Wednesday, April 9, 2008


"The Pentagon will issue hand-held lie detectors this month to U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan." They will be using the devices to interrogate anyone they feel is a suspect, including interpreters and police officers. They are already being tried out in Iraq.

I like gadgets, so at first I was all for it, but then I read some comments on Defense Tech and I second guessed its usefulness. Here's a comment by someone claiming a polygraph machine pretty much ruined his career.

While I can seriously appreciate the Army’s desire for this device, there is a basic point which need to be clarified:
A polygraph is not a lie detector! It is a physical response detector, a conscience detector.

Some of our nations worst spys passed annual counter-intelligence polygraphs. Some serial murders have also passed polygraphs.

A polygraph is only 86% correct in the hands of a competent polygrapher. This means that every time you take a polygraph you are playing “russian roulette” with a seven-round revolver. If your career is on the line, there is a one in seven chance of shooting your career in the head.

Ask me. I know. After five sets of “inconclusive,” my clearance was taken and my career destroyed.

Polygraphs sound wonderful until your the one being called a liar when you are not. And, how can you defend yourself when “the machine” calls you a liar?

Former CTR1(SW)
If it gives our troops a pretty good idea of who's lying, it's good, right?

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