Confession raises questions about polygraphs in Border Patrol sc - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Confession raises questions about polygraphs in Border Patrol screenings

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CHULA VISTA (CBS 8) - A Border Patrol recruit from Chula Vista dropped a bombshell during a polygraph test, admitting to possessing child porn. Now the former applicant is under investigation.

A search warrant filed in San Diego County Superior Court names that Chula Vista man as having 40 images of child porn on his computer, including children as young as five or six years old.

That person was not hired, however thousands of agents already on the force do not have to take the polygraph and could be hiding a dark past. The polygraph test is now part of the hiring process.

Applicants admitting to murder, human and drug smuggling, prostitution and child porn were found in records obtained by The Center for Investigative Reporting. Documents show one applicant admitted to being blacked out for three hours and didn't recall what happened when he awoke to a blood doused kitchen.

"There were some pretty jaw dropping admissions that all had us scratching our heads," said reporter Andrew Becker.

Most recently in San Diego County, CBS News 8 uncovered a search warrant, executed on March 3, at a home in Chula Vista connected to an applicant who admitted to having dozens of child porn images on his computer and attempting to sexually assault children when he was 12 and 16 years old. CBS News 8 is not naming the 22-year-old man because he has not been arrested or charged. Agents also noted in the search warrant there was a child living in his home.

CBS News 8 reached out to applicant for a comment but a man who identified himself as his brother says the applicant did not want to comment.

Records show the applicant refused to consent to a search of his computer and wouldn't give an official statement. He ended the interview, was not hired and the case is now under investigation.

On a national level, CBP does not require applicants before 2008 to go through a polygraph exam. The requirement for applicants after 2008 came after a 2006 hiring surge.

It wasn't until June 2013 when CBP used a polygraph on 100 percent of its applicants, before background checks were given. This allowed the agency to cut down on the cost of background checks and gave them the ability to sort out bad applicants.

A study showed 60 percent of applicants who qualified were not cleared after taking the polygraph exam.

"The breadth and scale of some of these admissions were really staggering," said Becker.

The union members have previously said they oppose random polygraph tests on employees hired before 2008. The union or the agency did not return CBS News 8's requests for comment.

A case connected to the Chula Vista applicant has not been filed, but that could mean investigators are still reviewing evidence taken from the man's home and his electronics.

Records also show had the applicant in question gone through a background check it may not have revealed any red flags, since he did not have a criminal record or warrants.

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