Border Patrol Spent Millions on Unnecessary Polygraph Tests

A recent investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has found that Customs and Border Protection unnecessarily spent millions of dollars on unnecessary polygraph tests.

According to the report, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spent more than $5 million on polygraph exams for job applicants who had admitted disqualifying criminal acts or drug use on employment documents or during pre-polygraph interviews. This occurred because CBP’s process did not stop, and is not sufficient to prevent, unsuitable applicants from continuing through the polygraph examination.”

The report notes that some applicants admitted to egregious acts and were allowed to continue through the process, including one applicant who admitted to involvement in the “rape of an intoxicated and unconscious woman.”

All told, the investigator general found that “approximately 2,300 applicants made pre-polygraph admissions including illegal drug use, drug smuggling, human trafficking, and to having close personal relationships with people who commit such crimes. Despite these admissions, CBP administered the polygraph examinations, costing taxpayers $2,200 each, to all of those applicants. CBP further failed to consistently use its on-call adjudication process, which gives the examiners an official method to confirm right away that an applicant’s pretest admissions are in fact unsuitable and a basis for ending the exam.”

The report is especially timely in light of the Trump administration’s new plans to hire thousands of new CBP and ICE agents – a proposal which has also received criticism from the DHS IG, which found in a separate report that "neither CBP nor ICE could provide complete data to support the operational need or deployment strategies for the additional 15,000 additional agents and officers they were directed to hire."

According to Inspector General John Roth, “Given its plans to hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol Agents, it is important that CBP focus its resources on the most qualified and suitable applicants. We are pleased that CBP has adopted one of our recommended changes to increase efficiency in its polygraph process.”

Following the report’s release, CBP immediately adjusted its efforts to ensure those candidates who might be immediately disqualified were handled differently, upon admitting to criminal activity.

"Effective June 2017, all polygraph examiners were notified that they are required to use on-call adjudicators when potentially disqualifying information is received at any time during the polygraph examination process to seek guidance regarding whether testing should continue or should be halted," according to a statement released by CBP.

Posted in General News

Tags: ICE, DHS, CBP, polygraph


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