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Thread: Security Clearance interview questions

  1. #1
    Patron Proyas's Avatar
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    Security Clearance interview questions

    I am curious about the process for obtaining a Confidential or Secret security clearance. I don't want to know anything about Top Secret clearances. From what I have seen on this Board, I believe some of the have had security clearances in the past.

    After you fill out Standard Form 86, you must sit down and talk with a government interviewer.

    During this meeting, what kinds of questions will be asked (what topics will be covered)?

    Will it only cover the things you wrote down on SF-86, of will they delve into other areas of your personal life?

    Will you be asked the question: "Have you ever committed a crime/major unethical act for which you have never been caught and which SF-86 did not require mention of?"

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Officer of Engineers
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    It will dwell into your personal life as well. Don't lie and things will work out to the better.
    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 30 Aug 08, at 21:57.

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    Senior Contributor jame$thegreat's Avatar
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    Remember to twitch your neck and mention how much you thank allah for this opporunity.
    Sometimes things dont end up how they should, a son, a brother, a mentor, a teacher, a cousin, a nephew, a grandson and a god in my eyes.

    Who knows what he more could have been...

    Christopher Muzykant

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    I don't think my experience applies in this post 9/11 world, but here goes.

    All I did was fill out a form and I was granted almost immediate Confidential security clearance. (30 years ago) My supervisor kept asking for my birth certificate, but he was the one who lost my jury duty receipts and swore he never touched them, so I never brought in my birth certificate. It wasn't until a number of years later, I was on graveyard and was sent out to a ship on the Mole to work. They pulled out the Security book and I was listed as having a Secret clearance.

    I spent a lot of time going down by myself to work on the ships of the fleet in San Diego and never had a problem wandering around from ship to ship.

    Always tell the truth. Slightly off topic, an inside machinist in the shipyard was terminated after 12 years because they found out he had either lied or left out something important on his SF-171.
    Last edited by Ytlas; 30 Aug 08, at 22:34.

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    Lord High Hullabalooster Senior Contributor dalem's Avatar
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    Be funny. I hear the FBI likes it when you're funny.

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  6. #6
    Patron Proyas's Avatar
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    Anyone have any more specific information about the types of questions for Confidential and Secret? What kinds of things do they ask you about your personal life? And above all, do they ask the open-ended: "Ever done anything unethical/illegal for which you were never caught and not required to divulge on SF-86?"

  7. #7
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    havn't had one in many years but for a Confidential or Secret clearance, if they interview at all, they will just go over your answers on the form. Ensuring that you have filled it out properly and the standard, "Are you sure you havn't left anything out?" "Had any Juvie crimes where the records were "Sealed" that you haven't put down?" "Speeding tickets you may have forgot about? Jobs you just remembered?


    Once you get the access, you will be amazed at the BS that the government classifies.

  8. #8
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    Lei Feng Protege
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    proyas,

    After you fill out Standard Form 86, you must sit down and talk with a government interviewer.

    During this meeting, what kinds of questions will be asked (what topics will be covered)?

    Will it only cover the things you wrote down on SF-86, of will they delve into other areas of your personal life?

    Will you be asked the question: "Have you ever committed a crime/major unethical act for which you have never been caught and which SF-86 did not require mention of?"

    Thanks in advance.
    the interview will go over your SF86, and basically go into more detail each question asked by the SF86.

    regarding your personal life, don't hide anything which may be construed as important to a position of national security. if you've committed a crime in the past, report it. worst scenario for you is if you hide something and they find out. you're done when that happens.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Old Cold Warrior Military Professional GAU-8's Avatar
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    For the TS interview, they mainly looked for things that could be used to blackmail you. (Waaaay back a long time ago in the USAF). I'm sure those interviewers heard some embarassing stories. (One of my stories caused a female interviewer spit up some coffee once). As I recall, the initial interview was serious. The follow-on interviews every five years were more laid back. You could joke around and have fun in those.
    Last edited by GAU-8; 31 Aug 08, at 18:48.

  10. #10
    Patron Proyas's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input guys, this is getting more specific.

