Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the prime accuser in the Brett Cavanaugh fiasco, took a polygraph claiming Judge Cavanaugh had sexually assaulted her 36 years ago when they were 15 and 17 years old, respectively. Setting aside other facts concerning the case, this appears to validate the accuser, because the examiner concluded that Dr. Ford was telling the truth.
As famed newsman of yore, Paul Harvey, used to say, “Here’s the rest of the story.”
First of all, there is no such thing as “passing” a polygraph. Polygraphs do not detect lies or truths, they detect stress or the absence of stress. Type A personalities may respond to polygraph testing much differently than Type B personalities.
The results of a polygraph are determined solely by an opinion rendered by the examiner, based on physiological reactions to questions. Often, there may be no “pass” or “fail” if the test results are unclear. These are deemed “inconclusive.” I know all this because I worked in Miami-Dade Homicide 16 of my 30 years on the job where I often watched or assisted examiners testing witnesses and/or suspects.
Later in my career, I attended polygraph school to become a licensed examiner. Now relegated to administrative assignments, I worked nights and weekends in the twilight of my police career as an apprentice polygraph examiner in preparation for my retirement. I had attended at least a hundred polygraph tests plus I conducted many more in the private sector.
Can polygraph tests be beat? Absolutely, in a myriad of ways, the most common of which is self-medicating. Another is how stalwart the subject may react to hot button questions, or if the subject has had psychological issues, particularly in recent times. Another might be when subjects are sociopathic, unable to feel guilt. Another might be if the examiner happens to be predisposed.
A knowledgeable examiner could conceivably prepare someone on how to alter physiological reactions before they are tested. Hopefully, that’s very rare but it is doable. It is a very inexact science, but definitely useful as a valuable tool in criminal investigations.
It was after I had an experience with my teacher/mentor who checked over my charts in a particular test involving an employment application. He declared I was wrong and ordered me to denote the test as “passed.” I refused, quit the part-time job and never conducted another polygraph. The man got the position. Turns out, my mentor was on friendly terms with the company hierarchy.
The test given to Dr. Ford is very disturbing. According to a USA Today report on September 26, the examination consisted of a one-page, handwritten statement by Ford, an interview and two questions:
“Is any part of your statement false?” And, “Did you make up any part of your statement?”
What? One-page handwritten statement? Two questions? No specificity? Something very wrong there.
Ask any experienced major crimes prosecutor, cop or FBI agent, the preparation of questions in any polygraph is very important, particularly in investigations as important as this. That normally includes a series of insignificant control questions and then very specific questions regarding the hot-button issue, such as “Were you sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh in 1982?” Or, “Are you absolutely certain your assailant was Brett Kavanaugh?” Apparently, such specific questions were not asked which, to me, sends up a very red flag.
Dr. Ford faced, what we call, two brief softball questions. The only relevant questions asked were whether she was telling the truth. If so, my knowledge and experience tells me it was an incompetent and/or deliberately improper test whereby it lends an appearance that the outcome may have been the goal, regardless of the truth.
Can that happen? It happened to me, but not in the national arena.
It’s nice to say the witness had a taken a polygraph and passed. It’s another thing to realize there may be much more to the story.
Conclusion: The polygraph test was a hoax. Because if a test is not properly conducted according to set standards in the profession, especially by an experienced ex-FBI examiner, then it had to have been deliberate. Thus raising the question; How deliberate were all of Dr. Ford’s other non-corroborated allegations? And will anyone be held accountable for putting the congress, the media, Judge Kavanaugh and the American people through a nightmare based on falsities.