Lawmakers balk at polygraphs for Congress

Monday, August 5, 2002

WASHINGTON -- Senate leaders agreed Sunday that members of Congress should not submit to lie detector tests as part of an FBI investigation of intelligence leaks.

"I think it's a bad idea. I think that it's an infringement constitutionally on the legislative branch. And I don't think there's much support for it," said Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.

The Republican leader, Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, agreed the "separation of powers is certainly a difficult one" but that lawmakers should heed Bush administration warnings about leaks.

"I have to say that the thing for members of Congress to do is to keep their mouths shut when it involves sensitive and classified information," said Lott, who appeared with Daschle on ABC's "This Week."

The FBI investigation was requested by congressional intelligence committees after news organizations reported details of Arabic conversations intercepted by the National Security Agency on Sept. 10.

The conversations made vague references to an impending attack on the United States.

FBI officials have said polygraph tests are a standard investigative technique and are always voluntary.

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