NSA video tries to dispel fear about polygraph use during job interviews

The National Security Agency has posted a video online explaining how
it uses polygraphs to screen job candidates, in an attempt to ease the
fears of potential applicants.

The video,
titled “The Truth About Polygraphs,” depicts interviews with several
subjects discussing their experiences taking the polygraph, also
commonly referred to as a lie detector. Polygraph examiners in the video
argue there is a great deal of misinformation surrounding the practice
and attempt to dispel some of the fear and apprehension surrounding the

The video uses interviews with former applicants, polygraph
examiners and NSA employees to make the process seem less threatening.
It also uses humor via short clips from TV shows and movies like “The
Simpsons” and “Meet the Parents.”

According to the video, the
actual NSA polygraph examination is roughly five minutes long and
consists of a subject answering “yes” or “no” questions while a machine
monitors their heart rate and blood flow. Subjects are asked questions
such as “Have you engaged in espionage against the United States?” or
“Have you provided classified information to an unauthorized person?”

questions are repeated and if there are any results that would raise
concern, the patient is allowed to discuss the issue with the examiner
to explain themselves more thoroughly. After the interview the results are first sent to a quality control official before the subject is notified
whether or not they passed. Even if a candidate fails their original
polygraph, the video claims that 90 percent of candidates are given a
second chance at the examination.

The video also depicts several NSA candidates describing the whole process as smoother and less intimidating than they expected. However,, dedicated to abolishing the polygraph for workplace use, argues that the video witholds critical information.

For instance, in a video response posted online last week, an official from the nonprofit points out that NSA may ask candidates about their pornography viewing habits, despite NSA claims that the process is not invasive. The group also argues that there is a scientific consensus that polygraphs are unreliable “junk science.”


Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video