When Polygraphs Lie

An April 10, 2009 article in CQ Politics highlights John Sullivan, who spent three decades as a CIA polygrapher giving polygraph tests to CIA employees.

When he sought a renewal of his CIA security clearance for a post-retirement job – He was turned down.

Sullivan had just written Gatekeeper: Memoirs of a CIA Polygraph Examiner, which discusses internal politics of the CIA.

“Today, he says, I absolutely believe that the last polygraph examination I underwent was an abuse of the process and that those who participated in that process engaged in misconduct.

I asked him whether CIA polygraphers are grilled on whether they’ve ever abused their powers, either on their own or at the direction of agency higher-ups, during their own lie detector exams.

They are not.”