Normal Topic FBI Drug Policy Change (Read 23643 times)
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FBI Drug Policy Change
Aug 7th, 2007 at 11:47am
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An August 7, 2007, article in The Washington Post by Dan Eggen describes the FBI's reluctance to finally change its long standing drug policy on new applicants.

I believe that the Agency has convinced itself that high polygraph failure rates are more attributed to "lying about drug questions" than the false positives attributed to a machine that cannot be used in a court of law as absolute evidence.

The best and the brightest are still not going to accept the polygraph exam as the end all as used in the FBI application process.

The FBI still does not want to admit that the polygraph is useless as an applicant screening device.

Nibbling around the edges on the drug policy is not going to have any affect on application numbers.


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Re: FBI Drug Policy Change
Reply #1 - Aug 7th, 2007 at 12:47pm
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Quote:
The best and the brightest are still not going to accept the polygraph exam as the end all as used in the FBI application process.


Indeed. I suggest that those considering FBI employment "just say no" until such time the FBI abandons its foolhardy and unethical reliance on the pseudoscience of polygraphy. The risks continue to outweigh the rewards.

That said, I think the move away from numerical quotas for past illegal drug use is a step in the right direction. Here's the article text with a link to the source:

Quote:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/06/AR2007080601260....

FBI Bows to Modern Realities, Eases Rules on Past Drug Use
Policy Change Comes as Agency Struggles to Fill Openings

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 7, 2007; A03

The buttoned-down FBI is loosening up: Under a little-noticed new hiring policy introduced this year, job applicants with a history of drug use will no longer be disqualified from employment throughout the bureau.

Old guidelines barred FBI employment to anyone who had used marijuana more than 15 times in their lives or who had tried other illegal narcotics more than five times.

But those strict numbers no longer apply. Applicants for jobs such as analysts, programmers or special agents must still swear that they have not used any illegal substances recently -- three years for marijuana and 10 years for other drugs -- but they are no longer ruled out of consideration because of more frequent drug use in the past.

Such tolerance of admitted lawbreaking might seem odd for the FBI, whose longtime director J. Edgar Hoover once railed against young thugs filled with "false courage from a Marijuana cigarette."

But FBI officials say the move is simply an acknowledgment of reality in a country where, according to some estimates, up to a third of the population has tried marijuana at some point.

The loosened standards also come as the FBI struggles to fill the jobs it has -- particularly in the areas of counterterrorism and intelligence, which draw from a more varied pool of applicants than traditional agent positions.

"One of the things we came to realize was that our drug policy was largely out of step with the rest of the intelligence community and much of the law enforcement community," said Jeffrey J. Berkin, deputy assistant director of the FBI's security division, which implemented the new guidelines. "We're going to focus less on a hard number and more on a whole-person approach. . . . The new policy just allows us a little more flexibility than the old policy."

Even with the new, looser standards, the FBI's drug-use policy is still among the toughest in federal government and stricter than those of most private companies, Berkin and outside experts note.

The CIA, for example, requires only that applicants have not used illegal drugs within the past 12 months, although "illegal drug use prior to 12 months ago is carefully evaluated during the medical and security processing," according to an agency advisory.

Even the Drug Enforcement Administration leaves open the possibility of hiring employees who admit to "youthful and experimental use of marijuana."

"Such applicants may be considered for employment if there is no evidence of regular, confirmed usage and the full-field background investigation and result of the other steps in the process are otherwise favorable," according to the DEA's Web site.

At the FBI, the new rules allow the bureau to consider "all relevant facts, including the frequency of use," in deciding whether someone's drug history should bar a candidate from becoming an FBI employee.

"Someone who was actually an addict is probably not going to satisfy our needs," Berkin said. "Our standards are still very high. The level of drug history would still have to be something that we would characterize as experimental."

Mark A. de Bernardo, executive director of the Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace, a nonprofit group, said he applauds the FBI for dropping its numerical measures, in part because such requirements could run afoul of disability discrimination laws.

"Someone who may have engaged in illicit drug use 20 years ago -- to say that person can never work at the FBI, that they can never be rehabilitated, would be not only inappropriate but possibly illegal," de Bernardo said. "I don't think this is sending a weaker message; I think the message can be just as strong, which is that we expect you to be drug-free."

Under the FBI's previous policy, many job applicants who, for example, had experimented with marijuana in college often had difficulty recalling precisely how many times they may have used the drug, according to FBI officials and others. Even the definition of what constituted a single use -- one joint? a whole night of partying? -- was open to debate.

"We found it was difficult to draw a meaningful distinction between, for example, 15 uses of marijuana or 16 uses," Berkin said. "It was very arbitrary."

Such uncertainty frequently led to problems on polygraph tests, which the FBI administers to all new employees. You cannot be hired if you are deemed to have failed the polygraph test.

