FBI Name Checks Hold Up Background Investigations
One of the components of every background investigation is the National Agency Check (NAC). One of the components of a NAC is the FBI name check. Among the trends that I have seen regarding what checks are most likely to hold up the completion of a background investigation, the top two are military reserve or National Guard service checks and FBI name checks. So what exactly is the FBI name check anyway and how is it different from a fingerprint check?
A fingerprint check only searches for arrests and intakes into correctional facilities. An FBI name check runs the name electronically against the FBI’s Central Records System (CRS) searching for all instances of the individual’s name appearing in FBI files. Individuals named or mentioned in FBI files may be subjects of FBI investigations, conspirators, associates, witnesses, etc. If a hit comes up then a further inquiry is made to that specific file.
Now you would think running a name through a database is no big deal and shouldn’t take that long, right? Well, consider that the FBI gets 65,000 requests per week and they have approximately 265 data storage sites that have to be checked. According to their website, about 9% of submitted names get some type of hit that has to be followed up on, so it really isn’t surprising that some background investigations get held up in limbo because of this. Unfortunately, individuals have no recourse to speed up the process, as only the investigating agency (OPM/NBIB) can submit a status or expedite request.