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Thu Dec 6, 2012, 11:37 AM

U.S. polygraphers questioned accuracy of tests on detainees overseas

Source: McClatchy Newspapers



A soldier is examined during Operation Iraqi Freedom at Ali Base, Iraq, March 4, 2006.


U.S. polygraphers questioned accuracy of tests on detainees overseas
By Marisa Taylor | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military conducted hundreds of polygraph tests on detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan despite doubts about whether innocent civilians could be accurately separated from accused terrorists, documents obtained by McClatchy show.

The Air Force alone tested more than 1,000 detainees in Iraq to determine whether they were involved in terrorist attacks on U.S. military personnel or whether they should be released. As the screening was under way, polygraphers voiced concerns about the results, in part because they were posing questions through interpreters in a war-torn country.

“I have serious questions as to the accuracy of exams done in this environment,” wrote one polygrapher who was involved in 240 of the tests over two deployments. “I think the decision was made to contribute to the war effort . . . with little regard to the problems associated with doing these.”

The polygraphers’ observations from 2004 to 2008 offer yet another example of the U.S. military’s controversial detainee-interrogation policies overseas in the wake of 9/11. Their experiences also raise broader questions about the growing use of polygraph abroad – often with the encouragement of the U.S. government.

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/12/06/176309/us-polygraphers-questioned-accuracy.html

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 11:41 AM

1. Polygraphy is pseudoscience. Even when done by an expert, tests are unreliable...

 

...and there are people who can fool them without any special training.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 11:48 AM

2. Polygraphs are a joke

There is no scientific basis for them at all.

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 11:50 AM

3. DefenseLawyer, is it true that polygraph tests are inadmissible in court as evidence in most states?

 

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:19 PM

10. I seem to recall that New Mexico allows polygraph results in certain criminal cases

A fair number of states, including Indiana, where I practice, do allow polygraph results but only if it is a "stipulated" polygraph, that is one where both parties agree to stipulate to the admissibility of the results prior to the administration of the test. Everywhere else they are banned completely.

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:29 PM

5. True, of course. But you may have experienced that there are police officers who genuinely believe

 

in this witchcraft. Seriously.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:22 PM

11. They certainly believe it is a great tool for interrogating people

whether they REALLY believe it is a lie detecting machine is another question entirely.

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:45 PM

8. Polygraphs are anxiety detectors, not lie detectors

The only thing polygraphs show is the degree of anxiety over the questions the polygraph administrator asks. They're useless for their traditional purpose, i.e., detecting liars.

Sociopaths can easily ace polygraphs and persons with anxiety disorders will no doubt flunk them, even when they're telling the truth.

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:10 PM

14. Hey, they're as accurate as a shiny new dime!

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:02 PM

4. I question the accuracy of polygraph anywhere.

If they're not accurate enough tp be legal evidence in court here, then they're not accurate enough anywhere else in the world either.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:40 PM

7. There was a study done years ago that put its accuracy at 61%

Better than random chance, but not by a hell of a lot.

By the way, do you know what the great secret is to beating them? Be in a good mood, and stay that way. The more nervous you are, the more accurate they are.

Of course, smart people just say no to them anyway. Even if you're innocent, a passed polygraph will not exonerate you if the police suspect you of a crime...but failing one will make you their ONLY suspect. When you're accused of a crime, there's rarely any benefit for the accused to take one.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:36 PM

13. It is only in the rarest of circumstances that I have ever used one

And it's very rare indeed, but if I have a client in a case where the evidence isn't strong and I know the prosecutor would probably rather not pursue it but for an angry victim or public opinion, I have in a handful of cases had the client take a private polygraph (not stipulated and not revealed to the state ahead of time); if he passed I gave the results to the prosecutor- not as evidence in the case but as something for the prosecutor to "hang his hat on" when explaining to a victim why is was punting a case. In those rare cases it has had value in that regard. Notice none of that has anything to do with using a polygraph as evidence of truthfulness.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:39 PM

6. Finger printing is another very questionable "science".

 

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:13 PM

9. There was a theft at a workplace where I was employed.

I and other workers were given lie detector tests. (This was 1976, by the way.) Afterwards we all compared notes on the questions. I was an innocent kid and the kicker question that gives them the measure was "Have you ever lied to someone who loved you?" Another guy, a Hispanic dude a little older than me, was asked about marijuana dealing in that question, I forget the actual wording of his question. Then they ask the same yes or no questions to get some information.

This story could be pointing out how our intelligence people are not as intelligent as we think. Ironic, that is.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:25 PM

12. Just remember Robert Hanssen.

FBI chief, who passed several polygraph tests with flying colors.

All the while he was selling out to the old Soviet Union.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:19 PM

15. Here's what Penn and Teller have to say...

(some "strong" language)

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:23 PM

16. k/r

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