From FBI to Fiction: Retired Agent Publishes Book About Operating a Polygraph

Steve Neavling

No one knows about lie detector tests quite like William J. Warner.

A confession specialist for the FBI during his 22-year career, Warner published a fictionalized account of his work as a polygraph operator, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The 58-year-old’s book, “Going Knee to Knee,” describes the art of getting a good interview.

“If you want them to profess their soul to you, they have to see that you care about them,” Warner said of his subjects. “It’s a challenge to be gentle with these types of people, to get the truth out of them.”

The book’s main character is Special agent Cy Donovan.

4 thoughts on “From FBI to Fiction: Retired Agent Publishes Book About Operating a Polygraph

  1. Ask anyone who has ever had to submit to a polygraph “test” how “gentle” the polygraph operator was! But at least Warner was honest enough to accurately describe what a polygraph operator really is – “a confession specialist”! That is an admission that the polygraph is not a lie detector, but rather a psychological billy club that will coerce a person into a confession. A twelve hour interrogation, and he actually brags about it – UNBELIEVABLE! That proves what I have always said, the polygraph “test” is just an excuse to get a person into the hands of a trained interrogator who can interrogate/intimidate you as long as he likes without your attorney being present. Until you take one, you have no idea how traumatic and grueling a polygraph “test” can be – it is that way for a reason. The polygraphers want you to be so frightened that you “spill your guts”. In fact, many people are so intimidated and frightened that they confess to things they haven’t even done! And this big bully is proud of his ability to terrorize a person with his polygraph and his skills as an inquisitor! That conduct is unconscionable, it is not the way things should be done in this country! Shame on Warner, and shame on the government for continuing to allow this state sponsored sadism!

    There are millions of people who have been falsely branded as liars, simply because they had a nervous reaction when they answered a question. They have had their lives ruined because they believed the lie that the polygraph was reliable and accurate as a “lie detector”, and that the polygrapher was an honorable professional who would treat them fairly. They found out the hard way that the polygrapher was just an interrogator – that the polygraph was just a prop he used to frighten and intimidate them. And worse yet, that the polygrapher could accuse them of lying without any evidence to prove that accusation and they could not challenge or appeal his decision! That’s not fair, it is not the way things should be done in this country, but that’s the way it is, and that’s the way it will stay until we put a stop to it!

  2. I would ask Doug Williams if he would admit to committing a crime of which he was innocent, merely because evidence pointed in direction and the examiner/interrogator/interviewer told him that they thought he was lying?

    That stance is as absurd as saying “We can take him out and hang him now, the Polygraft (or Voice Stress Analyzer) says he’s guilty!”

    In my experience (investigator for well over 35 years, but NOT a polygraph or VSA examiner), Doug is correct in it being a tool (I’d stop short of it being a billy club) to elicit a confession. Again, who is going to admit to doing something merely because somebody else says they are lying?

    Doug, you would have us believe that people’s lives have been ruined because they listened to a “dishonorable” professional who said they were lying and they (apparently agreed with him). I would submit that if such is the case, they were done a favor by the examiner who may have removed them from the gene pool.

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