Normal Topic NSA Lifestyle Questions (Read 16408 times)
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NSA Lifestyle Questions
Oct 11th, 2005 at 9:08pm
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I hesitate to post here, but have a serious question someone might be able to help me with: I have a third (!)polygraph with the NSA soon, and it is the lifestyle questions I am getting dinged on. Specifically about drug use. I am 35 and used drugs extensively as an undergraduate, some 13 years ago when I never imagined doing this sort of work. It is a period of my life I pretty much block out and do not think about, ever, except recently, given this process. I can only pinpoint the date I never used another illegal drug again, given an emergency room trip and a few days' stay for it.  But, during the 'pre-interview' the polygrapher asks such specific questions that I really am not quite able to answer, i.e. how many times did you use this drug or that? I can give what is a reasonable estimate, but in my heart, cannot be certain of that. Which I get dinged on. I would rather just say on so-and-so date on year X, (over 13 years ago!) I never used illegal drugs again. And then I would be ok with the question, and know I am answering it honestly. Other than that I could do a statistical analysis of the time frame to come up with (VERY) broad parameters. Is this ok to say to the polygrapher? (And I had one who asked me very odd questions last time, i.e. I have a sister-in-law who is a Chinese national, and he actually asked me if I ever was going to see her again. DUH. Yes, since she is my sister-in-law! Which made me wonder about the whole process...) But also in my answers I also don't want to appear as a smart-ass academic and alienate my polygrapher. And I am despairing of this entire process, because each time I go in, I start thinking of more and more things I have ever done. Nothing extreme, but, it is hard for me to not think of everything I have ever did that in someway is not ethical. Which, as a Catholic, encompasses a wide range of things that I can fit into those lifestyle questions, no matter how remotely related. It is just the way I think about things. I am beginning to think this is just not for me, that I am the type of person, no matter how truthful I am, cannot pass.  And should just be a happy professor somewhere and not work for the government. HELP. Any advice would be most appreciated.
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: NSA Lifestyle Questions
Reply #1 - Oct 11th, 2005 at 10:01pm
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Solze,

The NSA's polygraph operators tell virtually everyone that they are "having problems" and grill them for admissions. Under the NSA's polygraph regulation, the polygraph unit can, at its discretion, polygraph a person up to three times, and it seems that it routinely does just that -- a practice that guarantees the unit the fullest employment.

Note that polygraphers at the NSA polygraph unit regularly read this message board. You've posted enough specific information that they can and will identify you. When you go back for your third session, don't try to conceal the fact that you've posted here. It would be best to candidly acknowledge it.

As for your drug history, since everything you've posted here will have been read by your polygrapher, whether it's okay to say it to him/her is a moot point. Hopefully, the NSA will not retaliate against you for having posted here.

You can read about the "relevant/irrelevant" polygraph screening technique used by the NSA (one that is widely discredited even amongst polygraphers) in Chapter 3 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (p. 117 ff.).

For further reading, see former NSA psychologist LeRoy Stone's article, "Using the Polygraph to Detect Lying and Deception: The Hoax of the Century" and "Interviewing With an Intelligence Agency (Or, a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Fort Meade)" by the pseudonymous Ralph J. Perro. The allegations made in articles cited in the message thread, Psychiatric Abuse Alleged at NSA may also be of interest.

If you are offered and choose to accept employment with the NSA, you can look forward to periodic polygraph interrogations every five years .
  

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Re: NSA Lifestyle Questions
Reply #2 - Oct 11th, 2005 at 10:40pm
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Thanks much! And I have no problem telling anyone I posted here. I definitely do not want ways to 'cheat', and have avoided all sites/ suggestions that tell me how. In any case, they seem like silly suggestions. Furthermore, while I am not necessarily sold on the scientific validity of a polygraph, I am also in a field that scientific validity of human behavior does not apply, so understand that, believe me. So I buy into the polygraph process, except in the cases of sociopaths, which no one has a way of detecting. But deception is not my aim in any case. I just don't know what to do at this point. I am just trying to be truthful, but for some reason, this is far more a complicated deal that giving a concrete answer to what seems to be a simple question, given that as I am asked these questions during my interview, all sorts of questions about my past behavior that I have not thought about in many, many years pop into my head. Because there is always but what if I am not remembering this correctly? I just have no confidence in my answers. I can give a subjective probability, but then the more I think about it, I think of more things....I just so wish these questions were asked DAYS beforehand, so I could wrack my brain about them and come to an answer I know is true, rather than guessing...

OK.

