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The Truth About the Polygraph, According To the NSA

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the do-you-think-this-test-is-psuedoscience? dept.

The Military 452

An anonymous reader writes "The NSA (the secretive intelligence agency that brought you wholesale warrantless wiretapping) has produced a public relations video about its polygraph screening program titled 'The Truth About the Polygraph.' But is the NSA telling the truth? AntiPolygraph.org provides a critique (video)."

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Can it tell if this is the truth? (-1, Offtopic)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32558992)

First Post!!!

Re:Can it tell if this is the truth? (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559012)

I guess congratulations are in order ?

Re:Can it tell if this is the truth? (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559022)

Mr. Guy, the NSA would like to ask you a few questions. Would you mind coming with us please...

Polygraph (2)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559014)

The polygraph has too many false positives and false negatives to be relied on 100 percent.

Re:Polygraph (4, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559030)

There's a reason why in Canada they're not considered an instrument reliable for court. But the RCMP use it for hiring you. Yep just gonna go over here...

Re:Polygraph (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559122)

RCMP?

Royal Canadian Muppet Police?

Re:Polygraph (0)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559176)

Mounted not Muppet

Re:Polygraph (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559292)

What are they mounting? Muppets?

Re:Polygraph (0, Offtopic)

nbauman (624611) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559488)

No, they're mounted. Somebody's mounting them.

Re:Polygraph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559404)

no they are a bunch of puppet

Re:Polygraph (0, Offtopic)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559470)

No, it is actually Muppet. You just cannot see one of them without seeing they resemble a Muppet you've come to know and love.

Re:Polygraph (5, Insightful)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559200)

It's the same situation down here, too. Police forces and various government offices use polygraphs while hiring. It makes sense, really. They want to make sure that you can lie convincingly. I'm not really sure the purpose of putting sociopaths in power, though.

Re:Polygraph (1, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559300)

They want to make sure that you can lie convincingly...

Or that you actually were a good boy, so you'd be more likely to obey whatever daddy NSA tells you to do.

Re:Polygraph (3, Insightful)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559332)

Or that you actually were a good boy, so you'd be more likely to obey whatever daddy NSA tells you to do.

Oh come on, everyone knows that the NSA means No Such Agency. [wikipedia.org] Its just a figment of your imagination...

Re:Polygraph (2, Insightful)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559316)

I'm not really sure the purpose of putting sociopaths in power, though.

Like begets like.

They should switch to FMRI. (2, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559494)

The polygraph is an outdated technology which can be easily fooled.

Re:Polygraph (3, Interesting)

mikewas (119762) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559228)

Not allowed for court in the US either, though police do use it during their investigations.

Really, all you need is to convince the person you're investigating that it works ... then if they refuse|agree to take a polygraph they're probably guilty|innocent.

Re:Polygraph (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559408)

Someone not cooperating with a search (however ineffective the search is -- the polygraph is 100% ineffective at giving more info on truth versus falsity, it can only be correlated to what is already known, which is useless) does not tell you anything specific about why. It only tells you that they are not cooperating with a search.

Polygraphs are like drug dogs. They are used to provide a facade (meaning fake) probable cause for a search and/or seizure. Corrupted courts and government agents then go along with the facade. They are happy to allow these fake tools, since then whatever the police choose to say is then what is. In other words, authority reaffirms itself. No need for that pesky reality to intervene.

Re:Polygraph (1)

cacba (1831766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559516)

"Various techniques for detecting deception have been suggested or might be used as substitutes for or supplements to the polygraph... Some of the potential alternatives show promise, but none has yet been shown to outperform the polygraph." From the 2003 National Academy of Sciences report [nap.edu]

Perhaps they are doing the best with what they have, to get the job done.

*I didnt read the report, just enough to back up my point :)

If I ever had to take one.. (4, Funny)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559020)

If I ever had to take a polygraph test I would do so under one condition: I get to add one question to the test at the beginning. The question would be: "Can this machine tell if I am lying?"

