Is volunteering stuff to the polygrapher ever a good idea?

#1

I know a common adage is “be truthfully honest” to the polygrapher, but I see many people post here who had bad experiences disclosing information to the polygrapher before/during it begun, and results in an unfavorable outcome.

Isn’t that the whole purpose of the polygraph? To get more clarified information for better or worse?

I’m up for a full-scope poly, so granted alot of things will be fair game for questioning, I don’t have the cleanest past, and I’ve unconsciously been doing a bunch of soul searching for sins I’ve done that aren’t specifically covered in the SF86 or I’ve potentially forgot.

How would I approach this if I genuinely remembered something of interest that I forgot or did not believe is substantial during/before the polygraph? Is there any benefit of the doubt given to the applicant?

The way most people describe the polygraph examination is an interview where you must stick to your guns and personal narrative at all costs, and any deviation, giving ground, or admission whether in good faith or bad, is harshly punished.

Is there a pre-interview stage before the poly where you are allowed to ask further clarifications or potential admissions, and the polygrapher can update your SF86/BI info? Or is all of that gone once you hit the polygraph room?

Any feedback is welcome, especially for my inexperienced mind.

#2

Before the poly starts you have a chance to go over things with the examiner. I am pretty sure they had a copy of my SF86 they were going through but I didn’t have any changes or updates to it. I believe all this took place before anything was hooked up and I was given the opportunity to mention anything not on the SF86. This is where I admitted my downloading and it seemed like they wanted me to say more than that but that’s only bad thing I have in my past so that was it. The test started after that. I didn’t want to get caught up on anything so I just came out with it. Luckily I didn’t do anything too crazy.

1 Like
#3

Once they discover that you left something out, they are like a dog with a bone . . . They want to prod you for more that you may have left out. Justifiably . . .

1 Like
#4

Honest forgetfulness is not a problem. Misremembering a felony event? That’s a problem. Becoming truthful under threat of poly…is when they believe the only reason you were honest, was because of the poly. Be as honest as you can possibly remember. You will still be nervous, heart pounding, etc. You will fidget, and then become mechanical in breathing as you try to not be more nervous…wash, rinse, repeat. If you do tell the absolute truth, stick with it. Never deviate. If you suddenly gain clarity while under the poly…well, I would still speak to that level of honesty. It is rather amazing how poly can rapidly clarify things in your mind. You will be frustrated, angry even. You will likely stutter, stammer and trip all over your teeth.

2 Likes
#5

You exactly describe my circumstance.

#6

To answer the question you asked in the title of this post, no, it is never a good idea to volunteer stuff to the polygrapher. It cannot help you. It can only hurt you.

You also asked:

I know a common adage is “be truthfully honest” to the polygrapher, but I see many people post here who had bad experiences disclosing information to the polygrapher before/during it begun, and results in an unfavorable outcome.
Isn’t that the whole purpose of the polygraph? To get more clarified information for better or worse?

The whole purpose of the polygraph interrogation is to obtain derogatory information from the subject by (falsely) convincing him that volunteering such information will help him “pass” the “test.”

You also asked:

How would I approach this if I genuinely remembered something of interest that I forgot or did not believe is substantial during/before the polygraph? Is there any benefit of the doubt given to the applicant?

If your purpose is to pass, then your best approach is to make no admissions at all. An applicant is unlikely to receive the benefit of any doubt.

You also asked:

Is there a pre-interview stage before the poly where you are allowed to ask further clarifications or potential admissions, and the polygrapher can update your SF86/BI info? Or is all of that gone once you hit the polygraph room?

There is a “pre-test” phase during which the polygraph operator will ask you a lot of questions, and you can ask questions, too, though it’s not a good idea. Updating your SF86 is your job, not the polygraph operator’s. Any admissions you make to the polygraph operator can and will be used against you.

It should be borne in mind that polygraphy has no scientific basis. It’s a fraudulent pseudoscience that was devised by interrogators, and it entails the operator lying to and attempting to deceive you. The core deception is to trick you into believing that the key to passing is to volunteer any troubling thoughts you may have, because if you don’t you might show a reaction on the polygraph and fail.

While individuals who seek positions of public trust have an ethical obligation to answer relevant questions truthfully, it is a mistake to allow the polygraph operator to turn the polygraph suite into a confessional. If you feel the need to confess your sins, see a priest, not a polygrapher.

2 Likes
#7

Is the ultimate goal here to acquire a clearance or to beat the polygraph?

2 Likes
#8

It seems reasonable to assume that the goal of anyone in the original poster’s position is to pass the polygraph, obtain the requisite security clearance, and, ultimately, to obtain the job for which he or she has applied.

1 Like
#9

The goal is to get hired.

1 Like
#10

Which means one must get clearance eligibility…meaning one must pass the polygraph…being defiant towards the concept of polygraph, understandable as it may be, is certainly not in your best interest. That it is or is not worth a hill of beans is meaningless if the agency you apply for requires it. Period. In short…lighten up Francis. It doesn’t matter that poly is or is not fraud. It is something one must get through successfully to get the eligibility to get a position they obviously desire. Insisting a person remain resolute and not speak to stress feelings during a poly is counter productive. Dare I say antipoly…your answers steadily come across as “I was denied a position because of a failed Poly, misery loves company, therefor I want as many as possible to fail and maybe one day we can convince the world to overturn this process.” This forum is not in any way advanced by those advocating the position your organization seems to “thrill” about.

1 Like
#11

I do not wish for any truthful person to be falsely branded as a liar by his government. If you disagree with anything I have written here, please let me know what you think I’ve gotten wrong, and why you think that is so.

#12

But . . . the clearance process, by law and supported by a SCOTUS ruling, is designed and intended to err on the side of denial. Nobody here believes that it is necessary to lie in order to fail a poly. In fact, the government doesn’t really “brand” anyone as a liar for failing a poly any more than they brand anyone a deadbeat when they deny for financial reasons or as a traitor when they deny for foreign contacts.

Your post here are often interesting but rarely advance the cause of the forum or help the poster asking a question. I do believe that you have knowledge that could be very useful but your whole attitude is unhelpful.

1 Like
#13

When you fail a polygraph “test,” the direct implication is that you lied. A failed polygraph has adverse employment consequences not only with the agency that conducted the polygraph, but across the federal government. Polygraph reports are permanent records that follow an individual for life. So yes, failing a polygraph is indeed tantamount to being branded a liar by our government.

#14

It’s actually the word fail that should be in quotes in your post above, not the word test. Despite the implication that you think is there, the proper interpretation isn’t that you lied but that they are not certain. Just like when you “pass” the proper interpretation is that they don’t “know” that you are telling the truth but they do not think that you are lying or hiding anything. If the government believed that poly was fool proof, we would all take one as part of our investigation and anyone who “failed” would be denied. Then they would become admissible in court and we would put an end to perjury.

That’s exactly the point of my last post. The intention is to avoid false positives which requires allowing for false negatives to occur. You don’t have to like it all.

1 Like