Background Investigations

Security Clearance Background Investigations: Blame the People or the Process?

Congress has followed through on their promise to bring increased scrutiny and oversight to the security clearance investigation process. In the wake of Edward Snowden’s leak of classified information about the NSA’s PRISM program (and his subsequent ‘Where’s Waldo’ escapades in the Moscow airport), congressional leaders are asking more questions than ever. The Security Clearance Oversight and Reform Enhancement (SCORE) Act was introduced this week. It requires the government to update its policies and increase the transparency of the clearance process.

In particular spotlight is a contract security clearance company with 65 percent of the background investigation business, and both an ongoing IG investigation and lawsuit.

In the wake of scandals such as the Snowden debacle, everyone looks for someone to blame. Current sequestration budget cuts are also causing another look at the financial benefits of government employees versus contractors. The realization that someone with a security clearance had both access he perhaps shouldn’t have as well as questionable judgment calls the process that cleared him into question.

The heart of the matter and one particular to this forum is – is it the people, or the process, that’s the problem? And by people I’m not referring to the individual integrity of background investigators, but their role, be it independent contractor/consultant, or government employee.

I’m betting on a push toward insourcing, especially given the preferences of ranking committee member Sen. Claire McCaskill. I’m also betting that insourcing won’t solve any problems (and let me add here the disclaimer that ‘these opinions are my own and do not represent an official position of, it’s leadership, or companies – wow, I almost feel like a government employee again!) Of the 20 investigators who have been convicted of fraud, it’s an even split as far as who’s done the lying (contractor or government employee). Abuse isn’t solely in the hands of private contractors. While unreasonable deadlines and antiquated reporting procedures may incentivize shortcuts by contractors, government employees face the same things. If, perhaps, a reduced likelihood of being fired for failure.

Congress’ proposed SCORE Act would increase audits and oversight over background investigations, but without changes to the process, I doubt we’re likely to see the reforms they’re looking for. As leadership at ClearanceJobs has pointed out in the past, advancements in technology for investigators, as well as updates to the adjudicative criteria would do much more toward preventing the next Snowden.

So, who’s to blame when it comes to failures in security clearance background investigations? About all we can say for sure is that Congress is likely to find somebody.

Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    As soon as the news came out about Snowden, I knew that whomever did his background would be under scrutiny. Typically Congress/Senate is blaming the easy target, the contractor. No mention that the contractor is only following the directions of OPM, no mention that the contractor does not adjudicate or grant the clearance and the Senate, OPM and the IG allowed that narrative to continue, obviously to point the blame somewhere else. Now the IG and OPM will use this as a reason to ask for more funding and more government employees and that is exactly what McCaskill wants too. No one is asking why the CIA granted Snowden the first clearance (no contractors used there) and no one is questioning why NSA granted him the clearance either. No, let’s deceive the public into thinking it was all the contractor’s fault because, after all, only the government can do it better and cheaper. As the article stated, half the investigators convicted of fraud were contractors, yet they make up at least 75% of the BIs out there. If I was hired by OPM when I started BI, I would be making $30k more and doing less work. Point is, the vast majority of BIs (govt & contractor) are conscientious and work hard to complete their cases properly and timely. The problem is the system but unfortunately, the system is looking to perpetuate itself at the expense of the contractors.

  2. Avatar

    Insourcing security clearance investigations for national security positions is a no-brainer. Outsourcing to for-profit companies was a very bad idea. There are a lot of top-notch investigators in the private contract companies but you cannot have profit-for-production investigations. It leads inexorably to pushing through investigations über alles. Most of us who have worked as contract investigators could never deny this is the case. Heck, we have emails gently reminding us to close cases (smartly, CYA-wise, supervisors called when pushing to close cases). And of course, the insane caseload and assigning more and more work had this purpose as well.

    September 11th led to insourcing airport/transportation screening. Snowden should lead to security clearance investigation insourcing.