"It was the drug question that was tripping up the most people," said Mark S. Zaid, a Washington defense lawyer who handles many employment disputes involving the FBI and other intelligence agencies. "They realize they were losing good people."

Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates looser restrictions on marijuana use, called the policy change "a small step towards sanity" by the FBI.

"What it really does reflect is a reality that lots and lots of people in this society have used marijuana -- some of them have used it a fair amount -- and have gone on to become capable and effective citizens," Mirken said. "Are we really going to stop all those folks from serving our country?"

Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesman for the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, said there is no set standard governing past drug use for prospective federal employees. But Lemaitre and others said the FBI's new policy reflects a broader trend.

"Increasingly, this is less about someone who smoked pot a couple times when they were a kid in college and more about 'Do you have a drug problem now and are you lying about it now?' " Lemaitre said. "That's the shift you're seeing in both the private and public sectors."

Staff researcher Madonna Lebling contributed to this report.
  

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Re: FBI Drug Policy Change
Reply #2 - Aug 22nd, 2008 at 3:38am
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dude, that's nonsense
If the FBI truly changed their drug policy, they would not request an applicant go back to when they were 18 years old for the security clearance for the drugs question.  They would say go back 5 years for the drug question.

Don't believe that nonsense

George W. Maschke wrote on Aug 7th, 2007 at 12:47pm:
Quote:
The best and the brightest are still not going to accept the polygraph exam as the end all as used in the FBI application process.


Indeed. I suggest that those considering FBI employment "just say no" until such time the FBI abandons its foolhardy and unethical reliance on the pseudoscience of polygraphy. The risks continue to outweigh the rewards.

That said, I think the move away from numerical quotas for past illegal drug use is a step in the right direction. Here's the article text with a link to the source:

Quote:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/06/AR2007080601260....

FBI Bows to Modern Realities, Eases Rules on Past Drug Use
Policy Change Comes as Agency Struggles to Fill Openings

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 7, 2007; A03

The buttoned-down FBI is loosening up: Under a little-noticed new hiring policy introduced this year, job applicants with a history of drug use will no longer be disqualified from employment throughout the bureau.

Old guidelines barred FBI employment to anyone who had used marijuana more than 15 times in their lives or who had tried other illegal narcotics more than five times.

But those strict numbers no longer apply. Applicants for jobs such as analysts, programmers or special agents must still swear that they have not used any illegal substances recently -- three years for marijuana and 10 years for other drugs -- but they are no longer ruled out of consideration because of more frequent drug use in the past.

Such tolerance of admitted lawbreaking might seem odd for the FBI, whose longtime director J. Edgar Hoover once railed against young thugs filled with "false courage from a Marijuana cigarette."

But FBI officials say the move is simply an acknowledgment of reality in a country where, according to some estimates, up to a third of the population has tried marijuana at some point.

The loosened standards also come as the FBI struggles to fill the jobs it has -- particularly in the areas of counterterrorism and intelligence, which draw from a more varied pool of applicants than traditional agent positions.

"One of the things we came to realize was that our drug policy was largely out of step with the rest of the intelligence community and much of the law enforcement community," said Jeffrey J. Berkin, deputy assistant director of the FBI's security division, which implemented the new guidelines. "We're going to focus less on a hard number and more on a whole-person approach. . . . The new policy just allows us a little more flexibility than the old policy."

Even with the new, looser standards, the FBI's drug-use policy is still among the toughest in federal government and stricter than those of most private companies, Berkin and outside experts note.

The CIA, for example, requires only that applicants have not used illegal drugs within the past 12 months, although "illegal drug use prior to 12 months ago is carefully evaluated during the medical and security processing," according to an agency advisory.

Even the Drug Enforcement Administration leaves open the possibility of hiring employees who admit to "youthful and experimental use of marijuana."

"Such applicants may be considered for employment if there is no evidence of regular, confirmed usage and the full-field background investigation and result of the other steps in the process are otherwise favorable," according to the DEA's Web site.

At the FBI, the new rules allow the bureau to consider "all relevant facts, including the frequency of use," in deciding whether someone's drug history should bar a candidate from becoming an FBI employee.

"Someone who was actually an addict is probably not going to satisfy our needs," Berkin said. "Our standards are still very high. The level of drug history would still have to be something that we would characterize as experimental."

Mark A. de Bernardo, executive director of the Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace, a nonprofit group, said he applauds the FBI for dropping its numerical measures, in part because such requirements could run afoul of disability discrimination laws.

"Someone who may have engaged in illicit drug use 20 years ago -- to say that person can never work at the FBI, that they can never be rehabilitated, would be not only inappropriate but possibly illegal," de Bernardo said. "I don't think this is sending a weaker message; I think the message can be just as strong, which is that we expect you to be drug-free."

Under the FBI's previous policy, many job applicants who, for example, had experimented with marijuana in college often had difficulty recalling precisely how many times they may have used the drug, according to FBI officials and others. Even the definition of what constituted a single use -- one joint? a whole night of partying? -- was open to debate.

