By John V. Berry, Esq., www.berrylegal.com
Often times in our law practice we come across individuals that have been scheduled for a Lifestyle Polygraph examination as part of their security clearance evaluation. A Lifestyle Polygraph examination involves a detailed examination of the applicant’s personal lifestyle that is not necessarily asked about on the SF-86/e-Qip. The underlying purpose behind a Lifestyle Polygraph examination is to identify issues in an Applicant’s private life which could affect their susceptibility to potential blackmail or coercion by foreign countries or others.
The Lifestyle Polygraph examination is part of a full-scope polygraph. Issues of Concern during Lifestyle Polygraph Examinations Issues that are often times examined in Lifestyle Polygraph examinations include areas of sexual conduct (pornography), alcohol / drug use, mental health, family relationships, dishonest conduct and compulsive /addictive behaviors.
How Lifestyle Polygraph Examinations are Conducted
Lifestyle Polygraph Examinations are administered by professional polygraph examiners employed by the agency involved. These types of examinations generally take between 2.5 to 5 hours to complete. All stages of the examination are generally recorded.
These examinations generally begin with a pre-test phase which the polygraph examiner uses to plan for the interview. During this phase, the individual will be explained the legal issues associated with the polygraph, the questions that will be involved, and any concerns that the individual has about the pending areas for discussion. The polygraph examiner will also go ahead and test the response monitoring equipment for the polygraph testing phase. Many polygraph examiners will attempt to use techniques to attempt to gather as much information during this stage of the examination process.
The testing phase for a Lifestyle polygraph examination is the portion where the actual questions are asked and your responses are monitored. During a Lifestyle polygraph examination, all types of questions as to your personal life may be explored. Some examples of questions may include the use of illegal drugs, pornography, downloading of software, music or movies, honesty and mental health issues. It is important to be honest in the polygraph process.
In the post-testing phase, the individual will be questioned about problem areas on the polygraph examination. If ultimately unsuccessful, the individual or applicant will be asked to return for a follow up examination.
Followup Polygraph Examination(s)
Generally, if an individual does not pass the polygraph examination, they can be brought back for additional examinations. From my experience, a person may receive an additional 2 polygraph examinations before an issue arises as to whether or not further examinations may be allowed. This varies from case to case.
Conclusion and Thoughts
When taking a polygraph examination legal issues may rise requiring the advice of an attorney. This law firm represents individuals in the security clearance process and can be contacted at www.berrylegal.com.