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Anti-Polygraph Instructor Who Was Targeted By Feds Goes Public 197

George Maschke writes "Last year, the McClatchy newspaper group reported on a federal criminal investigation into individuals offering instruction on how to pass polygraph tests. The ongoing investigation, dubbed 'Operation Lie Busters,' has serious free speech implications, and one of the two men known to have been targeted is presently serving an 8-month prison term. The other, Doug Williams, himself a former police polygrapher, has this week for the first time gone public with the story of federal agents' February 2013 raid on his office and home (video). Williams, who has not been charged with a crime but remains in legal jeopardy, is selling his story in an e-book. Public interest website (which I co-founded) has published a synopsis."
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Anti-Polygraph Instructor Who Was Targeted By Feds Goes Public

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  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:24PM (#46097051) Journal

    "Don't ask me no questions and I won't tell you no lies."

    I am afraid to the government of United Police State of America this is no longer enough.

    What is going on in the supposedly Western Democracy nowadays is that it is marching towards fascism. From the United States to France to England to many more lapdog countries, fascist tendency of the various governmental entities have arisen.

    Used to be that one is innocent until found guilty, but no longer.

    These days, we are all guilty, no matter if we have done everything. We are so guilty that they can charge us with _anything_ they like.

    In other words, the difference between Russia/China and the Western Democracy is shrinking, and shrinking fast.

    But at the very least, China and Russia never pretend to be "democratic".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:28PM (#46097071)

    If your own government does this to its own people, we can expect way fucking worst things to happen to us foreigners.

    I hope I never have to go to the USA again. Nice people on the east and west coasts, but the ones who control everything are crazy motherfuckers.

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:34PM (#46097101)

    He wasn't just teaching people how to pass a lie detector. He was instructing people (undercover agents) who he knew would be committing all kinds of illegal acts including statutory rape and drug smuggling. That's where you cross a fuzzy line between crime and blissful ignorance. In the same way, if I walk into a pawn shop and buy a cheap TV, it's not a crime. But, if the owner tells me it's cheap because his cousin stole it, then I'm engaging in an illegal transaction..

  • Bin Laden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:46PM (#46097157)

    One of Bin Laden's goals was to turn the US into an oppressive country like the ones in the Arab World,

    Even after stating the goal, here we are going that way. It's amazing how easily people can be manipulated.

  • by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:50PM (#46097183)

    I take it youve never been to Russia or China.

    I guess my objection to the comparison isnt that we dont have major problems, its that when someone busts out a comparison like that it makes a mockery of the whole discussion. I would rather the real problems be discussed than that we get hysterical to the point that noone wants to hear about it anymore. I would rather, for example, that instead of hordes of people claiming that we're no more free than china, that people instead pressed their representatives for real action regarding NSA overreach.

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @12:01AM (#46097229)

    Ugh... you're missing the plain and simple truth that polygraphs DONT WORK. They are complete horseshit, like Organic food, Chiropractors and astrology. If the FBI declared that only "Leos" could be entrusted with drug cases, and this guy was teaching people how to trick the FBI into thinking they were "Leos" so they could steal the drugs, would he be helping them in any way? No, because astrology is bullshit.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @12:07AM (#46097243) Journal

    There's a reason they're not admissible in court.


  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @12:52AM (#46097411)

    Ugh... you're missing the plain and simple truth that polygraphs DONT WORK. They are complete horseshit ...

    No, you're missing the point.

    Imposing the polygraph protocol on the polygraph subject forces the polygraph subject into a highly disadvantaged mode of engagement. If the horseshitness of the polygraph test were to become the subject of public outrage, the powers-that-be would lose a valuable interrogation tactic.

    It runs deep. The cloud of uncertainty over being convicted by a fallible machine with no viable recourse or defense adds to the psychological stress of the subject. This effect would be greatly lessened if the damn thing actually worked. Basically the polygraph examiner gets to sit there and decide your fate in an elaborate ritual of faux objectivity.

    How could you say that this doesn't work? Faux objectivity practically bats clean-up in the fine-grinding mill of democratic disempowerment.

    Do you consent to a polygraph test?

    Absolutely, so long as I'm not forced to hang my head and grunt monosyllables.

    Are you refusing to take the polygraph test?

