Failed CI Poly - tired of industry and DC, maybe it's time to hit the road

Long story short - got a TS clearance about 10 years ago, shortly later obtained a SCI which
utilized successfully on two different contracts for several years. I took another job and then the nightmare of ‘Loss of Jurisdiction’ began, where I had to end up submitting two more SF86s over the next 6 years while waiting for news. Every six months I’d email the FSO: Any news? Nothing.

I was fully employed with unclass work, though, so basically I was just waiting for the clearance and then SCI to be able to do higher level work for our agency. It didn’t effect me financially, just emotionally as we all know.

Late last year, I finally got back my collateral TS, and within a few months the agency I work with became desperate for certain skills that I have, so they scheduled me for a CI poly which is required for the SCI.

In the past two months, I’ve had three poly sessions with two different examiners. The first was awful, and I refused to do a second with her. They scheduled me for a different examiner a month later - 2nd session seemed fine, but they wanted me back for a third with the same guy who seemed okay. Again. in the 3rd session, towards the end, the examiner just appeared to have had enough of the poly tools, and instead unhooked me and began to demand I admit to something as my charts just didn’t appear normal to him. Again I refused to admit I was cheating, or that I’d read about the various tricks one can use, etc. - all of which is true.

I am pretty sure I failed, but haven’t heard anything concrete except the agency has ‘no need for a 4th exam’, lol.

Believe me if you want - or don’t as I could care less - I did not ‘cheat’ using counter measures, and it was a CI poly so I didn’t even consider holding back information that may have shown up as a lie as the questions were about sabotaging government systems, terrorism, taking money for classified information, etc. I’m American by birth, have no family or friends overseas, and have never traveled anywhere out of the ordinary. I’ve never been fired or reprimanded for anything, especially related to classified data, in the decade I’ve been employed in the industry.

But apparently I’m in good company as the polygraphs aren’t very accurate except to get people to admit to things they’re holding back.

After the years of ‘loss of jurisdiction’, then waiting for adjudications that take years, and now finally this, I’m getting to the point where I’m about to just say f*** this industry and DC itself, I’m out. I could get paid more in the private industry with actual bonuses and equity - the typical belt way contractors pay what the government will allow which hasn’t kept pace for a few years, even with clearances.

Furthermore, I’m exhausted of the DC / Northern Virginia area. I’ve never felt comfortable buying a house here because I’m always waiting in perpetual suspense for some clearance to be adjudicated or now, for it to be taken away and leave me unable to get a job anywhere else as I’m sure I’ll be considered tainted. Regardless, houses here are now so overpriced I don’t even want to buy one. Traffic is absurd, more tolls every year, way too many people, etc.

I enjoy working for the DOD. I’ve turned down offers from the tech giants in Seattle and SV who pay double what I make here because defense contracting is a much more casual atmosphere which I consider more important than more money. People take their vacations, leave early on Fridays, don’t fret about being 30 minutes late cause of wrecks on the beltway, etc. Way better than the typical tech industry workplace where all the 25 year olds are competing to work more hours cause they think they’re going to be the next Google if they just work another weekend.

Any advice appreciated. Or comments. Just very depressed right now and exhausted of this whole BS game.

You can make double somewhere else?

Without all the government and clearance B.S.?

Forget about depression, go on, take the money and run.


False accusations of deception and attempted countermeasures are common. Polygraph operators actually cannot detect either. The test is a pseudoscientific fraud that depends on the operator convincing you that he can read your mind and then badgering you for admissions. You may wish to read up on it.

As you haven’t yet received any official news about the results, then I wouldn’t take it for granted that you haven’t passed. It’s common practice for polygraph operators to leave subjects who pass in doubt about the outcome.

I have to agree with him though. Defense is a much easier environment to work in than other private sector stuff for my industry. Sometimes you can’t put a dollar amount to that ease.

Also to the OP, is the SCI absolutely required for your position? Your TS is still usable for other stuff.

Your company can withdraw the request for the SCI if they really want and need you. But that leaves a dilemma for them that may leave them questioning your loyalty. ANtiP comments aside…we all get frustrations with Poly. It is aggravating, frustrating and damn exasperating. Like arguing wiht a person saying “I know what I am, what are you…” Or other such nonsense. They can surely tell a person is agitated but that is expected. We all know infamous spies passed poly’s, we wonder how many attempting spies were deterred, but we are left with realizing our mortgage payments depends on their definition of passing it. I don’t understand the alchemy of it either.

