Junk science

Teaching Polygraph Takers To Relax Lands Instructor Behind Bars


Public Domain

According to a press release from the United States Department of Justice, Chad Dixon will spend eight months in stir "for his role in a scheme to deceive the federal government during polygraph examinations conducted as part of federal security background investigations." He didn't rig the machines or bribe test administrators; he just taught "countermeasures"—instructions that the feds insist are a crime. But, considering that innocent people have gone to prison because polygraphs falsely said they were lying, and the National Academies of Science believe "the general quality of the evidence for judging polygraph validity is relatively low," learning how not to stress out when taking a wrongly named "lie-detector test" would seem to be just good, sensible preparation. Inconveniencing the government may be the true crime.

The Justice Department press release (PDF) says:

According to court documents, Dixon operated an Internet-based business that trained customers how to "beat" polygraph examinations conducted by various agencies of the federal government, including within the intelligence community. Dixon taught physical and mental polygraph countermeasures designed to obstruct polygraph examinations by producing "truthful" polygraph charts "even if you are flat out lying." Dixon customized his trainings by asking each customer the purpose of their polygraph examination and the information they wanted to conceal from the government. Dixon instructed his customers to conceal their misconduct, to deny receiving polygraph countermeasures training, and to lie during their exams. The purpose of the scheme was for Dixon to enrich himself by training federal job applicants and federal employees how to conceal specific and material information from the federal government in exchange for between approximately $1,000 and $2,000 plus travel expenses.

McClatchy reported last month that the federal government is in a full-court press against polygraph counselors, mostly because it's heavily invested in using the controversial devices to screen job applicants. It uses the devices even though most courts won't admit polygraph results because they consider them completely unreliable.

The federal government polygraphs about 70,000 people a year for security clearances and jobs, but most courts won't allow polygraph results to be submitted as evidence, citing the machines' unreliability. Scientists question whether polygraphers can identify liars by interpreting measurements of blood pressure, sweat activity and respiration. Researchers say the polygraph-beating techniques can't be detected with certainty, either.

Citing the scientific skepticism, one attorney compared the prosecution of polygraph instructors to indicting someone for practicing voodoo.

If beat-the-machine instruction is voodoo, so may be the machines themselves. Reason's Jacob Sullum reported in 2002 that Abdallah Higazy was jailed after a "polygraph machine supposedly showed that Higazy was lying when he denied owning an aviation radio that he did not in fact own." Charges against the student were later dropped and he was freed amidst allegations that he'd been threatened into a false confession.

That the polygraph results in the Higazy case were bogus should be no big surprise. The National Academies of Science looked into the reliability of the widgets and found that there was damned little to go on. According to The Polygraph and Lie Detection:

The general quality of the evidence for judging polygraph validity is relatively low: the substantial majority of the studies most relevant for this purpose were below the quality level typically needed for funding by the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health. …

Although psychological states often associated with deception (e.g., fear of being judged deceptive) do tend to affect the physiological responses that the polygraph measures, these same states can arise in the absence of deception. Moreover, many other psychological and physiological factors (e.g., anxiety about being tested) also affect those responses. Such phenomena make polygraph testing intrinsically susceptible to producing erroneous results.

Since that report, nothing has emerged to improve the scientific status of polygraph testing. Critics of the widgets have taken to the Internet to debunk them—and to offer instruction to help test-takers survive encounters with the fallible devices.

Dixon seems to have been selected as a target because he offered hands-on training and may have actually known some of the tidbits that clients were trying to conceal. But what he actually taught, he wrote in a letter to the judge, were countermeasures such as "to relax and breathe normally on relevant questions." Even if he knew the details of his clients' sins, he has no particular obligation to the agencies to which they' applied for jobs, and telling them to relax while answering questions would seem to be just good advice.

Some vocal polygraph critics suggest that it's Dixon's criticism of polygraphs that really pisses off the feds, and that his hands-on counseling just made him an easy target. Reported Matt Zapotosky for the Washington Post:

George Maschke, whose Web site AntiPolygraph.org offers similar information on the flaws of polygraph testing but does not offer hands-on training, said he was troubled by Dixon's case.

"It seems to me that they're going after critics of the polygraph and then fabricating a crime to prosecute where there had been no crime to prosecute before," Maschke said. "Free speech is important, and I don't think explaining to people how the polygraph works, including its vulnerability to countermeasures, should be criminalized."

Dixon's real crime seems to have been to raise questions about the federal government's commitment to what may well be junk science. It's junk science that the feds rely on to intimidate employees and would-be hires during an unprecedented war against whistleblowers.


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  1. Sounds like some pretty serious business dude. Wow.


    1. The solution for poly-graph-thwarting service providers is simple: Re-label themselves as, not polygraph-thwarting services, but “Church” of Scientology “E-meter” thwarting services instead! The IRS (fed tax-man) in the USA has recognized this “Church” as being legitimate, and so any training in dealing with the poly-graph-like “E-Meter” (Scientology “religious device”) would then fall under religious freedom! This excellent idea brought to you by the Church of Scienfoology, see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/ ?


      Horrible, just SHOCKING that anyone would stoop so low as to teach us peons how to thwart the spying of our Over-Lords and Masters! Now? Can I perhaps set up instruction and training, and even accept MONEY for it, as a greedy capitalist, for how us peons could, for instance, thwart the probings of a highly similar “E-Meter” from the IRS-recognized “Church” of Scientology instead? Now that would be religious training and would therefor fall under freedom of religion, would it not?

