Deciphering Background Investigation Codes
You were hired on for that dream job, flew through the background investigation process (well, maybe not really, but one can hope), and were granted a security clearance. What should you do now? I always recommend you request a copy of your own closed background investigation to keep for future reference. The Report of Investigation (ROI) can also give insight as to what checks were done and who was contacted during the course of the investigation. When you finally obtain a copy of the closed ROI the cover sheet will list all the checks that were scheduled. I developed the below chart using open source information that is publicly accessible to help you figure out what all the various items mean. Although not all-inclusive, these are the ones you would most likely see on your ROI:
|CIA Security check conducted when any of the following are true about the subject: a) foreign born; b) outside the U.S. for 90 days or more (other than for U.S. military service); c) outside the U.S. in excess of one year if on U.S. Government assignment; d) resided or traveled in certain countries identified by the requesting agency; or e) if marriage occurs during any of the above activities.
|Credit search of the National Credit Bureaus (must be within one year of investigation closing date).
|Defense Clearance and Investigations Index File- check of Defense Security Service records for previous background investigations.
|Verification of claimed education (within scope of investigation).
|Verification of employment (6 months or more and within scope of investigation). Note- overseas employment is only checked if currently employed there.
|FBI fingerprint classification check for criminal history. A name check is run if fingerprints are unclassifiable.
|Financial Crimes Enforcement Network check.
|Personal testimonies of all former spouses within last 10 years or from last investigation
|Check of USCIC Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database to confirm legal residency status for non-U.S. citizens.
|Law enforcement/local agency check of where subject worked, lived, and went to school (within scope of investigation).
|Mental health treatment records review and provider recommendation
|Check of military service records for adverse information and type of discharge.
|Foreign country law check through Interpol – conducted if there is: a) Military service overseas (excluding Canada) for 90 days continuously or a combined six months or more in the last 5 years, orb) Foreign Residence, Education, or Employment for 90 days continuously or a combined six months or more in the last 5 years.
|Check of criminal or civil court records for any cases involving the subject as a defendant
|Personal testimonies from people who know or have had significant contact with the subject (all source when put together must cover the past 5 years).
|Verification of residence (6 months or more) within scope of investigation.
|Selective Service registration status check for all males born after 12/31/1959 and if they are currently 18 years or older.
|Security/Suitability Investigations Index File- check of OPM’s database for previous investigations within the last 16 years.
|Special interview with the subject conducted by an investigator to address specific issues and obtain additional information.
|State Department security check when SCI access is requested and activities outside the U.S. exceed one year while on U.S. Government assignment, or exceed 90 days if outside the U.S. for other purposes.
|Substance abuse follow-up records review and interview with listed or developed alcohol or drug treatment providers.
|*Note– many of the same checks (e.g., FBIF/FPN, SII, INS) are done on spouses/cohabitants for Top Secret and/or SCI applicants and are prefaced with an S in front of the code.