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Working for the tech companies sucks though, compared with the DOD, as I mentioned. And this gets more important the older you get (I’m no longer in my 20’s or early 30’s) - there is a lot of agism in the tech industry, never mind the constant threat of being replaced by a Indian offshore or junior dev for half the price.

I’m not the type that wants to become a manager or project leader - I don’t mind working with a computer on my own terms most of the day, and don’t enjoy playing politics and having meetings, etc. My early career involved a lot of offshoring games and I know exactly how it works negatively for older American workers. The reason I put up with all the DOD and clearance bullsh** was due to it being a viable industry for me to continue doing what I somewhat enjoy and am good at - engineering - even as I get older - into my 50’s and beyond.

Not gonna happen in Silicon Valley. But without a clearance, this plan is finished :frowning:

A month later, still haven’t received a response one way or another. I’m told by my FSO that in his experience, the TS will end up being dropped by the agency and put in LOJ, which is where I was for years. I’m not sure I want to start all over.

And yeah, I like working Defense. I can mostly work remote when I don’t need to be in a SCIF. I’m not micromanaged by some 28 year old ‘team leader’ who breathes down my neck all day, every day from our shared open office environment. I’m not expected to bond with all my coworkers 24/7 while doing happy hours, foosball, etc.

I tried a start-up environment a few years ago and lasted 3 months. I’m too old to put up with that ■■■■■■■■, and feel like defense is one of the few tech industry jobs where I’d be able to finish out my career on my own teams in relative peace without having to deal with offshoring, outsourcing, 28 year old hipsters, etc.

If my clearance is screwed again, I’m probably going to find a new industry or start my own business overseas.

I had a coworker that didnt pass his poly 3x with DIA. They told him he was ineligible to take it again for a year and denied him access to SCI. My company had him working on another project that didnt require access to the customers network. This is the first time I had encountered a situation like that.

So the TS is held by one of those agencies that absolutely requires poly? For example a DoD TS doesn’t require a poly but some of their SCIs do, so failing a SCI poly wouldn’t men you’re barred from other TS or secret work. But if you’re for example a 3 letter, your TS is tied to a poly.

Also a LOJ isn’t a loss of clearance. It just means they won’t sponsor you. You can still take it elsewhere within two years.

I think it is ‘one of those agencies’ that requires the SCI and poly, or otherwise you can’t really do anything at their facilities which is where I need to be to do a lot of my work, and where they’re seriously lacking capable people. Oh well, that’s there problem now. If they yank it and it goes back into LOJ, I can probably go back to my old company, which I liked quite a bit. They never bothered with polys to get into their environments.

Just an update - still have received nothing. I’m obviously getting tired of this BS so I did a $150 consult with a lawyer which was pretty worthless as they mostly help with appeals if it’s revoked (which I’m not at just yet…). I found another lawyer (I think via an ad on this site) and he was really nice and basically told me the truth that for a ‘waiting poly’ there isn’t jack sh** he can do nor anyone else. He did tip me off that I could obtain my own JPAS records via FOIA, and so I submitted one for that and also one from OPM requesting every damn bit of info they’ve got on me, explicitly including the results, notes, recordings, etc. from my polys.

I’m not holding my breath on getting much back from OPM except for some vague notes regarding my various SF86s, lol.

However, I did get my JPAS records back within a few weeks. Nothing too bad except for the few issues I had about 20 years ago and a small ticket from 6 or 7 years ago. It was kind of embarrassing though some of the info from my early 20s that I admitted - I wonder if my FSO / employer can see the same info.

Anyway, I’m still working for the same company, just frustrated because I’ll never be able to get paid more or advance much as I’m ‘restricted’ vs the team members who are able to work directly with the customer. Oh well, I now just refuse to come into the NOVA office since they don’t need me at their facilities, and instead work from my family’s home in a much cheaper city down south. I’ll take that for now!

I feel ya. I took a CI poly in 2010 and I had to come back and get re-poly’d TWICE. “Well, you passed but you popped a bit high on the espionage and sabotage questions.” WTF? This dude was obviously an amateur. I took another CI poly in 2015 and was done in about an hour. I think it all comes down to the examiner.

I’m still pissed about the 2010 poly.