  2. Total farce.
    Wonder if he could end up in the slammer for ‘faking’ a birth-sign?
    LDs are every bit as reliable as reading tea leaves or astrological readings.

    1. I had a hell of a time hanging onto my job due to the results of a polygraph administered days after my first wife served me with divorce papers.

      1. Live Free or Diet| 9.9.13 @ 9:30PM |#
        “I had a hell of a time hanging onto my job due to the results of a polygraph administered days after my first wife served me with divorce papers.”

        I don’t doubt that at all. PG operators have zero objective evidence to evaluate, so any sign of discomfort will do, and I’m sure there’s a ‘quota’ of rejections required.
        Lying assholes…

        1. Not sure what job LFOD had, but for security clearances there’s an appeals process if you’re denied, and I’m pretty sure that situation would have been enough for them to grant a re-do.

          1. Tulpa (LAOL-VA)| 9.9.13 @ 10:25PM |#
            “Not sure what job LFOD had, but for security clearances there’s an appeals process if you’re denied,…”

            Yeah, and what sort of appeal do you have against an astrologer?

            1. Not much, at least 1983. I decided to find another job in another field. Later I got a class action suit notification, then a letter to the effect they were settling, ending the policy, and received a modest check.

          2. Fuck off, slaver.

          3. It wasn’t government.

    2. And just look at what they did to YT’s mom.

      I always kind of hoped to live in a cyberpunk dystopia. I just wouldn’t have expected it 6 months or a year ago.

      1. The passages about taking very specific increments of time to peruse office memorandum sunk home for me. Having to impress other bureaucrats with contrived diligence that everyone knows is bullshit is… disquieting, to say the least. I occasionally catch flack for turning off the read response to flagged emails at work, but the notion disgusts me. Whose ass am I covering, theirs or mine?

        1. I have to guess the inward facing surveillance in .gov is only going to get worse as they try to stop leaks. Maybe the most open and transparent administration in history can… Nah, I can’t keep a straight face.

          Someone should try to sell them eye trackers to see when employees are daydreaming about walking off with a disk full of docs.

          Seriously, though, that sounds brutal.

        2. “The passages about taking very specific increments of time to peruse office memorandum sunk home for me.”

          Am I correct that you have X time to read and respond to an email?

          1. Y.T.’s mom pulls up the new memo, checks the time, and starts reading it. The estimated reading time is 15.62 minutes. Later, when Marietta does her end-of-day statistical roundup, sitting in her private office at 9:00 P.M., she will see the name of each employee and next to it, the amount of time spent reading this memo, and her reaction, based on the time spent, will go something like this:

            Less than 10 mm. Time for an employee conference and possible attitude counseling.

            10-14 min. Keep an eye on this employee; may be developing slipshod attittide.

            14-15.61 mm. Employee is an efficient worker, may sometimes miss important details.

            Exactly 15.62 mm. Smartass. Needs attitude counseling.

            15.63-16 mm. Asswipe. Not to be trusted.

            16-18 mm. Employee is a methodical worker, may sometimes get hung up on minor details.

            More than 18 mm. Check the security videotape, see just what this employee was up to (e.g., possible unauthorized restroom break).

            1. Y.T.’s mom decides to spend between fourteen and fifteen minutes reading the memo. It’s better for younger workers to spend too long, to show that they’re careful, not cocky. It’s better for older workers to go a little fast, to show good management potential. She’s pushing forty. She scans through the memo, hitting the Page Down button at reasonably regular intervals, occasionally paging back up to pretend to reread some earlier section. The computer is going to notice all this. It approves of rereading. It’s a small thing, but over a decade or so this stuff really shows up on your work-habits summary.

  3. What the hell is going on with RGIII? This is terrible. Jesus, is he crestfallen.

    1. Even Gruden is running out of positive things to say about him.

      1. That drive was starting to look pretty good…until they sacked him. And now they just missed the field goal.

        This is just awful.

        1. I’m considering playing Borderlands2. That’s how bad this is.

          1. I’m grilling and every time I look in on it, it’s bad. Bring on the Chargers/Titans game.

    2. The Eagles came to seriously play, that offense is scary. I think RGIII not playing a snap in the preseason and the hype of his return worked against them. The whole team is getting their ass kicked.

  4. And so how is this guy not a political prisoner?

    1. Oh, he’s definitely a political prisoner. Polygraphs are voodoo, and he’s in jail because the thugs want to clamp down on anyone who demonstrates that.


    2. How is this not a violation of the 1st amendment?

  5. Putin bails out Obama

    1. Obama will claim he came up with the whole thing.

      1. Wasn’t it Kerry?

  6. Oh look, Tucille being totally dishonest again. This guy was getting paid $1000 a session. He wasn’t just telling people to relax.

    According to the testimony of the undercover agent in the case, he was advising him on which details to share in response to specific questions. I know ReasonHatesCops? but to offer Dixon’s claims that he was only instructing relaxation at face value, while not even mentioning the evidence he was convicted based on, is the height of dishonesty and exactly what I expect from Reason these days.

    He’s aiding and abetting fraud, which I thought libertarians were against — maybe I’m just an old-timer.

