Donald Trump Wants White House Staffers To Take Polygraph (Lie Detector) Tests, Insiders Say

Trump is so paranoid about leaks that he wanted to polygraph test 'everyone in the building,' former staffers claim.

Donald Trump speaks during an event where U.S.-Japan trade agreements were signed at the White House
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Trump is so paranoid about leaks that he wanted to polygraph test 'everyone in the building,' former staffers claim.

Donald Trump is so paranoid about leaks coming from the White House that he continuously talks about wanting to have everyone who works in the building subjected to a polygraph (lie detector) test, former officials say.

As Politico reports, Donald Trump publically puts on a brave face when it comes to leaks coming from the White House. He suggests that the leakers are spies who deserve to be executed for treason. He refers to unflattering media accounts of his White House as “fake news.” He attacks reporters by name.

But behind closed doors, Trump is so eager to get to the bottom of who is leaking what goes on in the White House to the media that he wants “everyone in the building” to be required to take a test.

“He talked about it a lot. He’d be angry and ask, ‘Why can’t we stop these things?” the official said.

However, some White House staffers accused by Trump for being behind this leak have volunteered to undergo polygraph tests in order to clear their names.

Trump’s obsession with subjecting employees to polygraph tests dates back to the early days of his presidency, state the former staffers. Stung by allegations that his administration has been chaotic, and following leaked accounts to the media regarding what goes on in his administration, Trump became consumed about polygraph testing. In all such cases, Trump aides high up in the administration have talked him out of demanding that this invasive procedure be neccessary.

an old polygraph machine
  Deror_avi / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

One former staffers says that White House officials would try to “placate” Trump by pretending to care that people should be polygraphed, but by then not actually making that happen.

“Taking that line of, ‘Oh yeah, we have to polygraph people’ was a way to ingratiate themselves with him, but it wasn’t an idea that ever went anywhere because it was absurd,” a staffer said.

So can Federal Employees Be Made To Take A Polygraph Test?

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As a matter of fact, they can. In fact, it’s a tool used by multiple federal agencies, according to Federal News Network.

However, the rules about polygraphing federal employees include stipulations about when and where the process can be done, to whom it can be done, under what circumstances, to whom administers the test, and a variety of other factors.

Early on in the Trump presidency, Stefan Passantino, who at the time was deputy White House counsel for compliance and ethics, looked into the concept and decided ultimately that demanding a polygraph was unworkable.

“It’s more of a scare tactic” to try to force people who may have leaked to own up to it, an anonymous former staffer says.