What Good Is Polygraph Exam That Yields Useless Results?

I read an interesting headline above an article published today in the Albuquerque (N.M.) JournalDefense wins fight on polygraph results.  In reality, nobody really won the fight.

ABQ Journal - 6-13-13According to the article, defense attorneys got what they wanted when Second Judicial District Judge Kenneth Martinez denied the prosecution’s motion to exclude testimony about a polygraph exam administered to Renée Ohlemacher in 2012, seven years after she surfaced as the prime suspect in the August 2005 killings of her parents, John and Bernadette Ohlemacher.  But did anyone really win?

According to the article:

Detective Mark Johnson, the Albuquerque Police Department’s polygraph expert and a polygraph examiner with more than 20 years’ experience, testified at Wednesday’s hearing that the results of the polygraph given to Renée Ohlemacher were “inconclusive” or “no opinion.” That means no inference can be drawn, either that the subject passed or failed the test, he said.

In other words, investigators knew no more about the crime after administering the polygraph exam than they did before.

During an exhaustive four-year investigation into credibility assessment and truth-detection technologies — sometimes, erroneously referred to as “lie detectors” — I dedicated a substantial portion of my time to learning about the polygraph and its leading challengers.  In my recently-released book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, I share what I uncovered.

Among my findings, I learned about a non-polygraph technology is now being used with great success by more than 1,800 law enforcement agencies across the United States, surpassing the number using polygraph.

In addition, I learned the same technology was used with great success to conduct interrogations of high-profile individuals — including detainees at Guantanamo Bay, members of Saddam Hussein‘s inner circle (a.k.a., “The Deck of Cards”) and hundreds of enemy combatants on battlefields in the Middle East and Southwest Asia — after polygraph exams had failed to produce useful results.  Best of all, I talk with many of the people who conducted those interrogations and share never-before-published documents shared with me about their experiences.

Most disturbing, however, is that I stumbled upon a “turf war” that’s been raging silently for more than 40 years between polygraph loyalists and all challengers to their century-old technology.  Most unfortunately, that turf war has resulted in Department of Defense officials banning the use of all non-polygraph technologies.  As a direct result, hundreds of American and Coalition Forces personnel have paid the price as casualties — victims of “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks conducted by so-called “allies” wearing the uniforms of Afghan military, police and security agencies.

Every American should read THE CLAPPER MEMO and, afterward, demand their elected officials reverse the ban on non-polygraph technology.

THE CLAPPER MEMO has garnered strong endorsements from several high-profile Americans and is available in paperback and ebook versions at Amazon.

UPDATE 6/19/2013 at 10:30 a.m. Central:  The KRQE video below provides more detail about the case discussed above and how polygraph exam results are stalling the justice system.

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Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

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