Applicants for the Customs and Border Protection agency keep admitting to ghastly crimes during polygraph tests

Back in April, experts warned that Trump's plan to hire 5,000 new Customs and Border Patrol officers was unlikely to succeed: the agency already loses 1,000 employees per year and a significant number of applicants are disqualified on the grounds of past bad actions, from theft to rape to drug smuggling.

Now that prophecy is coming true: according to documents the Verge obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, an alarming number of CBP applicants are being disqualified after they admit to serious crimes under a polygraph, AKA a "lie detector."

Polygraphs are well-understood to be a form of unreliable pseudoscience, easy to defeat for anyone who does a cursory search. But the knucklehead crooks applying to be Customs officers haven't gotten the memo, and, convinced that the lie detector will rat them out, they're admitted to child pornography charges, sex with minors, domestic violence, embezzlement, illegal drug use, "conspiracy to commit murder while employed by DHS" (!), being members of organized drug trafficking families, and so on.


Under Trump's "Boots on the Ground" law -- which authorizes the new hires -- CBP applicants who have a background in law enforcement, the military, and people who've recently taken polygraph tests for government service are exempted from polygraph testing. However, many of the applicants now being investigated after admitting to crimes under the polygraph are former law-enforcement and federal government employees.

Even without admitted criminals in their ranks, the CBP is a scandal-haunted nightmare of an agency, notorious for racial profiling, harassing government scientists, carrying out mass-scale, unconstitutional device searches, raping refugees and each other, and disobeying orders from federal judges.

The polygraph program is facing renewed scrutiny as the new bill is considered. The Department of Homeland Security inspector general found in a report released in August that millions of dollars were wasted by CBP polygraphing applicants who admitted to disqualifying crimes before even reaching the polygraph interview stage. In total, over four fiscal years, 2,300 applicants were given polygraphs after making such statements, in a time period where the agency conducted more than 32,800 exams.


Border Patrol agency applicants keep admitting to serious crimes during polygraphs
[Colin Lecher/The Verge]