The polygraph says: He didn’t do it
It’s been almost a year since someone burned the American flag on Summit County’s Peak 1, and a local political activist is still trying to quell the rumors that he did it.The activist, Doug Malkan, was never questioned – much less charged – in the incident that was discovered by a hiker on Sept. 15. The perpetrator, whose identity was never discovered, left two notes decrying America’s invasion of Iraq.And many fingers pointed to Malkan.”At first I thought it was funny that someone would think I did it, because I didn’t,” Malkan said. “I have constantly denied doing it. But the existence of this rumor, especially among those who know me, has now become a little frustrating.”The last straw was on a camping trip, when some acquaintances brought up the subject and asked Malkan about any involvement in the fire. Malkan decided he’d had enough and submitted to a polygraph test on May 21.Malkan admitted it was a little intimidating.”They put wires on your fingers and a band around your chest – you can hardly breathe,” he said.John Kresnik, the examiner who conducted the test at RSA Polygraph in Lakewood, has 25 years of experience. The firm has conducted such tests on behalf of the FBI, the U.S. Army, local and state governments and private corporate clients.Questions Kresnik posed to Malkan included whether he had ever burned a U.S. flag on Peak 1, if he knew for certain who did and if he was any way responsible for the note found at the summit.To each question, Malkan replied “no,” and to each answer, the test results noted that there was “no deception indicated.”How effective the tests are is debatableThe Department of Defense uses them frequently in criminal investigations and counter intelligence operations and says lie-detector tests are “clearly one of most effective investigative tools.” Other studies have concluded they aren’t that reliable and they are not admissible in court in Colorado.The devices’ computers detect changes in a person’s breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and temperature.”They freak you out,” said Summit County Sheriff John Minor. “It’s like being strapped to an electric chair. They ask you your name, your age, then they throw in a question that they want to know. It’s really weird. But they’re pretty accurate.”Those who placed the flag on top of Peak 1 on Sept. 16, 2002 to honor those who died in the terrorist acts of Sept. 11 replaced it last September with one that had flown atop the nation’s capitol. It is not known if they plan to again replace the flag, which gets tattered in the high winds.