  3. Avatar

    I interviewed a certified actuary the other day, we made a little chat and he was asking about the overal clearance process, the number of people cleared, etc.

    He said, numerically speaking, you would never be able to prevent 100% of the Snowdens out there.

    Notsure if it means anything but it stuck with me.

  4. Avatar

    we made a little chat


    I hope my ROI’s don’t read like that.


  5. Avatar

    I have alwaysed questioned the “for profit” concept of background investigations. With the most recent OPM contract, it seems OPM is pushing the contracting companies to get the investigations done faster or there will be financial penalities. Financial penalites versus national security. Which is more important?

  6. Avatar

    Contract investigators aren’t the problem. The unrealistic demands placed on them by OPM and company management are.

    If OPM would issue new guidelines that require contracting companies and their investigator employees to focus on quality over quantity, then we’d be in a better position for weeding out future Snowdens.

  7. Avatar

    I agree that the focus should be on quality over quantity. Part of the problem is that Congress passed the legislation requiring the shorter time frames for completing investigations in response to the length of time that the process was taking.

    You can disagree if you like but, the fact is once the legislation was passed with the arbitrary 40 day dealines they like to brag about, OPM managers and contracting sections were under increased pressure to meet these new deadlines, if they didn’t have the numbers to show they were meeting their deadlines, they wouldn’t be able to collect those performance bonuses we know they so richly deserve. This in turn meant that OPM and contractor staff were also under increased pressure to meet these unrealistic expectations, which ultimately resulted in the actual shift in focus from quality to quantity.

    I think the blame starts with congress and in varrying degrees works its way down to the average employees who are stuck trying to do a difficult job with little support from the politicians, government and private sector managers who are supposed to be setting an example of how things should be done.

    It’s a numbers game. Remember the testimony from the IG in June? He said there was no money from OPM that his office could use to audit FIS, so there was no way to actually verify the statistics OPM/FIS was publishing were correct.

  8. Avatar

    I think we take too long to do a BI. I believe we should be doubling our output.

  9. Avatar

    The problem is not isolated to Snowden or any other individual. You could interview a hundred sources on Snowden and it is doubtful that anyone would have predicted his actions. The overarching issue is the background process itself. While past performance may be a future indicator in some circumstances, it can not predict the “lone wolf” mentality. I use my Magic 8 Ball to supplement our background investigations. No amount of reform or standardization is going to fix this issue.

  10. Avatar

    Even if people did have misgivings or suspicions they will not tell you after you read to them the Privacy Act, which says everything they say about the Subject will get back to the Subject. Or as a contract investigator you have creds with 18-point font saying “CONTRACTOR” in three prominent spots.

    I worked as a contract investigator for one of the big private companies doing OPM investigations. In training they stressed that you must make it clear to everyone that you are not with the government and are in no way, shape, or form connected with OPM. You are simply a “special investigator retained by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management”. But the company-provided business cards could not even use the title of special investigator but only contract investigator with the company listed on the business card.

    The result? I sure as hell didn’t have people confiding in me.

    Then again, maybe all the sources provided/vetted by the Subject didn’t have a bad word to say.

  11. Avatar

    You first BW!

    Five day turn around for SSBIs!

  12. Avatar


    Have no SSBI’sand I believe USIS has all of them, oh wait!!!!! Ha, Ha, HA I’m cracking myself up.

  13. Avatar

    Snowden was apparently a highly trained Counter-Intel Agent. During his background his years of training on using the word “No” was evident as he was able to answer no to everything, fooling the Inv, CRA’s, and Adjudicator. Man he was good. But, what has me worried is that we have a few million folks who may equally as well trained. Be cautious 🙂

  14. Avatar

    I feel sorry for the Invs who did the source interviews for Snowden. I’m sure those sources have already been re-interviewed. You know none of them will recall recommending him or at least expressing reservations that they are SURE they told the BI in the original interview.

  15. Avatar

    So has the contract work been decimated? I’ve been TDY now for weeks and have spoken to a lot of contract investigators and everyone says they don’t have any work.