    1. So, what is the basis for your rant?

      If it consists solely of the government’s press release, why bother to post?

      If not, Missourah, please.

      1. Maybe you should ask Tucille why he didn’t link to a news story about the sentencing?

        Google “chad dixon” and click on News. It ain’t hard. There are some details that go against Tucille’s story there, so don’t do it if you want to be presented with information that hasn’t been filtered for your consumption.

        1. ….don’t do it unless you want to be….

          1. You seem to be forgetting that this writer does not hesitate to take Reason scribes to task.

            So, I took you advice and perused some of the details regarding Mr. Dixon which have been approved for general audiences and promulgated by those who play stenographer for the state; even there, the court jesters are skeptical, notwithstanding the sources for their “news” are the same, or in league with the same, who penned the press release to which I referred above.

        2. It’s only fraud if polygraphs are reliable. They aren’t, so it’s not.

          1. Thanks, RC, I was gonna laugh at this but you beat me to it:
            “He’s aiding and abetting fraud,”
            So, ha, ha, ha anyhow.

          2. This. Polygraphs are one step above phrenology.

          3. Bullshit. They could attach the wires to an etch-a-sketch and it’s still fraud when you materially lie for the purpose of gaining employment.

            1. Tulpa (LAOL-VA)| 9.9.13 @ 10:11PM |#
              “you materially lie for the purpose of gaining employment.”

              Definition, please.

              1. Definition of what?

                You know that the answer will affect whether you get the job or not, and you make a false or intentionally incomplete statement.

                Obviously these people know the questions are material since they’re paying $1000 a session for help with them.

                1. That’s completely untrue. Your answers are not at issue here, the data being read from your body are. If I can help you manage those signals so that they “indicate truth” when you’re telling the truth, where’s the deception of the government?

              2. Lying to gain employment is legal.

                1. It’s called an interview.

          4. I mean seriously RC? It’s fraud when you lie about something material in an interview when there is no polygraph, so how is it suddenly not fraud when there’s a polygraph involved.

            1. Does the federal constitution authorize the federal government to criminalize counsel designed to circumvent the fraud of the federal government?

              How about the fraud being employed by the government in pursuing Mr. Dixon?

              Does the constitution empower the government to use fraud to prosecute behavior for which it was not empowered to criminalize?

              Stop making excuses for the nation state salvation project.

              1. Did you just throw “fraud” into a Mad Libs, l-mike? I can’t make heads or tails what you’re trying to say.

            2. Your error is believing that preventing a polygraph from giving a positive result is lying. That would be true if polygraphs are reliable. They aren’t, so it’s not.

              1. R C Dean| 9.9.13 @ 10:23PM |#
                “Your error is believing that preventing a polygraph from giving a positive result is lying. That would be true if polygraphs are reliable. They aren’t, so it’s not.”

                It had nothing to do with ‘teaching people how to materially lie’.
                It had to do with teaching people how to avoid triggering some phrenologist’s suspicion.

                1. Read the testimony of the undercover agents.

                  I see why Tucille pulls this crap; you guys will believe whatever shit he shovels.

                  1. Read the testimony of the undercover agents.

                    I see why Tucille pulls this crap; you guys will believe whatever shit he shovels.

                    I did.

                    The first undercover agent told Dixon that, while previously employed as a local jailer, she smuggled
                    contraband into the jail for inmates and accepted bribes. She also told Dixon that she was an active drug-user and that she had lied about all of her misconduct on her security background forms. Dixon instructed the agent to lie about her past criminal activities and taught her how to obstruct the polygraph exam. The second undercover agent told Dixon that, in order to pass a preemployment polygraph test for a federal law enforcement position, he had to conceal that he had sex with a minor and to hide information concerning a brother who was a member of the Los Zetas drug cartel involved in cross-border crimes involving drugs, extortion, murder, and kidnapping.

                    Telling a person to lie in this case should not be illegal. They have a choice to lie or not. If they are put under oath and lie, they should be charged with lying under oath. In his case though, he was under no oath to tell the truth and simply instructed other people to lie.

                    Please explain to me why any of this should be illegal.

                    1. Because it’s FRAUD. Do you not know the meaning of the word?

                      You’re always telling me how I’m arrogant and I should respect people here for being intelligent, but seriously! If you don’t know what fraud is how are we even going to have a discussion?

                    2. Are you fucking regarded Tulpa? Teaching someone to fool a polygraph test and telling them to lie is not fraud on Dixon’s part. Jesus tap dancing Christ.

                    3. Yes, he is retarded.

              2. No, my belief is that making false statements to someone who has a right to the truth is lying. He wasn’t coaching people on how to tell the truth, rather the opposite. Read the testimony of the undercover agents.

                1. Why does a person who is interviewing you have a right to the truth? Where did this magic right come from that suddenly circumvents our first amendment rights?

                  1. Irish| 9.9.13 @ 10:33PM |#
                    “Why does a person who is interviewing you have a right to the truth?”

                    And under what sort of evidence do we presume they do?

                  2. Because they’re basing a transaction of value on what you’re saying. It’s called fraud, which, I keep having to repeat, libertarians are against, or at least used to be.