Re:If I ever had to take one.. (3, Informative)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559056)

You do realize that even polygraph supports don't claim its truth detector right? The polygraph can at best detect the physiological changes that happen when a person is fabricating a response. If you really think the truth is however you answer that question as far as the polygraph is concerned you are being truthful, so I am not sure I understand what the point of your proposed exercise would be.

Re:If I ever had to take one.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559246)

This is usually why control questions are asked.

Of course, that isn't really enough since you can ask your average person a question and they'd answer it without even understanding the question itself.
Without prior knowledge of whatever topic is being questioned, people can train their brain in to thinking certain things ARE truth. (or might think it is truth due to the people they hang around with saying that it was the truth)

For example, someone so obsessed with killing "for the sake of the species" could well get off pretty easily because they think they are doing the species a favor.
Terminating the lives of those "worthless" people is a victimless crime to them since they (the now-dead) wouldn't have done anything for the human race in the long run, whereas the killers are helping the race by limiting human numbers, no matter how small.
At this point, even your average murderer is pretty useless in that sense since births, globally, are REALLY bloody high... the only way you could really beat birth rates now would be on the rate of huge acts of terrorism-based attacks, every day.
Same goes with countless other things, whether it is rape, murder, fraud, and so on.

Unfortunately, ignorance of law is no excuse, and innocent people get fucked over by this every day.
They always say that phrase, despite the fact that there is absolutely NO basic law course in primary education for most countries.
Hell, even in most secondary and tertiary education courses, they don't even touch on the legal side of things, such as software development, no legal stuff in there, nothing about copyright, IP, trademarks, just nothing.
I remember seeing a woman on the news the other day who was being questioned over something, was then told it was fraud and was absolutely shocked.
Most people have absolutely no idea in the slightest as to WHAT fraud is! Other than the fact that it is related to money and cheating systems. But most don't even know that some of the things they might be doing IS cheating systems, mainly due to the fact that is it so simple to do!
We live in one hell of a screwed up society.
Sorry, went off in a bit of a tangent there, but still...

Re:If I ever had to take one.. (5, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559066)

Polygraphs aren't lie detectors. They are used to assess truthfulness. Much of the magic is not in the machinery itself but in subjecting the person under assessment to unfamiliar, semi-stressful conditions while asking probing questions. It's basically a game of manipulation for the polygrapher.

Re:If I ever had to take one.. (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559178)

Polygraphs aren't lie detectors. They are used to assess truthfulness.

So how does that work exactly, assessing if someone is telling the truth without saying whether they're lying?

Re:If I ever had to take one.. (3, Insightful)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559222)

There is a big difference between Absolute Truth and Personal Truth. Polygraphs detect Personal Truth. If you purposefully say something you believe to be untrue, there are generally certain biological responses made throughout your body and that is what the polygraph picks up.

Re:If I ever had to take one.. (0, Troll)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559252)

If you purposefully say something you believe to be untrue, there are generally certain biological responses made throughout your body and that is what the polygraph picks up.

So, you're saying it's a lie detector.

Which leads to two questions. (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559264)

If you purposefully say something you believe to be untrue, there are generally certain biological responses made throughout your body and that is what the polygraph picks up.

#1. How accurate is the polygraph at measuring that?
The answer is - not very accurate. As has been noted before, if you don't care about a subject, the polygraph will NOT be able to show you lying about it.

#2. Are there other situations which would yield the same results?
The answer is - yes. Having a stress reaction to a question (even if you're telling the truth) will produce the same results as lying.

Re:Which leads to two questions. (1)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559308)

Hence, that is why they try and make you as calm as possible before hand and try and make questions as neutral as possible to prevent a sudden rash of nervousness. And generally, they don't just administer polygraphs to people who are completely disinterested in something.

Re:Which leads to two questions. (2, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559344)

In other words, they just pretend it works so they don't lose their make-believe work as a polygraph tester...