    Is it really that bad?

  16. Avatar


    Not for me/my area. My company is still hemorrhaging work all over the place.

  17. Avatar

    Under the False Claims Act, a company that is found to have defrauded the government is liable for three times the government’s losses due to the fraud plus penalties. If there is a whistleblower qui tam case in this instance, USIS could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars if it is found liable for shoddy security screenings.

    What’s a non-shoddy OPM investigation? Oh, I know, they can just make investigations even more of administrative checklists. And with the jobless recovery economy they can find an endless supply of 20-somethings to work in the administrative report-writing sweatshops of USIS, Keypoint, CACI, Omniplex.

  18. Avatar

    You guys joke about the 5 day turn around for SSBIs but that is what it is almost like in my area. We are lucky if we get 9 working days to get an entire SSBI completed on time of all of the other lovely items we get assigned to us. It is crazy! When we ask why we can’t have more time management’s reply is “OPM is happy.” or “The customer is happy.” Not one investigator in my area likes their job. Everyone I talk to wants out. When there is another mass exodus USIS will be screwed. That is if USIS is not shut down soon due to everything going on. We get surveys every three months or so asking us how likely we are to leave the job and if we would ever recommend this job to a friend or family member. My answer is that I would leave this job with in one month as that answer is the quickest option bubble we can check . I would never ever ever recommend this job to a friend or family member. I even try to talk them out of it if they mention something to the effect that they think my job is cool and they may want to do it. One thing that frustrates me is in the surveys, is that we can not write any comments. We can only check bubbles. I think management is scared they will really findo ut how investigators feel about this job if we are allowed to write anything.
    USIS is screwing themselves with how they treat their investigators. It screwed them over about a year an half ago and it is going to screw them over again soon. When we can get our monthly stats we can see what our rank is with in our org, distrct, business unit and company. What I find interesting is the total number of investigators shown in the stats is going down. For March’s stats, there were a total of 2260 investigators. For April’s stats, there were a total of 2249 investigators. For May’s stats, there were a total of 2202 investigators. For June’s stats, there were a total of 2157 investigators. So since March USIS has lost 103 investigators. I just find that amazing. I wonder what the number will be for July.

  19. Avatar

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but the news headlines say that the IG and/or Fed investigation of USIS began in early 2011, wasn’t that about the time that OPM/FIS got their current director?

    Since everyone seems to be an investigator here, do you think there could be a connection between the change in leadership and the allegations the government is supposed to be investigating?

  20. Avatar

    I have always been vigorously opposed to the concept of “the contractor” doing the goverment’s work! I have seen how this is almost as common-sense as having prisoners building a Prison! (dah, how stupid can you get- don’t answer, another lower depth of incompetency has emerged !!! I would stick with hiring military veterans and have them certified as GS-1801 series (this is the same as Postal Inspectors, Deportation Officers, and ICE Enforcement Officers aka “Homie Watch”! Special Retirement isn’t fully justified, though I would have them on AUO status and firearms authority, (criminal actions within their presence, administering oaths & affirmations)

    Most college graduates from 4 year colleges with no credible work experience in the blue/grey/white collar world, tend to have less than satisfactory/marginally competent entry/advance apprentice and tend to “push their own social agenda” like hiding police records!

  21. Avatar

    Former Fed:

    Kathy Dillaman retired as Associate Director FISD on 31 January 2011, but it’s my understanding that she stayed on for a year or two as a senior policy advisor to the OPM Director John Berry, presumably as a consultant. Merton Miller was promoted into Dillaman’s position immediately after Dillaman vacated it. I think Miller was Deputy Associate Director, FISD, Center for External Affairs from 2009 to 2011. Given these circumstances there appears to be nothing that links Miller replacing Dillaman with the initiation of the IG’s investigation.