                    1. If I lied in a job interview and they found out, would I be sent to prison? No. I would be fired.

                      This argument is ridiculous. Unless you lie under oath, it is not illegal in any other situation. The only way lying in a job interview impacts you is that you lose the ability to sue your employer for wrongful termination. It is rarely illegal, and it certainly isn’t illegal to tell someone else how to lie.

                    2. Tulpa (LAOL-VA)| 9.9.13 @ 10:35PM |#
                      “Because they’re basing a transaction of value on what you’re saying.”

                      “They” (the employers) are basing a transaction on the report of witch-doctors.

                2. So you’re saying that a prospective employee is obligated to tell the full truth to the employer? What obligations does the employer have? Is dealing honestly with the employee throughout the hiring process one of them?

                  Because everything the polygraph examiner does is a lie. Like an interrogation (because that’s all these sessions are) the examiner is empowered to lie as often as necessary to get you to confess if he thinks you have something to confess.

                3. This is irrelevant, it doesn’t matter what he told them to do, not does it matter that he may have been potentially abetting fraud.

                  He is under no obligation to the government security agencies and he has taken no action against them. Dixon did not commit any fraud, his customers potentially did.

            3. No, it’s not fraud to lie in employment interviews. You don’t owe them truth.

              1. You owe anybody truth when you’re seeking to do a transaction with them.

                1. So Tulpa always tells 100% of the truth, 100% of the time, because he’d never want to get one over on another party in a transaction. That would be “fraudulent”.

                  Get off your high horse. Everyone lies, and everyone knows that everyone lies, and that is why you set your buying price accordingly. I suppose your resume doesn’t include any inaccuracies, misrepresentations, or exaggerations, huh?

        3. I used to make a macabre impromptu party game of demonstrating the field sobriety battery among friends when we’d be out drinking, since I reviewed my share during a brief stint as a criminal defense paralegal. Would you consider this helping my drunk friends evade DUI arrests? What if I charged for the privilege?

          1. Or for that matter, advising pot aficionados how best to disguise the scent of their product. Drug pooches are tools of law enforcement, right? Surely this is no exercise of their 1a privilege. It’s aiding and abetting!

            1. Not that I agree with what happened, but I think he got in trouble for being involved in specific attempts to hide info.

              It’d be the difference between selling a video that advises on how to move weed without the law knowing and having a smuggler pay you money for advice on a specific smuggling operation. I think those two things differ in degree and not in kind, and also that both actions are protected by the 1st amendment.

              1. How about if someone offers advice on how to murder someone and get away with it?

                yes, I know murder is a “real crime” but I don’t see where the First Amendment makes a distiction. If you’re going to be a literalist you have to be a literalist.

                1. Tulpa (LAOL-VA)| 9.9.13 @ 10:20PM |#
                  “How about if someone offers advice on how to murder someone and get away with it?”

                  Damn, Tulpa! That is gold even for you!
                  BEAT THAT STRAW MAN!!!!!

                  1. Not a strawman at all. Just a question to see how far GBN’s interp of the 1A goes.

                    1. Tulpa (LAOL-VA)| 9.9.13 @ 10:34PM |#
                      “Not a strawman at all.”

                      Yeah, murder is somehow equivalent to convincing an astrologer that I was born under a different sign.

                2. There are vast amounts of info available in books and the Internet that would be quite useful to a prospective murderer. Should all those mystery writers and other authors be prosecuted?

                3. There are vast amounts of info available in books and the Internet that would be quite useful to a prospective murderer. Should all those mystery writers and other authors be prosecuted?

                  1. If they’re conducting training sessions on how to commit and get away with murder, then yes, they should be prosecuted.

                    Sorry for nerfing your lame attempt at a gotcha.

                    1. You think everybody should be prosecuted for something or other, why should we care that you also think dissemination of subversive information is cause to lock people in a cage?

                      Hey, if you wanna kill someone, Tulpa, don’t leave fingerprints or DNA evidence. This will help you avoid capture.

                      There, now Tulpa thinks I’m a felon because he gets a boner thinking of people getting arrested and thrown in cages.

                    2. Distilling the ad-hom to its purest form. Impressive, GBN.

                    3. How long should I spend in prison for my second paragraph?

                    4. You’re stating the obvious, so none. But I don’t like your attitude so I’d sentence you to a month of community service working for that porker mayor in Braddock.

                    5. You’re stating the obvious, so none.

                      So if a guy says he wants a federal job, but that his brother is a dangerous gang member, and I say to omit that, it’s not stating the obvious?

                    6. Stating the obvious versus disagreeing with the obvious … hmm … I’m gonna have to go with the pro obvious side here.

                    7. You are still failing to grasp the distinction between actually lying, and knowing how to prevent a poly from giving a positive result.

                      Not unlike the distinction between actually shooting someone, and knowing to use a shotgun so they can’t do ballistics on the bullet.

                      Oops, I just aided and abetted who knows how many murders.

                    8. It would help if you could point to one lie that the accused knowingly assisted in getting past the G-men.

                    9. You can’t get past the G-man, though he often gets past you.

                    10. Both of the undercover agents were getting advice on how to get away with lying/withholding info. They explicitly told Dixon they planned to lie.

                      Yes, the ultimate goal was to avoid a positive result, but the means to that end was how to lie convincingly.

                      If I give training on how to hide a gun, that’s not illegal; maybe it’s parents who want to keep their kids from finding a gun. But if I give training on how to hide a gun to someone who tells me he’s planning to shoot someone, that’s another matter entirely.

