Senator Rand Paul, longtime proponent of smaller government, suggested Thursday that a good response to as anonymous whistleblower within the Trump Administration would be to administer lie detector tests to everyone with a security clearance in the White House. Echoing Trump’s own assertion that the individual should be turned over to the government, Paul declared it a matter of national security and hinted that sharing this information about one’s own work in the White House could be illegal.
CNN quoted Rand Paul on Thursday, a day after an op-ed from an anonymous Trump Administration official declared him immoral and a danger to the nation. Paul’s quote suggests a lie detector and urges the Trump Administration to determine who shared the unofficial policy of fighting the president’s whims and impulses.
I think it’s not unprecedented for people with security clearances to be asked to whether or not they were revealing things against the law under oath and also by lie detector. We use a lie detector test routinely for CIA agents and FBI agents. I think if you have a security clearance in the White House I think it would be acceptable to use a lie detector test and ask people whether they are talking to the media against the policy of the White House. This could be very dangerous if the person who is talking to the media is actually revealing national security secrets so yes, I think we need to get to the bottom of it.
Trump himself has said that the individual’s identity must be revealed and the writer must be turned over to the government for national security purposes.
It’s not the first time that Rand Paul has recommended a polygraph test for the purposes of rooting out dissidents, either. Last year, when transcripts showing Michael Flynn’s contact with Russia were leaked publicly, Paul suggested the same route. Speaking on ABC‘s This Week, Paul said that anyone who had access to the information should be subjected to a lie detector test.
There can only be a certain handful of people who did that. I would bring them all in. They would have to take lie detector tests.
The American Psychological Association warns that a polygraph is not an effective measure of honesty — actually going so far as to call ‘lie detector’ a misnomer for the device. Instead, a polygraph measures certain physiological reactions — which the APA says are associated with anxiety, not lying: “An honest person may be nervous when answering truthfully and a dishonest person may be non-anxious.”
A series of amendments Rand Paul proposed to the Patriot Act in 2015, that remain listed on his campaign website even now, include expanding protections for whistleblowers. Specifically, Paul stated that he would prohibit “professional retaliation” against whistleblowers. On the other hand, speaking to Reason magazine, he said there should be a punishment for revealing information publicly. However, he tempered this, suggesting that if the leaked information revealed a crime, the guilty party should also face consequenses.