How to help your investigation after submitting your questionnaire..

I know posters get weary from my mantra “fill the security questionnaire thoughtfully and completely”. I also realize most posters in here have already submitted their security questionnaires…What can you do to help your investigation?

Before the Subject interview:

Foremost, ensure your HR/Security/FSO/security manager always has your current and best contact information. When investigators can’t find you from the information you’ve provided, and you no longer live/work at the listed addresses, we submit a request to your requesting agency for your current contact information. This process can take up to ten business days. Also, your case can be discontinued if you can’t be located for your Subject interview.

Tell everyone, to include former employers and ex-spouses, listed on your questionnaire in any section that they maybe contacted by letter, telephone, or in person. This is also a good time to get their best contact information/location. People often decline to be interviewed because they don’t know what is happening to the Subject. When they decline, usually after several days of attempted contact, they walk away relieved the investigator is gone.The other side is the investigator reports that someone you listed as a source/friend/employer declined to be interviewed and the reason they gave. Don’t delay your field work needlessly, tell people up front.

Don’t tell the investigator you are too busy for the Subject interview when you are contacted. Every investigator will make reasonable accommodations for your interview. Reasonable excuses include temporary travel out of the area, illness, or scheduling conflicts within the next day or two. Telling your investigator you are too busy with work or your supervisor will not allow you time to be interviewed at work are not excuses. All agencies and contractors are required to make Subjects and Sources in their employ available during normal working hours. The investigator is supposed to try twice (third time a option under certain circumstances) before submitting a discontinue request.

Do let your investigator know if you were contacted by another investigator for any reason, to include any other Subject interviews.

Realize that no matter what the “tier” level or the length of time since submission, you can be contacted for a Subject interview. Understand that OPM/NBIB does not randomly initiate Subject interviews - they are initiated by case type, information discovered, or Agency request.

During the Subject interview:

These actions sound simple, but these are common issues.

Show up on time or let your investigator know you are still coming to the interview.

Bring a government issued identification card.

Bring any corrections to any information you reported on your questionnaire that was in error or has changed. For example, did you list all of your mother’s names (to include maiden name) andt the dates she used those names?

Bring any required information for events or people you forgot to report. You can look up the information requirements for your questionnaire by Googling your input form (SF 85, SF 86, etc)

Ensure you have scheduled enough time to complete your Subject interview. If your investigator asks for three hours, ensure you understand that is three hours sitting in front of the investigator, not travel time to and from the interview.

Bring the current contact information, phone number, email, and address for anyone listed on your questionnaire that has moved or you listed as an old job location on your questionnaire. Daytime addresses are best, especially in the military. It is easy to chase someone down at the 321st Fighter Squadron versus 11204 Main Street, Apt B-432.

Bring substitution names, current contact information, phone number, and address for verifiers that you don’t know the current location. If you can find at least three additional names, with contact information, for each activity where you listed a verifier (residence, education, employment) your investigation will be really smooth. If you can’t find three or even one other, tell the investigator about your attempts or why you couldn’t get other verifiers.

Bring non-relative names, current contact information, phone numbers, and address for anyone in the last 7 years you have spent time with outside of work. These are fellow club members, social/religious organizations, sports team members, other people you hang around, fishing buddy, etc. Again, if you don’t have any, be prepared to explain why… because your investigator still needs to find viable sources.

Be prepared for your issues. If you are aware of an issue you reported, bring an outline or brief for yourself with specific information to include all the who, what, when, where, why, and how come. You will still be asked additional questions, but this will reduce the “let me think…” pauses in the interview. Don’t be evasive or try to skim through the issue. You and your investigator will be in the interview until all the information is discussed thoroughly.

Ask your investigator questions if you don’t understand the question or the information sought. The investigator can’t tell you how to respond, but they should be able to explain the question.

Ensure you understand what the investigator wants if you are given homework (request for additional information) and the date you need to get the information to the investigator.

Don’t ask the investigator how long your case will take or will you get your position/clearance. They don’t know. The investigator is not notified if you do or don’t get the position/clearance nor do they adjudicate your case.

After the Subject interview:

Contact everyone you discussed during the interview or provided to the investigator - even if you told them previously.

Complete your homework quickly or let your investigator know about any delay.

Don’t tell the investigator about anyone that has told you they were contacted by the investigator. That is not the investigator’s concern but it will appear you are trying to control the investigation.

Don’t call the investigator needlessly. Every contact has to be reported. If you have additional information or need to report something, that is fine. Don’t call to ask how your investigation is going.

Finally, let your HR/Security/FSO/security manager know you completed a Subject interview. This is not required but this might help them track your case progress in the future.

Good luck!


An update.
Most interviews by federal agents are being complete by video conferencing. Some can be done by telephone. Ensure your email is correct on your case papers, ask the Investigator to verify just in case (they should do this anyways).

I’m having a whole slew of bad emails and phone numbers since 3/20. You don’t have the luxury of waiting for the investigator to show up on your doorstep or workplace.

One last grip - if you list a family member’s cell phone (i.e. your mother/grandmother) as one of your three contact numbers, ensure you tell them you are joining the military or trying to get a federal clearance. That is a conversation I chop off as quickly as I can politely do. Again, a slew of those these last six months.

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