Detecting Deception: Securing the Homeland

This is an interesting set of presentations given to Congress at a seminar in 2004 by three professors. Each expert presented a different topic all aimed at helping the US protect itself from terrorist threats.

After hearing and reading of this, I plan to look into each topic individually in future posts. In doing a quick bit of research, it appears one of presenters had a little breakdown in 2007 at TCU and became somewhat of a terrorist threat himself…

Anyway, back to the seminar presentations.

Judee Burgoon from the University of Arizona presented her data and findings of “automated detection” of deception utilizing video, audio and other electronic means because we humans just don’t do the best job of recognizing fabrications. Her conclusion: “humans are very fallible at detecting deception and hostile intent, but we think we can develop automated tools to augment human judgment that can greatly increase detection’s accuracy by using them.”

Charles Bond from TCU has done extensive research into deception and lying around the world. He says no matter where we are or who is lying, people believe liars just wont look you in the eye. This common fallacy of lying pervades all cultures. People who dont know the language being spoken still believe they can tell who is lying based on body language and eye contact.

Mark Frank from Rutgers presented his beliefs that US intelligence gathering needs to focus on person-to-person, face-to-face interaction. He cited the failure of electronic intelligence gathering n the lead up to 9/11. He believes US agents must be better trained at recognizing deception in interaction with other cultures to head off terrorist attacks.

Each of these appear to be interesting topics to research. I’ll be doing that. At first blush, the immediate value of knowing someone is lying to you can be the first hint that something is wrong. If the person lying is a suspected terrorist, this suspicion of deception should be followed up with action. “I couldn’t trust that terrorist, he wouldn’t look me in the eye when he talked…”


About Christopher Metcalf - Author

Christopher Metcalf is the author of Lance Priest / Preacher novels. Lance "Preacher" Priest is a spy, a killer, a human chameleon. He is the CIA's perfect weapon who lives by one simple rule -- there are no rules. Spies and Lies is a blog dedicated to espionage, the art and science of lying and occasional creative writing.
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