Thank you very much for your time, and assistance. I will just have to try to get my polygrapher to ask me a specific question, i.e. timeframe, or I cannot answer it with 100% confidence. And I think that is all that is needed, but it seems to be such a problem.

Best, S.
  
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Re: NSA Lifestyle Questions
Reply #3 - Oct 12th, 2005 at 3:12am
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solze wrote on Oct 11th, 2005 at 10:40pm:
So I buy into the polygraph process, except in the cases of sociopaths, which no one has a way of detecting. But deception is not my aim in any case.


Buying into the polygraph process--big mistake. It doesn't work. Just because deception is not your aim, don't count on the polygraph and your examiner to deem you truthful. This site is not about teaching examinees to lie and beat the poly. It's about protecting the truthful from becoming false positive victims. You'd do yourself a favor to educate yourself on the truth about polygraphs as they are not reliable even though that's the way they're portrayed in the media.
  
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Re: NSA Lifestyle Questions
Reply #4 - Oct 12th, 2005 at 3:34am
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Buying into the polygraph process--big mistake. It doesn't work. Just because deception is not your aim, don't count on the polygraph and your examiner to deem you truthful. This site is not about teaching examinees to lie and beat the poly. It's about protecting the truthful from becoming false positive victims. You'd do yourself a favor to educate yourself on the truth about polygraphs as they are not reliable even though that's the way they're portrayed in the media

RESPONSE:

Wow! Are you a social scientist and don't buy into positivism? Well, I am too, but hey, never thought this site was about "cheating" the pg on its own terms. The polygraph is what it is. Same with fingerprinting. I know the scientific evidence on both counts, but you have to provide a counterfactual in terms of both instances of it being used, (Both for and against) which I thought the background investigation would help with, but alas. Also, hey, I am not here to start a revolution.  I am just (selfishly) concerned about my particular situation, and if anyone's advice would help another soul. And if I can help anyone, please ask! But it is about being truthful and not trying to beat the box. Just trying to alleviate my fears and anxiety, and if this is of assistance to any readers, so be it.
  
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Re: NSA Lifestyle Questions
Reply #5 - Oct 12th, 2005 at 5:40am
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Also, hey, I am not here to start a revolution.  I am just (selfishly) concerned about my particular situation, and if anyone's advice would help another soul. [/quote]

Solze,

Hey, I was just trying to give you a little advice about the poly based on my personal experience and the fact that there are no published scientific studies regarding the validity of the poly when used in pre-employment screenings. Had I known this before I took one, I wouldn't have submitted to such a ridiculous process. You see, I'm not just selfishly concerned about my own particular situation or else I wouldn't spend so much of my time on this site trying to save others from making the same mistake I made and offering consolation to those who have. Good luck on your poly.
  
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Re: NSA Lifestyle Questions
Reply #6 - Jul 21st, 2017 at 11:54am
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Okay so, I plan on taking this on in a couple years. But here's the thing, how serious can one be about persuing a career where it's your job to protect the citizens of this country and you can't follow one little rule. It is clear your not supposed to be asking or posting about your experience. Fact is if you can't handle that how can one handle the harder requirements of the job?..It's for security clearance for g**** sake!!!
  
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Re: NSA Lifestyle Questions
Reply #7 - Jul 21st, 2017 at 7:05pm
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It's for security clearance for g***


Frankly, given your level of introspectiveness, I don't think that you'd be very happy at a "three-letter" agency, where those who ask too many questions tend to stand out, as well as be viewed with suspicion.

Many people think that they can engage on a wholesale basis with sex, drugs, etc. while attending school, and then overnight transform themselves like chameleons into corporate or bureaucratic clones.  That may work in the private sector, but for positions where one's lifestyle, usually since starting high school, is put under the microscope, chameleonship is much more difficul. Given your background, another real problem for you might be the BI, which is not unlike Russian roulette, since you never have any idea just whom the investigators might scare up to speak with about you. 

I spent a lot of time applying to "three-letter agencies", and it was a colossal waste of time and effort, even with no criminal record, perfect credit, and very occasional marijuana use. 

My NSA polygraph "interviewer" accused me of having had homosexual experiences and meeting with "foreign agents".  That was the final confirmation for me of the utter ridiculousness of polygraphs and most polygraphers! Roll Eyes
  

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Re: NSA Lifestyle Questions
Reply #8 - Jul 21st, 2017 at 7:15pm
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solze wrote on Oct 11th, 2005 at 9:08pm:
Any advice would be most appreciated.


Have they done a field background investigation on you yet?   Frankly, from the introspective and erudite nature of your posts, I think that you'd be much better off in academia than at the NSA. Cool
  

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