Normal Topic Two Years Flushed in Two Hours (Read 2272 times)
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Two Years Flushed in Two Hours
May 26th, 2010 at 7:57am
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I guess I am here to rant, so please bare with me.

Recently, I graduated from a graduate program dedicated to NS studies. I had multiple COEs from the FBI and friends who worked there. I was not worried about the polygraph or the background investigation. Getting into the IC was my goal, my entire reason for going back to graduate school, where I excelled and finished near the top of my program.

On the morning of my polygraph I was ticketed on the way to the office. This upset me, as I knew my driving records were about to be scrutinized by the FBI. Still, I figured if I shared it with them, I would be okay (my record is not that bad). I gave them the ticket, even though I knew it might never show, just to be safe and to show I was cooperating.

After reviewing my SF-86, I went downstairs for my exam. I had been told by a prof (a former spook) what to expect, so I was surprised how cordial the lead-up to the exam went. The only odd moment was when I was told that being drunk five times per year was excessive (this, despite being a graduate student). After the test, I was confronted about my drug use. I had smoked pot one time about eight years prior to the test. I listed this on the SF 86 along with the statement that I was unsure if I knew what I was doing at the time because I was heavily intoxicated. My examiner told me deception was indicated. I told him that was impossible, because I had disclosed all my drug use and the uncertain conditions surrounding the lone event. He did not believe me. I posited that he might be reading my anxiety and doubt about the events of that night, but that I was fervently anti-drug and had not been deceptive.

At this point, the interview became an interrogation. I was yelled at and backed into statements he wanted me to agree with. Typical was, did I know what a joint looked like. Yes, I did. So then I knew what I smoke that night and lied on my SF 86? No, I did not remember what I smoked that night. I stuck to this story (the truth), at one point asking him what more he expected me to remember about one night almost eight years ago. He said I lied, confronted me with a list of drugs and told me to indicate what I took, how many times, etc. I stuck to the truth and the same police interrogation tactics wore on for another half an hour, during which time I was given either/or statements and forced to pick one so he could confront me with another either/or statement. I was told my background wasn't bureau material because I was in a fraternity in college and played rugby (all of which he learned by questioning me at length) and that he doubted I would be passed. He said he would make positive notes in my file, but I didn't believe him. I left shattered and feeling about two inches tall, but having spoken to my professors, hopeful that this was just the process and it didn't matter.

Well, it did.

I received a letter from the FBI about two weeks ago saying I did not pass the preliminary screening process. The word polygraph and fail appear nowhere in the letter. Upon pressing my local office, I was told I failed. So essentially, one sentence on my SF 86 and my own anxiety about one night eight years ago have flushed two years of education down the toilet. I have lost all of my COEs and have little confidence another intelligence agency will consider me after they learn of this failure.

My anger is twofold. On the one hand, I believe I did not lie. I did the best I could to answer incredibly broad questions accurately and my one tripping point seems to be an issue I DISCLOSED about one night eight years ago. Secondly, and more importantly, I believe I was "weeded out" by this examiner, simply because I did not come from the sort of bland background he believes the FBI hire. Younger graduates from my class who could essentially be described as homebodies have flown through their polygraphs. I have no doubts, however, about my own ability to work in a classified environment and to remain trustworthy. I simply do not seem to fit into the FBI's box. At one point, I was told multiple applicants were up for my job and if they were "cleaner" than me then I would be cut. 

So yeah. Two years flushed in two hours. I am considering FOIA request, but am wondering how long that takes and what it actually contains (like can you tell what the hell failed you?) when you get it? As I said, I have asked to be re-tested, too, but after reading on the internet, I have little faith in that process.
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