Re:Which leads to two questions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559472)

As for number 1, when would that ever come up? Right, it wouldn't, it just makes your argument sound better. You don't polygraph people on trivial subjects.
Number 2, yes this is true. It's even possible to trick it. Nobody says it works 100%.

Re:If I ever had to take one.. (2, Funny)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559190)

subjecting the person under assessment to unfamiliar, semi-stressful conditions while asking probing questions..

So its like being abducted by aliens but with less anal probing and more question probing...

Re:If I ever had to take one.. (2, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559324)

So its like being abducted by aliens but with less anal probing and more question probing...

You've obviously never been in the custody of the NSA before.

Besides, they got all their interrogation and research tactics from the Grays, anyway. I know this since the voices in my head has telled me so.

Re:If I ever had to take one.. (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559392)

And where, exactly, did you think the sensors go?

Re:If I ever had to take one.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559398)

They already calibrate it by telling you what to say to a question (ie: Answer "yes" to the following:" Are you in the state of Virginia?)

Re:If I ever had to take one.. (1)

1729 (581437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559420)

They already calibrate it by telling you what to say to a question (ie: Answer "yes" to the following:" Are you in the state of Virginia?)

Contrary to popular belief, that is not how polygraphs are calibrated. The "control questions" are ones where the subject is assumed to be (or sometimes coerced into) lying about a topic that isn't actually important to the interview.

Complete Bullshit (5, Informative)

taustin (171655) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559036)

Penn & Teller taught a random woman who answered a Craig's List ad how to fake a polygraph response in less than 30 minutes.

Re:Complete Bullshit (2, Insightful)

Robadob (1800074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559062)

I posted about that earlier in response to this when it had no comments, but my comment has gone walkies. I do not understand how slashdot works.

Re:Complete Bullshit (1, Informative)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559082)

You're not alone. I've noticed /. dropping my comments in the past few months as well. Sometimes they show up on my personal page but not on the discussion thread.

Re:Complete Bullshit (3, Funny)

nih (411096) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559132)

yea me t

Re:Complete Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559146)

Something is strange indeed. Your comment is the only comment I can see, even though it is obviosly a reply.

Re:Complete Bullshit (1)

Dumnezeu (1673634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559214)

You can just click on "Parent" and you will see the parent. That's also a hint that the comment has a parent, so if the parent is low-scored you don't see it by default, but you can choose to do so if you want.

Re:Complete Bullshit (4, Funny)

kjart (941720) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559098)

I posted about that earlier in response to this when it had no comments, but my comment has gone walkies..

Based on the test results, you're lying.

Re:Complete Bullshit (3, Funny)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559258)

Non ACID-compliant databases are the current norm. So, be quiet!

Talking Through Gas? (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559524)

Non ACID-compliant databases are the current norm. So, be quiet!

I'm sure saying that makes you feel smart and all, but in REALITY, as far as Slashdot, it relates to multiple DB server synchronization, rather than the underlying DB flavor.

Re:Complete Bullshit (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559388)

If you post a comment during prerelease (i.e. the story bar is grey) they get whacked when the story is posted (i.e. the story bar is green) Perhaps that shouldn't be the case, but it is.

Re:Complete Bullshit (5, Insightful)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559102)

It's easy to fake a polygraph test when the stakes are low. Its much more difficult when your job or freedom are on the line. Not impossible, but certainly much more difficult than what Penn and Teller did.

Re:Complete Bullshit (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559154)

Hmm, what would higher stakes do? Raise stress levels perhaps? Making the differences even harder to spot! Yeah, that's a great argument to make for invalidating their point.

Re:Complete Bullshit (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559184)

It's easy to fake a polygraph test when the stakes are low. Its much more difficult when your job or freedom are on the line. Not impossible, but certainly much more difficult than what Penn and Teller did.