"We found it was difficult to draw a meaningful distinction between, for example, 15 uses of marijuana or 16 uses," Berkin said. "It was very arbitrary."

Such uncertainty frequently led to problems on polygraph tests, which the FBI administers to all new employees. You cannot be hired if you are deemed to have failed the polygraph test.

"It was the drug question that was tripping up the most people," said Mark S. Zaid, a Washington defense lawyer who handles many employment disputes involving the FBI and other intelligence agencies. "They realize they were losing good people."

Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates looser restrictions on marijuana use, called the policy change "a small step towards sanity" by the FBI.

"What it really does reflect is a reality that lots and lots of people in this society have used marijuana -- some of them have used it a fair amount -- and have gone on to become capable and effective citizens," Mirken said. "Are we really going to stop all those folks from serving our country?"

Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesman for the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, said there is no set standard governing past drug use for prospective federal employees. But Lemaitre and others said the FBI's new policy reflects a broader trend.

"Increasingly, this is less about someone who smoked pot a couple times when they were a kid in college and more about 'Do you have a drug problem now and are you lying about it now?' " Lemaitre said. "That's the shift you're seeing in both the private and public sectors."

Staff researcher Madonna Lebling contributed to this report.

  
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Re: FBI Drug Policy Change
Reply #3 - Aug 22nd, 2008 at 12:15pm
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Hey dude

What is your field of expertise that would cause you to think you could refute statements made in the article by qualified people and others who post here?

Could it be that you are only a lowly government polygrapher trying, in vain, to justify your field of choice?
  
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Re: FBI Drug Policy Change
Reply #4 - Aug 23rd, 2008 at 2:46am
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Wow...  I leave the board for a few months and upon my return I find the administrator’s disciples have degenerated further into their feeble attempts to revitalize ancient postings, ad hominum attacks upon anyone who disagrees and the same old pseudo-intellectual mucophagy that was beginning to poison the forum at my exit.  I guess there’s nothing new for them to say.

Dr. Mashcke,  I have looked at your petition  it claims 1325 signatures, but almost every page has between 1 and 5 "Line Voided" entries that appear to be included in your count. I wonder how many times Drew Richardson has signed the petition and how many times David Lykken has signed since his death. 
Are these just further examples of THE LIE BEHIND The Lie Behind the Lie Detector? Wink
  

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Re: FBI Drug Policy Change
Reply #5 - Aug 23rd, 2008 at 5:36am
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Hmmmm, yeah, uh-huh, uh-huh. 

Interesting, thanks for contributing.   Cheesy
  

"There is no direct and unequivocal connection between lying and these physiological states of arousal...(referring to polygraph)."

Dr. Phil Zimbardo, Phd, Standford University
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Re: FBI Drug Policy Change
Reply #6 - Aug 25th, 2008 at 2:27am
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you are misunderstanding me

I was saying not to believe the fbi people when they state they are changing their drug policy.

If the fbi changed their policy, they would say:  well we only want to know about recent drug use but no, they still go back to when you were 18 years old.  That does not represent a change in policy.

The fbi and polygrapher are going to ask questions when a person was 18 years old.  In other words, if a person is 40 and experimented when they were 20 and did not use anything since, the polygrapher and fbi form will say 'you confessed to using it 20 years ago therefore you fail'

If the fbi really changed their policy, they would say: 'for the drugs question, go back only 5 years'   - I am saying the fbi person that stated the fbi will change the fbi policy is lying to potential applicants.  When they find out they confessed and are subsequently thrown out due to confessing, they will say 'what the hell? I thought the fbi changed their policy'

This is absurd cuz clinton and obama used drugs.  They also provided faulty intelligence about the iraq war to the public and president, what is the bigger crime?

Twoblock wrote on Aug 22nd, 2008 at 12:15pm:
Hey dude

What is your field of expertise that would cause you to think you could refute statements made in the article by qualified people and others who post here?

Could it be that you are only a lowly government polygrapher trying, in vain, to justify your field of choice?

  
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Re: FBI Drug Policy Change
Reply #7 - Aug 25th, 2008 at 3:24am
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Twoblock,

If you see a polar bear with pure white fur, it is not a polar bear.  Real polar bears have to get dirty once in a while to survive.


Regards.
  
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Re: FBI Drug Policy Change
Reply #8 - Jan 30th, 2009 at 4:01am
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Do you think the FBI will throw out an application if you say yes to the 15 use times or yes to the use 3 years ago. What if it was 2 years ago or 2 and a half. Should you still say yes?
  
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Re: FBI Drug Policy Change
Reply #9 - Jan 30th, 2009 at 6:07am
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Just fill out the security application truthfully and you'll find out.

TC
  

"There is no direct and unequivocal connection between lying and these physiological states of arousal...(referring to polygraph)."

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FBI Drug Policy Change

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