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Author of anti-polygraph training book indicted on obstruction of justice charges
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TheWastelander Offline
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Author of anti-polygraph training book indicted on obstruction of justice charges
http://reason.com/blog/2014/11/17/former...ctment-for

Quote:Via Slashdot comes this awful story of a former Oklahoma City cop who has been indicted by the federal government for allegedly teaching people how to beat so-called lie-detector tests. Douglas Williams Williams is the Big Kahuna of the anti-polygraph movement. He's not shy about what he's up to. Here's his website.

Especially in the wake of the Edward Snowden affair, the feds are worried that "trained liars" will beat their tests that are supposedly unbeatable. These tests, which aren't admissible in court and are about as "scientific" as astrology, are nonetheless widely used by federal and other law-enforcement agencies to test job applicants, workers, and people accused of crimes.

"There is no unique physiological signature that is associated with lying," Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists told Reason earlier this year. "You can learn to regulate your heartbeat, you can learn to control your breath, and you can generate spurious signals."

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/owner-poly...ministered

Quote:A former Oklahoma City law enforcement officer and owner of “Polygraph.com” has been indicted on obstruction of justice and mail fraud charges for allegedly training customers to lie and conceal crimes during polygraph examinations.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting Assistant Commissioner Mark Morgan of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Internal Affairs and Special Agent in Charge James E. Finch of the FBI’s Oklahoma City Field Office made the announcement.

Douglas Williams, 69, of Norman, Oklahoma, was charged in a five-count indictment in the Western District of Oklahoma with mail fraud and obstruction. According to allegations in the indictment, Williams, the owner and operator of “Polygraph.com,” marketed his training services to people appearing for polygraph examinations before federal law enforcement agencies, federal intelligence agencies, and state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as people required to take polygraph examinations under the terms of their parole or probation.

The indictment further alleges that Williams trained an individual posing as a federal law enforcement officer to lie and conceal involvement in criminal activity from an internal agency investigation. Williams is also alleged to have trained a second individual posing as an applicant seeking federal employment to lie and conceal crimes in a pre-employment polygraph examination. Williams, who was paid for both training sessions, is alleged to have instructed the individuals to deny having received his polygraph training.

The charges contained in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The investigation is being investigated by U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s Office of Internal Affairs and the FBI’s Oklahoma City Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Mark Angehr and Brian K. Kidd of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/08/16/19.../156/&rh=1

Quote: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.

“Nothing like this has been done before,” John Schwartz, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official, said of the legal approach in a June speech to a professional polygraphers’ conference in Charlotte, N.C., that a McClatchy reporter attended. “Most certainly our nation’s security will be enhanced.”

“There are a lot of bad people out there. . . . This will help us remove some of those pests from society,” he added.

The undercover stings are being cited as the latest examples of the Obama administration’s emphasis on rooting out “insider threats,” a catchall phrase meant to describe employees who might become spies, leak to the news media, commit crimes or become corrupted in some way.

So I heard a couple of things about all this in the past, but this morning I encountered this article in my daily perusal of Reason and thought I'd pass it along. I'm by no means a legal expert, but shouldn't writing these kinds of materials be protected under the first amendment?

It seems to me like the government is just trying to punish these guys by making them spend a lot of money and time defending themselves against false charges.

"Men willingly believe what they wish." - Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico, Book III, Ch. 18
11-17-2014 11:54 AM
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Rutting Elephant Offline
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RE: Author of anti-polygraph training book indicted on obstruction of justice charges
Thoughtcrime. Everyone is infected, and proof that testing for it is bullshit jeopardizes huge corruption of tax dollars.
11-17-2014 01:27 PM
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Jack198 Offline
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RE: Author of anti-polygraph training book indicted on obstruction of justice charges
I think the basis of the action will be that he was advising people how to commit a crime, specifically lying to the federal government, something illegal under Title 18.

Sure, I could write a book describing a hundred ways to murder someone and it would be protected speech under the First Amendment. However if I wrote a book describing how to kill a specific person, that might push things over the line - especially if I were talking about the President. In this case, they did what they could to get him admitting that he was coaching the applicant on how to lie to a federal agency for the purpose of getting hired by them versus how to generically beat a polygraph. A fine line indeed, especially given the cultural attachment nearly every judge has to the First Amendment. It will be interesting to watch this one.

