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The Polygraph and Lie Detection (2003) / Chapter Skim
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Appendix J: Decision Analysis of Polygraph Security Screening
Pages 358-363

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From page 358...
... It is useful to consider what such an analysis of counterespionage personnel policy, or of polygraph testing in that context, would entail. Six steps of such an analysis are typically recommended (Hammond, Keeney, and Raiffa, 1999~: (1)
From page 359...
... Personnel programs might be evaluated against a variety of criteria, including the number of undetected spies working in the agency and the potential damage each could do, the financial costs of the program itself, and the costs to individuals and society of careers interrupted or changed because of false positive test results. We note that, currently, postemployment polygraph screening often involves periodic testing at known intervals, a policy that is likely to be less effective than aperiodic testing at unanticipated intervals.
From page 360...
... Accuracy may depend on the testing procedure, the situation, and characteristics of examiners and examiners, as well as the base rate of espionage and the decision threshold selected for each decision point in a screening program. Historical data on performance is needed for estimating the likely numbers of false positives and false negatives, as well as a subjective assessment of the relationship of the historical data to the current context.
From page 361...
... It is easier to compute the total costs of polygraph examinations than their incremental costs and their effects in comparison with interrogation without polygraphs. The total costs are the incremental costs if polygraph examinations are added to whatever else is done and any confessions are due solely to the polygraph, but this assumption probably overstates both the incremental costs and benefits.
From page 362...
... These will vary greatly by the potential of that person to do damage: from virtually none for ineffective spies to enormous amounts for successful ones who may compromise agents or give away invaluable technical information. A report on information collected on the 139 Americans who were officially charged with spying between 1940 and 1994 showed many to be low-level personnel who needed money and naively tried to sell some secrets (Taylor and Snow, 1997~.
From page 363...
... Indirect effects of the program are also included in a thorough analysis. These would include the effects of detected spies on deterrence, the effects of false positives on morale and on the quality of scientific personnel that work in an agency, and the effects on other parts of the security system (for example, placing too much reliance on polygraph screening may result in loosening of ordinary security precautions, thus increasing the chances that a spy who is cleared by a polygraph examination will succeed in stealing secrets)

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