I take an anticonvulsant drug [wikipedia.org] which is also prescribed as a mood stabiliser. Because I don't actually need mood stabilisation I get a double dose, so to speak. So I think there are a few normal drugs which when used in the right way would make it easier to stay cool, calm and collected in the situation you describe.

Re:Complete Bullshit (3, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559134)

Penn & Teller taught a random woman who answered a Craig's List ad how to fake a polygraph response in less than 30 minutes.

I guess you refer to one of these:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9NSXy176oA [youtube.com]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bScv6kfxRyE [youtube.com]
https://antipolygraph.org/cgi-bin/forums/YaBB.pl?num=1247844645 [antipolygraph.org]

Re:Complete Bullshit (2, Insightful)

moxley (895517) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559140)

Well, as they say: "you don't beat the polygraph - you beat the polygraph examiner.

As others have also pointed out on this thread, the higher the stakes, the more likely you are to have autonomic responses.

I think if you practice with a machine, you can probably pull it off, but it's going to be harder with someone who REALLY understands how to use one....

One thing that does help in almost all circumstances (as I understand it) is a dose of Benzodiazepines.

Re:Complete Bullshit (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559298)

As others have also pointed out on this thread, the higher the stakes, the more likely you are to have autonomic responses.

Care to cite a reference?
I'd think that you'd have a higher level of stress, and thus a higher number of false positives too.

Re:Complete Bullshit (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559310)

One thing that does help in almost all circumstances (as I understand it) is a dose of Benzodiazepines.

That would make for a great polygraph question. "Have you taken any Benzodiazepines to help cheat this test?"

Re:Complete Bullshit (5, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559338)

Well, as they say: "you don't beat the polygraph - you beat the polygraph examiner.

But, in Soviet Russia, polygraph examiner beats YOU!

Re:Complete Bullshit (2, Informative)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559234)

Penn & Teller taught a random woman who answered a Craig's List ad how to fake a polygraph response in less than 30 minutes.

For those interested, here are the videos of that: Part 1 [youtube.com] and Part 2./a. [youtube.com]

Re:Complete Bullshit (1)

crush (19364) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559334)

Yep, this is pseudo-science bullshit on a par with water-dowsing

Re:Complete Bullshit (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559542)

Way to insult the water dowsers.

You know when the dowsing rods are wrong, all that happens is someone wastes money digging a dry well. If the lie detector is wrong, innocent people are accused of stuff, and guilty people might be assumed innocent.

WTF? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559038)

I think the video is to calm prospective NSA employees, not speak to the legitimacy of the polygraph in general. Do I need literacy training or just the editors of /.?

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559206)

So, literacy training makes you know the real reason why they made this video? Are you sure you don't mean omniscience?

Their assumed goal for this video is irrelevant however, it does present the polygraph as a legitimate tool for detecting lies.

Re:WTF? (2, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559348)

It's not perfect, though, and they know it, which is why it's only part of the process. There are psychiatrists and other mental health experts as well as investigators who look to dig up anything that could affect the subject's integrity. It's a large and complex process, but the polygraph is generally considered to be the scariest part for first-timers.

A colleague used to work at the CIA, with Top Secret/SCIF clearance. He's told me a little about the process, including the polygraphs. The examiners there are not like what you see on TV (including what was seen on P&T). They are very good at what they do, and able to surprise the test subject on a variety of topics because no matter how much you think they know, they know more. Furthermore, they do their best (and their best is very good) to put the subject off-kilter. As the testing for employment and higher security clearances is lengthy, they have a great deal of time to work on the subject.

(He told me that he managed to upset one of the examiners who asked him if he'd ever engaged in incest. Most subjects would probably be offended or puzzled; he was very amused, and ended up laughing so much the examiner had to stop the test because it was affecting the readings.)

As time goes on, you get used to it, and it becomes routine. But for the first-timers, it can be terrifying.

According to the NSA... (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559042)

According to the NSA we have no rights, confessions are best gotten by torture, oh and we are attacked by terrorists every 4.8 seconds if we would close illegal prisons and give all US citizens basic rights and conform to various international treaties.

