You think your background is saucy? Investigators have seen worse

Hi there - I’m looking for interesting background investigation scenarios that investigators have stumbled upon. Just trying to showcase to potential security clearance applicants that some things aren’t disqualifiers and they should still be interested in national security careers even if they did something like, say, smoked weed in college. Or have an estranged family member who is in prison.

Feel free to comment here if you’re willing to share, or shoot me a note at


SUBJECT had a brother who was in prison for smuggling people into the US. SUBJECT was applying for a job with CBP.


We could tell stories all day long, but only the adjudicators are going to be able to tell you what’s disqualifiable.


How about the Subject that was fired from a major employer, listed on the SF86 for the DoD contracting job he wanted but decline to discuss it. Told me his former HR told him that he was not allowed to discuss the termination, not even the federal government.

Denied having any arrests in the last 7 years, even though i stressed having to report sealed or expunged records.

then the bomb, “during the course of the investigation…” 1) I confronted on the two expunged misdemeanors he had recently paid to expunge (in a neighboring state) 2) the criminal investigation about him embezzling from his employer and their customers (reason for termination) 3) the upcoming court trial for the embezzlement charges. The trial was in less than two weeks.

He yelled so loud threatening me bodily harm among other things that the FSO popped into the interview room and sent the Subject home. That was the end of the interview and the Subject did not return to work, or the interview, the next day.


I used to be in a reserve unit with some investigators. They had some good stories. One that can be shared was the time a guy was doing a interview with a reference and asked, does Mr Smith have any financial problems? And the response was something like, well, he does have it tough with two ex-wives but he does OK.

And the investigator thought to himself… two ex-wives? Did I miss something? He checked and there was no mention of them anywhere on the forms. Suddenly the investigator understood why a highly-paid engineer at a major aerospace firm was living in a room above a garage.


Thank you for the laugh lol

Oh Mr Smith - just doing ok.

1 Like

Sounds frightening @backgdinvestigator and good pt @investigator721

Subject was fired from two previous employers… she still got the job and clearance!

Smoking weed in college isn’t a rare case. It happens more than you think and I am certain those people go on to get their clearance.

I once interviewed a lady who had applied for a job with the Department of Interior and the SF 86 had very minimal information on it. During the interview I asked her to provide additional references to cover a full ten years and she said, no, I can’t. When asked why not, she said she was in the witness protection program and no one was supposed to know her as who she was now. Well, come to find out later, she was actually in what I call the police evasion program and was wanted for fraud and embezzlment.


Sociopaths don’t self admit and they don’t ever get diagnosed (antisocial personality disorder) because they are certain THEY aren’t the problem. They most certainly exist all around us.


I always tell people the stuff you don’t list or try to hide is what is going screw you. I feel like if you list your issues and then explain the situation truthfully to your investigator then you more than likely get your clearance.


One of my favorites, subject was coming out of a bar and probably drank more than he should have. He saw a Lemonade truck idling at the curb, so he took it for a joy ride. It was an amusing story. He told me to feel free to use it.

Former strippers, current strippers, former meth-heads, current potheads, bestiality, polygamy, $700k in unsecured debt, tax evasion, wife beaters, husband beaters, child abusers . . . .