News and Commentary

Kavanaugh Accuser Provides Polygraph To Senate Committee, Details Contradict Earlier Statements

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, has provided her polygraph answers to Senate Judiciary Committee members, as requested — but some details in the test seem to contradict statements Dr. Ford gave in a letter sent to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Dr. Ford submitted to the polygraph in early August, answering two very general questions about a sexual assault she believes happened in the early 1980s when she and Kavanaugh were in their teens. A former FBI investigator, Jeremiah Hanafin, reportedly administered the test at a Baltimore, Maryland, hotel in early August.

According to the explanation provided by her attorneys, Dr. Ford prepared for the examination by compiling a written statement about her ordeal, in concert with her attorneys. She then provided Hanafin with a copy of her written statement, which he then used to “interview” her.

Dr. Ford was asked only two questions: one, whether any part of her statement was false, and two, whether she made up any part of her statement. Dr. Ford answered “no” to both questions and the polygraph detected no signs of “deception.”

The test measured “thoracic and abdominal respiration, galvanic skin response, and cardiac activity,” the accompanying letter says.

Polygraph tests are not considered accurate measures of veracity; they aren’t admissible as evidence in court because so long as the subject of the test believes he or she is telling the truth, the polygraph will not detect signs of dishonesty. Dr. Ford, for instance, could pass the test if she reasonably believed she was the victim of a sexual assault, but it may or may not involve Brett Kavanaugh — it depends entirely on Dr. Ford’s personal recollection of the incident.

The results admitted today contain a handful of strange errors that seem to undermine statements Dr. Ford made in a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in which she also detailed her alleged sexual assault at Kavanaugh’s hands.

In her statement to Hanafin, for example, Dr. Ford mentions “there were 4 boys and a couple of girls” at the party. In her later statement, she mentions only “four boys at the party,” including Kavanaugh and his friend, Mike Judge. This is also different from an account Dr. Ford gave to her therapist, which claimed four boys were in the room when she was attacked (she later explained this as a mistake on the part of the therapist).

Dr. Ford’s attorneys have refused to release any of Dr. Ford’s therapist’s notes to the Senate committee claiming that they are medical records and are therefore private — even though those same “private” notes were provided to The Washington Post.

The documents provided do not list who paid for the polygraph and give no explanation as to why Dr. Ford subjected herself to the test if she had no intention of coming forward publicly with her allegations.