  22. Avatar

    I was recently searching the internet for updates on Federal Investigative Standards (FIS) and found a USD(I) memo, dated 14 Feb 13 regarding the delayed implementation of a new revised FIS that was approved by OPM and ODNI in December 2012. But I’ve been unable to find the new revised FIS. Has anyone seen it and if so, can you point me to where it’s available?

  23. Avatar

    Well all, after many years in this lovely business of ours I am getting out. I found a job in my area in the security field that has nothing to do with background investigations. No more ESIs, source interviews, obtaining records, RZs or deficiencies. It’s funny, as soon as I was offered this new job my stress level decreased by more than half. Yes there will be stress in my new job but not like the stress I had in this one. I will check back here from time to time to see how things are going. I wish everyone the best of luck!

  24. Avatar

    Good luck Investigator!

  25. Avatar

    Good luck! I’d say you’re getting out at a very good time. Lots of craziness happening in this business right now…

  26. Avatar

    Congrats–check my linked-in for my new venture–it’s going very well.

  27. Avatar
  28. Avatar

    Anybody know of any federal job openings? I’ve been an Agent for a contractor and worked at OPM as a Reviewer? Thanks.

  29. Avatar

    I’ve been a Background Investigator for a contractor.

  30. Avatar

    Have you tried

  31. Avatar

    What positions and what agencies should I look at with my experience? I know to look on usajobs, just not sure what to look for. Thanks.

  32. Avatar

    TSA Screener.

  33. Avatar

    Seriously though, not much hiring. Bad time to look for a fed position. Last I heard, only vets and advanced degrees are getting considered. Could be wrong though.

  34. Avatar


    And the vets who think the world owes them everything.

  35. Avatar

    Blame it on the Henney…..blame it on the al al al al cohol

  36. Avatar

    The world is not enough!

    I released the Kracken tonight.

  37. Avatar

    U.S. grand jury probing contractor that vetted Snowden: WSJ

    (Reuters) – The company that conducted the most recent security review of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is the subject of a federal grand jury investigation into its background check processes, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing people involved with the probe.

    Federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating whether USIS, a U.S. government contractor, rushed its cases without doing a proper review, which would be a violation of the False Claims Act, the Journal said.

    Read the rest of the article here

    Is this for real? This is like a short person suing the city for building the sidewalk so close to his ass. Every single contract investigator is forced to rush cases because they are over assigned and have short deadlines. Company revenue über alles. They remind every investigator at the end of the month. In most areas where there is the bulk of important work– MD/DC/VA, NY, New England, et al.– the pay and the work is crappy and the turnover is high. Contractor companies don’t give a damn because apparently there is an endless supply of naïve 20-somethings willing to do this job as a starter job before quitting. Companies should be fined, bigtime, for attrition rates above other government contractors in that area.

    Better yet, scrap private companies from doing this kind of work. It is like profit-based companies doing criminal investigations to help with the backlog of open criminal cases. Have then do it like OPM BI investigations. Require them to close cases in 30 days and have the similar checklist of requirements for each investigation. You must interview any two people at residences close to the scene of the crime. You must interview two friends of the victim. You must do records checks at the nearest police station. After doing these perfunctory things then, voilà, you are done and case closed. No cold cases and no backlog. The public will think, “Ain’t private contact investigations wonderful!”

  38. Avatar

    I forgot to add that you must also read the Privacy Act to all witnesses, informing them that what they said can be read by the perp.

  39. Avatar

    Not that it isn’t true about investigators being pushed into unrealistic timelines and standards, the article is a little sensational as the very last line is, “While that probe predates the Snowden scandal, concerns have been raised about whether the company’s background check into Snowden was carried out in an appropriate manner.”

  40. Avatar


    If by not finding out he never went to college, holds no degree, was never a super ninja master special forces troop, etc……..then I guess they may have messed that one up (ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha–my side hurts).

