Lie Detector Tests Have Nothing to Do With the Truth

Federal Agencies Embraced the Polygraph in the 1950s to Reassure the Public That They Could Unmask Spies

Francis Gary Powers had his first polygraph experience right after signing up as a pilot for the CIA’s U-2 program in January 1956. In his memoir, Powers described being called into a room where he was confronted with the question,

“Any objection to taking a lie detector test?” Though I had a great many, I didn’t voice them, shaking my head. If this was a condition of the job, I’d do it. But I didn’t like it. … I had never felt so completely exposed, as if there was …