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Feds Target Instructors of Polygraph-Beating Methods 282

schwit1 writes "Federal agents have launched a criminal investigation of instructors who claim they can teach job applicants how to pass lie detector tests as part of the Obama administration's unprecedented crackdown on security violators and leakers. The criminal inquiry, which hasn't been acknowledged publicly, is aimed at discouraging criminals and spies from infiltrating the U.S. government by using the polygraph-beating techniques, which are said to include controlled breathing, muscle tensing, tongue biting and mental arithmetic. So far, authorities have targeted at least two instructors, one of whom has pleaded guilty to federal charges, several people familiar with the investigation told McClatchy. Investigators confiscated business records from the two men, which included the names of as many as 5,000 people who'd sought polygraph-beating advice. U.S. agencies have determined that at least 20 of them applied for government and federal contracting jobs, and at least half of that group was hired, including by the National Security Agency. By attempting to prosecute the instructors, federal officials are adopting a controversial legal stance that sharing such information should be treated as a crime and isn't protected under the First Amendment in some circumstances."
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Feds Target Instructors of Polygraph-Beating Methods

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  • by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Saturday August 17, 2013 @09:37AM (#44593243) Homepage Journal
    But I was not a poly dude [wikipedia.org], so I was all: 'Meh'.
    Then they came for the yoga instructors, since relaxation is where it's at, and I was kinda: 'Urf?'
    Then they came for my surf board.
  • Re:Polygraphs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @10:18AM (#44593511)

    The only thing they do is tell whether or not your nervous.

    Not even nervous. I took a polygraph (well, voice stress analysis) as part of the hiring process for a fairly large metropolitan police force (with a Masters degree I would have started out at roughly $45k per year base, as opposed to the roughly 25k I am making at my current job. Yay shitty economy). One question was so absurd (have I ever hired a prostitute) that I laughed as I replied in the negative. Of course the readout then showed "stress" in my voice. However the baseline tests (which were the exact same questions)showed I was being truthful. In the end, after going through the whole hiring process, passing the physical test and everything, they decided not to hire me. In the end I think it was a good thing though, because this particular police department is not the most reputable in my city, and now I can see why.

  • Re:Protecting a lie (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @03:48PM (#44595659) Homepage Journal

    The issue isn't any of the First Amendment rights. The issue is that the undercover agents tricked the instructors into believing that they were helping people commit a crime.

    Several people familiar with the investigation said Dixon and Williams had agreed to meet with undercover agents and teach them how to pass polygraph tests for a fee. The agents then posed as people connected to a drug trafficker and as a correctional officer who’d smuggled drugs into a jail and had received a sexual favor from an underage girl.

    I think it's entrapment, but the Supreme Court doesn't agree.

  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @03:49PM (#44595661) Homepage

    Not to forget, lie detector test have zero impact on psychopaths, so basically the worst of the worst will pass, kind of making the lie detector scam pointless, or more accurately the question reaction flim flam show pointless. This being the reason they are banned in most countries. This really stinks of the FBI intending to use fake like detector tests to incriminate any one they want too and these plans are threatened by the exposure.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming