U.S. Customs and Border Protection Polygraph Chief John R. Schwartz on Interrogation

AntiPolygraph.org has received a copy of a presentation (1.4 mb PDF) on interrogation given by John R. Schwartz, who now heads the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Internal Affairs Credibility Assessment Division. In that capacity, Schwartz heads one of the federal government’s largest polygraph units, with some 71 polygraph examiners and a fiscal year 2012 budget of $11.4 million. Schwartz has previously worked as an instructor at the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute (since renamed the National Center for Credibility Assessment) and in 1995 served as its acting director. As such, his views on interrogation are presumably influential.

Schwartz gave the presentation, titled, “Interrogation Tips for Nerds Like Me” at an October 2007 seminar held by the California Association of Polygraph Examiners in Coronado. Among other things, the presentation brings home the point that polygraph “testing” is really all about interrogation. For example, slide 6 covers “internal pressure” in the polygraph examinee that can be exploited by the polygraph operator :

schwartz-interrogation-2007-p06The “cookie jar” story is a simplistic tale that polygraphers like to tell during the pre-test phase. Retired FBI polygrapher Jack Trimarco explained it this way in a 2007 radio interview:

Moms are the best polygraph examiners in the world because they know Little Johnny 24-hours-a-day, and when Mom tells Johnny, “Don’t take a cookie before dinner” and she walks into the kitchen and the cookie jar has the top off of it and there’s crumbs on the counter and crumbs, in fact, on little Johnny’s mouth, and she says, “Johnny, did you take a cookie?” and he goes into the fetal position and looks down and lowers his voice and says, “No, Mommy,” well Mommy knows immediately that Johnny did take the cookie.

The polygrapher attempts to convince the examinee that the polygraph results are like the cookie crumbs on Little Johnny’s mouth.

Slides 10 and 11 document a dangerous mindset prevalent among American interrogators: that their job is to extract confessions (as opposed to determining the truth). Federal polygraph operators are typically evaluated based on their post-test confession rates. Schwartz dismisses the possibility that the polygraph could be wrong and enumerates methods for overcoming objections. Yet a statistical analysis (255 kb PDF) by Dr. Alan P. Zelicoff of the best polygraph field studies suggests that “if a subject fails a polygraph, the probability that she is, in fact, being deceptive is little more than chance alone; that is, one could flip a coin and get virtually the same result for a positive test based on the published data.”

schwartz-interrogation-2007-p10schwartz-interrogation-2007-p11There is an inside joke among polygraphers that they are salesmen with a difficult job: selling jail time. In slide 13, urging the polygrapher to keep the interrogation going as long as possible, Schwartz describes the job a different way: “manure salesman”:

schwartz-interrogation-2007-p13In slide 14, Schwartz specifically mentions AntiPolygraph.org, suggesting that the polygrapher should “do the unexpected” if he or she believes that the examinee has read this site (or if the polygrapher has “the feeling” that the examinee “won’t confess”). It’s not clear what “unexpected” things Schwartz advocates polygraphers doing:

schwartz-interrogation-2007-p14In slides 20 and 21, Schwartz suggests a variety of polygraph techniques “if nothing else works,” including one of his own creation: “Schwartz’s Helpful Interrogation Test,” evidently an adaptation of the peak of tension test. This technique is not included in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection polygraph handbook (1.9 mb PDF), and it’s not clear if CBP polygraphers use it. Nonetheless, it is cause for concern that a federal polygrapher devised and advocated a “home brewed” polygraph technique:

schwartz-interrogation-2007-p20schwartz-interrogation-2007-p21It is absurd to ask a polygraph examinee why an invalid procedure (polygraphy) may have produced an inaccurate result. It’s like asking why a coin toss came out heads instead of tails. Schwartz’s home brewed “Helpful Interrogation Test” has one thing in common with the Backster Zone Comparison Test, the Reid Modified General Question Test, and the Keeler Relevant/Irrelevant Test: it is the brainchild of an interrogator, not a scientist. Beware of manure salesmen.

An Attempted Entrapment

bear-trapIn May 2013, I was the target of an attempted entrapment.1 Whether it was a federal agent attempting to entrap me on a contrived material support for terrorism charge or simply an individual’s attempt to embarrass me and discredit AntiPolygraph.org remains unclear. In this post, I will provide a full public accounting of the attempt, including the raw source of communications received and the IP addresses involved.

As background, it should be borne in mind that a federal criminal investigation into providers of information on polygraph countermeasures, dubbed “Operation Lie Busters,” has been underway since at least November 2011, when an undercover U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent, posing as a job applicant, contacted Chad Dixon of Marion, Indiana for help on passing the polygraph. In December, 2012, Dixon pleaded guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and obstruction of an agency proceeding, for which he has been sentenced to 8 months in federal prison.

Doug Williams of Norman, Oklahoma, a former police polygrapher who has been teaching people how to pass polygraph examinations for some three decades and operates the website Polygraph.com, was also the target of a sting operation and in February 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection executed search warrants on his home and office, seizing business records. He has been threatened with prosecution but to date has not been charged with any crime.

With this in mind, I received a most curious unsolicited communication on Saturday, 18 May 2013 from <mohammadali201333@yahoo.com>. The message was sent to my AntiPolygraph.org e-mail address <maschke@antipolygraph.org> and was titled “help help help please” (155 kb EML file.) The message body was blank, but there was a PDF attachment with a short message written in Persian, the language of Iran:

I know Persian, a fact of which the writer was evidently cognizant. Here is a translation:

Greetings and respect to you, Mr. George Maschke,

I am Mohammad Aghazadeh and have been living in Iraq for five years. I am a member of an Islamic group that seeks to restore freedom to Iraq. Because the federal police are suspicious of me, they want to do a lie detector test on me. I ask that you send me a copy of your book about the lie behind the lie so that I can use it, or that you help me in any other way. I am very grateful to you.

The book to which the message refers is The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (1 mb PDF), AntiPolygraph.org’s free e-book that, among other things, explains how to pass (or beat) a polygraph “test.” Factors that made me highly suspicious about this message include:

  • Why would someone who supposedly fears the police send an unencrypted e-mail acknowledging that he’s a member of an Islamic group that is trying to change the government of Iraq?
  • Why would such a person also provide his full name and how long he’s been in the country?
  • To my knowledge, there aren’t any Iranian-backed Islamic groups seeking to “restore freedom to Iraq.” In fact, Iran and Iraq have good diplomatic relations.
  • Why did this person ask me to send a book that is freely available on-line? Note that this message didn’t ask for a “Persian edition” of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.

I suspected the message was a likely attempt to set me up for prosecution on charges of material support for terrorism (or something similar).2 It seemed highly unlikely that the message could be genuine. Nonetheless, about half an hour after receiving the message, I provided “Mohammad Aghazadeh” the same advice I would give to anyone accused of a crime who has been asked to take a polygraph test:

Dear Mr. Mohammad Aghazadeh,

Our advice to everyone under such circumstances is not to submit to the so-called “test” and to consult with a lawyer and comply with applicable laws.

George Maschke

Evidently, that response was not satisfactory, for the following day, Sunday, 19 May, about 24 hours after receipt of the first message, I received the following reply (11 kb EML file):

It reads:

Greetings and great respect, Mr. Maschke,
I am very grateful to you for your reply about the lie detector test.
I am not in circumstances where I can refrain from taking the test.
I saw your book on the Internet, but because I don’t know English, I wasn’t able to use it.
I will be very grateful to you if you would send me the Persian edition of it.
I don’t know how I will pass the test.
They have frightened me greatly. What am I to do????

I replied, “Unfortunately, said book has not been translated to Persian.” I have received no further communication from this person.

I Googled the e-mail address <mohammadali201333@yahoo.com> and found no mentions. Both e-mail messages originated from the same IP address:
This address traces to Arbil (also spelled Erbil), Iraq, where the United States has a consulate.

I checked AntiPolygraph.org’s server access log for the IP address, and here is what I found:

9 May 2013

08:24:48 (GMT), someone at this IP address landed on AntiPolygraph.org’s publications page after a search on Google.iq (search terms unknown) using Google Chrome under Windows NT 6.1 (Windows 7).

08:24:59 lands on home page after searching Google.iq for: george maschke antipolygraph.

08:25:37 downloads The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.

10:09:15 fetches The Lie Behind the Lie Detector a second time after searching “george counter polygraph” but this time with Firefox under Windows NT 5.1 en-US (Windows XP 32-bit).

18 May 2013

07:04:18 Lands on home page after unknown search on Google.iq using Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 under Windows NT 6.1 (Windows 7).

07:04:41 Fetches Federal Psychophysiological Detection of Deception Examiner’s Handbook.

07:05:46 Fetches The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.

07:06:27 Fetches DoDPI  Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Test Examiner’s Guide.

07:06:55 Fetches DoDPI Interview and Interrogation Handbook.

07:07:29 Fetches DoDPI Numerical Evaluation Scoring System.

11:07:04 Returns to home page using Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 under Windows NT 6.1.

11:07:08 Views recent message board posts. (Note: this action suggests the visitor is familiar with the site.)

11:08:10 Does a message board search (search terms not logged by server).

11:08:25 Searches message board again.

11:08:36 Searches message board again.

11:08:48 Searches message board again.

11:09:27 Searches Google (terms unknown) and lands on message board thread, Al-Qaeda Has Read The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.

11:10:02 Gets message board thread, Al-Qaeda Documentation on Lie Detection (which is linked early in the previous thread).

Note that both of the foregoing message threads include accusations against me of disloyalty to the United States.

11:10:34 Gets document Al-Qaeda Documentation on Lie Detection.

11:10:41 Returns to message board thread, Al-Qaeda Documentation on Lie Detection.

11:30:20 Last load of any page.

The browsing behavior documented in the server log does not suggest to me an individual who doesn’t know English. Also, the use of different web browsers and operating systems suggests to me that the IP address might belong to an organization rather than an individual.

I also found a few other visits from other nearby IP addresses (first three numerical blocks of the IP addresses are the same):

On 3 May 2013 at 10:51:20, IP landed on an image of Tyler Buttle after searching Google.iq with an iPhone for “photo+sebel+can+sex”.

On 7 May 2013 at 18:08:25, IP searched Google.iq for unknown terms and landed on the blog post Is Patrick T. Coffey Fit to Be Screening Police Applicants? using Firefox 20 under Windows NT 5.1 (Windows XP).

Twenty-six seconds later, at 18:08:51, the same IP moved on to the blog post Polygrapher Patrick T. Coffey Threatens Lawsuit, Demands Retraction.

I can well understand why someone in Iraq might search for sexy pictures of Sibel Can, a Turkish singer. (The searcher, who misspelled “Sibel,” must have been disappointed to find a picture of Tyler Buttle instead.) But why would anyone in Iraq be interested in Patrick T. Coffey, a private polygraph examiner based in Burlingame, California?

Patrick T. Coffey in Iraq

Photograph posted by Patrick T. Coffey to Facebook on 1 May 2013. The Arabic caption under the American and Iraqi flags reads: “Together We Achieve Success”

Coffey has done contract work in the Middle East before, and I wondered whether he might have been on contract in Iraq during the relevant period. Coffey lost his contract for pre-employment polygraphs with the San Francisco Police Department in the aftermath of S.F. Weekly’s reporting about bigoted and intemperate remarks he made on AntiPolygraph.org. Coffey clearly despises me, as you’ll observe from comments he posted under the nom de guerre TheNoLieGuy4U in the message thread Al-Qaeda Has Read The Lie Behind the Lie Detector. Those comments begin at page 2 and include a demand to know whether I have “personally ever translated or assisted any person in the translation of anti-polygraph materials or literature into Arabic, Farsi [Persian], or any other language?” (As if that were some sort of a crime. In fact, I haven’t.)

I was able to confirm that Coffey was indeed in Iraq for three weeks, including the relevant period when the visits to AntiPolygraph.org were made and the e-mails were sent. I called him on the morning of 26 May to ask whether he might have enlisted the aid of a Persian-speaking colleague while in Iraq in a personal effort to test and perhaps discredit me. Coffey denied any involvement with, or indeed, any knowledge of, the e-mails. He even refused to confirm that he had been in Iraq.

Coffey did volunteer that he understands from hearsay that the Department of Defense has an “open case” about me with respect to “the countermeasure question.” His implication was that it’s a criminal case. However, I have been out of the Army reserve for nine years and am not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

So was this attempted entrapment part of the U.S. government’s Operation Lie Busters, or the intrigue of a polygraph examiner with an axe to grind, or possibly a combination of both? I don’t know, but I welcome comment from any readers who might.

  1. McClatchy newspaper group investigative reporter Marisa Taylor first reported on this matter on 16 August 2013 in “Seeing threats, feds target instructors of polygraph-beating methods.” The present article explains this incident in fuller detail. []
  2. I should note that an “Islamic” group is not necessarily a terrorist group, or even a militant one, though I suspect that in the sender’s mind, they are the same thing. []

George Maschke on Likely NSA Monitoring, Operation Lie Busters, and Federal Polygraph Policy

scott-horton-showOn Friday, 25 October 2013, AntiPolygraph.org co-founder George Maschke was a guest on the Scott Horton Show. Topics covered during the half-hour interview include indications that AntiPolygraph.org has been targeted by the NSA for monitoring, the federal criminal investigation into individuals who provide instruction in how to pass a polygraph “test” (Operation Lie Busters), and why reliance on polygraphy for purposes of national security and public safety is misguided. The interview may be listened to on-line or downloaded as an MP3 file here.

Is AntiPolygraph.org Being Targeted By the NSA?

nsa-logoAn e-mail received by AntiPolygraph.org in August from a U.S. Navy petty officer suggests that AntiPolygraph.org may be targeted for electronic surveillance. The petty officer wrote:

I was recently polygraphed by the DOD and they had logs of websites I had visited the night before from my ISP and mentioned this site by name and attempted to disprove to me everything you have on the website. Certainly a scare tactic, more so interesting how they used logs regarding my web activity. Seems somewhat constitutionally messed up if you ask me.

AntiPolygraph.org replied asking whether the logs of websites were from a commercial ISP, or whether it was perhaps the military network NIPRNet. The petty officer replied “It was a commercial ISP from my own personal house!” adding that (s)he was headed to work and would send another e-mail regarding his/her experience later that day.

The petty officer did not send another e-mail and did not reply to repeated e-mail inquiries. Recently contacted by phone, the petty officer hanged up.

It seems plausible that the petty officer received a talking-to before (s)he could send the follow-up message promised in August.

XKeyscore-logoThe petty officer’s account suggests that the U.S. Government may be targeting AntiPolygraph.org in an attempt to identify those who visit the site. Journalist Glenn Greenwald reported in July, based on documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that the NSA operates a system codenamed XKEYSCORE that “allows an analyst to learn the IP addresses of every person who visits any website the analyst specifies.”

AntiPolygraph.org might be of interest to NSA because we provide information on polygraph techniques employed by the U.S. Government for personnel security screening. Our free book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (1 mb PDF), includes information on techniques that can be used to pass a polygraph examination whether or not one is telling the truth. We make this information available in order to provide honest individuals with information that can help to mitigate the serious risk of a false positive outcome. However, the same information can also be used by deceptive persons to pass the polygraph.

In August, McClatchy reporters Marisa Taylor and Cleve R. Wootsen, Jr. reported that federal agents had launched “a criminal investigation of instructors who claim they can teach job applicants how to pass lie detector tests.” A key objective of the investigation seems to have been to identify the instructors’ customers. Business records seized from the two instructors targeted, Chad Dixon and Doug Williams, “included the names of as many as 5,000 people.” AntiPolygraph.org’s free book is downloaded about 1,000 times in a typical week.

russ-ticeNSA whistleblower Russ Tice, contacted in June and asked whether AntiPolygraph.org would be a likely target for direct monitoring in order to match up visitors to the site against a list of government employees or applicants replied: “YES! NSA is already targeting visitors to your site.  This is a no brainer.”

Also in June, in an interview with Sibel Edmonds’ Boiling Frogs show, Tice mentioned that contacts inside the NSA who are providing him information are all beating the polygraph:

As a matter of fact, all my people that I talk to have had to learn how to beat polygraphs, and they’ve all been successful in doing it, because it’s easy to beat a polygraph. And that’s something that, if I was still in the business, and I was wanting to get back into this sort of thing, that I’d learn how to beat a polygraph before I did anything.

Tice told AntiPolygraph.org that his contacts learned how to beat the polygraph from AntiPolygraph.org and that the information was retrieved from a computer not associated with their own computers, printed out, and circulated.

AntiPolygraph.org welcomes tips from any readers with relevant information. See our contact information page regarding how to get in touch. Comments may also be posted below.

Border Patrol Union Knows Polygraphs Are Junk Science

nbpc-local-2544-logoNational Border Patrol Council Local 2544 in Tucson, Arizona takes a dim view of polygraph “testing” in an article titled “Polygraph = Junk Science.” Excerpt:

There is a new kingdom being built within DHS. It’s the Polygraph Kingdom. Polygraph examiners have basically been anointed judge, jury and executioner. The problem? Polygraphs are absolute junk science. They are not reliable. Many dishonest people can easily beat them, and many others that would make great agents are screwed out of a career by false positives. So we are more likely to end up with a polished career criminal in our ranks and less likely to end up with a good person who a polygraph examiner decides he or she doesn’t like. Polygraph examiners need trophies on their mantles, just like IA and OIG. The easiest targets are honest people with a conscience. Most criminals have no honesty and even less conscience.

We have always advised our members to decline an invitation to do a polygraph exam (this doesn’t apply to new applicants, they have no choice). Polygraph exams can’t help you, they can only hurt you. The agency will not dismiss anything because you pass a polygraph, but they will use a negative result to hammer you. As with drugs, the easiest thing to do is “just say no” to polygraph exams. The old and tired IA/OIG line “If you don’t have anything to hide you would (fill in the blank)” is a sure sign that they are desperate to trick you into something. We have seen too many good agents targeted by IA and OIG over the years because of personal bias and grudges. Who is keeping an eye on the IA and OIG agents?

Read the rest here.

An Interview with Doug Williams Concerning Operation Lie Busters

Former police polygraphist Doug Williams spoke with Evan Anderson of Oklahoma City News 9 in an interview that aired on Monday, 19 August 2013. As reported by McClatchy investigative reporter Marisa Taylor, Williams is one of two known targets of a federal criminal investigation called Operation Lie Busters targeting individuals who provide instruction in methods of passing a polygraph test.

Fox News has erroneously reported that Williams was arrested, although, as reported by McClatchy, investigators did confiscate his business records. Correcting the record, Williams told News 9: “I have not been arrested, I have not been indicted, I have not been charged with any crime whatsoever. Period. Ever.”

Willams notes, “They’ve got me scared, but not enough to shut up.” AntiPolygraph.org applauds Williams’ determination not to be intimidated into silence. Williams’ website remains online and he continues to be active on Twitter (@PolygraphCom).

McClatchy on Operations Lie Busters

Doug Williams

Crime in progress? Doug Williams explaining how to produce a scorable reaction on a polygraph chart for Penn & Teller Bullshit!

Marisa Taylor and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. report for McClatchy that the federal government is targeting for criminal prosecution those who teach methods for passing a polygraph test, noting that at least two instructors have been targeted by undercover sting operations thus far: former police polygrapher Doug Williams, who runs Polygraph.com, and Chad Dixon, who ran a now defunct website called PolygraphExpert.net. McClatchy reports that in the course of the investigation, which is called “Operation Lie Busters,” [i]nvestigators confiscated business records from the two men, which included the names of as many as 5,000 people who’d sought polygraph-beating advice.”

Dixon has pleaded guilty to unspecified charges that remain under seal and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, though prosecutors are seeking a two-year sentence. Williams is not reported to have been charged with any crime, and he “declined to comment other than to say he’s done nothing wrong.”

AntiPolygraph.org co-founder George Maschke may also have been targeted by an attempted sting. McClatchy reports:

George Maschke, a former Army Reserve intelligence officer who’s a translator and runs a website that’s critical of polygraph testing, said he also suspected he’d been targeted although he’d done nothing illegal.

In May, the translator received an unsolicited email in Persian from someone purporting to be “a member of an Islamic group that seeks to restore freedom to Iraq.”

“Because the federal police are suspicious of me, they want to do a lie detector test on me,” the email read.

The emailer asked for a copy of Maschke’s book, which describes countermeasures, and for Maschke to help “in any other way.”

Maschke said he suspected the email was a ruse by federal agents. He advised the person “to comply with applicable laws,” according to an email he showed McClatchy.

Although federal authorities haven’t contacted him, Maschke said he worried that visitors to his site, AntiPolygraph.org, would be targeted simply for looking for information about polygraph testing.

“The criminalization of the imparting of information sets a pernicious precedent,” he said. “It is fundamentally wrong, and bad public policy, for the government to resort to entrapment to silence speech that it does not approve of.”

Instead of criminalizing truth-telling about the weaknesses of polygraphy, the U.S. government should heed the warnings of the scientific community and terminate its misplaced reliance on this pseudoscientific ritual.

Polygraph Operator Ken Blackstone Under Investigation for Perjury

Ken Blackstone

Ken Blackstone

Terry Dickson reports for the Florida Times-Union that polygraph operator Kenneth E. Blackstone of Atlanta, Georgia is under investigation for perjury in connection with a death penalty murder case:

Guy Heinze Jr.’s polygraph examiner under investigation for truthfulness in court
Posted: July 18, 2013 – 9:01pm  |  Updated: July 18, 2013 – 9:14pm

By Terry Dickson

BRUNSWICK | A polygraph examiner who testified on Thursday in Guy Heinze Jr.’s death penalty murder case is himself the subject of a perjury investigation, an official said.

Testifying in a motions hearing, Kenneth E. Blackstone said Heinze showed no deception in saying that he had not killed his father and seven others in a mobile home on Aug. 29, 2009.

Blackstone said he asked Heinze three relevant questions: Did he physically assault anyone in the trailer, did he assault any of his family members in the trailer and did he cause the deaths of his family members?

Heinze answered no to all three questions, and the polygraph showed no deception, Blackstone said.

It was during District Attorney Jackie Johnson’s examination, however, that Blackstone got into trouble. When Johnson asked Blackstone if he had undertaken any quality control measures to ensure his findings were correct, Blackstone said at first he had reviewed it himself.

He said later, however, that about two weeks ago he had shown it to Chuck Slupski, who operates a polygraph examiners’ school in the Atlanta area.

He had shown the polygraph charts without Heinze’s identity to Slupski, Blackstone said.

“He said there was no deception,” Blackstone said.

Johnson then asked Blackstone if he was aware that Slupski was out of the country and had been in South Africa during the two-week time frame. Blackstone responded he may have shown the charts to Slupski earlier.

Johnson had intended to call Jerry Rowe, the director of polygraph for the Department of Juvenile Justice, as a witness to rebut Blackstone’s testimony after court reconvened after lunch, but it never got that far.

Heinze’s defense lawyer, Newell Hamilton Jr., withdrew his motion to have Heinze’s polygraph results used as evidence during the sentencing phase of the trial, should Heinze be found guilty.

Rowe said he had spoken with Slupski, who said he had not seen Heinze’s polygraph results nor talked with Blackstone about them. Slupski was willing to come to court and testify if necessary, Rowe said.


Greg McMichael, Johnson’s chief investigator, said he will conduct an investigation on whether Blackstone testified falsely.

Rowe, a retired Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent, said Blackstone’s examination would have been easy to refute because he didn’t use a necessary tool, a motion sensor in the chair of the person being examined. The movement sensor can detect when a person is tightening the sphincter muscles or doing other things to try to fool the test or reacting, Rowe said.

When Johnson asked Blackstone why he hadn’t used a motion sensor, he called them worthless and said they are used only in evidentiary examinations.

Johnson referred Blackstone to a section of the bylaws for professional polygraphers which says “a motion sensor is used in all cases.”

“You caught me in a lie,’’ Blackstone said. “I didn’t know that was in there.”

He then said he would always use the sensors in the future.

Outside the courtroom, Rowe said the motion sensors are essential.

“You’ve got to have the movement sensors, or the polygraph is no good,’’ Rowe said. “It’s for the person [under examination], too.”

Blackstone also erred in his choice of non-relevant questions on which he had Heinze purposely lie to show bodily responses to deception, Rowe said.

Blackstone posed questions on drug use to Heinze, an admitted drug user, so those responses would have contaminated the results, Rowe said.

There were also some glimpses of the case against Heinze in Johnson’s cross-examination of Blackstone, who had said he had familiarized himself with the crime scene and some of the evidence. She asked Blackstone if he was aware that Heinze’s bloody palm print was found beside the body of a victim or if he knew that drugs belonging to one of the victims were found in the console of the car Heinze was driving.

The drugs belonged to Michael Toler, 19, who was still alive the morning of Aug. 29 when Heinze called 911 and said he had found his whole family beaten to death. Toler, who had Down syndrome, died the next day.

The others killed in the mobile home at Good Hope Mobile Home Park were Guy Heinze Sr., 45; his close friend, Russell “Rusty” D. Toler Sr., 44; Toler’s children, Russell Toler Jr., 20, Chrissy Toler, 22, and Michelle Toler, 15; Rusty Toler’s sister Brenda Gail Falagan, 49; and Chrissy Toler’s boyfriend, Joseph L. West Jr., 30. Michael Toler was also Rusty Toler’s son.

Chrissy Toler’s son, Byron Jimerson, now 7, recovered from a severe head injury.

Until Thursday, jury selection for the trial was to begin in late September and the trial itself in October. Presiding Judge Stephen Scarlett met with Johnson and Hamilton after the hearing on scheduling, and the dates might change.

Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405

Blackstone specializes in polygraph screening of convicted sex offenders and is the author of a book titled, Polygraph, Sex Offenders, and the Court: What Professionals Should Know About Polygraph… And a Lot More.

Cleve Backster, R.I.P.

Grover Cleveland Backster, Jr. (1924-2013)

Grover Cleveland Backster, Jr. (1924-2013)

Grover Cleveland “Cleve” Backster, Jr., a leading figure in the field of polygraphy, died on 1 July 2013 according to the American Association of Police Polygraphists, which has posted an obituary (PDF). He was 89 years old.

Backster is the reputed founder of the CIA’s polygraph program and in 1959 founded the oldest private polygraph school still in existence, the Backster School of Lie Detection. Circa 1960, he developed a numerical approach to scoring polygraph charts that has been widely adopted by the polygraph community as well as the Zone Comparison Technique, variations of which are still commonly used and taught at polygraph schools including the U.S. government’s National Center for Credibility Assessment.

In the 1960s, Backster gained media attention for his claims, based on measurements made with a polygraph instrument, that plants can perceive human thoughts and intentions. Scientists have been unsuccessful in duplicating Backster’s results in controlled experiments.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Internal Affairs Documentation

cbp-ia-emblemAntiPolygraph.org has obtained a copy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Assistant Commissioner for Internal Affairs James F. Tomsheck’s “CBP-IA Five Year Report” (4.4 mb) showcasing his office’s performance from Fiscal Years 2008 to 2012. CBP-IA is the office behind Operation Lie Busters, an effort to criminalize the teaching of polygraph countermeasures. Assistant Commissioner Tomsheck concludes in his 29-page report that he’s doing a good job. Excerpt:

I am pleased to present this five-year report which details the successes the employees of the Office of Internal Affairs (IA) have achieved during fiscal years 2008 through 2012. The accomplishments described in this report highlight the dedication and commitment of every IA employee who performs his or her duties in an exemplary manner in support of CBP’s mission to secure our nation’s borders while fostering legitimate travel and trade.

