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DOE Polygraph Plan Draws Fire

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Science  03 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5433, pp. 1467-1469
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5433.1467

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The Department of Energy (DOE) has moved a step closer to subjecting up to 5000 researchers and other employees at its three nuclear weapons laboratories to lie detector tests. The long-awaited proposal, published in the 18 August Federal Register, has triggered protests from opponents--including a petition by 165 Los Alamos scientists--who say that the devices aren't reliable and that testing could damage morale and recruiting efforts. While DOE has scheduled hearings on the plan, both sides say that expanded use of the polygraph seems to be an inevitable consequence of allegations that China has obtained secrets about the U.S. nuclear arsenal.