The FBI will give lie-detector tests to hundreds of state and local police officers assigned to terrorism task forces in a new effort to battle espionage and unauthorized information leaks, reports USA Today. FBI Assistant Director Charles Phalen said the polygraph program was launched in the past month at seven of 56 FBI field offices where agents are teamed with local police to investigate terrorism. The tests are part of a security crackdown after the conviction of former FBI counterintelligence agent Robert Hanssen, whose spying activities for Russia and the former Soviet Union went undetected for 15 years.
Up to 2,000 state and local officers could be required to submit to testing. “This is symptomatic of the FBI’s paternalistic approach to the rest of law enforcement,” said Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police. “This could lead to more tension between local law enforcement and the FBI, which has existed over the years.” The FBI began requiring all new employees to submit to polygraph examinations in 1994. About 25 percent of new applicants are disqualified based on polygraphs.