Energy Dept Will Significantly Reduce Polygraph Testing

10.03.06 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

After years of public controversy, the Department of Energy has adopted a new polygraph testing policy that it said “will significantly reduce the number of individuals who will undergo a polygraph examination.”

In particular, “DOE has decided to alter the role of polygraph testing as a required element of the counterintelligence evaluation program by eliminating such testing for general screening of applicants for employment and incumbent employees without specific cause,” according to a notice published in the Federal Register.

The use of the polygraph for “general screening” of employees has been its most commonly criticized application.

DOE rejected arguments that polygraph testing should be eliminated entirely, indicating that such a position “cannot be reconciled” with Congressional direction to DOE to develop a new polygraph policy.

The new policy will still “require a counterintelligence [polygraph] evaluation for applicants for certain high-risk positions and every five years for incumbents of those positions,” the DOE notice said.

See “Counterintelligence Evaluation Regulations,” Federal Register, September 29.

I discussed “Polygraph Testing and the DOE National Laboratories” in a 3 November 2000 essay in Science Magazine.

On October 2, a federal court rejected (pdf) a legal challenge to polygraph testing that was filed by six applicants for jobs at the FBI and the Secret Service who were denied employment after they failed a polygraph test, as noted on the web site antipolygraph.org.