Three questions regarding clearance process: current employer, CIA, and financial

I am beginning the process of obtaining a clearance with a DoD contractor, their employment offer is contingent on receiving a clearance. Here are my questions.

  1. I want to stay at my current employer until the process is complete (don’t want to be unemployed for however long it takes) but I assume my direct supervisor will be contacted and know I am pursing anther opportunity. How have others handled this process? Any tips on how to run this by a current employer without them showing you the door?
  2. I applied for a position with the CIA about two months ago. I thought I remember reading on their website that an application to the CIA begins a clearance process? Or is it just a background check? I don’t want the CIA application to interfere with my current clearance process.
  3. In 2016 I owned a small business that had a $4,000 line of credit with an auto parts store. My former mechanic charged approximately $3,300 to the line without my knowledge. I was contacted by a collections agency in Dec 2016 and settled for an $1,800 payment to close out the account/collection. However, being it was in a business name, it never showed up on my credit report or any financial history. I recently refinanced my home and it also never appeared on the credit report/files. Could that collections account, even though it is formally closed (with paperwork from the agency) and was in a business name, negatively affect me?


Re: CIA. First you apply. If they like your application, they will contact you to do some screening. If that goes well they will contact you for an interview. If your interview goes well, they will contact you to do some more things for your screening and clearance. Basically, they will push information to you and request information from you at the appropriate time.


If and when the agency asks for an SF86…if you have one in the system…tell them. Depending on who you most want to work for, let them be your sponsor. If you initiate a new SF86 and one is already moving forward…you can bump that out. Or, you can grab what was completed and use that for the most current or desirable work place.

  1. I obtained a secret clearance for a DOD contractor, my current employer was never contacted, you shouldn’t have to worry about that necessarily.
  2. CIA background will probably be awhile from now and like others mentioned, at that point you can decide what to do.
  3. Disclose it anyway. It will not negatively affect your clearance if you tell them about it, and especially since you made a payment to close the account. It is always better to tell them more than they might find out, instead of trying to hide it. It will come out eventually, and it will only make your process much longer. (Speaking from personal experience)
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Great, thanks again for your response!

Hi, I do have a story and thinking maybe I could find an answer. Applied for a fed job in summer 2014, dec 2014 got the interview, in sping 2015 got the SF86 package, few trips for tests, poly, got my referrals interviewed, my employer, too and I think sometimes in Dec 2015 they said I passed the background check, in Nov 2016 my husband got poly and one more interview for me, and since then in every month I get the same answer, still Active on pending status, why is takes so long? My husband will get naturalized this year 2017 In December. I don;t have any financial issues on my credit, no drugs, very clean, where should I check for more information? I don;t have any other person to talk with, besides the recruiter agency.Should I call OPM and find if my clearance is completed and find if I am on adjudication process? How long it takes all? This December will be 3 years.
Thank you

You said 2015 your SF86 was submitted, so this year would be two years… That’s not completely outrageous considering the wait times some of us are experiencing. Especially if you are going for top secret, which it sounds like you are. My secret clearance took 24 months. Contacting your congressman may be an option. Look around on the site for information on how to do that.

Thank you very much. I turned 2 years in spring and we are in Fall, that is over 2 years.

Sometimes it seems there is no rhyme or reason to why some take so long and others seems to fly through. My wife and I applied within a week of each other back in June 2015. Her T5 was completed in 4 months. I have now been waiting for over 27 months for my T5 to complete.

A friend of mine who already had TS/SCI got a COE from an IC agency over two years ago, did and passed his poly and all other reqs approximately 2 years ago just found out his was favorably adjudicated.

A second friend with TS/SCI took a year and a half from her poly to getting adjudicated and an EOD with her IC agency.

Understanding that the plural of anecdote is not data, it appears that the timelines are generally long and unpredictable. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

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Thank you, I found out that my adjudication status started back in December 2015, then I am 22 months waiting time.should be something out there that some of us has to wait for so long time. May I ask what domain are you waiting the job?

I’m DoD. My investigation is for an upgrade from S to TS and I am seeing similar timeframes with my co-workers as well. NBIB is clobbered with backlogged investigations as are several agencies that conduct their own investigations. Sometimes it is the investigation and sometimes it is the adjudication (on particularly difficult cases) that slows things up, but mostly it is volume. Unless you have a crazy-specific, high demand skillset that gets you fast-tracked, you most likely end up with me and everyone else in the 700,000 case backlog. it’s not personal, it’s math.

Like I wrote earlier, one of my friends sat in adjudication for about two years and from what I know he has a spotless record. I also know that the employer wanted him there badly, and soon. Sometimes it just takes time.

1110, thank you very much for the thoughts. I hope is worth waiting for so long, as I said I am in adjudication for 22 months.I applied for a job, do you think they can evaluate and offer me something similar or it is strict that job I applied for?

1110, agree, it seems like a total crapshoot regarding how some folks seem to fly by while others languish, and knowing my luck… sigh. You noted two of your friends who just got cleared for TSI/SCI, what agencies were those for?

@DaVinch They are more than I mentioned in my post but all are IC (CIA, NGA, DNI, and DIA). All had TS/SCI before applying and all took more than 1.5 years to clear. The one that took 1.5 years was about 4 years ago - before the backlog really blew up. The more recent ones are taking about 2 years or more. I haven’t heard of anyone flying through the process in the past few years. Of course, my sample size is small so I won’t claim that it is representative of the whole community.

As an aside, I find it odd that I have unescorted access to IC facilities, but if I wanted to work there it will take them about 2 years to clear me (or anyone else in my position.) Seems like a process that is ripe for improvement on both sides of the fence.

You may have unescorted access to IC facilities but I am sure that they aren’t leaving classified documents sitting around in the areas that you can get to . . .

Unescorted is not the same as unfettered . . .

Yes Ed. You are correct. It still comes down to access and need to know. I am personally unaware of anyone that has unfettered access. Each vault has different requirements, including mine.

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I know someone who went through TS/SCI with poly and got cleared in about 4 months. This was about 2.5 yrs ago. He had great credentials and I wonder if that had something to do with it. But he is certainly an exceptional exception here. On the other hand, I’m totally a normal/average…

I regularly see 12 months for a civilian “zero-to-sixty,” from no clearance history to full scope poly cleared. Oddly, those with existing Secret clearances take 18 months to clear full scope. It can be maddening at times. I have seen folks with a verified clearance have badged unescorted access to a compound, but they cannot open and close vaults and if cleared Secret must be under the observation of a TS cleared escort or monitor while in a SCIF.

Isn’t it unusual to have unrestricted, unescorted access to IC facilities without clearance, even just to walk the halls?

I would agree unfettered and unescorted are different. I know with a retired military ID I can enter most any building on an Air Force base and walk with purpose up and down a few halls. Dress the part, act the part, nobody knows I don’t belong. But…gaining access to the vaulted offices…I need ring in and have a set purpose to enter. Or tailgate and enter behind someone unsuspecting…but at that point I would stand out as an unknown. My company provides the escorts and monitors on a cleared compound, and manages access control to enter the compound. Uncleared wear a distinctive colored badge to show others they are not cleared. If you do not have a badge you will be challenged by all employees and contractors.