Seeking feedback on suitability review for public trust position with DOJ (specifically an Assistant US Attorney in criminal division). I think it is High Risk Public Trust. Here is my issue:
Years of deceptive behavior and pornography use including on work computer while employed by federal government (6-7 years ago). Was not caught by the government. But rampant adultery and several encounters with prostitutes. Obviously exhibiting extremely bad judgment, lack of trustworthiness, criminal behavior, and bad personal/sexual conduct.
The last visit to prostitute was 6.5yrs ago (age 25y/o), but the deceptive/reckless behavior continued for several more years. Almost three years ago, my behavior was exposed (for the first time). I have since sought help, including in-patient treatment. See counselor regularly. Have confessed ALL behavior in excruciating detail to my wife and several others (and passed two polygraphs regarding the truthfulness of my disclosures). Regularly attend support groups and am very involved in that community. I have stopped drinking alcohol (though I was not an abusive drinker–just don’t want to impair my judgment anymore). And have generally completely turned my life around. I had a slip with pornography two and half years ago, otherwise no issues.
Do I have a prayer of passing the review? I obviously will lay it all on the table. I am out of the business of hiding things. But, I have no idea whether I have disqualified myself from work in the federal government with my past behavior–particularly work as a criminal prosecutor.
Well it is obvious you recognized you had a problem and sought help for it. The slip you mention was that just looking at porn or did you embark full blown on the past behavior? The fact you are forth coming and were 25 yrs old plays to your favor. The government will look closely at the treatment you are in and will require you to sign a waiver to obtain the information for review. Did you totally screw yourself? In my opinion you have issues but I don’t think your totally excluded from government service. That said all of this information will be reviewed by an adjudicator at DOJ. It will be up to them to take a chance on you. The process does not judge one moment in time of a persons life but takes in the total person. Pays bills, no drug problems, etc etc. Good Luck.
It good that you recognize yourself as “high risk” . . . You are . . . Honestly, I don’t know that much about clearance at DoJ but thinking about the job, I expect that the biggest concern will be defense attorneys doing research on you and using your past to attack your prosecutions. Isn’t that what you would do if you were on the defense side?
The fact that you are disclosing everything doesn’t limit the possibility of it being used to taint your cases.
The slip was just a one-time lapse with pornography.
As for using my past against me in prosecutions, I’m not sure that’d be possible. Other than a few people in whom I have confided the full details of my story, no one knows about the prostitution (which would seem to be the only thing that could potentially taint a prosecution). This was a behavior that was engaged in almost exclusively in states hundreds of miles away from where I would be working as well… moreover, I’m not sure what hay could be made of that other than if I was prosecuting a prostitution case–which the feds don’t really do.
Another note on mitigation: I am under contract with the lawyers in recovery program in my state and would be able to have the director of the program as a reference regarding the details of my program.
Other than these behaviors, my record is clean. Pay bills. No drug use. etc.
It is a general courtroom decorum that attorneys don’t attack each others personally. I mean… if you dig deeper, I am pretty sure that there are skeletons in their closets as well.
As for the High Risk Public Trust position, it is not a security clearance position. So, you will need to meet the DOJ’s suitability criteria. The Office of Attorney Recruitment & Management (OARM) will make the suitability determination for DOJ attorneys. It might be good idea to reach out to a security manager with OARM and the manager is probably better equipped to answer question. I do think you might have a chance as you have enough mitigation, but take that with a grain of salt as I am not an adjudicator.
@anonymous19 - Have you read over the sf-86? The reason I ask is because I don’t believe you are required to disclose anything that you have described in your post. Answer only what is asked of you. Simple stuff.
I’m applying for a job that requires an SSBI with a federal contractor. I told the OPM special agent that for 10 months I was visiting a prostitute and that the behavior stopped 6 months ago. I told her I am currently seeing a therapist for sex addiction. Do I have a chance?
But say for example, you went to Thailand and met some ladies over there…can the investigators ask you that?
They can ask you anything. With that being said, you are also allowed to ask an investigator how a question is relevant to your BI. Especially if the question they are asking is not listed on the SF-86.
A question with a very wide scope can easily become focused and direct. The objective is to always identify derogatory information and anything that could be compromising to the individual. That being said, leading questions like that don’t come out of the blue.
During a background investigation interview, an investigator asked me about my sexual activities. Admittedly, I was caught off guard, and I asked the investigator the nature of the question because the question was not listed on the SF-86. Subsequently, I learned that the investigator was more interesting in if I had sexual relations with a foreign national. I responded that I would not know that because I did not request a proof of citizenship prior to the act. The investigator didn’t ask me any more questions on that.
Also, I was asked about my then roommate who was a naturalized US citizen even though the SF-86 clearly stated that I didn’t have to report roommates. The investigator; nonetheless, asked for my then roommate’s information (place of birth, place and date of naturalization and such).
In the same interview, I was asked if I had connections with those who work in the media/entertainment industry. Again, I asked the nature of the questions as SF-86 did not specifically ask for this. After learning the nature of the questions, I disclosed to the investigator that I was interviewed twice or thrice when I was in school for college newspapers/publications. I sent the investigator the articles.
With that said, it depends on the agency. Some agencies might ask their investigators to go beyond the questions on the SF-86. This is why you should always be thoroughly prepared for the background investigation by having every possible information ready for the interview (SF-86, police reports, court docket summaries (including traffic violations), credit reports, summaries of any derogatory information, et cetera). At the same time, expect the unexpected, but you will be better prepared for the unexpected if you are thoroughly prepared – that is just me.