Unprofessional Investigator & Timeline Question

Hi all! I’m in the TS/SCI process with one of the three-letter organizations. Recently (about 2 months after the investigating company, no idea which one, received my file), I got a call from an investigator in charge of interviewing my social contacts. He sounded borderline rude, butchering the contacts’ names with zero effort to at least clarify the pronunciation with me (I had to correct him on every one of them), requesting an additional name beside the three I had provided on my SF86. I gave it to him and we agreed I would let the contact know first to make sure they were available since they’d been on medical leave after a major surgery. The next minute, I try to get hold of that contact but before I do, they text me they just got off the phone with the investigator. So much for the heads-up first.

When I looked up the investigator’s phone number, it was linked to some car detailing/home improvement business and a name whose first and middle initials and full last name corresponded with those of the investigator. I mean - seriously? I thought there were some standards these people had to meet. I don’t even want to think about this person talking to my supervisor!

Well anyway, it’s been over a week now and only two of the four people have been contacted. Both say it wasn’t more than a 10-minute phone call. I go way back with each of them, around 15 years or so, so is it possible it’s considered long enough to cover the history? Nobody contacted my supervisor or my neighbors, my credit hasn’t been pulled, nobody called me for an interview. Is this common? Any similar experiences here?

Welcome to the 3 letter clearance process. I’m not going to comment on the BI’s attitude. Suffice it to say, most BIs are overworked and underpaid and to be honest, that doesn’t sound that unprofessional to me (to each their own). BI’s are not required to give you time for heads-ups. As for F grade for effort, if you’re going to get a clearance and do federal work, then be prepared to jump through lots of unnecessary hoops.

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With all due respect, if you’re going into business with the government get used to this same type of rigmarole. Mostly nothing ever makes sense from a business perspective such as getting the job done quickly and efficiently, it’s always the opposite. My guess-the less efficient a program is the more $$$$ gets thrown at it so it pays to be inefficient.

Nothing you’ve mentioned sounds abnormal or unprofessional to me.


There’s nothing wrong with what the investigator did. We are not experts on every name out there and we look at thousands of names, we do our best and keep rolling. If it was butchered, it was butchered. We always ask for more references, whether we need them or not. We will ask for more references when we know flat out they are not needed. We are NOT required to let you contact the reference first. We call them when we call them, whenever we have the time and that does not have to be cleared through you. The questions we ask are predetermined and we are told what to ask, it doesn’t matter if you knew the person your whole life. Once we have the coverage we need, we stop calling more references. We are not there to hear your life story, we are there to ask specifically what the adjudicator needs to know from the person and keep on moving. We don’t have time to talk about irrelevant stuff. Some investigators use their personal phone for work purposes, maybe they do have a side gig… are you really suggesting that’s unprofessional? Some contracting companies offer either a free work cell OR a monthly amount to put towards your personal phone if you want to use that phone instead of an issued phone. There is no order of events. We can interview you first, or your friends first, or coworkers…. Whoever we want to and fits best in our schedule. There can be multiple people working on your investigation so the person who was assigned to do your interview probably has not had to time to get to you yet. NOTHING you have described is unprofessional, inappropriate, outside of our protocol, or anything else. If you are that sensitive then you may have some future trouble in your profession.


Thanks for responding, clearedrob. I appreciate your insight. Perhaps I should add that I have crossed paths with BIs before. I totally understand they’re vastly overworked and underpaid, only those I met before demonstrated much better communication skills. This person would cut me off mid-sentence not understanding why I was trying to tell him that one of my contacts was to travel overseas soon. And a few more things that made me doubt his competency but anyways, I am glad the process is somewhat inching forward.

No offense OP, you sound really stressed and defensive. Just try and relax, its gonna be quite the ride. Take it as it comes and try to not obsess about it. Harder than it sounds, I know. I myself, find a strange peace in knowing that 90% of the process is out of my hands.

Let the investigators do their thing, and just be ready to provide whatever is needed, when its needed. Best of luck!


FYI, I had a typo in my reply where I said “BI’s are required to give you time for heads-ups.” That was supposed to be “BI’s are NOT required to give you time for heads-ups.” Apologies for that. Fixed it.


No worries. Just ignore the noise. Like with anything else, when you work with people, you will get all different types. Some will be nice, some not.

One last thing if you’re a contractor, be prepared for a LOT of the latter. Many (not all but many) feds do NOT like contractors and treat them like 2nd class citizens. You will probably need to grow a thicker skin if you will be a federal contractor. Best of luck.