TS Poli Fail with 3 letter, any chance at getting cleared for anything lower ever?

Long story short I messed up pretty bad. I applied to a 3-letter student program as a freshman thinking it would be a good opportunity for me after getting rejected everywhere. But I did some bad things I’m not proud of like shoplifting. Then I got to the poly and failed miserably and came clean to stealing some stuff of value, pirating stuff, shoplifting, and all that. Should have mentioned it on the form but it only asked for convicted crimes, but I still regret it deeply and feel like I’ve ruined my future. In any case, failed the test, got a paper to come back in 30 days, never happened, then 3 months later, get the rejection email and requested details and it said I failed due to “criminal history” and “not being forthcoming” and also mentioning that I could apply again in 1 year. I’m not sure if my rejection is suitability or poly fail as my letter just says that “I don’t meet [their] standards of employment” for the aforementioned reasons.

My question now is if I should even bother applying to jobs or internships that aren’t 3 letters but require some form of clearance but not TS clearance. Like secret and below as those don’t require a poly. Would I even have a shot at getting cleared or would the failed poly show up in the system and automatically disqualify me so I shouldn’t waste anybody’s time and apply for other roles? Should I just write off basically anything that requires a clearance? Should I consider that an official security clearance denial? Or should I consider it a rejection for that 3-letter agency only not a security clearance denial? I know I messed up pretty badly, but I want to see how much damage this caused.

Also right now a bit confused on if my 3 letter fail counts as a clearance fail or a suitability fail. Because from what I read online, I could still apply for a different organization.

It would be hard for anyone to say for sure what your chances of obtaining employment requiring a security clearance might be. But I think an important factor will be whether you omitted any information on Standard Form 86 prior to your polygraph. If you denied conduct in that form that you admitted only after being accused of deception in a polygraph examination, then I think it will be very difficult indeed to obtain a security clearance elsewhere.

On the SF86 it was asking for crimes I was convicted or arrested for but what I am mentioning are things that I’ve done that were illegal but never convicted or went to jail for. But when they asked about illegal stuff during the poly I fessed up and that’s where I failed. So I’m not sure if that falls under a clearance fail or a poly/suitability fail and it wouldn’t show up if I were to apply for a clearance again.

If you didn’t answer any questions on SF86 untruthfully, then I think that bodes well for you. Your ability to gain a lower level security clearance will depend in large measure on the severity and recency of the illegal acts to which you admitted.

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I am not an expert, but my understanding is that they can only hold you accountable for stuff you were untruthful about on your SF86. Was the poly question actually set up as “have you committed any crimes for which you weren’t caught”? This seems odd since it would not directly relate to SF86 as such. Naturally, each agency runs things as they see fit, so I am not saying they could not ask something like that, especially in FBI which is essentially law enforcement on a Federal level, but this really sounds unusual to me.

I’m no expert so take with a grain of salt, but, I’d be wary of any more Polys. If you’re basically confessing to crimes, they could potentially refer it for further investigation (pretty sure they can’t use the poly in court though). Maybe at least wait until statute of limitations runs out?

You can still get cleared with another agency. You are just banned for life from that 3-letter agency (I assume is the CIA) because once you fail the poly you will NEVER get hired again, even if you reapply over a year later. The intelligence community doesn’t say this but NOBODY who failed a pre-employment poly once has ever been hired later by that same agency. NEVER.

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Basically, they were just like have you ever done something illegal or a serious crime but yea it didn’t say convicted of like on the SF86.

Sounds like you know more than most people. What’s the source of this information if you don’t mind sharing?

I would think that the number of people hired on second attempt after one year is indeed low, but more so for the reason of folks moving on with life and electing not to pursue a federal government career altogether. Let’s face it, who wants to go through that excruciatingly slow process all over again?

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Before I left the cleared world over a decade ago, lets just say I had first-hand insight to many government agencies, contractors, and such, including the IC.

See if you can find anyone that failed a poly or TS background check for a government agency, and then later got hired for that same government agency. If you can find proof of this, I would love to hear it. This is some sort of “secret” the government has not shared with the public; that once you fail a poly or background check, that agency bans you for life.

I sort of felt that that might be the case. I can see the government being reluctant to spend more funds on another investigation knowing that a particular individual is “high risk” of being deceptive. While unfortunate, it also too understandable.