    Looking at SF-86, I don't see any place where they ask you to divulge any bad/illegal thing you may have done in your life: They just seem interested in drug stuff and crimes for which you were actually convicted.

    http://www.opm.gov/Forms/pdf_fill/sf86.pdf

    OK, but here's a hypothetical question: Let's say, up until just 2 or 3 years ago, I was a big-time a-hole, and I used to work out a lot and then run around picking fights with smaller people to beat them up. Let's also say that I was never caught by the police for this, no one ever identified me while I was doing my beatings, and I never told anyone about it, so I cannot be blackmailed for my past actions.

    -I committed the same crime on multiple occasions, but was never caught.
    -SF-86 does not specifically ask me to report this, so I don't write it on the form.
    -There is no way I could ever be blackmailed for these crimes.
    -They were not capitol offenses.

    For a Confidential or Secret clearance (forget Top Secret), would the interviewer go into such depth that I would have to talk about these past crimes?

    FYI: Guys, I appreciate your help with this. I know people might be getting really suspicious of me right now, so let me just say that I am, like everyone else, a flawed person who would change things in their past if they could. In case you're wondering, I didn't do anything really heinous like beat my girlfriend or kill somebody. Please don't judge me on this. Thanks.
    Last edited by Proyas; 01 Sep 08, at 15:08.

  11. #11
    Patron Proyas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    Once you get the access, you will be amazed at the BS that the government classifies.
    My friend has a Top Secret clearance, and he says the exact same thing.

  12. #12
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proyas View Post
    Thanks for the input guys, this is getting more specific.

    Looking at SF-86, I don't see any place where they ask you to divulge any bad/illegal think you may have done in your life: They just seem interested in drug stuff and crimes for which you were actually convicted.

    http://www.opm.gov/Forms/pdf_fill/sf86.pdf

    OK, but here's a hypothetical question: Let's say, up until just 2 or 3 years ago, I was a big-time a-hole, and I used to work out a lot and then run around picking fights with smaller people to beat them up. Let's also say that I was never caught by the police for this, no one ever identified me while I was doing my beatings, and I never told anyone about it, so I cannot be blackmailed for my past actions.

    -I committed the same crime on multiple occasions, but was never caught.
    -SF-86 does not specifically ask me to report this, so I don't write it on the form.
    -There is no way I could ever be blackmailed for these crimes.
    -They were not capitol offenses.

    For a Confidential or Secret clearance (forget Top Secret), would the interviewer go into such depth that I would have to talk about these past crimes?

    FYI: Guys, I appreciate your help with this. I know people might be getting really suspicious of me right now, so let me just say that I am, like everyone else, a flawed person who would change things in their past if they could. In case you're wondering, I didn't do anything really heinous like beat my girlfriend or kill somebody. Please don't judge me on this. Thanks.


    No arrest, no crime. Seriously if you think it would be a problem, if the interviewer ask if you think there is anything that you think you should have put down but are unsure about, just tell him you use to get in a lot of fights.
    But never got charged.

  13. #13
    In Memoriam Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    Proyas..Stop "panicking".. You are obviously worried about the past. Unless it is a jailable offence then don't delve into it. There isn't a person on the Planet who doesn't wish to turn back an episode in their lives but what has happened has happened. If they wanted to know about the past they will have it on the Questionnaire. Look them in the eyes, don't lick your lips and remain calm. Don't go on and on in the answers. Remember to keep it short and to the point, don't go off on a tangent. Chill and good luck

  14. #14
    In Memoriam Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    No arrest, no crime. Seriously if you think it would be a problem, if the interviewer ask if you think there is anything that you think you should have put down but are unsure about, just tell him you use to get in a lot of fights.
    But never got charged.
    "Minor Fracas" and not too many of them..You're applying for Security Clearance not the All-in Wrestling Association)

  15. #15
    Pocket Ashley's Mom Military Professional Southie's Avatar
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    I recall being asked "sample" questions to give me an idea on what they would be asking during the real thing. Mine was for a TS clearance and I was given a polygraph. Being short, they had to put the lid to the polygraph machine on the floor for me to rest my feet on so I wouldn't have any movement. They did ask me questions like if I have ever lied? But I guess that was more for the sake of knowing that I could keep secrets! And they did ask about my past, but I wasn't given a life-style polygraph. Thank Gosh!!!
    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. ~ Jimi Hendrix
    "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

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