Should I go ahead with a CI Poly or just stay with the TS/SCI?

Concerned of failing or an inconclusive CI poly. Currently work at a fed agency in the IC under a contractor. Contractor has been hard in budging and getting a move on for us to take a CI poly but he finally agreed to let us proceed. However, I am wondering if the CI poly is worth it or is it better to just stay with the TS/SCI and move on to another job. Supposedly our contract is ending in a few months. My concern is that if I fail or get an inconclusive this will stay in my record and it would be difficult to find a job with another government contractor. I have turbulent family issues (cause of my dad) and his situation is constantly changing and I don’t know where he stands. I just wrote on my sf86 what the current situation is but I haven’t heard from him in months and I don’t know what is going on with him. I also wonder about a question during briefing that asked if I looked for psych help for myself. I looked for psych help for my mom but I also thought about looking for myself. Again issues that my dad is making us all go through. I hate that man. He caused so many issues that could have been avoided. Should I just leave for another job or take the CI poly? What would you do in my position?

A lot of people have decide to avoid the poly and done OK. However, it seems to be used more and more so it may just be a matter of time before you have to take one.

Try to find out what your customer’s policy is on how many retakes they usually allow. Some places only give you one or two tries, others are more forgiving (if that is the right word).

I am reminded of a guy I used to work with, many years earlier he had taken the full scope poly for a certain customer, but hadnt worked those programs in years. So one day they said, we need to admin downgrade you (not an adverse action, just reducing numbers). He said, fine, I don’t care, BUT DON"T EVER ASK ME TO GO THROUGH THAT AGAIN!!!

1 Like

If I were in your situation, I would decline the polygraph and pursue other opportunities that do not require submission to this pseudoscientific ritual. In my opinion, the risks are not worth the potential rewards.


Anti makes a solid point. It is ridiculously stressful. And if for whatever reason they interpret their data negatively…It can be a loss of clearances across the board.
That said, I would say in my last contract, 75% had 2 polys. Maybe 1 percent required a third. And we had maybe 2 people over a 9 year period require a 4th. Eventually they cleared.
So is it worth getting? Does it clearly open you up for materially better pay? Meaningful 25k more? If it could get you 3k more is it worth it? I would say no. But some careers top out for the SCI and a poly can open other doors. And having a clean record with nothing to worry about does NOT make it easier. If anything, if you are conscientious and a rule follower…it is emotionally challenging to endure the “theater” of the process.

1 Like

Amber could you please clarify what you mean by “it can be a loss of clearances across the board”? I’m asking primarily about cases where there has to be a conclusion reached only from exam responses.

I ask, as someone just told me an FSO said that the exam outcome should not affect a TS/SCI.

1 Like

Yes, most Jobs are requiring atleast CI now. CI is a joke and easy, they wont be asking anything about Mental issues and such, only about simple CI issues.

If you cannot clear poly…if it causes a revocation…you lose all clearance eligibility. We lost a good dozen plus over 9 years in a full scope poly environment. There is no “failing” poly and remaining cleared (99.7% of the time). There are rare occasions. Normally people try to conceal minor drug use or security violations they did not report. It is the coverup that causes issues. The falsification of the form…willingness to lie that causes the failure.

A guy told me a story, said it came time for his periodic re-poly. Went in, everything seemed to go OK, he went back to work. Some months letter, his manager told him that the guy was supposed to work on some project requiring an additional access, but he couldn’t because of that recent poly! He kept working on the same project (also requiring TS/SBI w/poly) but never did figure out how he could successfully complete a poly but NOT successfully complete it…

1 Like

I think it was left as “unresolved”. Technically…poly can not be used to deny clearance but it happens all the time. They may credit followup investigation as the source of the denial. That poly should have generated follow up polys, followed by in person meeting with adjudication. If you can rationally explain why certain questions triggered that reading…you can “resolve” the issue. But in cases where they clearly have deception, or after hours in poly you confess…that is different. It’s always that “willingness to lie” part that gets most. Did they falsify the SF86/Equip, did they stick with deception until hour 4 of Poly…and yes they do go 4 hours. They can be brutal.