NSA poly - discontinue process or face possible rejection?

Took the poly once, was extremely anxious, had strong reactions to several questions & was told to come back again. In the followup poly I was grilled repeatedly on one question (drugs), I was 100% truthful but I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest when the question came up. I was told I failed and to come back for a third poly.

At this point the drugs question has much built up tension around it that I don’t think I can have a neutral emotional response to it. I don’t think it’s likely I’ll do well in a third poly.

I’ve been told if I discontinue the process and I can re-apply again in 12 months. I’m in no rush and I think the reset could help feel less emotional/anxious about the whole thing. Would you advise restarting again with a clean slate vs. potentially having a rejection on my record?

If you are answering truthfully, to begin with, I don’t see how delaying or restarting will change your responses, tbh. 3 or more rounds are not out of the norm. It’s all kabuki theater. Im scheduled to take my 2nd next month and I felt anxiety about the same question, and I know for a fact I’m not hiding anything.

I would just roll with the 3rd poly. But you gotta do what you feel is best.

Yes! This is the problem. I know I’m not hiding anything but after being grilled for hours on the topic it’s very difficult to not at least have some physiological response when the magic question comes up. I guess some people are just way more chill about it :person_shrugging:

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As @RandomMan noted, it is not unusual for NSA applicants to be subjected to three (or sometimes even more) polygraph sessions. Don’t think there is anything wrong or unusual about your physiology. There isn’t. Polygraphy is a pseudoscientific fraud, and polygraph operators routinely accuse applicants of lying or withholding information based on no evidence whatsoever.

After browsing this blog for quite some time, your experience sounds pretty typical. A lot of users have posted very similar stories to yours. They are nervous and they are told by the polygraphers that they “failed.” Don’t worry about it. Your experience is typical.

You are doing the right thing though. You are not making up some story to just appease your polygrapher. Do not make any false confessions during the polygraph. The polygrapher saying you failed are just empty threats to try to get you to confess to something that the background investigation would not be able to reveal. If you really “failed,” you would not be told to come back. For your next session, just calm down, relax, and remember the polygraph is not a mind reading device.

Now as for moving forward. There are no guarantees that you will get the position, even if you are successful with your polygraph. That is the risk you take when you want to get in this industry. You can do everything right and have no security issues in your background and still be discontinued from the process. While you can mitigate the risk, you cannot eniterly eliminate the risk.