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Submission + - VPN Provider Removes Russian Presence After Servers Seized

An anonymous reader writes: VPN provider Private Internet Access has pulled out of Russia in the wake of new internet surveillance legislation in the country. The company claims that some of its Russian servers were seized by the government as punishment for not complying with the rules, which ask providers to log and hold all Russian internet traffic and session data for up to a year. Learning of the federal action, the company immediately removed its Russian availability and announced that it would no longer be operating in the region.

Submission + - How the Pentagon punished NSA whistleblowers ( 1

schwit1 writes: During dozens of hours of interviews, Pentagon IG John Crane told me how senior Defense Department officials repeatedly broke the law to persecute whistleblower Thomas Drake. First, he alleged, they revealed Drake’s identity to the Justice Department; then they withheld (and perhaps destroyed) evidence after Drake was indicted; finally, they lied about all this to a federal judge.

The supreme irony? In their zeal to punish Drake, these Pentagon officials unwittingly taught Snowden how to evade their clutches when the 29-year-old NSA contract employee blew the whistle himself. Snowden was unaware of the hidden machinations inside the Pentagon that undid Drake, but the outcome of those machinations – Drake’s arrest, indictment and persecution – sent an unmistakable message: raising concerns within the system promised doom.

“Name one whistleblower from the intelligence community whose disclosures led to real change – overturning laws, ending policies – who didn’t face retaliation as a result. The protections just aren’t there,” Snowden told the Guardian this week. “The sad reality of today’s policies is that going to the inspector general with evidence of truly serious wrongdoing is often a mistake. Going to the press involves serious risks, but at least you’ve got a chance.”

“They’re saying, ‘We’re doing this to protect you,’” Roark’s fellow whistleblower William Binney told me. “I will tell you that that’s exactly what the Nazis said in Special Order 48 in 1933 – we’re doing this to protect you. And that’s how they got rid of all of their political opponents.”

Submission + - DoD Tripled Polygraphs Post-Edward Snowden

George Maschke writes: In a presentation to a group of Texas law students, a polygraph examiner for the U.S. Department of Defense revealed that in the aftermath of Edward Snowden's revelations, the number of polygraphs conducted annually by the department tripled (to over 120,000). Morris also conceded that mental countermeasures to the polygraph are a "tough thing."

Submission + - Polygraph Critic Doug Williams Writes from Prison

George Maschke writes: On October 30, 2015, Doug Williams, who was targeted by federal investigators for publicly offering training on how to pass or beat polygraph examinations, began serving a two-year sentence at the federal prison camp in Florence, Colorado, USA. Via e-mail, he has sent a commentary about his experience titled "Operation Lie Busters: A Travesty of Justice." It's worth noting that despite the U.S. Government's best efforts, information about how to pass or beat a polygraph test remains freely available (PDF) to anyone who seeks it.

Comment Re:Old news (Score 5, Informative) 125

MythBusters did a segment on this and they where not able to demonstrate a way to beat the test that was reliable. In fact, I don't think any of their "test subjects" where able to do so. Can some people do it? I think so. But I seriously doubt *you* could beat it unless you are a pathological liar who just doesn't care anything about truth, ethics or morals.

The MythBusters "Beat the Lie Detector" segment was particularly bad, and the producers of the show should be ashamed of it. You'll find a detailed critique here. In peer reviewed research on countermeasures, about half of programmed guilty subjects were able to fool the polygraph after a maximum of 30 minutes of instruction, and experienced polygraph examiners were unable to detect the countermeasures. See the studies by Charles R. Honts and others cited in the bibliography of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.

