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tions is “very objectionable.” Evans said asking an employee if anything in his personal life might discredit his company “is diametrically opposed to everything we believe in, in the American tradition.” In 1963 the Houston regional office of the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against the Lone Star Co., a liquor wholesale firm in Houston, alleging that the firm used lie detector tests as a pretext for firing workers who had joined a union. The company attorney said the charges were “untrue” and “ridiculous.” The union charged that the day after eleven workers had signed a letter to the company identifying themselves as union members, nine of them were declared “security risks” as the result of lie detector tests and fired. Late last year the NLRB ruled that the lie detector test results were not the true reason for the firings and ordered the company to reinstate the fired men, with full back pay. 5 The Texas Civil Liberties Union, through its president, Rev. Brandoch Lovely of Austin, condemns the commercial use of the polygraph as an invasion of privacy. THE THEORY OF THE TEST is that lying causes internal disturbances, physiological reactions that a person cannot control, and that these can be measured and correctly interpreted. If it is functioning properly the machine measures three internal processes, breathing, blood pressure, and sweating of the hands, but what the little squiggles on the graph paper mean, the machine does not say. Polygraph operators assert that by establishing a pattern of “normal” reactions to similar questions, they can tell when a person lies. In some cases now, however, operators contend only that they can tell when a person is telling the truth; that they don’t know when he’s lying. 6 Critics of the machine say that people can get stirred up inside for many reasons, only one of which is that they are lying. Dr. Shervert Frazier, the head of the psychology department of Baylor University College of Medicine, says, “These devices are being used as a specific for lying. They actually reflect anxiety.” The Houston police chief, Herman B. Short, does not believe the machine is infallible and says its value depends altogether on the operator; its use is all right, he says, “so long as it’s regarded as a scientific aid to crime detection and a means to an end.” 7 Police officials all over the state send suspects in criminal, felony cases to be examined on the eight polygraph machines of the Texas Department of Public Safety. In the Austin D.P.S. operation, the person taking the test can be watched secretly through a window that looks like a mirror to him. The department gives more than 2,500 tests a year, each one, the department says, “related to a criminal case,” and each one at the request of a law enforcement official. DPS requirements for a polygraph examiner say he must be a “graduate of an accredited high school” and also “must have a basic understanding of physiologi 4 The Texas Observer cal and psychological functions.” Each examiner gets three months’ training and attends periodic retraining sessions. DPS says that the reliability and accuracy of the tests, “under acceptable conditions, have been found to be very high.” It expects to use the machines even more in the future. Texas A&M University’s police training school sponsors a “school for polygraph examiners” every year at College Station. The institute lasts a week: One is in progress this week. In 1962 the U.S. Department of Defense had the Institute for Defense Analysis study the lie detector, and the Institute’s report concluded that after ten years of use and 200,000 tests, “the degree of its validity is still not known.” The report, which also said there was evidence that persons could fool the machine, was promptly classified and was not made public for two years 9 while the Department of Defense continued to use the machines as it still does. The U.S. House Committee on Government Operations, headed by Cong. John E. Moss of California, has declared that lie detectors are no such thing. The committee learned that in 1964 19 U.S. government agencies owned 512 polygraphs and gave 23,000 lie tests in one year. Said the Moss committee last March: “Research completed so far has failed to prove that polygraph interrogation actually detects lies or determines guilt .or innocence. . . . There is no `lie detector,’ neither machine nor human. People have been deceived by a myth that a metal box in the hands of an investigator can detect truth or falsehood.” “There is proof that it is possible: to defeat the `lie-detection’ process,” the report said. High or low blood pressure, practically any painful ailment, pronounced neuroses, low intelligence, pathological lying, emotional unresponsiveness, managed responsiveness as by muscle tension or conjuring up exciting images in one’s mind, plain bodily movement, and even one’s sex are listed by the committee as factors that can mislead a polygraph examiner. “The machine records physical responses which may or may not be connected with any emotional reactionand that reaction may or may not be related to guilt or innocence,” concluded the congressional report. 1 SENATOR RALPH HALL of Rockwall decided that givers of lie tests ought to be licensed in Texas, and his bill doing this whipped through the Senate earlier this session. Rayford Price of Frankston picked up the legislation Houseside, and the hearing was held last week. The bill creates a licensing board of six members named by the governor. Under its terms, all six members have to have been “polygraph examiners” for the preceding five years; two have to work for government agencies, and another two have to come from “the commercial field.” One of the two government men has to be “the supervisor of the polygraph section of the Department of Public Safety.” The board licenses polygraph examiners, requiring that they be honest, either have a B.A. de gree or “five consecutive years of active investigative experience” \(investigating “graduate” of a lie-test course approved by the board and an “intern” in lie testing for six months, or in the alternative a person with 12 months’ such internship. The board is required to give a license to everyone who now gives polygraph tests. This is called “the grandfather clause” in the legislature because it covers grandfathers, the only difficulty in this case being that few if any of the roughly 200 polygraph examiners in Texas started in his trade earlier than 1959. The bill’s emergency clause refers to “The fact that .. . untrained and unqualified examiners cause great harm to the general public” at the present time. Joe Lowe is president of the Texas Assn. of Polygraph Examiners, which he says has 80 members. “This is a professional organization,” Lowe informed the House state affairs committee. “We are sponsoring this bill in an effort to standardize the profession, to regulate it, to establish minimum standards. Anyone with no training whatsoever can hold himself out as polygraph examiner.” Three questions pervaded this hearing: Why exempt the present givers of lie tests from the bill’s standards? Are the results of lie tests reliable? And, Should the state permit private employers to give lie tests to their workers? As for present givers of the tests, Lowe said, “We can’t arbitrarily put them out of business.” Rep. James Klager, Corpus Christi, asked in effect why not if they don’t meet minimum standards. Rep. Price replied that he wouldn’t object, but as .a practical matter it would keep the bill from passing. Price agreed with Klager that the grandfather clause was wrong, but he wanted it left in so the bill would pass. When Lewis Berry, executive director of the Texas Sheriffs’ Assn., who was testifying for the bill, was asked why the clause should be left in, he replied: “Merely a matter of principle, sir. Merely because in principle the legislature ought not to legislate a man out of business.” O N LIE TESTS’ RELIABILITY or lack thereof, Klager asked Robert E. Williams, director of personnel and training for Zale Jewelry Co. \(testifying for the the polygraph tests are “an absolute criterion for defining truth.” Williams replied, “It is the best device that we have. I don’t believe a man could beat the polygraph. He might beat the examiner.” H. A. Albert is the director of the polygraph division of the Texas Department of Public Safety. As such he is the highest official state authority on these devices. Rep. Randy Pendleton of Andrews told Albert, “I’m concerned about the reliability of these tests.” Albert said he had been examining people with the polygraph for twelve years, and “That’s something I’ve been concerned about”the tests’ “reliability and accuracy.” “Unfortunately,” Albert said, “that’s something we cannot determine with any degree of accuracy there.” If a person lies