Personal Statement of "IT Pro"
16 July 2007
My journey towards FBI employment began several years ago. I have a family friend that is a retired Special Agent and a college acquaintance that is a current Agent. I became interested in joining the FBI under their Computer Science entry program, aiming to eventually specialize in high-technology crime. While all my work experience is in the field of computers and technology, I have virtually no formal training. I spent the next two and a half years working on earning the credentials to meet the FBI's required qualifications. I took classes part-time and ended up spending several thousand dollars to put myself through technical training classes to earn an advanced Cisco networking certification. Certificate in hand, I completed my FBI application the next day.
A month or two later I was contacted to take the written portion of the exam, which I passed. Some time after that I was told that I had been selected for the oral interview. The Applicant Coordinator for my local field office was very helpful. She gave an extensive pre-interview session for a number of applicants, giving us tips on the interview process and how to prepare. After I received my interview date I spent the next week preparing in earnest. It paid off, I passed the interview. I was ecstatic. The hard part was over, I honestly believed that the job was in the bag.
The next step, of course, was the polygraph. I had done some research, found AntiPolygraph.org, and read the Lie Behind the Lie Detector, but for whatever reason I decided that I did not need to employ any special countermeasures. Those who know me know that I am an honest person. Other than drinking before the age of 21, I have never used an illegal drug. I have never stolen from an employer or been accused or convicted of any crime. I figured this shouldn't be a problem. I was naive.
The polygraph followed the standard procedure documented on AntiPolygraph.org. I was conscious of my breathing, because I was slightly nervous, but I tried to remain calm and breathe normally. At several points the blood-pressure cuff was inflated so tightly that it was causing physical pain, but I chose not to mention it because I honestly thought the polygrapher would take that as a sign of trying to alter the test results.
By the end of the test I was told the results were not coming back the way he wanted. As has been documented elsewhere, I was given the chance to "admit" what was bothering me, though I assured him there was nothing. I was told that the questions relating to my truthfulness on the employment application were showing signs of deception. In reality I had been 100% honest on my application. Eventually, after a few more rounds of trying to get a confession out of me I was told that the results were inconclusive but that he would send them to headquarters anyway. I honestly thought that this was all a bluff that they tried on everyone and that I would move on to the next step.
After a few weeks the polygrapher called me to say that he wanted to do a follow-up test to resolve a few issues, and that this was "pretty standard". I agreed and we went through an abbreviated version of the same test. At the end I was again given the routine of digging for a confession, and when I admitted that there was nothing to confess I was told that I had failed. I was crushed.
My Applicant Coordinator called me soon after and recommended that I write a letter to ask for a retest. She seemed genuinely sympathetic, and to this day I believe she really wanted me to pass, and believed that I could. I wrote the letter and then called several times over the next few months to follow up. I was eventually granted a retest with a different polygrapher at a different field office. I won't go into the details, but it was pretty much the same story. This time I employed countermeasures, but I believe that it was already too late. At the end I was told that my questions regarding drug use were showing signs of deception. Strange, since I had supposedly passed that section the last time. The section on application truthfulness was apparently fine this time around! Of course it's all or nothing, so it makes little difference. It was over, again.
My conditional offer of employment was rescinded and my Applicant Coordinator never called back. The dream job that I had been preparing for for years is now unavailable to me forever.