IC Poly and Adjudication Process

Add in complexity of the case, name traces for foreign contacts…deep dive into credit or possible crim concerns, weighing against the whole person concept, multiple levels of review…is it for a deep dive? So many variables.

Question- I am an initial. I did my poly (FSP) and my polygrapher said “I gave everything I need”. The investigator called 4 days ago and said he was writing up the investigation. Would I have any reason to believe that I would need another poly?

Makes sense to me. One final question that I don’t think I’ve ever heard properly explained is the dividing line between giving a suitability denial and a clearance denial once security and poly/psych has been completed. If an agency can deny suitability at any point in the process, what is the distinction needed to actually go and issue a clearance denial?

It works in one’s favor to get a suitability denial. That has no limitations on reapplying, and is not required to be listed as a denial. When I performed as a Security Manager I declined to put in process up to 75% of our applicants. If they used MJ within the past 12 months, or were heavy users out to 24-36 months or had a FICO under 630…I would tell them how to fix it (time, abstain moving forward, pay all bills), and have them come back in a year. Had I submitted and they were denied, they lost a year in process and could not reapply for another year. And they had to list the denial on future SF86’s moving forward. Over time, if one spends enough time in the job you get a good feel for who has the highest probability of clearing. My predecessor had a policy of submitting everyone and seeing who cleared. I found that to be endless work on sloppy forms, missing info, and a low probability of clearing. I started declining the vast majority of applicants, helping the backlog in a small way and we then got 99.9% of our applicants cleared. Disciplinary problems dropped dramatically as well over time. Did I on occasion deny a person who may of cleared? Maybe.

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Do you have any insight on the percent of applicants currently in the investigation/ajudication stage who get cleared? Particularly in the IC?

No. Every agency has their numbers I suppose. If Security Managers and FSO’s are doing their screening jobs it should eliminate most for suitability. But there are so many variables to consider. Level of clearance, SAP/SCI, criminal backgrounds, finances, foreigne national and foreign travel…poly results, BI results, developed info, reported info…If you look at the adjudicative standards and seriously (read: harshly) judge yourself against each item, you are in the best place to understand if you have a shot. For instance, credit consistently at or below 630 FICO, various debts left unpaid, minor criminal proceedings against you, foreign affairs left unreported, bad behavior or sketchy employment history…how do you stack up there? Recreational drug use? How much, how long ago?

I received my conditional job offer 14 months ago and after all the regular hoops I am now in adjudication. I was recently emailed an NFNA Exceptions letter. Can I assume that if the position I initially applied for wasn’t still available, they wouldn’t bother with the NFNA?

Hey there @jlinguist , two questions; first, how do you know you are in adjudication? Second, what is an NFNA Exceptions Letter?

Is it a letter acknowledging some issue of misconduct? Normally that means you are cleared “but”. You are still cleared, but you are acknowledging a warning about whatever it was, drugs, finances etc.

Hey Amberbunny, can you clear up whether folks in the process are informed that they are in adjudication and in the final steps of processing? My own recruiter has said that is impossible, but lots of other folks have said they were specifically informed a decision was coming. Your take?

Just jumping in . . . No, generally speaking you are not notified as you move forward in the process and no one would ever say, “You’re nearing the end of the process.” Your recruiter is pretty much right. There are ways that you can force information out of the system but it’s not always easy.

On the other hand, many times, investigators and others will tell an applicant something like, “Everything looks great, you should hear in a few weeks.” The people doing that don’t have any idea of what will happen. I’m sure that they are trying to be nice and helpful but it only provides false hope.


I think an FSO can see whether or not your investigation is in the adjudication queue (correct me if I’m wrong), but they can’t tell you any kind of definitive timeline because it’s out of their hands and they don’t get information on when the actual adjudication is planned. Any timeline is a guess at best based on what they’ve seen historically.

Quick question.
I has my poly and medi all in sept and met with my BI and had all my references contacted in September. Just for reference my sf86 was submitted in early June.
So I figured by now everything is wrapped up and I should be in adjudication but a few weeks ago I got a email from LinkedIn that a company named Business intelligence advisors (they do work for the IC) checked out my profile. So it seemed I’m not done being looked at. Anything unusual about that? A quick google search told me what I needed to know about Business intelligence advisors just wondering what else at this point could be going on.

Ed is correct. At times one can force info out of the system, other times someone is just being polite and guessing it will be a few more weeks. They base that on average time to clear. For a good number of years our TS applicants cleared right at 18 months ish. Now 24 to 26 isn’t unusual. So we have a new norm to deal with now. Chances are, if you completed the polys and 6 months have passed, you are likely in adjudication. That is where they look at everything and make a decision.

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This was supposed to go after my post below: I’ll add this is for an initial TS/SCI clearance, and a question: the interviewer told me that I was “at the very end.” Do you have an idea of how likely a third polygraph is at this point? I was asked if I’d be willing and I said yes. I know you’ve answered this question a lot, but considering I’ve had this additional interview is it still possible to be found unsuitable?

Hey everyone.

Just spent about 30 minutes scrolling through this thread and I appreciate the wealth of information.

@Amberbunny2 I recently went through a follow-up interview that you described might occur if two polygraphs are both inconclusive. I was glad to see you mention this is not a super rare event. Tried to explain things that might have contributed to my inconclusive results. Hopefully I didn’t overshare and make myself unsuitable.

My timeline: 15 months since SF-86. 10 months since last poly. I think 5 months since BI ended. Had follow up interview 1 month ago. Any updates/similar situations for others?

I’ve seen 3 polys. For maybe 3 or 4 employees. Normally it is an interview with an adjudicator not a poly when they go back for a third time. Each visit is nerve wracking.

Suitability denial is issued by security office. Clearance denial is issued by adjudicators of your case. both offices are part of the agency but closest metaphor is the prosecutor and judge scenario. adjudication is regulated by federal codes and executive orders and therefore has to follow certain steps but anything before adjudication is not. the simple answer to your question is to know whether or not you are in adjudication? if you are in adjudication, then you 're passed the suitability dilemma.

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I do not believe that this is true. Suitability denials can occur at any time.

You both are correct. If you are in adjudication that means you passed suitability but you still have to maintain it, because it could be taken away at any point.