Deterring Leaks Through Polygraph Testing

Last summer, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper directed agencies that perform polygraph tests to include a “pre-test dialogue” about the need to prevent leaks of classified information as part of the polygraph interview process.

In a July 2012 memorandum to agencies, he said that the CIA’s polygraph program exemplified what he had in mind.

“During the pre-test discussion, CIA specifically asks whether an individual has provided classified information or facilitated access to classified information to any unauthorized persons, to include the media, unauthorized U.S. persons, or foreign nationals.  The polygraph process is also used to identify deliberate disclosures,” DNI Clapper wrote.  Other agencies that perform polygraph testing should follow procedures similar to CIA’s, he said.

“Aggressive action is required to better equip United States Government elements to prevent unauthorized disclosures,” DNI Clapper wrote.

The new policy was announced last June, but the implementing July 2012 memorandum was only released this week in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.  See Deterring and Detecting Unauthorized Disclosures, Including Leaks to the Media, Through Strengthened Polygraph Programs, July 13, 2012.

A copy of the memorandum was also obtained by Jason Leopold of, who reported on it yesterday.


3 Responses to “Deterring Leaks Through Polygraph Testing”

  1. George Maschke March 14, 2013 at 11:10 AM #

    The polygraph can only deter leaks of classified information to the extent that a potential leaker erroneously believes in this electronic bogey-man. Similarly, the only leakers who are liable to be “caught” by the polygraph will be those who choose to confess.

  2. donalds March 14, 2013 at 5:04 PM #

    Local law enforcement needs to follow your lead as well. Not only to polygraph new recruits, but to make policy that they expire every 2yrs to help keep them honest once they join the force.

    In Mineral, W. Virginia, the county Sheriff in making this policy right now. That’s good thinking and good policy.

  3. Rusty O'Toole March 20, 2013 at 11:54 PM #

    Anything that the mouth piece says is questionable. We forced a move to Iceland didn’t we Mr Maschke. And it won’t be long until we have the Iceland servers under our thumb. As far as the polygraph is concerned, we can and have members who beat it and will continue to beat it. Clapper can direct all he wants, but sham technology is easily beaten. We have our own methods and training. We will see the destruction of the polygraph in all its forms. –?–

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