  41. Avatar

    Even a slow, methodical, perfect-by-OPM-standards background investigation would not have uncovered a Snowden. The process is fundamentally flawed. While the FBI and U.S. intel agencies are monitoring emails and talking to people who do google searches that include terms like “pressure cooker”, OPM background investigators are doing national security investigations by asking Subjects’ friends on the record if the Subject is a good guy or has ever attempted to overthrow the U.S. by force. But alas, OPM has made the investigations even more thorough by making an investigator find twice as many friends to ask if the Subject is a good guy or has ever attempted to overthrow the U.S. by force.

    Btw, in any source interview the first dozen questions asked are straight up identity thief questions so I am amazed that anyone is comfortable answering these questions asked by some private contractor working for a federal agency no one has heard of.

  42. Avatar

    When I worked the investigator job I always had this gobsmacking stat in the back of my mind that made running here and there and getting records and interviewing a dozen buddies of the Subject all that more pointless.

    According to Willilam Henderson, 99% of all people investigated for a secuity clearance get one! I ask you, if you took a test where you knew 99% of the people passed, would you give it any credence?

  43. Avatar

    And the ones who absolutely shouldn’t get it do. Think of all the protected source info that can’t be used…

  44. Avatar

    Everyone gets protection as soon as they hear about the Privacy Act.

  45. Avatar


    Based on FY2010 data the average denial/revocation rate for most of DOD (not including the intel agencies) was about 2.5%. The low was USAF at 0.7% and the high was Army at 6.1%. DOHA came in at 1.0%. But as the article stated these percentages don’t tell the whole story. The “effective” denial rate for contractors is much higher, because a lot of people never make it to the final stage of adjudication where a formal grant/deny decision is made.

  46. Avatar

    The difficulty is that these investigations are administrative investigations, not criminal investigations. What are we going to do, read every applicants email and tap every applicants phone? Were OPM, not the NSA.

  47. Avatar


    There are 8 million stories in the naked city……..

  48. Avatar

    A friend of mine who is a former USIS employee as well but still lives in the WPA area sent me this link

    One thing I am confused about is that USIS went away from the logo on the building in the video a while ago. When I worked for them the last time I was up there was in 2009 so they may not have changed the logo on the building since changing the overall logo of the company

  49. Avatar

    Here is a link to the bill the video mentioned. At least I think it is the bill

  50. Avatar

    I like this part of the bill, termination for

    “(4) impersonation of a Federal law enforcement officer;”

    I have a badge and a credential that reads, “An authorized law enforcement activity.”

    People who actually look at me creds and ask me about that statement, I have no idea what to tell them. I’m not law enforcement, I’m an investigator. Makes very little sense to people.

  51. Avatar


    The contractor has an advantage over an OPM S/A in the regard. When I did interviews with sources (or Subjects) I made it crystal clear I was not with OPM or the government. I took the OPM strict guidance to private contractors, not to give the impression you are with OPM, very seriously. So, I made it abundantly clear to every source I encountered that I was merely a private contractor, not a government employee, and in no way connected or associated with the government. I was merely an employee of a private company, etc., etc When they made comments about my creds being impressive I opended them back up and pointed at one of the three “CONTRACTOR” stamps and made some self-deprecating quip. I ended up with a lot of RT/UC’s. As much as I’d love to meet up the yuppie landlord downtown during his lunch hour to get a rental record, I can’t say I was upset when he asked me what this was about and who I worked for and then refused because he wasn’t comfortable giving out information. OPM stopped allowing us to have business cards that said “special” investigator but we had use “contract investigator”. You can bet your ass I pointed to my business cards highlighting my title as contract investigator. A contract investigator has nothing to gain by trying to give the impression he or she is official in any way. And apparently, he or she has something to lose– if you consider your $18/hour traveling girl Friday job a loss.

  52. Avatar

    You lost me at traveling girl Friday.


  53. Avatar


    I started the job when we could collateral sources. That rule changed sometime in 2012, I think. The job had became a nightmare of just desperately trying to come up with sources to cover each RESI, EDUC, EMPL, etc. It was pointless. ESIs were reduced to going through the case papers like an OPM S/A with a bladder problem and then painstakingly trying to get names and numbers to cover this or that item.