Tomsheck fails to note Department of Homeland Security Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan’s 18 July 2012 report of investigation documenting his gross violations of DHS privacy policy.

CBP-IA’s polygraph unit, called the “Credibility Assessment Division,” is reviewed at pp. 19-20. Operation Lie Busters is not mentioned. Excerpt:

Five years ago, the Credibility Assessment Diivision (CAD) existed only as a vision in the minds of CBP leadership. Faced with unprecedented hiring surges designed to secure our nation’s borders, and the knowledge that rapid expansion of law enforcement agencies had historically caused a dramatic increase in corruption within those agencies, IA requested authority to establish a polygraph program within CBP-IA. With support from the Commissioner, IA obtained the required authority from OPM to begin a polygraph pre-employment screening program for applicants for CBP law enforcement positions.

In January 2008, the first 12 newly-hired certified polygraph examiners arrived at the National Center for Credibility Assessment (NCCA) to train on the LEPET polygraph format, which was designed for law enforcement screening. In February 2008, CAD deployed its first operational mission to Dallas, in collaboration with PSD, several HRM components, and Border Patrol.

The results of the polygraph examinations were profound and revealing. Many applicants successfully completed the polygraph process and were quickly sent to Basic Agent Training at Artesia, NM. However, 58% of the applicants failed to successfully complete the polygraph and were found unsuitable. Their admissions confirmed the reliability of the polygraph process.

The first independent inspection of CBP’s polygraph program by NCCA’s Quality Assurance Program provided an in-depth look at 118 functional and operational CAD criteria. The inspection team concluded their review with no derogatory findings, and affirmed the strong foundation upon which the CBP polygraph program had been established.

The biennial inspection by NCCA’s Quality Assurance Program again identified no derogatory findings of weaknesses or flaws in the CAD polygraph program. To the contrary, three areas of “strength” were identified (two quality control program management areas and polygraph program statistics regarding admission/confession rate). This was an unprecedented finding that established CBP as the leader among the 26 federal agencies with a polygraph capability.

AntiPolygraph.org is interested in hearing from federal polygraph examiners regarding CBP-IA’s status as “the leader among the 26 federal agencies with a polygraph capability.” Comments may be posted below, anonymously if you prefer.

The five-year report also provides budgetary information regarding CBP-IA as a whole and the Credibility Assessment Division (CAD) in particular. A chart at p. 9 shows that the CAD’s budget was $5,627,583 in FY 2009 (its first year), $5,627,583 in FY 2010, $7,959,893 in FY 2011, and $11,414,174 in FY 2012. The chart shows that  as CAD’s budget was doubling from 2009 to 2012, the budget of the Personnel Security Division, which conducts background investigations, fell from $113,436,602 in FY 2009 to $81,156,746 in FY 2012, suggesting that background investigations are being shortchanged in favor of lie detector tests.

In addition to CBP-IA’s five-year report, AntiPolygraph.org has also obtained a CBP-IA organizational chart (160 kb PDF) current as of circa 5 December 2012 and a 23 May 2013 CBP-IA memorandum by Chris Pignone, Acting Director, Investigative Operations Division and Jeffrey Matta, Acting Director, Integrity Programs Division, titled “Reminder on IPD reporting structure” (156 kb PDF). The memo notes that “the Integrity Programs Division (IPD) is the research, analysis and education component of CBP/IA.” The memo describes the director of IPD as being “joined at the hip” with IOD (Investigative Operations Division) and CAD (the polygraph unit).

Update: A newer CBP-IA organizational chart (209 kb), current as of June 2013, is now available.