                    11. I see what you’re saying, and I think you’re actually right in this case.

                      That doesn’t make you less insufferable.

                      /backhanded compliment

                    12. Good that you’re separating the hominem and the argumentum.

                    13. Whatever he did with the undercover agents did not result in one lie getting past the G-men. I see no evidence that any actual fraud was committed, and thus no case for aiding and abetting fraud.

                    14. So you don’t think attempted murder, or conspiracy to murder should be crimes?

                    15. I don’t see any evidence of attempted fraud or conspiracy to commit fraud here. The undercover agents didn’t plan to or attempt to beat a lie detector by omitting pertinent information, did they?

                    16. Tulpa (LAOL-VA)| 9.9.13 @ 10:54PM |#
                      “Both of the undercover agents were getting advice on how to get away with lying/withholding info.”

                      That was their claim. They were given instructions on how to avoid arousing the suspicion of a witch-doctor.

                    17. The witch doctor’s suspicions would have been correct in this case.

                      Having a close family member in a drug-trafficking gang is grounds for denial of the clearance. He was advising them to withhold material information.

                    18. Ao they were lying. So it was entrapment, and he didn’t even help the informants to commit an actual crime.

                    19. If they’re conducting training sessions on how to commit and get away with murder, then yes, they should be prosecuted.

                      And yet, the School of the Americas continues to function.

                    20. You guys keep bringing up stuff that I’m opposed to…. why?

                    21. You talking to me? Cuz I was just making an observation.

                    22. Sorry, I had a Tulpa vs. the world mentality going. You can see why.

                    23. You keep evading my questions regarding the morality of the undercover agents.

                      Did not the undercover sleazes perpetrate fraud?

                    24. Because your argument is shit. And you are arguing that somebody who hasn’t harmed anybody or commited fraud should be locked in a rape cage. And you contrarian veneer isn’t even providing a modicum of shade to what a state worshipping shit licker you are.

                4. “How about if someone offers advice on how to murder someone and get away with it?”

                  You mean like every mystery writer in history?

                  That said there is a specific crime for being accessory to murder. Training someone on how to get away with murder in general would not be a crime, but knowing they had a specific target and specific intent to carry out the act would make you an accessory to the crime.

                  Prior to this there has never been a crime for being an “accessory to fraud”

          2. Were you coaching them on how to pass sobriety tests while drunk?

            I mention how much he was paid to dispel the implausible claim that he was just telling them to relax. Odd that Mr Tucille failed to mention that fact.

            1. From the Justice Dept press release, quoted in the blog post:

              The purpose of the scheme was for Dixon to enrich himself by training federal job applicants and federal employees how to conceal specific and material information from the federal government in exchange for between approximately $1,000 and $2,000 plus travel expenses.

              1. Ah missed that. But the fact remains.

                1. Actually it doesn’t, since your entire argument is based on the claim that the information was concealed or distorted when it actually wasn’t.

                  The only other point in your initial post was this:

                  According to the testimony of the undercover agent in the case, he was advising him on which details to share in response to specific questions.

                  Which is different from telling someone what to say and not to say during a normal job interview because…what exactly? It’s okay to say which details to share to specific questions before a non-government job interview, but illegal when the interview is with the government?

                  1. “Certainly, mention that one of your hobbies is gardening, but I wouldn’t mention exactly what you are growing.”

                    1. Yawn. If they ask about your hobbies, and you don’t tell them about your marijuana garden, that’s not a material lie. Aren’t you supposed to be a lawyer or something?

                  2. It should be illegal to lie or intentionally withhold information pertinent to a relevant question during a job interview too.

                    Again, failing to see why libertarians would have a problem with this (other than that enforcement would be a pain in the ass).

                    1. So I should be jailed for saying I like to garden, and intentionally withholding the information that my garden includes a pot plant?

                    2. You don’t think most employers would consider the commission a felony material?

                    3. Depends on what the question is.

                      If it’s a question about what your hobbies are, that’s pretty vague. Hard to see how someone would be expecting an answer about pot growing.

                      If they ask you what plants you grow, then it would be material, particularly if that’s the only plant you grow. If you have a gigantic garden with 100 different plants in there you could probably claim you didn’t expect to list all of them.

                      If they ask if you’ve been involved with illegal drugs and you fail to mention it, that’s obviously fraud.

                    4. If intentionally withholding pertinent information is fraud (as you state) and if commission of a felony is pertinent to my getting the job (and I assure you, it is) then how is intentionally withholding (that is, not mentioning) that my gardening hobby includes pot plants not fraud?

                    5. Not answering a question that’s not asked isn’t withholding information.

                    6. Giving partial information while intentionally withholding pertinent information is fraud if the other elements of fraud are present. Google “material omission.” Most fraud is committed outside of any kind of Q & A.

                      You may be confusing fraud and perjury.

                    7. You don’t know how Polygraph’s work do you?

                      They don’t ask specific questions, nor do they ask questions which require indepth answers.

                      They ask large scale generic questions that must be answered either yes or no.

                      Before they start they ask you to divulge any info that may come up, so if you say “I used to do drugs but stopped years ago” they will change the question from “have you ever done drugs” to “have you done drugs since X date”.

                      There would be no way to not divulge everything without lying.