    A typical ESI

    Inv: Okay, let’s go back over that issue we discussed earlier.

    Subj: My DWI?

    Inv: No, we dealt with that.

    Subj: My drug use?

    Inv: No, what we need to go over is the apartment you rented in College Park where you listed a verifier that is also your education verifier. I need two other people to verify this residence.

    Subj: Well, any of my references can verify that I lived…

    Inv: Look you son of a… [Slamming table]. Are you going to cooperate with me or not?! I told you I need two names for every employment, education, residence. And they can’t be your references, okay?! Now, the way I see it… let’s see… Subway… Best Buy… Papa John’s… George Mason… 24 North Street… you owe me the names and numbers of 16 people to verify these activities. Now, get out your iPhone and let’s commence this national security investigation.

  54. Avatar

    Sorry, but I am somewhat confused.

    Why is it the responsibility of the subject to provide a separate name for each and every employment activity or residence with no overlap other than what they put on their paperwork?

    It almost sounds like you can only use information provided on the SF-85 or SF-86 case papers.

    When an investigator interviews a source do they ask if they might know anyone, or suggest anyone else who also knew the subject during the employment, education, or residence?

    To require separate names for every employment, education, or residence is a completely unrealistic policy, especially given the fact that you are not conducting a criminal investigation.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but basically what you are doing is collecting information so someone else can make and “educated” guess about whether someone’s future actions may harm national security.

    If anything history should tell you that you will never be able to make the right decision 100% of the time. Maybe part of the problem with investigations is a lack of common sense on the part of the people responsible for setting policy and procedure?

  55. Avatar

    I sense much anger in you, Darrow.

  56. Avatar

    No, Fed, I was just trying to bring a little humor into the process. It was meant for the consumption of those who do or have done the job. Anyone else wouldn’t get it. I checked back in here after the Snowden blowup but I think I have overstayed my re-visit. I bit you and all here (another) adieu and good luck.

  57. Avatar

    I work for a government contractor, and I cringe at the suggestion that a lot of what we do could be done by federal employees more efficiently. Of course my type of work and supporting contracts predates the whole “post-9/11 Top Secret America” that has been reported on and documented by Dana Priest and William Arkin for the Washington Post back in 2010.

    Sorry to go off topic, but I’ll go there for one paragraph —

    —– Honestly some of their (Priest and Arkin’s) reporting seems laughable, especially many of their PBS Front Line videos. Although I don’t work in the beltway, the idea of “underground food courts and shopping malls” only accessible to highly cleared individuals — as reported by Priest and Arkin — sounds a bit ridiculous. OK, I’ll give them a cafeteria or something similar, but it’s highly doubtful these folks go clandestinely shopping in Dillard’s, Macy’s, Burberry, Nieman Marcus, Great American Cookies, etc. in a subterranean SCIF. If anyone wants to contradict me, by all means fill me in…

    — back on topic.

    I don’t think the background investigation is to blame for Mr. Snowden’s egregious leaks, or the fact that he was a contractor vs. a federal employee… I’m just so surprised that he was able to access such vast amounts of sensitive information, without seemingly any need-to-know whatsoever. Regardless of his level of clearance (I’m sure he went through the full gamut, i.e. F.S. polygraph, etc.), what happened to need-to-know?? Has there been any reporting on how he was able to access this huge repository of documents from an office in Hawaii? It seems like a failure of our security policies that were in place to protect the information he obtained, unless he was actually smart enough to circumvent what I hope would be some of the most sophisticated security in the world protecting this information.

    We are told he was a systems administrator, and therefore had much more broad access to a lot of information. I understand that, but so what!?!!? Where I work, our systems administrators certainly don’t have access to every classified document/tidbit laying around in the company. I understand that they can see a lot of stuff, but it’s certainly not possible for them to see everything!

    It seems that the real failure resides in the systems and processes that were put in place to protect this stuff, most likely by the NSA and not some government contractor. Just my two cents.

