IC Poly and Adjudication Process



What happens if your 2nd poly comes back inconclusive?


After two inconclusive polygraphs with NSA or CIA, a third polygraph might still be offered.


Ok, thank you…

And would it be the same examiner?



No. Typically, a different polygraph operator will conduct any re-test.


Do you mean that failing or being accused of cheating will be detrimental to my current clearance. Or that saying I’m no longer interested in the position (and refusing to retest) will be detrimental? Thank you for your help.


@AntiPolygraph.org, does this increase or decrease my chances of passing, failing or it being inconclusive… yet… again?



Yes, I mean that failing or being accused of using polygraph countermeasures will be detrimental to your ability to maintain your current clearance.



There is no statistical data available regarding whether having a different polygraph operator is correlated with any particular outcome following an inconclusive polygraph. However, it’s possible that the polygraph operator will be under greater pressure to render a pass or fail decision on a third polygraph.


@AntiPolygraph.org, this should be my last question… (thank you, by the way)…

What happens if a person “passes” the second poly, would you then be accused of countermeasures? Which I just don’t think I’m smart enough to even do to be honest…lol.

Thanks again for all your help!


It’s not automatic that a person who passes a second polygraph will be accused of having employed countermeasures. But the risk of such an accusation will be higher than during the first session, because the polygraph operator knows that the subject has had both the time and an incentive to research polygraphy.


@AntiPolygraph.org, that makes a LOT of sense!

Ok, so with that said… what does another “inconclusive” reading mean? A 3rd? (Which makes sense as well)… or does the examiner just report that the subject had two “inconclusive readings”… and then the BI does their job. To which, it would be up to the adjudicator and the “whole person…” theory?

@amberbunny, I’d like to hear your perspective on this as well.


A third polygraph may be conducted at the polygraph unit’s discretion following two inconclusive outcomes. But passing the polygraph is a requirement. Applicants must ultimately pass in order to receive a security clearance.


@AntiPolygraph.org, so that’s confusing. If a person passes after the first test being deemed “inconclusive” or “more data needs to be collected.” (Their term, not mine)… you’d be accused of “countermeasures…”? So how do you pass without being accused of doing such things?

This entire process is confusing and disheartening to be honest.


I can only speak to my experiences. I tell everyone “expect two.” Right now 98% of my submissions get 2. 2% get selected for a third, and of the total, 10 to 15% are called in for an interview to see if they can reasonably determine why there was an odd reading. If it is explainable and reasonable, it is understandable.Some people get tripped up on stupid questions: Do you ever lie, or have you ever stolen an item? I answer yes to both. Everyone lies, and 99% have taken a pen home from work. Goofed off on the clock? Theft of time. SO if you feel even remotely guilty over any of these routine human things…it can show up in the test. Have you ever abused the office copy machine? Absolutely. Ever print something from home? Yep. As long as it is fair use, there isn’t a problem, but telling a lie about it…is the problem. Do I speed? All the time. Ever run a red light? Yep. Knowing I am being watched from a 2 way mirror, and on camera…did I ever check out the female polygrapher when she slowly walked past me? Well, telemetrics don’t lie in that case. Yes I did. My point is don’t sweat the fact you are human. If called in for a follow up interview and one of the questions got real close to an uncomfortable truth…discuss it with the adjudicator. If it is reasonable…they can make the case and it explains the readings. I had to speak to a few uncomfortable things.


@amberbunny, thank you. That explains a lot.

I was asked right before the lifestyle portion if there were any serious crimes I’d like to admit to before we started…

I’m a police officer and have been so for 7 years…I said well, there were times, mostly in the past when I would have a few drinks and drive home. (I’m a father and a husband now… there just isn’t time to do that type of stuff anymore for me)

(Sorry to say, it’s just a part of our culture, it is what it is)

I even explained my drinking habits as a young man and that they have decreased as I’ve gotten older (I’m about to be 35)…

I admitted to this because I wanted to be honest. It was almost like they smelled blood and were out to get me to admit to more… there’s nothing… as I felt guilty about the behavior because it’s NOT a good thing to do— obviously— I know this.



Police officer 28 years. I understand, said same. Asked if I drove intoxicated…hmmm. I did not give myself a breathalyzer. I can honestly then say I was not legally intoxicated. Obviously nobody can give themselves a field sobriety test. At least not objectively. Did I drink more than I should have? Define that. It is easy to get walked down a path where any and every answer comes across as guilty. I understand the stress the line of questioning opens up for you as well. Have I drank alcohol and driven? Yes. 2 glasses of wine over a 3 hour period at a comedy club…am I drunk? Absolutely not. Would it measure on a breathalyzer, Intoxilyzer? Yes. Is it in my opinion to drunk to drive? I cannot answer that. One could argue I did not hit anybody or anything, my responses while driving were optimum…but that is hardly a standard for “not intoxicated.” I think since there were no DUI tests performed you can tell the adjudicator you may be in someone’s opinion but not necessarily your own, but nervous on the question…


I did not state that if a person passes after the first test being deemed inconclusive (or that more data needs to be collected), that the person will be accused of using countermeasures. I’m saying that on a second (or third) polygraph, the likelihood of a countermeasure accusation is increased.

I’ve coauthored a free book on polygraphy titled The Lie Behind the Lie Detector that might help answer your questions; it explains polygraph procedure at length. You can find it by Googling the title.



Thank you!

This helps medigate my anxiety some what. We’ll see how it plays, I guess.
(It’s always good to have someone in the family that understands)
No, I have definitely NOT have any DUIs— plus that would be on the record. I’ve never been to “the farm…”. So, I’ll definitely explain that to the BI or the adjudicator… If I even make that far…lol.

Again, I really appreciate your help and especially your service. 28 years is a long time to make it home each and every night to be with your family!!!


@AntiPolygraph.org, oh no sir, I wasn’t trying to say you stated that. That was my own assumption, my apologies there. The data collected phrase was used in my poly.

I’ll give the book a google now.

Again, thank you for your patience and quick response times to all my questions.


They no doubt can be frustrating. Some have a difficult time, swear they don’t meet whatever the magical standard is…and they are done, cleared. Others swear they were cool, calm, collected for the entire event and they do not clear. No offense to the author above but I do not recommend reading anything on Poly before going. IMHO, you will act on the information given and must answer honestly on the poly if you researched it at all…and that comes across as one looking for counter measures when you just wanted to understand the situation. I’ve sat through 4 of these and did not like one minute of any.