Re:According to the NSA... (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559090)

And if you asked an NSA goon "Are all the above true?" then a polygraph would show that they truly believe it.

Re:According to the NSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559092)

Do you have a single serious citation with NSA being involved in any of the torture? Didn't think so.

Re:According to the NSA... (0)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559346)

Do you have any that show the NSA isn't involved with that in some way shape or form? Didn't think so.

Re:According to the NSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559130)

The NSA doesn't interrogate foreigners. That's what the CIA and military intelligence is for. The NSA uses polygraphs to screen its employees and those of its contractors the same as with all sensitive defense related organizations. The matter of rights is something of a moot point since Reagan's EO12333 gives them the power to investigate whatever they want without need for a warrant or probable cause. Everyone hired for such positions has to sign an agreement beforehand that they accept the terms of that executive order.

Re:According to the NSA... (0)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559186)

"Reagan's EO12333"

Regan's executive orders are no longer valid. They expire when the president leaves office.

Re:According to the NSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559272)

You'll have a hard time finding anyone in the government who believes that. Executive orders do not expire. They remain in effect until a succeeding president overrides them which they are reluctant to do because of tradition and the desire to keep their own proclamations in effect after they leave office. I can assure you that EO12333 is still referenced in today's documentation for initiating a security clearance.

Re:According to the NSA... (3, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559274)

They expire only if they have an expiration date (which they frequently do). They can be rescinded or modified by the executive orders of future presidents, however. Reagan signed EO 12667, regarding access to presidential records, in 1989. It was revoked by Bush in 2001, and restored by Obama in 2009.

Re:According to the NSA... (2, Informative)

mikewas (119762) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559288)

The Emancipation Proclamation was one of Lincoln's Executive Orders. Has it expired?

Re:According to the NSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559474)

doesn't matter. you'd need a constitutional amendment to allow slavery again (except for prisoners).

which is as it should be... an executive order, issued by a president in a time of crisis, is later debated, broadened and turned into a constitutional amendment.

Re:According to the NSA... (2, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559496)

Considering the 13th Amendment, I'd say that the order in question, whether in force or not, is quite irrelevant at this point. Also, since the first of the orders in question is in regards to the Confederate States of America, I'd say that it was no longer in force in 1865, when the Confederate States of America ceased to exist. Though technically, the first didn't actually do anything except state the intention to issue the second.

Re:According to the NSA... (2, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559536)

The Emancipation Proclamation was one of Lincoln's Executive Orders. Has it expired?

Since it only applied to "any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States" [archives.gov] , yes, regardless of any question of date. Slavery did not become illegal in the entire U.S. until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Re:According to the NSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559296)

I don't think they do.

a placebo to make you believe your lies are seen (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559096)

Polygraphs are basically a placebo to make you believe that they can detect your lies. A lot of theater and psychology goes into helping enhance that belief - things like using 'scientific looking' equipment (the more complex the procedure the stronger your belief will be that it 'works'), having the questioner dress in labcoat (it enhances our authority belief), using escalations in authority (switching to a more 'experienced' examiner part way through), pointing to a random squiggle and claiming that it shows you lied on some vague question to convince you to change your answer and admit to something.

Re:a placebo to make you believe your lies are see (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559192)

So its just like a Scientology body thetan test machine?

Re:a placebo to make you believe your lies are see (5, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559512)

    I like those. I did one of their "test" once. The guy talked to me, and asked lots of questions. I remained calm, and answered every one of them any way I wanted. The needle didn't move. After a few minutes, he began doubting the machine, and then questioned me on if I was operating it right. With the simple instructions "hold these loosely in your hands", there wasn't much for me to mess up. Since he had turned the sensitivity all the way up because he couldn't get a response, when he told me to hold them a little tighter, the needle shot all the way to the right. I suggested he turn the sensitivity down. :)

    I held on a little tighter, and he adjusted the machine again, so it was now showing neutral. The questions resumed, and I didn't show any sort of reaction to any of the questions. He got real frustrated with me (Hey dude, reactionary mind. Practice what you preach.), and gave up on it. I guess I wouldn't be a good cult member, if they won't know that I'm lying to them or not. Too bad, I wanted to join up, so I could take over. ;)

    If you really don't care about what you're saying, everything will show you're answering truthfully. When you start overthinking the questions, that's where you'll run into trouble. Consider these questions during a polygraph.