  58. Avatar

    No Darrow! Don’t go!

    I love your renditions, they totally make me laugh.

    I failed with my last post, it was supposed to be Yoda. 🙁

  59. Avatar


    He’ll be back. There is no way he could possibly be done venting about this job. He may not have enough time left on this earth to get it all in 🙂 I surely know I don’t.

  60. Avatar

    The fact is, things will not change until investigators are given the power to actually conduct investigations. right now we just collect information, tick off boxes, and go by the numbers. If the case is closed in x numbers of days, GOOD FOR YOU! If you go a day over, then it is a black mark. I would LOVE for congress to put the same time tables on criminal investigations for complex cases.

  61. Avatar

    My investigation has been going on forever… was first submitted in Novemember 2012. I just received a call this morning from my “special investigator” that had even more ridiculous questions for me. She is maybe 20 and doesnt seem to have any real experience. She grilled me for hours on why there was a 2 week discrepancy on the dates of a job I held 10 years ago, part time! Sadly the Navy let my clearance lapse and I am going through a full blown investigation again and I have never ever expereinced anything like this and I have held a clearance for 15 years.

  62. Avatar

    Investigation Subject,

    Please, go easy on your “maybe 20” investigator. She’s just doing her job and is under a lot of pressure. Chances are, she works for one of the three contractors and her boss (who chances are she’s never met because he/she works across the country from her) is pushing her to close out as many as 20 cases so that said contractor can get money from OPM. I completely understand it’s frustrating that you’re clearance lapsed because of the bureaucratic mess that is this industry, but things are exactly that: a mess.

    Sounds like you’re undergoing a PR? In that case, I plead for you to have extra patience. Scroll through the comments sections on some of these articles and you’ll see that there has been a tremendous backlog of PRs dating back to late 2012, around the time you submitted your casepapers, due to the greedy misgivings of the biggest of the three contractors. It’s frustrating, we know. We deal with it every day. Even in our sleep.

    Best of luck and I hope that now enough time has passed that your background investigation has progressed far enough that you’ll be adjudicated shortly.

  63. Avatar

    Well…after reading all these comments, I concur with 90 percent of them. I gave this 9 months, and a week of furlough to think about it and I quit. I don’t think it matters what company you work for, it’s going to be the same anywhere. This is a deeply flawed process no matter how I look at it. 360 degrees of crap. I realize the BI doesn’t see the entire scope of the investigation, but I have seen enough. What we do in the field is more designed to fit neatly in an ROI at the end of the production line than to produce information relevant to whether someone should be granted clearance or not. I realized that the second week of classroom training and had a hard time swallowing the rest of the clerical B.S. the third week of training. I haven’t lost sight of that fact during my time in the field and the week of furlough gave me enough time to look back and decide I don’t want any more part of it.

    I did figure out how to whittle this down to a 40 hour work week, though. You change your status to part-time, get paid for 20 hours, but you still end up working at least 30 hours. Maybe its my ex-employer’s fault, maybe its OPM, but keeping up with the updates and changes is a 40 hour a week job in and of itself, before you do a minute of field work. I still can’t figure out why I spent 3 weeks training learning one software if we were going to just switch in a month–then be expected to “get it” after watching a DVD.

    I’m just thankful that I am financially able to walk away from BI work and look for something else or go back to school. Maybe this is the job for someone that is a natural workaholic, has no kids, no interest outside doing mountains of mundane paperwork with requirements that change almost daily, but I am not one of them.

    I had great expectations from this job but I didn’t go into it with my eyes closed, either. I would also like to tell anyone wanting to go into this that you MIGHT spend 20% of your time interviewing people, and that’s the fun part. The other 100% (yes I mean that) of your time is spent trying to figure out what template to use, deciphering reasons why you were reopened, being on hold trying to retransmit or reassign a case, following an ever-changing stream of emails on OPM requirements.

    I feel sorry for anyone that doesn’t have the option to walk away from this field.