The National Reconnaissance Office — the secretive Pentagon agency in charge of spy satellites — is supposed to safeguarding Americans and American interests from foreign threats. But the agency has done an incomplete job, at best, at protecting American children from its own employees and job applicants.
According to documents obtained by the McClatchy news service, a former California substitute teacher who sought a security clearance from the National Reconnaissance Office confessed during a lie detector exam to molesting an elementary school student. The agency never informed police nor the school district where the incident allegedly occurred. An Air Force lieutenant who confessed to assaulting a child in Virginia was never reported to either the Air Force or police.
Like many of America’s national security services, the Pentagon’s spy satellite agency screens employees and applicants with polygraph machines. The so-called “lie detector” tests are supposed to stop spies, and polygraphers’ questions are officially limited to national security questions in order to protect employee privacy. But whistleblowers now say the polygraph program is “squeezing every personal secret out of people without regard for the consequence.” Which wouldn’t be so bad — if the NRO actually reported to the police confessions to serious crimes like child molestation extracted during polygraph sessions. But McClatchy could not confirm that this took place. The agency responded that criminal confessions were “forwarded to appropriate authorities,” but didn’t provide more information to the news service.
Now, it’s possible the polygraph records would never have made it to court — many courts refuse to accept results from polygraph tests as evidence, due to skepticism the tests reflect more pseudoscience than science, and don’t detect lies as much as emotional responses. Charges might not be filed “even if there’s a confession,” the report notes.