                      Hell when I took a polgraph I was asked simply “have you ever committed a felony”.

                    8. the crux of the biscuit is that Tulpa wants the lies to be a criminal infraction and not civil infraction. It’s no fun unless you get to imprison someone.

                    9. On civil or criminal grounds? I can make sense of the former, but I see no reason why the prosecutors need to bring out the knives.

                    10. For civil fraud, you have to show damages. I don’t see an allegation or evidence that any damages were suffered here.

                    11. Didn’t say civil fraud.

                      And the libertarian credo says jack shit about damages needing to be shown. If you push me I don’t have to show evidence of a bruise to push back.

                    12. It’s not civil fraud, perjury, no fraud was actually committed or planned that we have any evidence of, so there can’t be a conspiracy or aiding and abetting.

                      What crime did he commit, again?

                    13. As far as he knew, there was going to be a felony committed and he was helping. That’s enough.

                      Otherwise, it would be basically impossible to break up contract murder businesses or foil terror plots using undercover agents (unless the plan is to stand idly by and let them kill people and then arrest them).

                    14. So, no actual crime need to be committed in order to jail someone? As long as there is a hypothetical crime out there, that’s all we need?

                      “Well, he could have committed a crime. Lock him up, boys!”

                    15. If I tell a girl that I’m just going to put the tip in and then I end up in a full-fledged rogering, is that or should it be fraud?

                    16. If I tell a girl that I’m just going to put the tip in and then I end up in a full-fledged rogering, is that or should it be fraud?

                      Not if she can’t tell the difference.

                    17. I’d be OK with either.

                      Fraud used to be treated as a civil matter, but then the fraudsters found ways to stymie the court system (either disappearing or passing the money to others and then claiming no blood from a stone).

                      In the case of employment interviews, in practice it would be a nightmare to enforce and firing would generally be enough deterrent. I can understand why the fedgov is especially circumspect about national security jobs, especially these days.

                      Snowden, of course, claims that he applied for his NSA job for the sole purpose of divulging classified information, which makes him guilty of fraud nine ways till Sunday.

            2. Not in as many words, no. It didn’t occur to me until just now that someone might plausibly instruct problem drinkers in the finer points of evasion.

              I do freely dispense advice relative to what I saw while on the job (with hefty IANAL caveats), but it’s mostly advising people of their right to refuse breathalyzing if they’re confident they’d blow over, something that often helped court reasonable doubt in court. Many people seem to think when the cops poke that thing in their face their only option is to close their eyes and blow.

              1. Many people seem to think when the cops poke that thing in their face their only option is to close their eyes and blow.

                It is illegal to refuse a breathalyzer in some jurisdictions

                1. You automatically lose your DL pretty much everywhere in the US for refusing a test.

                  In some jurisdictions they can forcibly draw blood if you refuse the breathalyzer, which is going too far even for me.

                  1. even for me


                    Here in New Mexico, refusal results in administrative forfeiture. It’s likely to happen regardless (assuming you do/would, in fact, blow over .08), is less of a hassle, and doesn’t carry the onus of a criminal conviction. It’s a fair tradeoff in my inexpert opinion for depriving your prosecutor of a convenient and definitive (but by no means crucial) article of evidence.

                2. I doubt that. They can take your licence away, but I doubt refusing a breathalyzer would pass 5A muster.

                  1. I think SCOTUS earlier this year upheld the discretion of law enforcement to draw blood, or didn’t specifically repudiate it. I CBA to look it up.

                    1. Mmmnope, it turns out I can be arsed and that they ruled against warrantless blood draws. Or something. Anyway, I was probably wrong.

    2. According to the testimony of the undercover agent in the case, he was advising him on which details to share in response to specific questions.

      According to the Washington Post article linked above, “In the eyes of his supporters, though, Dixon is no more than an electrical worker who did some Internet research on polygraph testing. And for offering instructions sometimes as simple as “relax and breathe normally,” he probably will end up in federal prison.”
      “Williams and others preach that you can manipulate it by artificially provoking a physical reaction when you’re supposed to and keeping your reactions in check when you’re not.”

      Looks to me you don’t like which side the author has taken in this. My take is that a polygraph is no substitute for actual legwork in doing a background check. That they don’t have the time to do that legwork is the telling fact.

      1. “My take is that a polygraph is no substitute for actual legwork in doing a background check.”

        You’re too kind. It’s bullshit fro0m top to bottom.

      2. I’m not a fan of polygraphs either. Where Tucille and I disagree is on the morality of distorting and withholding the facts in order to support my position.

        “In the eyes of his supporters” I’m sure he’s a wonderful guy who’s the victim of a witch hunt. I’m not interested in what the eyes of his supporters think, I’m interested in the facts.

        1. The morality?

          Again, the employment of undercover agents, is, per se, evil. Its the work of slimy, parasitic vultures who are attracted to force and who do not make or produce anything on a voluntary and consensual basis. Put another way, they are scum.

          Morality? The higher the ends, the higher must be the means. That means check and mate against each and every appeal to the violence of the nation state, no matter what the proffered pretext is, but particularly where the shriek for more power is all the more Obamatomic.

        2. I’m interested in the facts.

          You seem to have lost hold of the fact that this isn’t intended to be a newspaper. They give the facts they see as important to their opinions. Trying to give every fact would make the articles here look more like court filings.

