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Study shows abuses in data collection

WASHINGTON, July 11 (UPI) -- A U.S. government agency is pushing its polygraph operators to obtain intimate information of thousands of job applicants, a newspaper investigation said.

The National Reconnaissance Office, which oversees the nation's spy satellites, is so intent on extracting confessions of illegal or illicit behavior by employees and job seekers that it has admonished polygraph operators who refused to pursue lines of questioning and has rewarded those who did with cash bonuses, the McClatchy Newspapers reported Wednesday.

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It added that, when issues such as child molestation are admitted, the agency does not always seek arrests or prosecutions.

"You've got to wonder what the point of all of this is if we're not even going after child molesters. This is bureaucracy run amok. These practices violate the rights of Americans and it's not even for a good reason," said Mark Phillips, a veteran polygrapher who resigned from the agency in May after what he claimed was retaliation for resisting abusing interviewing techniques.

McClatchy Newspapers' investigation uncovered examples of pushing legal and ethical boundaries by establishing a system tracking confessions that were used in polygraphers' annual performance reviews, summoning employees and job applicants to multiple polygraph tests and altering results of tests in an effort to additionally probe employees' and applicants' private lives, it said.

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