Can you ask an investigator to sign an NDA?

Is it at all possible for an investigator to sign an NDA?

For instance, I feel as if I’m facing a catch 22:

I have been involved in some initiatives/projects (etc) that I believe would be very beneficial for my TS/SCI approval, but I feel if I tell them then it’s divulging information that I shouldn’t divulge (reject/fail) but if I don’t tell them then I am being dishonest (reject/fail).

I can’t really explain a certain amount of years without explaining in detail about some confidential information.

What does an investigator do in this scenario? I am unsure how to approach this. It’s a very unique situation (one I did not choose). While I feel it is very important to be honest, I also don’t feel being honest is worthy of a TS/SCI — while being dishonest is also unworthy of a TS/SCI.

Any advice or guidance here would be greatly appreciated.


One of our disclaimers prior to conducting an interview is “this interview is unclassified and you must not discuss any classified information”.


Can’t you talk about it in a very high level way? Like you don’t have to say who the client but only say “ the client,” and as for the project you worked on just say “ the project?” During one of my interviews I wanted to discuss my experience with another IC client, so that was exactly what I did, without going into details.

No you cannot. It’s either classified or it’s not.


WomanNBlack, how would you recommend I address this? Just tell them “sorry I cannot disclose 3-4 years of information because it is classified?” — will this help or hurt my chances of clearance?

Thank you I appreciate the information

The investigator is not going to ask you to tell them a time when …. Fill in the blank. They don’t want to hear your stories. Unless the information is issue related the investigator doesn’t want to hear about it. The investigator is there to go over the info in the questionnaire, ask some additional questions (pretty much yes or no) unless you answer yes to something that NEEDS DETAILS like: getting arrested, doing drugs, being crazy, etc. The investigator doesn’t have time for it. So stop worrying about your classified info, if it happens to come up, answer the question to the best of your ability without divulging classified information and simply state that you cannot go into any further detail due to it being classified. The investigator will document your response and move on to the next question.


I find it strange that it’s more important to investigators if you did shrooms 2 years ago vs worked deeply on confidential projects for years.

Was it an illegal “confidential” project? Your story is missing some details.


It’s not strange, it’s not our job to determine if you are qualified for a position, that’s a job interview… it’s our job to determine if you are a security risk, big difference… hence, we are not here to listen to your stories. We want you to answer our specific questions and move on. Don’t ramble and waste our time. If it’s classified keep it to yourself and state the reason because if you divulge obviously you cannot be trusted.


Not illegal on my end.

That makes sense but I do believe your processes shouldn’t be universal and in their current form they are outdated in the event that they are universally applied. For instance, what I’ve asked is very applicable to a TS/SCI — but being an investigator in a system that has been the same for a while (especially regarding drug use — we are in a different age than the 1980’s-90’s era of the beginning of the war on drugs), you may not be able to see things in a novel way outside of what you’ve been trained to see. Anyway, thanks for the information and response. I appreciate it.

I’ve been in this process for over a decade and the investigation process has changed DRAMATICALLY and been updated for the times. 40 years ago being divorced was a security issues 20 years ago being gay was, 10 years ago any marijuana usage was, 5 years ago marital counseling was, this process is always evolving with the times. I want to know when are they going to evolve and stop using the term “maiden” name in the case papers?


That’s a good point. But this begs the question: with a constantly evolving process, what may get you denied today could very well not be a reason for rejection/denial of clearance in a few years. This leave the IC with a less capable force when they could have had a cleared asset with several years of important contributions and experience. An evolving process is great, but slow evolution is also a pattern of failure in the grand scheme of things. I actually believe that many of the reasons they deny people clearances are for some of the exact type of work some of these assets will need to do on the job. So it’s kind of contradictory and puzzling in my opinion. Anyway, that was semi-off topic on my end. Thanks for your insightful response.

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Nearly two decades in the field here. We do the advisement, as one respondant already said, about it being an unclassified interview, no classified information is to be discussed.

Most Subjects will say something like “I’m not at liberty to discuss” or “due to security concerns I cannot discuss that (trip, year, work location, agency name, project details, etc)”

I would avoid saying things like “that’s classified”

Any investigator should know what you are saying by not saying.

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Thanks for the insight and advice. That’s very helpful, I appreciate it.