Do applicants get spied on?

I know this sounds childish, but I want to know. A family friend mentioned that the two agencies I’m processing with, NSA and CIA, are watching my every move. I’m not doing anything illegal or troubling that would jeopardize U.S. national security if I were to get a job, but it would be nice to know if they do this.

I have seen some very unusual things both here in the U.S. and in Russia and Kazakhstan, two places where I studied abroad, to believe that this is true, but I’d like to know from the community. And please, just straight-forward answers. Keep the jokes, sarcasm, and cynicism to a minimum.

No. I wouldn’t tell that family friend much about your processing if they think that. I would have to guess you are processing for language analyst with studying abroad at those locations. I have seen those timelines drag out worse than mine. I wouldn’t worry about any “spying”.

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If you have traveled to Russia and Kazakhstan, the NSA and CIA were already watching your every move. Before your travel they likely “chipped” you with a locator anyway . . .

On a more serious note . . . They aren’t following you. They don’t have the manpower to complete their mandated mission which is why they are looking to hire you in the first place!


Family friend worked for NSA before. Talks as if he’s some big shot. He was commenting on why the NSA closed me out the first time they processed me. This was 2 years ago, but I just received my FOIA 5 months ago which stated “illegal conduct” and was very vague about whether or not I was denied a clearance. My psych was totally redacted. I don’t know what the illegal conduct could be as my only illegal conduct were traffic tickets and downloading 5 songs illegally which I told them about. The NSA is now processing me all over again, with a higher GG grade since completing my master’s and things seem a bit more streamlined. I don’t think this guy knew what he was talking about, but just wanting to make sure.

Great, I just don’t know what’s taking so long. Accepted my COE March 2016. Still waiting.

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… no, they are not violating US law to spy on every one of the million applicants they are processing for potential employment.

Like that mean anything…Now I’m the one with the sarcasm…

I don’t want to get in a copyright battle but I am sure illegal conduct didn’t have anything to do with 5 songs.
This is the only criminal part I could ever find for downloading.


It absolutely “means” something. If you don’t think these orgs have to play by the rules at home, then maybe don’t go working for them.

If nothing else, think of how much money this would cost.

I’m assuming you’re trolling, because nobody in their right mind would believe this.

Without getting into an argument over the meaning of the term “spying” can we assume that agencies (and many private companies as well) are starting to evaluate the “social media” profile of applicants?

And remember… the internet is forever :grimacing:


@sbusquirrel I think that’s definitely fair to say. Employers of all sorts are looking at the social media presence of their applicants. I’m sure it’s fair to also say that the IC and government at large might be looking a little deeper than most.

Social media is a public record. You have no expectation of privacy when you post on these sites. The idea that employers, government and others, are looking you up there isn’t “spying” . . . I’m sure that if I met a woman and we were considering a relationship, we would BOTH be checking the internet for information about the other. Remember . . . The internet allows us to research employers and see if they are in businesses that we don’t want to be associated with and how they treat their employees.


I actually went threw a first round of processing with NSA. They closed me out, neither offering nor denying me a clearance after accepting a CJO and passing my poly, medical, and completing my psych. They told me to re-apply after some time, but I immediately submitted a FOIA request which I got almost 2 years later. Giant packet which I had to do sign for at the post office. Boy they found lots of stuff about me on the internet. But it was all good stuff that showed my interest in Eurasia. They even found an article that a Kazakh news outlet wrote about me doing research in Kazakhstan that I never knew existed. The article was in Kazakh, so they translated it on Google Translate, and put that into my file as well. My facebook is on lock down. Also, I don’t post dumb things on there. I keep my dumb thoughts to myself or amongst my select group of friends. They did ask for my instagram username during my operation interview. I gave it to them, but for some reason, they didn’t include this in my FOIA. My instagram was public and just a page where I posted my photography with simple captions and hashtags.

When I meant spying, I meant having people overseas keep tabs on you, or seeing who you are calling and texting, following you. I’ve been to Russia-let me remind you, and the last time I was there, I was invited to participate in a diplomatic program by the Russian government. They invited young experts to the country to discuss the relationship. So it wouldn’t be totally out of the blue for them to want to keep tabs on me. However, like I said, I’m not doing anything illegal. I was a student interested in becoming an expert on a particularly problemsome country as of late, so it was my duty to study that country, and when opportunities presented themselves, to go there. I’m not naive and I know the threat of being recruited in Russia, and I employ my own counter-intel whenever I travel to the former USSR. I’m just saying, it would be nice to know if I was being watched.

I recall the first time I was in Russia, I was there for a scholarship with the DOS. I remember I was on a date in Moscow and a guy in a trenchcoat walked passed me and in a perfectly American accent, said hello, and continued on his way. Dude looked just like inspector gadget. I can’t lie. I thought it was weird. Other similar things happened. So that is what prompted me to ask this question.

When you are participating in political activities, outside of the country, I’m sure that the government is keeping some level of observation on you. As is the host country. Depending on what you are found to have been doing when outside the country, they may continue to track you when you return. But, this has nothing to do with your security application. It’s about your international activities.

Oh then that’s fine. Russians have long been known to try to recruit useful idiots while trying to turn spies or potential spies. The good thing is to know that before going there instead of acting naive. In the end, you can garner even a Russians’ respect for not buying their own sh** or gavno-as they say in Russian, that even they don’t buy.

Pretty sure they just check against current intel and any public records.

(I could be wrong here) I think they’d need a warrant or a some sort of shady court order to be able to view data from the individual private accounts of potential employees and other entities.

At the end of the day, the people working your case and processing are people who probably don’t want to do extra work and to get off of work on time to pick their kids up from daycare.

In relation to being monitored or “spied on,” if you open your Gmail account on a government computer to read and/or write several emails, does this “open the gate” and completely surrender your expectation of privacy so that the government can rummage through your Gmail and read emails (…there are probably hundreds of them in your inbox…) from your account that you don’t open or read while on the government computer?

There’s no expectation of privacy while on a work PC or government computer.


Yeah - I get it. The question is a bit more nuanced than that. Your reply does not really answer the question. The issue is whether the government can look at stuff that you are NOT looking at on your government computer. Again, can the government open your Gmail and read emails that you don’t open?

We know from Edward Snowden’s revelations that the government has full access to everyone’s Gmail (and numerous other services) via the PRISM program. However, there is no public evidence that the government routinely uses this access to make security clearance determinations.