Why is DCSA still conducting all work by phone or VTC?

Why is DCSA continuing to mandate telephonic or VTC interviews for all of their field work?

I know they went to telephone/VTC to decrease the backlog that OPM/NBIB created back around 2014-2017, however, why do they continue to mandate that these interviews be done by phone if when there are serious issues involved in a case?

This makes absolutely no sense to me.

All other federal agencies allow the Investigator and the public determine how the interview should be conducted based upon local circumstances of COVID-19. I am surprised more federal agencies aren’t speaking out in opposition to DCSA conducting all of the investigative work by telephone.

Only three years ago it was a major issue to conduct any work by telephone for OPM/NBIB without meeting the criteria of a telephonic interview. Now it’s become the wild wild west in regards to telephone work. Yes a pandemic made it necessary to conduct telephone work for a period of time, however, the work should be back to being done in person as the pandemic lessens and wanes in this country. I find the telephone policy with DCSA to be contradictory and hypocritical from what it is now vs. what it was prior to 2018. All of us Investigators used to get eviscerated for conducting a telephone interview without having met six different criteria. Now it’s looked down upon to go in person to conduct field work. What a schizophrenic agency. And yes I know it’s a new agency but many of the managerial personnel from OPM/NBIB were transferred over to DCSA.

There are phased re-openings of local offices based on Covid numbers. Several of us, including myself have been back in the field for over a month. Currently, being in the field is voluntary until the next phase of Covid numbers are met.

We are not supposed to be conducting ESI/Tesis with serious issues by phone. We are only allowed field work for records, issue sources, etc. I’ve refused to do a few serious issue ESI’s by phone because they are serious issues. Management definitely wants to sugar coat cases from the start and make them all seem less serious than they appear in an effort to get them done quickly by phone. If I refuse they just find a more compliant obedient naive investigator to do it. I’ve definitely noticed a trend of Subject’s manipulating their investigation/interview when it’s done by phone. It’s time for all of the government to get back to work. I cant’ even imagine how frustrated people involved in any type of court case are with the endless delays and closures.

@fed-investigator

I know several DCSA feds and they are conducting all work by phone. I am not buying the excuses. None of this makes any sense to me.

Voluntary…hilarious! The feds always kicking the can down the road. If you are concerned with the virus, get vaccinated. If you aren’t, get to work and start doing quality case work in person. This sitting in your pajamas and going over serious issues or even moderate issues laden cases for two years I am sure has done wonders for the quality of the product and for national security in general.

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What you should be asking is why are backlog mitigation policies still in place.

When you figure that out, you will figure out why video and telephone is here to stay.

Backlog mitigation policies should no longer be in place. There is no backlog. Hence, there should be no video and telephone interviews with no backlog and COVID prevalence lessening and lessening.

In addition, there shouldn’t have been telephone/video put into place anyways except VTC for overseas candidates for a backlog issue. Putting in a VTC/telephone policy to decrease a backlog is disingenuous and compromises quality. DCSA could have tried to use other levers like hiring additional investigators to handle the backlog or enact other methods besides going to telephone interviews. Sacrificing quality by decreasing coverage requirements and conducting work by telephone comprises quality and potentially national security in my opinion.

I personally think that both subjects and sources have been more forthcoming and honest on phone interviews— maybe easier to bare your sole (or dime out your coworker) to a stranger on the phone than to look someone in the eye and tell them the truth. You do miss out on the body language/non-verbal cues, but the biggest flag always seems to be hesitating with the answer, and that comes through pretty well over the phone.

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Telephone and video interviews will not go away. DoD and the customers have found them too convenient, My guess is that we will continue to have them in our “tool box”.

They aren’t going away. Way too convenient, time saving (more productivity) and money saving (can’t imagine how much they’ve saved w/o mileage and now useless TDYs). I personally don’t see any major issues conducting telephonic interviews. I haven’t had any problems with Subject’s discussing any issues. And now that there seems to be another surge of cases incoming, I especially don’t see any changes being made.

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I have found sources are definitely more forthcoming and more likely to agree to a phone interview. Subject’s on the other hand…I’ve had multiple instances of Subject’s not admitting to events over the phone that their coworker/classmate readily admits to in an interview the next day. I feel certain if I was sitting down with this Subject in their own workspace territory with their coworkers and/or supervisors down the hall, the Subject would have fessed up initially.

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Then they have to come up with another good one when they get reinterviewed for screwing up the first interview. People, we already know almost everything you’ve done we just want to know of you’re going to lie about it.

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Why?

That’s old hat.

There’s a lot of money being saved.

And production is up over in-person and in-office work.

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While I was one of the most reluctant investigators to come out of the field and do phone interviews, I have actually been surprised how it hasn’t changed the substance of the information we are obtaining. In the end, this job has been watered down to a list of questions…not real interviews/investigations. Asking a subject by telephone “how long have you been in this financial state” or “is there any continuing affect due to the association” has really changed the response (which is usually, huh??). Doing actual investigations went by the wayside a long time ago. Like others have said, there has never been a temporary measure that stayed temporary. I have not had any trouble getting subjects (and sources) to cooperate with telephone interviews and very rarely do I feel that I have gotten less information by telephone…usually it is the opposite…you can’t stop the verbal diarrhea!

All that said, I really which we could interview subjects in person when there is a lot of foreign influence going on. So much is lost in translation over the telephone. I think those investigations, in particular, really do suffer from being conducted by telephone.

The question is do you really believe that there is no difference in quality and information we receive from in person vs. telephone?

So it’s all about production? I thought quality and thoroughness would be considered the number one priority in national security investigations and not production.

So obviously a Subject Interview would be more beneficial in person vs. telephone for so many reasons.

So national security has now become all about productivity and saving some money on mileage and travel hours? Shouldn’t quality trump everything?

So it’s all about convenience now with regards to national security? These posts are asinine. Not one of you that replied to my post even mentioned quality as a concern.