  (Q = question. T = thought. A = verbal answer. R = Result)

    Q: Did you know the victim Bob?
    T: Ya, I know bob.
    A: yes.
    R: Pass

    Q: Are you aware that Bob is missing?
    T: Everyone knows Bob is missing, that's why I'm here. This is easy.
    A: Yes
    R: Pass

    Q: Do you know where Bob is?
    T: Buried in that empty field. Shit, they know I killed Bob. They're going to figure it out!
    A: No.
    R: FAIL!

    Q: Did you have anything to do with Bob disappearing?
    T: Oh shit, they know I did it. They know I shot him, and buried him. I'm going to prison forever.
    A: No.
    R: FAIL!

Just Like the Scientology Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559514)

The Scientology eMeter measures Galvanic Skin Response which is basically the voltage of your skin. This test is one part of the polygraph.

"The Truth About the NSA - According to the Polygr (2, Insightful)

moxley (895517) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559124)

How about "The Truth About the NSA - According to the Polygraph."

  It would be a much better article.

What, exactly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559174)

...do they do with uncooperative respondents? If someone refuses to say anything but "Mickey Mouse" while strapped to their glorified E-meter, would that be seen as an exercise in 5th amendment rights in the States? I mean, if ANYTHING they say about lie detectors is true, then someone's nonverbal responses to questions should be considered "speech," right?

Re:What, exactly... (2, Informative)

1729 (581437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559356)

...do they do with uncooperative respondents? If someone refuses to say anything but "Mickey Mouse" while strapped to their glorified E-meter, would that be seen as an exercise in 5th amendment rights in the States? I mean, if ANYTHING they say about lie detectors is true, then someone's nonverbal responses to questions should be considered "speech," right?

I don't know of any situation in which you can be forced to submit to a polygraph. However, your security clearance will probably be revoked or denied.

Re:What, exactly... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559390)

I don't know about the NSA, but the police can't force you to take a test, AFAIK. Passing the test can help your case, though, and refusing it may very well draw more attention than you'd like.

I think I saw one of the video participants (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559236)

I think the girl analyst in NSA video (3:34 - 4 in the response video) (probably not a real analyst but an actress) is a model on a porn site (myfreecams). Not that it's pertinent or anything, though I suppose if they are NSA - they should do a better job of screening people that portray NSA personnel (and if she is an actual analyst then that polygraph testing NSA performs isn't worth very much)

Re:I think I saw one of the video participants (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559328)

Got a direct link to her profile? so umm more than just you can verify the accuracy of your statement?

Re:I think I saw one of the video participants (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559350)

http://profiles.myfreecams.com/AlexLady - the profile photos are not quite so alike (in particular because she is a brunette and the actress in the video has her hair dyed "blonde"). However, I saw the girl in the live video, seen her move and heard her voice and, leaving my pr0n habits aside, the likeness is amazing.

Free software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559254)

I couldn't help but notice what appears to be the Gnome desktop (with an Ubuntu logo?) and the Chrome/Chromium web browser on the left monitor in the background. Hooray for free software?

"Wholesale warrantless wiretapping"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559256)

Is this the truth?

The Critique... (1)

WSOGMM (1460481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559276)

I'm all for not believing in polygraphs, but I'm not gonna lie, that critique was pretty awful.

