Federal agents have launched a criminal investigation of instructors who claim they can teach job applicants how to pass lie detector tests as part of the Obama administration's crackdown on security violators and leakers, McClatchy Newspapers report. The criminal inquiry is aimed at discouraging criminals and spies from infiltrating the U.S. government by using the polygraph-beating techniques, which are said to include controlled breathing, muscle tensing, tongue biting, and mental arithmetic.
So far, authorities have targeted at least two instructors; one has pleaded guilty to federal charges. Investigators confiscated business records from the two men, which included the names of as many as 5,000 people who'd sought polygraph-beating advice. At least 20 of them applied for government and contracting jobs, and at least half of that group was hired, including by the National Security Agency. Prosecutors are adopting a controversial legal stance that sharing such information should be treated as a crime and isn't protected under the First Amendment. “Nothing like this has been done before,” John Schwartz, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official, told a professional polygraphers' conference. “There are a lot of bad people out there. [ ]This will help us remove some of those pests from society.”