads, you know? Traffic awful, guy crashed into my car on the interstate, I punched him right in the face, just like that. Ha Ha!"

DOE:

"Yes well, truthfully we all want to do that every now and then. Now, could you tell me if you have any links with terrorism"

TIROR:

"Oh yes. Many. My landlord, big terrorist, always shouting to scare young children. He should be locked up"

DOE:

"So you are not tied to Bin Laden in any way?"

TIROR:

"Tied? No no. I tied to your machine, you see? But Bin Laden, no, he very far away".

DOE:

"Finally, Id just like to ask you about your religious background. Could you tell me a little about it please?"

TIROR:

"Oh yas. I love peace. Peace is very good, we should thank God for it. God is great. God is great."

DOE:

"Excuse me?"

TIROR:

"Oh sorry, Ha Ha! I am Christian, but I sing no good so no gospel for me. But I say God is Great!"

DOE:

"Okay thats excellent then, well, this polygraph has shown no problems so here is your Level 5 access codes to the reactor core, and your keys to the waste storage room"

TIROR:

"Thankyou. Thankyou so much. I look most forward to working here. Ha Ha!"

DOE:

"Always good to have another peace loving American".

.....

.....

DOE:

"Thanks for coming. Now if the guards will kindly take Mr. Tiror Rist down the hall to fill out the paperwork we shall look forward to seeing you at work first thing Monday"

TIROR:

"God is Great!"

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amazing !

"Another friend to the polygraph, apparently, is the CIA. The spook agency "cited classified research to support its use of polygraph testing but declined to share its research". Well, it was secret."

Better rephrased as follows:

<bollocks-mode off>

"Errr, ... we issued quite a number of reports along the

last 5 decades, some of them having tremendous impacts

on the US defense, and they were based on polygraph

obtained/deduced intelligence.

So, we're not keen in publicly admitting polygraphs don't

work, due to the understandable embarassment it would cause to us.

</bollocks-mode off>

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Anonymous Coward

Polygraph BS

I had "quickie"professional training in defeating polygraph instruments. My training was provided by the U.S. govt. itself! This so called technology is nothing more than electronic Voodoo that is easily defeated with a little basic knowledge. I have been able to make these instruments report whatever responses I desire. Even a 3rd rate moron can defeat this stuff with 15 minutes of training!

I was even able to convince the examiner that I had a garage stashed full of stolen Russian nuclear suitcase bombs, at least according to his tests.

Blood pressure, galvanic skin response, voice stress, all bullshit!

It's a mind game and nothing more.

It pays to have an intelligence agency background!

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CIA doesn't care if they work. The results can be "Operationally Useful" anyway.

As reported by the ex British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, the CIA doesn't necessarily care whether the intelligence they acquire is true.

For example it may be considered 'operationally useful' when trying to convince large populations of western countries to go to war (or support a coup d'etat) to say something like "We have intelligence that Chavez has been hobnobbing with Osama" (just some random names pulled out of a hat).

The CIA gets to choose if it uses any particular piece of "intelligence". Whether the "intelligence" came from a dodgy US polygraph session, or as a result of boiling the limbs of assumed political radicals in central asia is entirely secondary to the fact that there are 3 kinds of lie, the third being statsistics.

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