Pelton, Walker, Ames, Pollard, Hansen (5, Interesting)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559284)

These men, and others, were all employees of the CIA, NSA, or other intelligence agencies. All of them were subject to taking and passing one or more polygraph tests. They all ended up providing classified information to the Soviets for a relatively minimal amounts of money. The information they disclosed resulted in the compromise of highly useful, and costly, collection systems, data, and human assets, some of whom were killed as a result. In a number of these cases, Aldritch Ames, in particular, the agency they worked had suspicions that something was going on yet these men remained free to continue their spying. Ames was even tested again, passing the test to continue his work.

The polygraph, in these instances, was worthless and, in fact, provided a false sense of security to the detriment of the country's well-being.

Re:Pelton, Walker, Ames, Pollard, Hansen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559432)

Ames got nearly $3 million for his secrets. That's not exactly minimal. Pollard didn't give the information to the Soviets, but to Israel. (What Israel did with them may be another matter.)

Use FMRI. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559520)

FMRI is far more accurate than the polygraph. It may be the most accurate means of detecting a lie that we have. What those traitors were able to accomplish should never be allowed to happen again. The government should be using any and all means to prevent it.

It may be that there is no absolute security and we may have to accept that having a sense of security is a cause of insecurity. But at this time the FMRI is the newest most accurate technology, not the polygraph.

We are supposed to believe (2, Funny)

bagboy (630125) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559302)

The "Anti-Polygraph" folks are telling the truth about the Polygraph truth? Can we get them to take a poly?

psuedoscience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559314)

Ha! I can see the fnords.

The Defense Security Service (DSS) is NOT the NSA (5, Informative)

dissipative_struct (312023) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559322)

Not sure how this got a tagged as an NSA video, it's from the DSS. The DSS is the organization responsible for granting security clearances. The process they're describing is the polygraph you take to receive certain security clearances. Anyone who is taking this polygraph has applied for a Top Secret-level security clearance. This process is pretty much the same for anyone applying for these clearances, doesn't matter if they'll be working at the NSA, another three-letter agency, in the armed forces, or for a private defense contractor.

Re:The Defense Security Service (DSS) is NOT the N (3, Informative)

1729 (581437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559400)

Anyone who is taking this polygraph has applied for a Top Secret-level security clearance. This process is pretty much the same for anyone applying for these clearances, doesn't matter if they'll be working at the NSA, another three-letter agency, in the armed forces, or for a private defense contractor.

The Department of Energy doesn't require polygraphs for Top Secret equivalent clearances. DOE can use polygraphs in some cases, but many DOE scientists have been arguing against mandatory polygraphs. For example:

http://www.spse.org/Polygraph_comments_Livermo.html [spse.org]

Nobody applies for clearance. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559534)

You either need a clearance or you don't. Most don't need one.

Missed the point. (3, Insightful)

scaryjohn (120394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559336)

The response largely misses the NSA video's point: If you think you're a good fit for the NSA, the polygraph shouldn't stop you from applying for a job.

It's crap science, but the NSA can erect whatever arbitrary hoops it wants for employees. Any fool watching the NSA video for insight into other uses of polygraphs does so at great peril. The response is most informative when he says, "This is true of NSA employment practice, but . . ." Seriously, someone with a principled objection to the NSA polygraphing prospective employees, is going to have a real eye-opener on his first day of work there.

Accusing the NSA of intellectual dishonesty is as useful as accusing water of being wet. Polygraphic prospective hires doesn't have to catch anybody to serve a purpose. It's enough to drive the pissant commie sympathizers to bother someone else. Or maybe not. [nytimes.com]

Back... (1)

Pence128 (1389345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32559366)

In the USSR^H^HA!

Faggots don't want the truth (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559484)

They know they're a drain on society and they hope to hide this from normal people. They hide their faggotry from the rest of us for fear that they'll be called out for the leeches that they are.

If I am ever forced to take a polygraph test... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32559538)

Then my Glock must have jammed. Seriously, if you are willing to subject yourself to this security theater, then you do not deserve to live like a free man.

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