It’s been almost two years since I posted my articles on the importance of requesting your security clearance’s background investigation records. Due to further information on these background investigations that has recently come to my attention, I think it’s time for me to reiterate and emphasize the importance of this. If you think there’s no reason to bother requesting your background investigation’s records because you already have a security clearance, you’d be mistaken. Inaccuracies in your background investigation can come back to bite you years later.
Despite it coming to the federal government’s attention years ago that there was significant and egregious falsification of these background investigations by a slew of its federal and contract background investigators, it’s still happening. Some investigators are still corrupt and/or [insert politically correct word] enough to cut corners and claim they conducted interviews that never occurred; falsify interviewees’ statements; and commit other fraud. That can have serious consequences for your eligibility for a security clearance—and you’d never know about it unless you request and scrutinize your background investigation records.
Falsification and fraud are not the only phenomena jeopardizing the accuracy of your background investigation. Honorable investigators can make mistakes. They typically have numerous cases to handle; the work can be complicated and chaotic; it can be difficult to transcribe subjects’ and sources’ statements with complete accuracy; and they’re often given heavy workloads to complete in short windows of time.
You also have to contend with sources’ misstatements or outright lies. Though your friends may say good things about you to an investigator, there is the risk that a friend would make an erroneous statement that could do harm. The investigator may also report your friend’s statements inaccurately. Additionally, bear in mind that the investigators don’t restrict their interviews to the people you list as references! They develop leads and sources of their own—and those sources may not be honest or honorable.
To sum up, it is unlikely that the records of your background investigation for your security clearance are entirely accurate. That may jeopardize your chances of obtaining or maintaining a security clearance unless you correct it. See my other articles this month on how to request your background investigation records and how to report concerns with the quality of an investigation report.