Generational Cycles/ CIA & Polygraphs

Hosted byGeorge Noory

Generational Cycles/ CIA & Polygraphs

About the show

In the first half, historian, economist, and speaker, Neil Howe discussed his work on generations and how they shape history. According to his theory, different types of generations tend to repeat in the same order, affecting American history, with "turnings" as the part of a cycle when each of the living generations start moving into their next phase of life. Around 2008 was when the "Fourth Turning," began, as Gen-Xers (born 1961-1981) moved into positions of real responsibility and leadership (Pres. 0bama is a Gen-Xer), the first Boomers began to plan their retirement, and Millennials (born 1982 and later) started to define their young adult years, he outlined.

During this Fourth Turning, he finds a lot of parallels to America in the 1930s-- a great recession, deflation fears, persistent employment issues, widening class/income gaps, lowered fertility rates, stronger families (kids living at home longer), and a falling crime rate. Boomers (born 1943-1960) keep going culturally, as aging actors and musicians continue their popularity, but the generation has had less impact on citizenship and institutions, he commented. The newest generation, the not-yet-named post-Millennials, born around 2004 and later, are being raised protectively, and spend a lot of time at home with their electronic gadgets, and likely will turn out to be well-mannered and well-behaved, Howe predicted.


A second generation CIA officer, Alan B. Trabue, traveled extensively in Central America, South America, the Far East, Southeast Asia and Europe interrogating foreign spies. In the latter half of the show, he spoke about his years directing the CIA's world-wide covert ops polygraph program, and the CIA Polygraph School. The polygraph test measures breathing, galvanic skin response (sweat gland activity), heart rate, and blood pressure-- showing a physiological pattern over a set of questions, where changes in the pattern may indicate someone is lying. He compared a polygraph test to an X-ray, as so much depends on the skill and expertise of the examiner.

While the polygraph isn't foolproof, studies have shown that the test is 85 to 95% accurate, when it's properly administered, he said. Trabue shared accounts of some of his perilous covert operations-- one that involved a high speed car chase through a Southeast Asian city, in which he had to jump out of a moving car and make his way back to his hotel, where he discovered someone was trying to get into his room.

News segment guests: Andre Eggelletion, Lauren Weinstein

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