Submission + - Leaked Documents Confirm Polygraph Operators Can't Detect Countermeasures

George Maschke writes: has published a document (14 MB PDF) on polygraph countermeasures that is allegedly derived from classified information. The document suggests techniques that polygraph operators might use in an attempt to detect efforts to beat the polygraph, but fails to offer any coherent strategy for detecting sophisticated countermeasures such as those outlined in's The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (1 MB PDF) or Doug Williams' How to Sting the Polygraph . Ominously, the leaked document avers that an examinee's stated lack of belief in polygraphy is a marker of deception. has also published an older U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations polygraph countermeasure handbook (3.2 MB PDF) that similarly offers no methodology for detecting sophisticated countermeasures (such as any actual spy, saboteur, or terrorist might be expected to use).

Submission + - Man Targeted in Polygraph Sting Calls on Government to "Stop the Madness"

George Maschke writes: Doug Williams, who was targeted in a sting operation by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection polygraph unit for teaching people how to pass or beat polygraph examinations, will be reporting to prison to begin serving a two-year sentence on October 30, 2015. Williams has released a final video statement calling on the U.S. government to terminate its reliance on polygraph "testing," which is widely dismissed as pseudoscience by the scientific community, and yet is widely embraced by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies. While the government may have succeeded in silencing Doug Williams, information about the shortcomings of polygraph testing, and how the test can be beaten, remains readily available to any who seek it.

Submission + - Veteran FBI Employee Accused of Trying to Beat Polygraph, Suspended Without Pay

George Maschke writes: A mid-career veteran of the FBI has been suspended without pay and faces revocation of his/her security clearance (which would inevitably lead to termination) because the Bureau's polygraph operators allege he/she tried to beat the polygraph. The case is currently the subject of an unpublicized Congressional inquiry. Retired FBI scientist, supervisory special agent, and polygraph critic Dr. Drew Richardson has publicly shared a memorandum he wrote in support of the accused in this case, which has heretofore been shrouded in secrecy. It should be borne in mind that polygraphy is vulnerable to simple countermeasures (PDF, see Ch. 4) that polygraph operators cannot detect. This case is yet another example of how the pseudoscience of polygraphy endangers virtually everyone with a high-level security clearance.

Submission + - Leaked Files Contradict CBP Polygraph Chief (

George Maschke writes: In January 2014, the chief of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection polygraph unit claimed that a criminal investigation he led, dubbed Operation Lie Busters, had revealed that sophisticated polygraph countermeasures can be routinely detected. However, an archive of CBP "confirmed countermeasure" case files leaked to contradicts this claim. In the representative sample of 65 such cases, none can be considered "sophisticated." Instead, as with the 18 DIA cases published earlier, they constituted crude efforts by people who didn't know what they were doing.

Jury selection in the trial of Doug Williams, who has been indicted for teaching two undercover federal agents how to pass a polygraph test begins on Wednesday, May 6th. It appears the government will seek to exclude jurors with polygraph experience or concerns.

Submission + - DIA Polygraph Countermeasure Case Files Leaked

George Maschke writes: (of which I am a co-founder) has published a set of leaked Defense Intelligence Agency polygraph countermeasure case files along with a case-by-case analysis. The case files, which include polygraph charts and the exact questions used, suggest that the only people being "caught" trying to beat the polygraph are those using crude, unsophisticated methods that anyone who actually understood polygraph procedure and effective countermeasures (like, say, a real spy, saboteur, or terrorist) would ever use. has previously published polygraph community training materials on countermeasures that indicate they lack the ability to detect countermeasures like those described in our free book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (PDF) or in former police polygraph examiner Doug Williams' manual, How to Sting the Polygraph . Williams, who was indicted last year after teaching undercover federal agents how to pass a polygraph, is scheduled to stand trial on May 12 in Oklahoma City.

Comment Re:I blame J. Edgar Hoover (Score 2) 328

J. Edgar Hoover actually took a pretty dim view toward polygraphs. When the FBI relied on them for the first time in a counterintelligence investigation, polygraph results led them to relax surveillance of a Nazi spy suspect, who promised to cooperate with the FBI. But after finishing his polygraph, he got on the next ship to Germany and was gone. See Chapter 15 of Nazi Spies in America, a book by the FBI special agent who was in charge of the bungled case.

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