I'm actually surprised they're freaking out about this at all, since even with someone who was coached, the examiners can almost always get to the bottom of the bullshit. It isn't about whether or not the polygraph is effective - that's just a tool. It's about how good the examiner is. I bet some of the examiners flat out suck, which is probably why those 20 or so people got hired versus assistance the applicants got via some half-baked coaching by an ex-cop totally unfamiliar with how the federal side does their exams.
(This post was last modified: 11-17-2014 02:51 PM by Jack198.)
11-17-2014 02:44 PM
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Sp5 Offline
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RE: Author of anti-polygraph training book indicted on obstruction of justice charges
Yes, this one will be interesting. Not just because of the big First Amendment issue, which I think is strong.

The other issue that polygraph results are not accepted into evidence in court, because they haven't passed the scientific reliability test.

So how can he be committing a crime by coaching people to beat tests the courts have ruled aren't reliable? There will be a lot of pretrial battling over that issue.

Of course the feds probably went about this in the most sleazy way, fashioning a sting in which their undercover agent probably said he was under investigation for fucking little orphan boys or had stolen a nuclear weapon he planned to blow up Washington with. Just so they could get that story in front of a jury. I bet the cover story has inflammatory shit in it.

By chance, I was looking at a government contractor job site last night, I was struck at how many jobs, especially in classified-side IT, now require "full scope" polygraphs, meaning sex, drugs, money, and politics. Legacy of Snowden.
11-17-2014 03:04 PM
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Jack198 Offline
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RE: Author of anti-polygraph training book indicted on obstruction of justice charges
(11-17-2014 03:04 PM)Sp5 Wrote:  The other issue that polygraph results are not accepted into evidence in court, because they haven't passed the scientific reliability test.

So how can he be committing a crime by coaching people to beat tests the courts have ruled aren't reliable? There will be a lot of pretrial battling over that issue.

That won't even come up. The fact that they are not (at least not usually) admitted into court as evidence does not mean they have no use in the government hiring process. Seems counterintuitive, I know, but this will not turn into a debate over whether or not the polygraph is valid for government hiring purposes - as far as the federal government is concerned, it is and will likely be until even better technology comes out.

Once again, the crime he is allegedly committing is by instructing people how to violate Title 18. It would be like an accountant teaching you how to cheat on your taxes even if he did not actually do your taxes for you.
(This post was last modified: 11-17-2014 03:29 PM by Jack198.)
11-17-2014 03:28 PM
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Benoit Offline
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RE: Author of anti-polygraph training book indicted on obstruction of justice charges
(11-17-2014 03:28 PM)Jack198 Wrote:  That won't even come up. The fact that they are not (at least not usually) admitted into court as evidence does not mean they have no use in the government hiring process. Seems counterintuitive, I know, but this will not turn into a debate over whether or not the polygraph is valid for government hiring purposes - as far as the federal government is concerned, it is and will likely be until even better technology comes out.

Once again, the crime he is allegedly committing is by instructing people how to violate Title 18. It would be like an accountant teaching you how to cheat on your taxes even if he did not actually do your taxes for you.

The government will make sure he gets locked up precisely because the polygraph doesn't work.

It makes them look bad that he's pointing out how useless the polygraph is at detecting falsehood when they rely on it to provide false security and a fake scientific sheen in their screening.

Will they go after the 'never talk to the cops' people next?

"I'd hate myself if I had that kind of attitude, if I were that weak." - Arnold
11-17-2014 03:37 PM
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Sp5 Offline
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RE: Author of anti-polygraph training book indicted on obstruction of justice charges
(11-17-2014 03:28 PM)Jack198 Wrote:  
(11-17-2014 03:04 PM)Sp5 Wrote:  The other issue that polygraph results are not accepted into evidence in court, because they haven't passed the scientific reliability test.

So how can he be committing a crime by coaching people to beat tests the courts have ruled aren't reliable? There will be a lot of pretrial battling over that issue.

