Background InvestigationsObtaining Security Clearance

DNI Announces Development of New Clearance Process

In testimony before congress in September the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Mike McConnell, announced that:

We have  (in conjunction with DoD) designed a transformed clearance process and developed a plan to assess the validity of this process. The comprehensive reform of the security clearance process remains our ultimate goal in order to deliver high-assurance security clearances, fairly, efficiently, and at the lowest possible cost. The new process will be based upon end-to-end automation, new sources of data, analytical research, and best practices.

Initial indications are that they will have a demonstration project completed by June 2008 with plans and schedules for implementing an improved process by December 2008. Is this the start of a real change in the security clearance process, or more “govspeak”?

Comment Archive

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    How can they even begin to “automate” interviews, investigations, etc? I assume they are talking about more of the analytical side of the security clearance process.

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    I had a DOJ & “Interm DOD Clearance….we were laid off around June7, I was going to be hired by NCI; however, when they checked my security clearance they stated that I had an Incident Report, & that I have been blocked from getting a Government Clearance…..How do I find out why I have a Incident Report & how do I get this cleared….I had a Manager who didn’t like me & I think she deliberately recked my clearance…..I worked hard in getting these clearance & now I am lucky to get a good paying job…..

    Can you help me find out why?

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    Eric – They think they can automate investigations by having computers perform background checks against various databases, and then report the results. Doubtful that investigations can be automated in any way. Recently, the government proposed fewer in-person interviews which would save time and money, but might ultimately hurt the process.

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    Under the Privacy Act you are entitled to obtain just about any unclassified information the government has on you. Recommend you contact the agencies that did your investigations and granted your clearances and request a copy of whatever they have on you.

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    In addition to the use of commercial computer database seaches as a substitute for some interviews and records checks conducted by field investigators as mentioned by Admin (above), there are ways computer programs can adjudicate relatively clean investigative reports (eAdjudicate) thereby speeding up the process for about 20% of all clearances. Another area for improvement through automation is the transfer of data from investigative agencies to field investigators. This is currently done by mail. Investigators are always carry around 15 to 35 paper case files with them and only use computers to write up their reports and transmit them to their headquarters. If they were issued Convertible Tablet Computers with touch screens (the type of computer used by field personnel in other industries–insurance estimators/adjustors, building contractors/inspectors/appraisers, etc.) and the system was properly automated, all case data could be downloaded to their computers, eliminating the need to key in data that already exists in the case file. It would pretty much allow them to go paperless and manage their cases on a computer. They could take investigative notes directly on the computer screen, eliminating the need to rewrite notes into investigative reports.

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    In theory going paperless and just using a computer to manage cases would be great. Yet there are many secure locations in which investigators go to that do not allow any type of outside electronic equipment such as laptops, cell phones or PDAs. In cases like that investigators will have to still use pen and paper to take their notes and then type them up on their laptops once they get home.

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    Sure, there are places you can not take a portable electronic device. If you work outside the National Capital Region, this really isn’t a problem because only a very small number of interviews need to be conducted in such places.

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    Also there are security directives in place right now through OPM that do not allow investigators to carry paper case files and laptops with them at all times. This is understandable because the paper case files and laptops have personal information of persons under investigation on them. If paper case files or a laptop was stolen or lost many problems could occur.

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    With regard to reforming the security clearance process, perhaps OPM is part of the problem.

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    If someone wants a clearance bad enough, they can step outside a secured area for an interview. If it is required that they be in a secure place for an interview, then OPM needs to acquire electronics certified for operating in those areas. A classified laptop, etc.

    Otherwise it sounds like OPM can’t provide the service the agency requires.

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    Adding something like a classified computer would quickly add about 10 more steps to the process ie training, documentation, and inspection the main concerns. Besides if it is deemed classified where would the investigators store it?

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    Several experienced contract investigators were unlawfully suspended for security concerns that were never proven, did not exist, which included a process to defame their characters; disrupting livelihoods; and were judged as a Federal Employees, which they were not.

    A contract investigator fighting an unjust claim of being unsuitable by OPM FISD, after working for some time in the industry commited suicide.

    The suspensions were conducted by Kathy Dillaman of OPM FISD, her staff to include those of USIS who were contracted by Dillaman to review the work of contract investigators.

    Contracting Companies conducting backgrounds for OPM FISD and other agencies for years QUIT the OPM FISD contract (MSM & Omnisec) which caused a loss of over 4 thousand contract investigators and knowledgeable staff, because of OPM FISD abuse of power…

    Those wrongfully accused of unproven criminal acts, made every effort to obtain proper due process, but OPM Officials failed in every sense of the word to provide fair and impartial justice, and purposely disregarded all responses and correspondence. The offices included: Director of OPM; OPM Inspector General; OPM FISD and the OPM General Counsel.

    Dillaman, Director of OPM FISD purposely delays all inquiries against her, and her office, by ignoring all requests and appeals, which in it self is the route to the delays of security backgrounds. All those of OPM FISD had deliberately ignored our Constitutional and Federal Laws, Regulations and OPM Notices. Even the OPM General Counsel’s Office to include the OPM IG ignored all responses for a request of due process.

    OPM FISD continuous deception and delays, is an endless road. The lack of fair and impartial justice not given and abuse of power, by those within OPM is the real reason for the backlog. Those great man and woman, with extensive experience, that have been conducting security backgrounds for years, under contract, are leaving the business, because of Dillaman and her staff’s unethical practices of abuse and injustice..

    There are people in the business that can correct the backlog of security backgrounds in months, but because of the reputation of injustice and abuse of power, to include deception of OPM FISD, it will never be corrected.

    This country depends on our soldiers and agents in the field, to protect us. Since the 80’s those soldiers and agents continued after retirement, as contract investigators, conducting Security Background Investigations for little money and got the job done, out of patriotism, and loyalty, but now we have those that are greedy, incompetent running our country’s security, like OPM FISD who has over 90% of the Security Background Investigative duties and can’t get it done – we deserve everything we get, if this country and those in our government don’t wakeup NOW.

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    To the (way) above poster: Privacy Act only applies to records held by an “agency”

    “Therefore the records held by courts, executive components, or non-agency government entities are not subject to the provisions in the Privacy Act. You have no right to these records, or at least no right protected by Congressional statute.”