Another confused Polygraph

Hello, Hoping to get opinions from those that may have insight.

Currently in adjudication for TS/SCI w FSP, this would be my first clearance. BI was smooth, psych eval was good but of course poly was shaky. The first one the lady kept saying the crime area was flagged and she pressed me about it. The second poly a different guy did mine and focused on that crime area. He kept saying “you didn’t fail anything, were just at a cross road on this subject”. Nothing changed and when we finished he said “you didn’t pass or fail but were at a cross road on this area, adjudication will likely want to interview you or bring you for a 3rd poly. Just follow the process”. Honestly don’t know what to believe. Is this common?

I have had some criminal charges from 12+ years ago that were sealed and/or dismissed. I included all of them on my SF86. Didn’t hide anything.

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Yes, your experience is common, particularly with the CIA and NSA, both of which for over 70 years have been using a polygraph screening technique called the Relevant/Irrelevant Test.

It is unusual for an applicant to be unambiguously informed that he has passed the polygraph, and multiple sessions (typically up to three, but sometimes even more) are the norm. Based on the absence of any direct accusation of lying or withholding information during your second polygraph session, it sounds like you may have passed.


Thank you for your response. The first person said I was witholding information but the second person I don’t recall saying it, he just said I’m reacting to the crime subject still. He wouldn’t give me a clear answer but said “you didn’t fail” multiple times throughout the session. From what I read there is no such thing as failing or passing so i think he was just playing with words.

There is definitely such a thing as passing or failing a polygraph. If you don’t pass, you don’t get the clearance and hence, you don’t get the job.

Hopefully, you’ll be receiving good news soon.


If they bring you in for a 3rd, you’ll probably have completely different questions added and will pass. Thats what happened to me.

Sort of common. 2 is just about a given. 3 happens enough that I would not call it rare. Seen 4 for 1. Normally it moves to adjudication and if there is a means of determining why you may show stress on a particular question you bring it and discuss. Those interviews are frequent. And not a bad thing. It means they cannot say you were deceptive. But a degree of response was there.

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Gotta love it when they say “you didnt fail…but we arent clearing.”

Happened to a friend, he got called in for periodic re-poly (he was a contractor) and everything went fine. No issues, didn’t get called back. Went back to work and stayed on the same job like nothing ever happened.

A few months later his boss told him he couldn’t be put in for some special secret decoder ring BECAUSE HE DIDN’T PASS HIS POLY.


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Thank you for your feedbacks, I’m disappointed that I didn’t ”pass”. Now it’s up to adjudicator what happens next which is just a waiting game from what Ive heard. Hoping to get a chance to speak with the adjudicator to clarify why I think there was a reaction.

As mentioned I have a felony theft that I got sealed 12 years ago. A misdemeanor possession from 13 years ago that was dismissed. So hoping those combined with the poly doesn’t Disqualify me.

Hopefully you brought those items up even though “sealed” I encourage folks to talk about shoplifting as a 5 year old. Get it out there.

Yes I made sure to include it on paperwork and discussed with both polygraph examiner and BI person. With those charges counting against me, i tried to have honesty on my side.

Good! I came clean on misuse of my ex’s prozac. One of a kind stressful situation, not likely to repeat. Been there. Worried sick right up to clearing. Hang in there.

Somewhat unrelated to the OP’s question, but is this something that people already in service have to go through every five years? Makes one wonder if the whole career is even worth all the stress. It’s one thing to be going through process as an applicant while having a lofty private sector job, but stakes are different for anyone already “in”, right?


Yes, every five years… or six. Maybe seven. But you get the idea.

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Just an update, I guess I passed the poly because I ended up getting the clearance, thankfully.


Outstanding. With CE you may get extended past 5…but I find that a disadvantage for the person as moving companies when you are beyond 5 years involves risk to you.

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Yeah still wondering how this will play out especially if you are interviewing for a job requiring special access, some of those programs used to be very very picky about an investigation within five years.

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It often leaves a person in the lurch with unadjudicated info. Which many times just means a new Equip was started, we dont know what was revealed…or discovered if they began interviews of colleagues. The system(s) dont seem to want a resolution for this either.