from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 47
May 24, 2002


The Department of Defense this week released its Annual Polygraph Report for 2001, reaffirming the Department's commitment to polygraph testing as an instrument of counterintelligence and criminal investigations as well as for security screening.

The Report provides a fresh set of anecdotes in which polygraph tests helped resolve criminal cases or uncover security violations, and sets forth an ambitious research program intended to bolster the technology's widely disputed credibility.

The latest Report, obtained today under the Freedom of Information Act, is available here:

In recent years, polygraph testing has become the target of increasingly focused and sophisticated criticism, notably from George Maschke and his colleagues at See:

Yet agency reliance on polygraph testing has hardly diminished. Most recently, the FBI indicated that it would ask at least 200 workers at Fort Detrick and Dugway Proving Grounds to take polygraph tests as part of the search for the elusive anthrax terrorist. See "Anthrax Probe Turns to Polygraph" by Megan Garvey and Eric Lichtblau in the May 22 Los Angeles Times:

A noteworthy critique of the polygraph was offered by Aldrich Ames in a November 2000 letter that he wrote to the Federation of American Scientists from Allenwood Federal Penitentiary in Pennsylvania, where he is serving a life sentence for espionage. See:


The National Security Archive has just published updated resources on new freedom of information laws in Japan and Mexico.

See "Japanese Government Information: New Rules for Access":

and "Mexico's New Freedom of Information Law" featuring the full text of the law in Spanish and English:


The Defense Department disclosed this week that it had conducted experiments involving the use of active nerve agents and biological toxins on military personnel in the 1960s in order to study U.S. vulnerabilities to such substances.

"Project SHAD, an acronym for Shipboard Hazard and Defense, was part of the joint service chemical and biological warfare test program conducted during the 1960s. Project SHAD encompassed tests designed to identify US warships' vulnerabilities to attacks with chemical or biological warfare agents and to develop procedures to respond to such attacks while maintaining a war-fighting capability," according to the Defense Department.

See the newly declassified data on the Project SHAD web page here:

See also "Sailors Sprayed with Nerve Gas in Cold War Test, Pentagon Says," by Thom Shanker with William Broad in the May 24 New York Times here:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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