Saturday, September 21, 2013

Polygraphs

“Lie Detector” costs lives…
by Robert A. Waters

Gary Ridgway has made headlines again.  Convicted of murdering 49 women, the so-called Green River Killer now claims eighty victims.  However, had the polygraph been reliable, he could have been stopped early in his killing career.  After finding the fourth victim, police gave Ridgway a “lie detector” test—he passed and was eliminated as a suspect.  Years later, after DNA linked him to several of the murders, he confessed and led police to numerous gravesites.

Four-year-old Kali Ann Poulton might be alive today if the polygraph was accurate.  New York State Police administered the test to Mark Christie after he became a suspect in the murder of Viola Manville, 74.  Christie passed and was eliminated as a suspect.  Years later, Christie kidnapped and killed Poulton, and also confessed to murdering Manville.  Unfortunately, another man failed the lie detector test and was convicted of Manville’s murder.  It’s crazy—the real killer passed while an innocent man failed.

Aldrich Ames, the notorious spy, passed two lie detector tests during the ten years he delivered secrets to Russian intelligence officers.  Because of his betrayal, at least a dozen CIA and FBI intelligence agents were captured, tortured, and eliminated by the KGB.  If only one polygraph had been accurate, many of those agents would still be alive.

The lie detector test is so inaccurate that it’s not allowed in most courtrooms.  Dr. Drew Richardson, former Supervisory Special Agent of the FBI Laboratory, said: “Polygraph screening is completely without any theoretical foundation and has absolutely no validity…the diagnostic value of this type of testing is no more than that of astrology or tea-leaf reading.”

When Jessica Lunsford went missing, the first thing the FBI did was to put her father and grandfather on the machine.  The tests were “inconclusive,” leading investigators to suspect them of murdering her.  While Mark and Archie Lunsford were being grilled by investigators, the real kidnapper, John Evander Couey, was committing unspeakable acts on Jessica.  When finally tracked down, he told investigators where to find the body.  Mark and Archie were cleared, too late.

These are just a few erroneous results of polygraph exams. 

Why would anyone consent to take such an unreliable “test”?

5 comments:

Doug Williams said...

I am the only polygraph expert who has ever told the truth about the polygraph, and the truth is, the polygraph is not a "lie detector". I have been telling the truth about the scam called lie detection for almost forty years now in hopes of destroying the dangerous myth of "lie detection". Carl Sagan said, "If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth." I was instrumental in destorying a large part of the polygraph industry by getting most polygraph testing outlawed in the private sector. In 1988, with the passage of the EMPLOYEE POLYGRAPH PROTECTION ACT, administering polygraph tests actually became a federal crime! Even the U.S. Supreme Court refused to admit polygraph results into evidence, and ironically it was the U.S. Justice Department who argued that the polygraph results were not reliable and should not be admitted into evidence! I was a member of the Office of Technology Assessment, (an investigative arm of the U.S. Congress), studying the validity and reliability of the polygraph - our report basically said it was worthless as a "lie detector". I also testified in the U.S. Congress in support of the EPPA. Click here to read a transcript of my testimony: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015011381806;view=1up;seq=281 (My testimony begins on pg 275) Here is an interesting piece of historical trivia: When I testified in Congress, I put my manual, HOW TO STING THE POLYGRAPH into the Congressional Record, and the Senators and Representatives distributed more copies of my manual between 1984 and 1988 than anyone has ever distributed - including me! They sent them out by the tens of thousands in response to requests from constituents. But, there were exclusions written into the law that allowed the government - local state and federal - to continue to use the polygraph. They attempt to justify these exclusions on the grounds that the government needs this tool to protect national security and the law enforcement officials need it to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system. I have proved the polygraph is not a "lie detector" - the Congress, the Justice Department, the OTA, and all the scientific evidence agrees with me, so there is no justification for the government to continue to use it on the pretext that it protects our national security or the integrity of the criminal justice system.

It is FOOLISH and DANGEROUS to use the polygraph as "lie detector" - the theory of "lie detection" is nothing but junk science. It is based on a faulty scientific premise. The polygraph operators have the audacity to say that there is such a thing as a "reaction indicative of deception", when I can prove that "lying reaction" is simply a nervous reaction commonly referred to as the fight or flight syndrome. In fact, the polygraph is nothing but a psychological billy club that is used to coerce a person into making admissions or confessions. It is FOOLISH and DANGEROUS for government agencies to rely on the polygraph to "test" applicants, or to conduct any type of investigations relating to national security. It is FOOLISH and DANGEROUS for the criminal justice system to rely on an instrument that has been thoroughly discredited to determine whether or not a person is truthful or deceptive, or to use it to guide their investigations in any way - especially when the results cannot even be used as evidence in a court of law!

Doug Williams said...

I am the only polygraph expert who has ever told the truth about the polygraph, and the truth is, the polygraph is not a "lie detector". I have been telling the truth about the scam called lie detection for almost forty years now in hopes of destroying the dangerous myth of "lie detection". Carl Sagan said, "If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth." I was instrumental in destorying a large part of the polygraph industry by getting most polygraph testing outlawed in the private sector. In 1988, with the passage of the EMPLOYEE POLYGRAPH PROTECTION ACT, administering polygraph tests actually became a federal crime! Even the U.S. Supreme Court refused to admit polygraph results into evidence, and ironically it was the U.S. Justice Department who argued that the polygraph results were not reliable and should not be admitted into evidence! I was a member of the Office of Technology Assessment, (an investigative arm of the U.S. Congress), studying the validity and reliability of the polygraph - our report basically said it was worthless as a "lie detector". I also testified in the U.S. Congress in support of the EPPA. Click here to read a transcript of my testimony: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015011381806;view=1up;seq=281 (My testimony begins on pg 275) Here is an interesting piece of historical trivia: When I testified in Congress, I put my manual, HOW TO STING THE POLYGRAPH into the Congressional Record, and the Senators and Representatives distributed more copies of my manual between 1984 and 1988 than anyone has ever distributed - including me! They sent them out by the tens of thousands in response to requests from constituents. But, there were exclusions written into the law that allowed the government - local state and federal - to continue to use the polygraph. They attempt to justify these exclusions on the grounds that the government needs this tool to protect national security and the law enforcement officials need it to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system. I have proved the polygraph is not a "lie detector" - the Congress, the Justice Department, the OTA, and all the scientific evidence agrees with me, so there is no justification for the government to continue to use it on the pretext that it protects our national security or the integrity of the criminal justice system.

It is FOOLISH and DANGEROUS to use the polygraph as "lie detector" - the theory of "lie detection" is nothing but junk science. It is based on a faulty scientific premise. The polygraph operators have the audacity to say that there is such a thing as a "reaction indicative of deception", when I can prove that "lying reaction" is simply a nervous reaction commonly referred to as the fight or flight syndrome. In fact, the polygraph is nothing but a psychological billy club that is used to coerce a person into making admissions or confessions. It is FOOLISH and DANGEROUS for government agencies to rely on the polygraph to "test" applicants, or to conduct any type of investigations relating to national security. It is FOOLISH and DANGEROUS for the criminal justice system to rely on an instrument that has been thoroughly discredited to determine whether or not a person is truthful or deceptive, or to use it to guide their investigations in any way - especially when the results cannot even be used as evidence in a court of law!

Robert A. Waters said...

Thanks for your comments.

susan baker said...

egos that is why they are willing to take the test know they can beat it my family wanted me to take it told after i was asked about abuse did not because i knew they would still not believe me would love to talk to you robert can you email me at marggie491@gmail.com

susan baker said...

glad did not tale one i was abused was asked to take one by family they would still never belive me can you email me sir