Failed CBP Polygraph

Over a year ago, I failed a CBP polygraph. The examiner said that I was being failed due to “Forms and Drug usage”. There is no reason for him to fail me in those areas as I was answering his questions truthfully. I have already worked for a federal law enforcement agency for seven years and left the organization on good terms (three years ago). Will this hinder me from obtaining a new Secret clearance for another federal agency that does not require a polygraph as part of their normal hiring procedures? Any information is greatly appreciated.

There are lots of stories of people who failed the poly with Agency X but ended up getting cleared with Agency Y. Sometimes they fail one agency’s poly but pass another’s. It is hard to say for sure but if you are applying for a position outside of DHS I think that increases the chances you will be successful.

Was this a “one shot” deal? I have heard that DHS (CBP, ICE, etc) give you one shot to pass, at the most two. Other agencies are more patient.


CBP has the notorious reputation of a 60% fail rate for those administered polygraphs. All it means is you are not able to meet their requirements for the specific position. It should not affect eligibility for a Secret clearance.


Thank you for your response

Actually its a little higher, over 65%

Two out of three Border Patrol job applicants fail polygraph test, making hiring difficult

If you read that article, you not only see that there were some clear reasons they started doing the poly (applicants admitting to ties to drug cartels) but also that ICE, another DHS agency, does not use the poly.

Some interesting additional comments, worth the read. And it just came out today… maybe they read this blog :grinning:

Have you heard of USCIS using polygraphs

I myself have not, but that article I posted in my previous post said that ICE (also part of DHS) does not use the poly. So if that is correct, and ICE doesn’t use it for its 1811 Special Agents, I can’t see USCIS using it.

Would love to see their process and what they consider unresolved.

well the same here
I am very disappointed !
it was like 5 hours , thats ok, I was confident, really nothing to hide ! easy questions, and it was going ok, just was getting tired of it,
at the end I Was told I Was reacting to the last test and it will be a filed test !
I can guarantee you ! I have nothing to do with the last questions , accusing me for lying to those questions is telling me that I went to Mars, and killed aliens !! 100% BS !,
and he was confronting me that I failed, I was reacting to it, and they go by charts, and we were talking about it, well , I had nothing to say, I can not say or debate about something that is not related to me at all !, I really did not know what to tell him, why I was reacting,

I did not change any story, all consistent, all truth , but he said I was way above the threshold and it will be a fail

so I do not know, if they will pass me, and he was trying to get me and scared me, or it will be a fail, retest or end of the process, if it is end of the process, I will not apply again, no point applying somewhere where they are saying I did something where I did not !

how about u guys?

I believe that you posted this elsewhere and I will add pretty much the same advice here that I did there: “Failing” a poly doesn’t mean that you are lying or that they think that you did something that you did not. It just means that you reacted to questions. The reason that you reacted is not determined or even judged.

Hi all
well I just got an email that I failed the polygraph.
I wont apply again, I was accused of lying on terrorist questions, where I have completely nothing to do with terrorism, it is one big BS, so I wont apply again to CBP, it is a joke.
now, the email says that " Failed polygraph results prevent individuals from being eligible for employment for polygraph required positions for two years from the failed polygraph date."

well , does it mean that I can not apply for a Sheriff position for 2 years?
that would suck, failing CBP on something that I did not do, and being banned from somewhere else where

I’m pretty sure they are only referring to positions within DHS… many of their jobs (if not the vast majority) do not require a poly.

I am basing this on what I’ve read in the news about CBP and their poly program which has by far the highest failure rate in the entire government.

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No. It only means that you cannot apply for CBP positions that require polygraph screening for two years.


The thing to keep in mind, although I am sorry about your struggle, is that you have no “right” to a clearance or a job with CBP. There errors are supposed to be on the side of turning down good candidates instead of admitting poor ones. This is the design.

As you noted, this is a reason not to put off your eggs in one job basket. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about cleared jobs or private industry. In the 21st century, we all need to keep our eyes, and out options, open.


They have a notorious high fail rate. Could it be they have a notorious high corruption rate? Possible. I think they are trying to screen out even possible candidates who may be open to corruption. Your story is not unique. I think it would be fascinating to have three agencies interpret Poly results out of earshot of the others. Pick 10 cases and see where they all agree and disagree. Exactly why is their fail rate so high? Unknown to this office.

That would be interesting. Also keep in mind it is the way the test is administered and what the do with those results.

ICE does use polygraphs. I had a similar experience to Tmc58 a few years ago. I applied for an 1811 position, in part due to the fact that they did not require polygraphs, only to find out that is no longer the case.

Imagine the quality of CPB agents they would have if they hired the same numbers, and omitted the polygraph while while being 65% more selective to begin with.


Thanks for the update! Good to know.

I wonder if their statistics are as horrible as CBP… I"ve only seen articles about the extremely high failure rate for CBP.

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The polygraph should be used as an investigation tool or even a scare tactic. As of now, they seem to use it as a final decision. I think this will strangle the agency to hire qualified applicants.