Another suitability question

Sorry, but yet another suitability question, this one regarding a secret clearance (granted by DISCO) being upgraded by adding an SCI component from another agency.

How important are still-secret-from-the-spouse extramarital affairs in this process, if those affairs were conducted while the subject had the S clearance? For example, multiple affairs that lasted a few years each, over the course of a decade or so, ceasing a year or two in the past? The spouse is somewhat aware that recent illicit email communications occurred, but is not aware of the full extent of the affairs.

I understand that this might fall under the personal conduct criterion, and might demonstrate to the investigators a pattern of dishonesty. Is this likely to come out in the clearance investigation? Is it the type of thing that should be self-reported?

It will come out if you have a poly . . . Not all SCI requires a poly but, as I understand it, you could be asked to undergo one at any time.

This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that they are looking for in ANY security investigation. Things like this set you up for blackmail. The other parties are aware as, I’m sure, are some of their friends and some of yours. It’s not the pattern of dishonesty but the fact that it make you vulnerable.

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Yes this can be a big problem. You can be blackmailed. How? Imagine a person threatening to tell your spouse…you know you risk a huge financial loss, many years of paying support, loss of assets, and not at the minimum loss of affection, trust and respect from your family. At times our client understands the marital sensitivities of the situation but still requires knowledge of the affair. By self reporting, if already in a Poly position, you mitigate the potential damage. You can discuss this with your polygrapher prior to the test. They write questions to this end to vet your honesty about the entire situation. You MUST lay it on the line there. Many dance around the subject, won’t provide depth of situations. You may still end up losing your marriage and a lot of assets but at least you MAY maintain your cleared function. Sexuality is a difficult topic to reveal. Nobody wants their innermost desires and acts revealed. Each of these affairs will hold power over your marriage forever. But unless the investigator develops leads on these affairs I do not see anything where they would ask out of the blue if you have or had affairs.

While I agree that they will not ask questions, “out of the blue”, I strongly believe that the applicant’s concern about the affairs is very likely to fog the poly at the very least.

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I agree Ed. They can word things open ended enough allowing the mind to wander to things we feel guilty about even if they are nothing to feel guilty about. So any closeness to his “secret affairs” will likely generate a “gulp” response. Something like “do you always act with honor, integrity and honesty in all things?” If he thinks about the affair…he can only truthfully answer “no.” He could explain the affairs at that point…but it then opens the can of worms about following general rules of society, not honoring trust, agreements…classified?

Affairs are often uncovered. I once discovered a Subject’s extramarital affair when I interviewed a neighbor – the neighbor’s husband was the one the Subject had the affair. (interesting - she made her hubby stand in the room during the interview. Obviously not a done deal in that household).


I’m surprised that a poly won’t come right out and ask if someone is having an affair. Why ISN’T this done?

It sounds like the current secret clearance would be in danger.

It also sounds like it mitigates the security risk, in the eyes of the background investigator, if the husband tells the wife all details. Or is this just assumed that it will come out in the course of the investigator’s discussions with the wife anyway?

Volunteered/self-admitted information is always better for the Subject, despite the advice from many in here.

The Subject interview and the Source information is specifically marked in the report if the information was already volunteered by the Subject, discovered but not required to be reported, discovered but required to be reported.

To continue sounding like a broken record - you are always better off not letting your investigator become “surprised” during the field work nor having your investigation state this phrase after asking you questions about areas on your SCA, “Well, during the course of the investigation, the following information was developed…”


Interestingly enough, over the last couple of years I’ve developed several affairs and ended up interviewing all parties involved, sometimes all on the same day, which just makes for a surreal experience. This job, I swear, lol.


The hardest part in this profession is not keeping the straight face but refraining from saying, “what the…?”


You aren’t kidding. Lol

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I can imagine only polygraphers have equal tales to tell around the bar…

yeppers! They would…

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