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The Polygraph and Lie Detection
curity to ensure its relevance to these missions. Mission-oriented agencies should continue to conduct implementation-focused research, such as studies of quality control, examiner training effectiveness, and so forth. In addition, mission-oriented agencies should be encouraged and even mandated to cooperate with the broader research effort, for example, by providing archival data and cooperating in field research.
Countermeasures and Classified Research The problem of countermeasures highlights some important questions about how future research on detecting deception should be structured. Concerns about countermeasures arise in all lie detection contexts, not only polygraph testing. Research on countermeasures poses the prospect of discovering techniques that might be exploited by the very people lie detectors seek to catch. Thus, many people have argued that research on countermeasures should be classified or otherwise conducted outside the public domain. It is true that removing countermeasures research from public view may lessen the danger that these techniques will fall into the wrong hands, but such removal would also carry with it certain possible negative consequences. Classification would limit the number and, in all likelihood, the quality of the scientists available to study countermeasures. The more robust the scientific exploration of the subject, the more likely the dangers of countermeasures can be identified and nullified. Interestingly, the decision on whether to classify this research is not entirely unrelated to the physiological character of countermeasure techniques. If countermeasures have unique physiological signatures that cannot be masked or otherwise concealed, then classifying this research would be unnecessary. Lie detection would invariably identify countermeasures by these signatures whenever they were used, and potential examinees would learn to expect that countermeasures would be detected. Unfortunately, until the research is done, one cannot know whether countermeasures have such signatures. Ultimately, therefore, the decision whether to classify such research is a policy choice. Policy makers must weigh the danger of public knowledge of countermeasure techniques against the benefits of a robust research program that could be expected (though not guaranteed) to be more successful at identifying and nullifying countermeasure techniques.