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

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.

You should know this.

It always has been.

This is a numbers game.

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What I think is that, whether via telephone or in person, we have a system that is really good at catching people who list their mobile number as their home number, catching people who fail to list that they lived with mom and dad each summer while they were in college, catching 18 year olds who fail to list that they are ineligible for rehire at Burger King because they didn’t give two weeks notice before quitting, and catching people who didn’t list that they got off the cruise ship one day in the Bahamas. It’s also really good at catching people who list the DUI they got five years ago but fail to list the MIP they got 18 years ago. Or the ones that list the bankruptcy that was discharged three years ago, but fail to list the 17 accounts that were in collections prior to being discharged in the bankruptcy. Do I think any of these are indicators of someone who intends to commit espionage? No I don’t. I think they are indicators of people who have trouble interpreting written directions. Do I think the system we have is good at catching people who intend to commit espionage? Based on the fact that every major spy case from the last few decades involved a cleared person committing espionage (and some of them having their clearance repeatedly renewed), I have my doubts. Over the years I have encountered a handful of subjects who I felt were deliberately trying to conceal serious issues. But I always felt their motivation was to obtain/keep a really good government or military job, not that they wanted to become a spy. So, to answer your question, I don’t think it really matters.

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I hate to break it to you bud but the answer is yes. And it has been yes for a long time.

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Everyone that has replied has spoken the truth. It’s all about money (especially for the contracting companies). It always has been. Yes, quality is important, for obvious reasons, but do you see any of the contractors or DCSA hammering on quality or do you seem them pushing and driving productivity? More cases completed = more money. It’s clear as day.

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I am going to use this as the job description on my resume. Whew buddy, the accuracy.

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I’m not sure what you mean by quality but why don’t we look at this in regards to the end result. I would argue that the objective of our work is to ensure that people who are not worthy don’t get a clearance. The final outcome is they either get a clearance, or they don’t. So if I do an in person interview, and I get the kid to admit that he tried pot twice in high school, and he got a written warning at McDonalds for being on his phone too much, yet he still gets his clearance, what’s the difference if I do a phone interview and he doesn’t admit the pot and written warning, and he gets his clearance. Either way we get the same result. Now obviously if I got him to admit an issue serious enough to have his clearance denied, then it would make a difference. But how many times have you gotten a subject to admit a C or D level issue that you didn’t already know about from another source such as a law check? I’ve been racking my brain and I just don’t recall more than one or two cases of drug use with substances other than pot, and one or two foreign contacts/foreign travel to HR countries. And if they volunteer that info, does it generally result in a clearance denial? I don’t know.

In summary, I would argue that we usually know about serious information on the case from other sources and confronting the subject over the phone is just as effective as confronting them in person. And from my limited experience, it’s highly unlikely that you are going to develop any information from the subject serious enough to deny the clearance.

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It should always be about quality. Production should be way on down the line.

The vendors have bastardized the product by insisting that production and timeliness should be put over quality.

You have that absolutely right. The contract companies have “bastardized” the investigations process. However, it’s the “Customer” that has allowed it every step of the way. My children only get away with what I allow.

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We don’t live in an ideal world.

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Yes our job is really just about collecting dossiers on people who want clearances, and having most of them adjudicated favorably (about 90) because you have to be really messed up to get denied. But ,I have also believed our job is also about having dossiers on people who are caught in/or suspected of espionage. A complete record of their past contacts and behaviors to catch and/or help in their eventual prosecution seems like a good thing. I have no idea if that is true or not but it seems logical to me. When NSA contractor Harold Martin was suspected of taking classified documents, reviewing his years of SF-86 info probably provided a lot of good information and leads for prosecution. Edward Snowden, Reality Winner, etc. etc.