That won't even come up. The fact that they are not (at least not usually) admitted into court as evidence does not mean they have no use in the government hiring process. Seems counterintuitive, I know, but this will not turn into a debate over whether or not the polygraph is valid for government hiring purposes - as far as the federal government is concerned, it is and will likely be until even better technology comes out.

Once again, the crime he is allegedly committing is by instructing people how to violate Title 18. It would be like an accountant teaching you how to cheat on your taxes even if he did not actually do your taxes for you.

If I were the guy's defense lawyer, I would damn sure want to bring it up, put the polygraph on trial. I know a government guy who went to war on the polygraph after one of his foreign local staff failed a test. He had a whole binder of studies on polygraphs with false positives and negatives. He was obsessive about it, talked about it all of the time.

If the test is unreliable, teaching someone to beat the test isn't the same as teaching someone to lie, and should not be a crime.

Barring having the guy on tape (which the feds often have) telling them how to lie, acknowledging lying, the legal battleground is advising how to avoid an unreliable test vs advising how to lie. Not the same. It also interacts with the First Amendment defense.

In truth, this guy is 69 years old and will probably be offered and take a plea for a short stint in a minimum security place to give him a shot at not getting a life sentence (which could be a five year bid).
11-17-2014 03:56 PM
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monster Offline
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RE: Author of anti-polygraph training book indicted on obstruction of justice charges
Don't the CIA & FBI teach their own agents to defeat polygraphs in case they're captured by an enemy?
11-17-2014 04:09 PM
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Kissinger2014 Offline
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RE: Author of anti-polygraph training book indicted on obstruction of justice charges
(11-17-2014 04:09 PM)monster Wrote:  Don't the CIA & FBI teach their own agents to defeat polygraphs in case they're captured by an enemy?

No. They actually are some of the few federal employees who regularly get polygraphed.

CIA and Special Operations are trained to resist interrogation (admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter-accusations), but they are not trained to defeat polygraphs.

Some Delta guy who gets captured by the Russians won't be given a polygraph. He'll be subjected to a bit more "enhanced" techniques.
11-17-2014 08:39 PM
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Carlos100 Offline
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RE: Author of anti-polygraph training book indicted on obstruction of justice charges
Is this the same guy who ran "antipolygraph.org"? I was wondering when they were going to go after this guy. I have some acquaintances who have applied for federal jobs and told me that the polygraph test was, hands down, one of the worst experiences of their lives, and that's even from the ones who passed it. The polygraph administrators are often very emotionally abusive and manipulative with their test subjects, because they think they are doing the government a service by exposing "unreliable" people.

The polygraph examiners, from what I hear, are especially hostile to anyone who says they looked at Antipolygraph or any other information on how a polygraph interrogation works. You would think that people who are about to yield control to someone else during a hostile interrogation, which is what a polygraph interrogation is, would want to know in advance what they're getting themselves into, wouldn't you?
(This post was last modified: 11-17-2014 09:46 PM by Carlos100.)
11-17-2014 09:45 PM
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Ziltoid Offline
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RE: Author of anti-polygraph training book indicted on obstruction of justice charges
The "training" required to "beat" a polygraph literally consists only of learning not to hold your breath or react emotionally to questions.

The whole premise of polygraph is a joke; you cannot tell if somebody is lying by looking at their blood pressure or heart rate, it's retarded pseudoscience. Polygraph is literally only useful to police or employers because people believe it works.
(This post was last modified: 11-17-2014 09:54 PM by Ziltoid.)
11-17-2014 09:53 PM
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Sp5 Offline
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RE: Author of anti-polygraph training book indicted on obstruction of justice charges
OK, I understand this case now. They had guys pose as real criminals to get around the First Amendment issue. Sleazy as hell, but he fell into their trap:

Quote:Federal investigators caught wind of Williams‘ business and set up appointments that turned out to be a sting. Two undercover officers posed as posed as law enforcement officers who had committed serious crimes they were trying to cover up — one said he was under investigation for allowing drugs to be smuggled into the United States and another said he had smuggled drugs into a jail as a corrections officer and had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in police custody.

Former Oklahoma cop, critic of polygraph gets two years

He's out of prison now.

Polygraph critic released from prison
04-08-2019 07:01 AM
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