The pretest interview begins with obtaining the examinee’s consent to be tested, followed by an in-depth and detailed explanation of the process and rationale behind the polygraph examination. The functioning of the polygraph instrument is then explained. Next, the questions to be asked are introduced and explained in substantial depth and detail to the examinee. These questions are then reviewed with the examinee to ensure his or her understanding. Finally, the examinee provides his or her answers to the questions prior to beginning the test.
In order to focus the examinee’s attention on specific aspects of the legally defined counterintelligence subject matter, individualized pretest interviews are intermingled with the actual in-test phase of the polygraph examination. The length of the pretest interview depends on the specific counterintelligence subject matter covered by the examination and the examiner’s interactions with the individual being pretested. This length depends on how long it takes to satisfy the examiner that the person being tested understands and is fully prepared to begin the testing process. The pretest phase also involves the recording of a number of “control” questions as a baseline for evaluating physiological data collected during the in-test phase.
The U.S. Department of Energy currently uses the Lafayette Computerized Polygraph System. Each examination is recorded on videotape, in color, and with sound. Also, polygraph tests are monitored remotely by supervisory examiners as they are being conducted. This process is explained to the examinee prior to the beginning of the examination.
In preparation for the in-test phase, sensors designed to detect and transmit data on respiration, electrodermal activity, and cardiovascular activity to the computerized instrument are attached to the examinee. One convoluted pneumatic tube is placed around the upper chest and another is placed around the abdomen to record the individual’s respiration during the test. Two finger plates are generally placed on the first and third fingers of one of the examinee’s hands to record electrodermal activity. A standard medical blood pressure cuff is placed over the brachial artery on one of the person’s upper arms to record cardiovascular activity. When the sensors are in place and the examiner is able to monitor and record satisfactory physiological recordings, the test begins.
Questions asked and their sequence vary according to the test being used and the matter of concern. In a screening polygraph using the TES, typical relevant questions that might be used include: “Have you com-