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The Polygraph and Lie Detection
the FBI, in 1998 by DOE, and in 1999 by the FBI again. The details available for the first and third remain largely classified although their “results” are described in the released version of the FBI report, as well as in two recently published books (Lee, 2001; Stober and Hoffman, 2001).
THE 1984 FBI POLYGRAPH
Following reports that Wen Ho Lee had unauthorized contacts with representatives of the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC), the FBI began an extensive investigation of Lee that included physical surveillance, examination of telephone and other records, and a series of interviews with Lee. On January 24, 1984, Lee took a polygraph examination conducted by an FBI examiner “to resolve any questions which may have arisen concerning the information he had furnished” in an FBI interview on January 3, 1984. The questions asked during this examination, the format of the test, and the polygraph examiner’s evaluation of his initial responses are not described in the FBI report, but Lee (2001:26) claims that one of the questions he was asked was: “Did you pass any classified information to an unauthorized person?”—to which he answered “No.”
The FBI report suggests that he was subjected to follow-up questioning because of concerns regarding deceptive responses (p. 39):
Lee insisted that he had not furnished classified information to any unauthorized person nor had he ever agreed to work for any non-U.S. intelligence agency. Further testing was conducted to verify Lee’s truthfulness.
The FBI examiner determined that Lee had been non-deceptive in his answers to follow-up questions regarding [deleted].
A follow-up FBI memo documents the results as follows (p. 39):
The subject of this matter has been interviewed and has substantially admitted all allegations and has explained why he made certain contacts. . . . In view in the fact that the subject has been interviewed, has explained his actions and has passed a polygraph examination, this matter is being placed in a closed status.
There is some dispute over how this information was shared with DOE, and issues regarding Lee’s activities arose again in 1988 in connection with a background check done by the Office of Personnel Management in connection with Lee’s Q clearance. In June 1993, Lee’s Q clearance was officially continued, although in the interim he had traveled twice to the PRC, once in 1986 and again in 1988, and during those trips met with a number of PRC scientists. Later, he arranged for the visit to Los Alamos of a Chinese graduate student, and the details surrounding