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I wonder if you could get prosecuted or investigated for things you admit to during the interview. I also wonder if there's any sort of legal privacy requirement that stops the examiner or someone else with records access from spreading around information related to your examination. I'd warrant most people have gotten away with doing things that should've gotten them arrested.

Yes, you can be prosecuted for things you admit during a polygraph interview.

You can also be prosecuted for lying, since the polygraph examiners are federal investigators.

> You can also be prosecuted for lying, since the polygraph examiners are federal investigators.

That part is not true. Polygraph examiners are not sworn federal law enforcement officers. But they are happy to refer any of your admissions of guilt to federal law enforcement who may come ask you the same questions. Lying to them is a criminal offense.

Certainly not joe shmoe polygraph examiners, but I was under the impression that the NSA examiners are sworn federal law enforcement officers.

Now that I say that, though, I can't find a reference to support this.

NSA polygraph operators are not law enforcement officers. Lying to them is nonetheless a violation of 18 USC 1001. However, I am not aware of any case where anyone has been criminally prosecuted for lying during an NSA polygraph interrogation.

Wait, it’s illegal to lie to federal LEOs?

It's illegal to lie to the Federal Government period:


More precisely, it's a violation of 18 USC 1001 to lie about "any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States" (with a couple of specific exceptions as given). Technically you don't even have to lie to a Federal official since the statute doesn't specify that; it just has to be a matter "within the jurisdiction" of the Federal government.

Keep in mind, however, that this is not reciprocal: The Federal government can lie to you with impunity.

I like to call this the "Martha Stewart Rule"


Considering lie detectors are inadmissible in court, probably not. Being the cause of further investigation on the other hand...

They do threaten legal action if you lie about something on your SF-86.

Lying about something on your federal forms would make you vulnerable to blackmail, so that would definitely be something that the investigators would try to turn up.

In my case, I was extremely open and honest with the main investigator that I was interviewed by, including the things I did during college with recreational pharmaceuticals. I told all my friends to just "tell the truth" about what they saw happen.

I think my biggest benefit there was telling the story about how I saw that kind of stuff tear lives apart, and turn people who had been best friends into worst enemies, and the negative follow-on impacts of what happens when you can't pay your rent, you can't pay your electric bills, etc... because you have this debt to someone else that suddenly must be repaid this afternoon.

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