The Background Investigator's role in your investigation


Scenario: You are contacted by your background investigator and nervously wait to meet them. You ask yourself, “What are they after? What else could they possibly want to know after I filled out that monster questionnaire on line?”.

The NBIB background investigators, federal or contractor, have a unique role in the process. They are neither your friend nor your enemy. The investigator is bound by law to present all sides of any relevant information they are aware, while being concise with little filter. We don’t get rewarded because someone does or does not get their clearance/job.

What does this mean to you the Subject?The background investigator is not a “gotcha!” type of investigator. This means the investigator is literally your opportunity to tell your side of events to the adjudicator. We create a product for your adjudicator so they can make an informed decision about you. Every good investigator is going to ask you a lot of questions to try and capture all sides of any event, behavior, or incident. The investigator wants to know who they can talk to and who holds any records. This is usually to your favor when you show candor, circumstance, and rehabilitation. This information also helps close your case quickly.

This also means the investigation will report when you try to hide information, such as when they say “well, during the course of the investigation”. The confrontation is not always bad for the Subject. Perhaps you didn’t know about the event or the incident involved a relative with a similar name. Maybe it wasn’t you because you were not at that time/place and provide people who can confirm your story. Perhaps you hoped we would never find out about that expunged court record or drug use.

This is the background investigator side that helps you. The other side of the background investigator is the one that hunts for people who speak honestly and frankly about you, or can confirm your side of your story (or provide a different view). The background investigator is required to find records and people who can provide us with your story. When we find conflicting or new information, depending on the discovered information and the requesting agency, we go back and ask you why you didn’t report the information. Reread the previous paragraph about “during the…”.

We are responsible to report what we see and hear - good and bad.We are responsible to protect the information we know about you.

What does this mean to you the Subject? Be frank and forthcoming with information and issues.Don’t try to play the “word game” because that game never ends well for the Subject. A negative event or information becomes worse for you when that even/information is uncovered or you are noted ad being evasive during the investigation, especially after the Subject interview. I ask my Subjects if there is anything else they should tell me at the end of the Subject interview. I explain that surprising the background investigator is rarely a good thing. Yet, I still often find surprises after the Subject interview…Don’t be that Subject.


@backgdinvestigator, this is a good stuff… vert informative and should be bookmarked on top of this discussion forum.

I am not sure if it is relevant, but everyone should know that there are multiple background investigators working on the subject’s file. So, we shouldn’t ask nor should we expect an investigator to tell us when our investigation is closed because they don’t know. I thought it is worth of a mentioning.


Very good point and one I try to mention whenever someone posts “my investigator said the case should close soon” or “my investigator saw no problems in my case”.

Only the reviewer (the case analyst that puts all the reports together before sending the final report to the adjudicator) and the adjudicators see the entire report. The field investigators only know about the parts they are involved and any parts they might need to know to gather information from the Subject or from field sources.