    3. Once again, Fuck off slaver.

  7. AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD girl in Yemen has died after sustaining horrific injuries on the first night of her marriage to a man more than five times her age.

    1. Plopper’s down wit dat.

  8. Hell hath no fury like a federale deceived.

    1. Just like lying to a federal agent is a crime even when not under oath but no such restrictions on them. In a better world, that would be reversed.

  9. So Fedgov continues to rely on a technology that’s about as scientifically solid as phrenology. They seem really committed to it too.

    1. “So Fedgov continues to rely on a technology that’s about as scientifically solid as phrenology.”

      I’d be surprised if the EPA and the Fed didn’t do the same.
      What pisses me off it tossing a guy in the slammer for pointing out what BS it is.

    2. It is worse.

      The way they work they will never catch the REALLY dangerous types who are convinced of their righteousness, what they catch are the harmless normal joes who just want a job but feel guilty/nervous about looking into the darkest corners of their lives.

      You get a terrorist who is convinced he is doing gods work or a foreign agent who has been trained to hate the US and they will feel totally secure in lying and get through the test with flying colors.

  10. I’m glad that this only involves the polygraph. My side business of telling parents when to conceive so that their children will be born under the proper astrological sign is still relatively unregulated.

    1. I think I know what app to make next. Thanks, Irish!

    2. “My side business of telling parents when to conceive so that their children will be born under the proper astrological sign”

      Funny! You could advise on feng shui next!

    3. Well, if the CIA decides they only want to hire Pisces for a particular job, don’t go tellin people how to act all fish like, or you could go to jail.

  11. Massive crowd of pot activists turn up at free pot give away in Denver to protest high taxes on recreational marijuana.

    Given that this is a Denver pot rally, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that these people are predominantly leftists. It therefore makes me laugh to watch them protest taxes.

    Reap what you sow, statists.

  12. Jesus Christ, Tulpa is an insufferable idiot. I wonder what percentage of his students drop his class after the first week. There’s no way he can hide what an asshole he is for that long. And all you people who engage him when he climbs up on his stupidity cross? Almost as bad.

    1. People are arguing with Tulpa instead of watching football. There’s a calculus fail.

      1. And in a related note, Steam needs to stop filling up it’s new releases with this “early access” shit. I’m not going to pay for the fucking privilege to alpha test your fucking game.

        Faces need punching.

        1. Amen to that.

        2. Were you ever a Homeworld fan, HM? Gearbox ended up with the assets after Sierra dissolved, and they’re releasing HD reworks of HW1 & 2 over Steam. I’m ecstatic; besides PS:T and maybe Morrowind, that was easily my favorite distraction as a teenager.

          Speaking of Planescape

          1. No kidding? I loved Homeworld. One of the first video games I ever played.

      2. At least RGIII got some of his mojo back and brought it back to within 6. I find myself thinking that the Chargers/Texans game is going to be rather dull and by the numbers, though. Maybe I should get stoned early.

      3. I live in fucking pittsburgh. I fucking hate football, I hate people that watch football, and I especially hate hearing stupid assholes talk about football.

        When I try to sit at a bar quietly and some fuckhead is rambling on like a girl with her first wet twat about some retard in tight pants running around a field with other retards, I must use every iota of self-control not to pistol whip their heads to mush and empty every one of the 52 bullets I have on me into there quivering corpse.

        Reason used to be relatively free of such shit, but has recently become a hive of sycophantic queers filling up every thread with information-less posts about whatever buff monkey they hope’ll pitch for them one day. Makes me wanna fucking puke in my goddamn pants.

        I’ll take tulpa’s dumb analogies and nit-picking arguing over a bunch of coprophagic fan boys any day.

        1. Excellent rant. So, how about them Stillers?

        2. I dated a chick from Pittsburgh. From her I learned that the Steelers actually go into elementary schools to recruit kids as future fans. Pretty slick marketing I must say. And she was a rabid fan too.

          Aren’t you concerned about the possible penalties for carrying in a bar?

          1. You can carry in a bar in PA….

        3. So you’re not probably gonna be in sloopy’s fantasy league then, right?

          1. Who’s he calling a sycophantic queer?

      4. Archduke Trousersenthusiast| 9.9.13 @ 10:44PM |#
        “People are arguing with Tulpa instead of watching football.”

        What “football”?

        1. “handegg”?

  13. Tulpa (LAOL-VA)| 9.9.13 @ 10:54PM |#
    “Both of the undercover agents were getting advice on how to get away with lying/withholding info. They explicitly told Dixon they planned to lie.”

    There is the fail, right there. The Agents said they asked to be taught X. They were not taught that and the reason is simple. A polygraph cannot and does not detect lies, so any claim that they were “taught to lie” is a prima-facie lie.
    They were taught to avoid triggering what the witch-doctor find suspicious.

  14. Oh, and Jim Carrey thinks laws are suggestions if you’re, well, Jim Carrey:
    “Jim Carrey Charged with Violating New York’s Workers’ Compensation Laws”
    (complete with scary mug shot)

    1. oops

      Couldn’t happen to a nicer Canuck

    1. Fucking hipster douches taken by zombies.

      Happy ending!

  15. So, when will Penn & Teller be sent to jail?

    The storyline: Why the polygraph sometimes gives false positives? More importantly – how do you learn to cheat the machine?