    No. I'm refusing the invasive, fucked up protocol that you've willingly elaborated around the idiotic, frightening wires. Wire me up, then engage me in normal conversation, eye to eye. Not my fault if your machine has no technical merit once stripped of the demeaning ritual. If that bugs you, work harder. Innovate. Get the captains of industry on the blower. To hear them tell it, they innovate twice a day and thrice on Saturdays. Surely simple eye contact does not exceed your far-reaching dystopian prowess?

    Hardly anyone would consent to answering questions within these bizarre strictures without the quasi-religious deference to the cult of the coloured wires. It's such a Milgramesque whitecoat scam, which nevertheless works a treat if your subject complies.

  • Re:Passing is easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tragedy ( 27079 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @01:42AM (#46097575)

    To pass a lie detector test, you must 'believe' the lie is true.

    Actually, to pass a lie detector test, the tester must believe what you are saying is true. They're not objective tests.

  • by fishybell ( 516991 ) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {llebyhsif}> on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @01:44AM (#46097589) Homepage Journal

    Basically the polygraph examiner gets to sit there and decide your fate in an elaborate ritual of faux objectivity.

    So the FBI read the handbook on giving an audit with an e-meter?

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @04:51AM (#46098151) Journal

    In stead, let's compare with the US of, say, three decades ago -- when there were still two superpowers and the US had to at least pretend to be the good guys, to maintain support of its allies and at least some good will on the part of the non-aligned bloc.

    I arrived at USA some thirty-odd years ago. At that time, for me at least, USA was a country where liberty of the citizens were respected.

    If what you said is true... that is, USA did all that to gain support from its allies and to portray to the world that USA is the "Good Guy", then what about now ?

    Does it mean that USA no longer has to pretend to be that "Good Guy" anymore ? That it can start wantonly violating the liberty of anybody it wants ?

    If that turns out to be true, then USA no longer has the authority to criticize _anybody_else_ regarding human rights, regarding liberty, regarding democracy, regarding so many things that USA used to stand for.

    Can you comprehend what kind of world we are living in now ?

    I ran away from China precisely because they did not (and still do not) respect the liberty of the citizen. If ever USA becomes a place just like China, I do not know where else people can aspire to be, if they were to run away from tyranny !

  • by erikkemperman ( 252014 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @05:04AM (#46098193)

    Does it mean that USA no longer has to pretend to be that "Good Guy" anymore ? That it can start wantonly violating the liberty of anybody it wants ?

    Well, that is sort of what it looks like from where I'm standing.

  • by El Puerco Loco ( 31491 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @05:04AM (#46098199)

    That's not at all how they are used. They are treated as an objective and reliable instrument for revealing deception. They ask you some control questions, ones that they know you will answer truthfully and ones that they assume you will lie about. If your response to the real questions matches the ones that they figured you lied about, then they declare that you are lying, and you don't get whatever job or security clearance you applied for. If there wasn't enough differences in your physiological response between the assumed truth and lie responses to determine which is which, they declare it inconclusive and you don't get the job or security clearance you wanted. Despite the fact that numerous controlled studies have shown that they don't work at all, they are treated as infallible by the investigators. Otherwise squeaky clean applicants are denied police jobs all the time based on polygraph results. Yet somehow police corruption is still rampant.

  • by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:20AM (#46099977)

    how is this paranoid bullshit "insightful?"

    "marching towards fascism?"


    this get marked as +5?

    taco cowboy, that fucking moron, is completely ignorant of history. what about the house un american activities committee? the alien and sedition acts? the espionage act of 1917?

    every fucking generation thinks that they invented crises and history. yes, these events agianst he lie detector crusaders are important. yes, we should always be vigilant to protect our rights. but no, the usa is not "marching towards fasism" in any sense more meaningful than "I am marching towards china" when i walk eastward to the store.

    fuck you, taco cowboy, and fuck the historically clueless goth alarmists who marked you up.

    I'm sorry, who the fuck are you, again? If you are over 40 and don't see the direction this country has taken over the last 15 years or so, I don't know what to tell you. Yes, we had a House Un-American Activities Committee. Now we have a Department of Homeland Security with nebulous jurisdiction and authority. And we call our country the "Homeland". We never did that before 2001. We have militarized police and "enemy combatant" status. We have the NSA looking at all of our communication.

    Like I said, if you are over 40 or so, you should be able to see the change. This is not the same country we grew up in.

About the time we think we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends. -- Herbert Hoover