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Xeni Jardin at 2:44 pm Wed, Mar 13, 2013
This measure might work better if lie detector tests actually worked - http://antipolygraph.org/.
I’m totally cool with the government trying to use ideas that don’t work to prevent people from exposing crime and deception.
The fact that they’re trying to deter this kind of action is leak-worthy in itself.
I don’t disagree with you (see my comment below). But to be fair, polygraphs don’t have to work to be an effective interview tool or an effective deterrent. It’s only necessary that the average person believe they work. Heck, it really doesn’t even require that. It’s probably sufficient for people to know this interviewer, because of his ‘sciencey’ credentials, has more power to improve or ruin your life than just anyone else you talk to, so you better say things that make him happy, and not give the slightest indication you might be hiding something or trying to game his ‘test’.
But the machine manufacturers swore to their efficacy even when hooked up to a polygr—ohhh.
My favorite way to prevent leaks is not to deceive the public or do horrible things.
Probably not going to see THAT memo anytime soon though. . . *sigh*
Yeah, more pseudoscience always helps!
My response to this is colored by my overall skepticism about lie detector tests. But even assuming that polygraphs work and that their use is an effective deterrent of misbehavior, adding a question like this is redundant — it is for the CIA, according to this article, but I imagine most orgs that do polygraphs would include blanket questions covering disclosure of secrets.
As for this having a chilling effect and discouraging legitimate intelligence to member of the press interaction… well, I doubt that. It is already massively illegal to leak classified information, and harshly punished. If people aren’t fully ‘chilled’ already, I don’t know that an extra question on a polygraph would make a difference in their behavior. Polygraphs are not generally how spies and leakers are caught anyway. They’re caught the same way most lawbreakers are caught.
The US loves redundant questions though.
When entering the country as a foreign national you’re asked if you plan on committing any crimes or if you’re are a terrorist. Possibly one of the dumbest things I’ve seen/heard in my entire life.
I like that most of the response quotes in the article are about losing important sources, rather than pointing out that this policy will do absolutely nothing.
Setting aside the fact that the polygraph/lie detector is woo, the policy implies that people leak information because they haven’t been told how wrong or bad it is. Do they really believe that someone who plans to leak information based on their morals and sense of duty to the public will step back and think “Oh wait, this could have negative consequences for the administration… ”
Just like mandatory minimum sentences and the death penalty deter criminal acts… Right?
Right, that’s similar to what I was saying. If you aren’t already held back by the fact leaking classified material is illegal and could land you in jail, will you be held back the possibility of being asked about in a poly? Though I guess polygraphs are supposed to be about catching people, not punishing them, so I guess minimum sentences aren’t a perfect metaphor. The memo isn’t trying to say, “your leaking will be treated 10x more harshly”, it’s saying, “if you leak you will be more likely to be caught”. That possibly could be a deterrent. Will it stop idealists? Maybe not. But not everyone is an idealist, and even those who are, not every one is willing to sacrifice themselves and their families.
“Do you know Guantanamo is lovely this time of the year?”
The only problem is that some of the agencies are so far behind on polygraphs that you can go a whole security review cycle without ever being scheduled for the poygraph from your first review.
Normally I get pretty upset over woo security. False confidence is security makes it non-secure. In this case, I would hope that leads to MORE leaks, if anything. I really really hope.
Off topic: I wish we had some minor formatting options for text; bold and italics if nothing else. I type the way I talk, with heavy emphasis on certain words. Caps typing just seems wrong for that sort of thing; see above^.
Disqus allows a billion
most HTML tags.
List of Disqus-supported tags
Did the USA lose the Cold War? We seem more and more like the Soviet Union as every day goes by.
The real problem is that authoritarians in various U.S. administrations looked upon the Soviet Union with envy, not fear. The USA didn’t lose the Cold War, many fortunes were made in the military/industrial complex… that being said, both the average American did and the average Russian (and countless victims of proxy wars in developing nations) were losers.
Agreed, but nonetheless, it’s just an expression. In other words, even after we “supposedly” won the Cold War, here we are turning into the Soviet Union as far a human rights are concerned.
Very much the same as how we’ve managed to fall right into Bin Laden’s hands by draining our treasure on the Iraq War while reducing our own human rights here and abroad and sacking our own precarious reputation. I’m sure it was the one thing that Bin Laden took solace in as he died.