  16. You’d be better off convincing water it wasn’t wet than argue with Tulpa.
    /WoT reference bitches

    1. You’d be better off watching paint dry than playing tennis against Nadal, too. So?

      1. Even Horacio Zeballos beat Nadal.
        Your point is false.

        1. You’re no Horacio Zeballos, and you’re certainly no MNG either.

          1. Where is MNG? Does he post elsewhere?

            1. I don’t know. All I know is that I miss him a lot these days.

              1. We would agree on some things; disagree on others. However, I do not recall our exchanges ever getting nasty.

  17. Arsenio’s back on Fox.
    /not a repeat from 1992.

    1. In 1989, who was hotter than Arsenio or Andrew Dice Clay?

      1. Kate Moss.

        1. She would have paid to be with the Dice man.

          1. Buddy Cole put it best:

            “Andrew Dice Clay is phonier than Milli Vanilli. He’s wearing the Emperor’s new clothes. It’s as if someone took your grandmother, the one who can’t speak English, taught her to swear phonetically, gave her a special on HBO and made her a star.”

            1. Ah, cherry picking, as usual:

              You neglect to include the part in which he expressed the desire to bed both Eddie Murphy and the Dice man.

              But, yes, the line you quote is funny. I laughed.

              However, Buddy did not land the part of Auggie in Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen’s newest masterpiece. What would he have to say about ole Dice man getting the part and acquitting himself rather well, I might add?

              In fact, my wife could not believe that Andrew Dice Clay is in a Woody Allen movie.

            2. So, he was playing a character? Is that the point? Cause I’m pretty sure I knew that in 1988.

  18. Tulpa (LAOL-VA)| 9.9.13 @ 11:28PM |#
    “The witch doctor’s suspicions would have been correct in this case.”

    Which is irrelevant.

    1. No, you’re irrelevant. And your earwax smells like ass.

      1. Libertarianism is not, nor has it ever been, about encouraging the state to prosecute fraud, particularly by means of confiscating property from productive folks in order to conduct fraudulent, slimy, undercover operations.

        1. Libertarianism without a robust state would be like a crab without a shell. Weak, vulnerable, and needing to be boiled alive before the little beasties decompose it from the inside out.

          1. Funny, the state, without obedient and submissive serfs from which to plunder, would be like the sharks, off of Cape Cod, deprived of the sustenance afforded by the inflated salmagundi of seals.

  19. man wards off polar bear with cellphone

    1. The bears are more active at this time of year, before the ice freezes, she said.

      Yet another victim of Aggregate Global Climate Warming Change.

    2. 150kg? That’s a small polar bear…

  20. The triumph of capitalism: Take that, Terrorists!

    1. I have to laugh at all the butthurt.

      This is a much better response to terrorism than all the security theater, alphabet soup of agencies, invading Iraq, occupation of Afghanistan, etc.

    2. pussies pulled the coupon/ad. they say they are concerned for the safety of their staff on 9/11.

  21. Who are these guys filling in for the Chargers?

  22. I suspect the polygraph inquisitors know very well that the technology is a crock. The whole schtick is to instill fear by the randomness and unpredictability of the technique. Keep ’em scared and nervous and they’re easy to control.

  23. Should wikihow be brought up on charges?

  24. Polygraph Machines DO NOT WORK…AT ALL.

    In the 80s, to get work on wall st, you had to take a Poly. That thing was a joke!!!

    Me and everyone I knew lied about the drug taking thing and many other things at got by.

  25. Don’t they teach breathing techniques in the military? What religions and spiritual shamans? Don’t they teach how to slow down the heart rate? Are they illegal?

    Apparently it’s illegal to flash headlights to warn on coming drivers there’s a police set up up ahead.

    I do it all the time.

  26. Record Breaking 3:29 Minute Mile Causes Mathematicians To Throw Traditional Calculus Out The Window:

    It was never suppose to happen this way. For over a hundred years, statisticians using the tools Leibniz and Newton gave them, have been able to track the extent of asymptotic limitations to the feasibility of records being broken. Alan Webb earlier this week rendered the prevailing assumptions useless when he was clocked at 3:29.41, beating out his previous fete of 3:46.91.

    Commenting on the growing controversy, Professor Garold Davidson, Dept. of Applied Mathematics at Northwestern stated, ‘This goes well beyond an internal dispute within our sometimes hermetic seeming community. From the conclusions we have been forced to reached, so far, we have been extremely, mind bogglingly lucky with every computation that has been applied to augment human decision making. What this means for moon shots, autopiloting jet planes, precision guided missiles . . .’ At this point in the conversation, Dr. Davidson stood blankly with a pencil pressed to his lip. ‘Oooooh, there never has been such a thing. Lies! Damn, lies!’ He stammered off ignoring our inquiries at that point.

    Asked for a clarification from a colleague, the twice winner of the top honors for mathematical research placed a finger between his lips and started flipping the bottom one while repeating ‘bu bu bu bu bu bu.’

  27. Everybody lies…some are born with the ability to do it well…others need to be taught…In another article Dixon said “I don’t have any law enforcement background…Never in my wildest dreams did I somehow imagine I was committing a crime.” I think the government needs to take care of their own liars before prosecuting cases like this. http://exposingjeffblackburn.info/

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