Rough FS poly experience

I have held a TS clearance for 6+ years but my last job did not require poly. My new job requires FS poly and I flew across the country to take said poly. I am a contractor in the tech field.

My polygraph experience was pretty rough. The examiner said I wasn’t breathing right, moving my head/feet too much, the “quality” of my tests was not good enough, etc. Before the end of the first session I was told that it was clear I was hiding something, and that I needed to take a second poly session after a 1 hour lunch break.

I came back and took several more poly sessions after lunch. I was nervous and uncomfortable the entire time. My job, which I sold my affordable house and moved my family to a high cost of living area for, is on the line. The last 2 hours or so were pure interrogation, stating that I was hiding something about serious crime in my past which I politely but firmly denied. I was respectful with the examiner but held my ground until it was time to go (nearly 7 hours total of poly/interrogation).

I did end up discussing a lot more than I hoped to discuss, and felt violated for that. I spoke openly about my alcohol/drug use (more than 10 years ago), relationship failures, etc, as I was tricked into searching my mind for what I might be feeling guilty about (even though I was not feeling guilty, just nervous). But as far as I know, I made no disqualifying admissions, no serious crime, no in-scope drug use, etc.

Toward the end of the session the examiner said he “wished we could have cleared these results up” and that he “didn’t see me making it through” etc. He said he was giving me “one last chance to come clean” etc and trying to “help me out”. I don’t know if that means it was a foregone conclusion that I would not pass, or if this was standard interrogation tactics or what.

But now I am sitting in limbo waiting to see if my up-leveled clearance, which is required for my contractor job, will be granted or denied.

At the very end, he asked if if I thought he had been “fair” with me, to which I said yes, although I didn’t feel that way. He thanked me for “coming down to do this” and said “nice to meet you”, but I left feeling like I failed, and have been stressed ever since.

He said it would be sent to QA and through some adjudication process and “maybe I’ll get through with the whole-person concept” or something like that.

I guess I will find out soon enough if I have failed, inconclusive, pass, or if I have a chance to “mitigate”, re-take or what.

Wondering if others have had a similar experience and what this might mean for me.


What? You literally were being polygraphed to tell the truth yet you still couldn’t do the one thing that you were there for? To tell the truth? Why didn’t you just answer honestly when you had the chance?


In my view All this is standard protocol of FS Poly

My guess you should be good…


Not sure if you’ve been interrogated for 7 hours but it was my first time and it was a lot harder (nearly traumatizing, and I say this as a full grown man who has experienced a lot in life). I was caught off guard by his question and it was after all the polygraphing was concluded. Whether he was being “fair” or not I still can’t decide, but I wanted to be courteous and mature about it to his face.

Well I sure hope so. Days later and my body is still so stressed my glands are swollen and I feel like my hair is going to fall out. And no, I’m not worried about them finding out about some fictional crime I committed. It was just a mindfuck.

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Hopefully @fingersxed is right and he was just messing with you. Good luck and report back. It is not uncommon to have to take a FS a couple of times.