Polygraph Testing Less than Worthless

(via APS – What’s New by Bob Park – September 5, 2003)

A two-year study by the National Academy of Sciences, “The Polygraph and Lie Detection,” showed polygraph testing to be less than worthless (WN 18 Apr 03). You might have expected at least a token decrease in testing by the Department of Energy. Instead DOE boldly reissued the old policy, which would subject about 20,000 employees to random character assassination. There was an immediate outcry from employees, and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) convened an Energy Committee oversight hearing on Thursday, where DOE announced that a mere 4,500 employees with top-secret clearance or positions in intelligence will now be subject to having their careers trashed by polygraph roulette. It was a victory for Sen. Domenici, who praised DOE for its enlightened policy. But nothing in the NAS study says the polygraph works better if you have top-secret clearance.

I’m sure you will all take comfort that our national security relies, in part, on such an “enlightened policy”.