The U.S. Government’s official polygraph handbook, formally titled the Federal Psychophysiological Detection of Deception Examiner Handbook, published by the Department of Defense Counterintelligence Field Activity (parent agency of the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute) and marked “For Official Use Only” is now available to the public.

An earlier version of this document (dated 2001) was released under the Freedom of Information Act, but was heavily redacted. This new version, dated 2004, is available in its entirety.

According to a foreword by Counterintelligence Field Activity director David A. Burt II, “[the handbook’s] purpose is to prescribe uniform Psychophysiological Detection of Deception (PDD/polygraph) procedures. The provisions of this manual are effective immediately and apply to those DoD elements that use PDD, and by agreement to other Federal law enforcement, counterintelligence, and security agencies that also use PDD procedures.”

It’s worth noting that in 2002, a study by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that “[Polygraph testing’s] accuracy in distinguishing actual or potential security violators from innocent test takers is insufficient to justify reliance on its use in employee security screening in federal agencies.” This report has been studiously ignored by federal agencies that rely on the polygraph for national security purposes.

Some background discussion of the federal polygraph handbook is available here.

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