When applying for security clearance, investigators are going to look back, far back into your past to see what kind of person you are and what kind of person you were. This means they will even look at your youth; for example, what kind of kid you were, and whether you ever committed any juvenile crimes. Aside from taking a close look at your youth, investigators are going to do a lot of digging around to get information on you. They’re going to want the following questions answered:
- Have you ever been arrested?
- Have you ever been convictedof a crime?
- Have you ever been in a mental institution?
- Have you ever been fired from a job? If so, why?
- Have you ever committed domestic violence?
- Did you run away from home as a teenager?
- Have you ever filed bankruptcy?
- Do you have a substance abuse problem?
- Have you ever committed sexual assault?
- Did you drop out of high school or college?
- Do you have a problem with authority?
Since the above questions do not reflect on positive aspects of an applicant’s past, Department of State investigators do not simply rely on the applicant’s answers in their security package and in their interview. To truly obtain the information DS investigators are seeking, they talk to the applicant’s classmates, co-workers, current and former neighbors, and references provided by the applicant.
DS investigators will also contact law enforcement agencies in areas where the applicant attended school, lived and worked to find out if the applicant has ever been arrested, convicted, or investigated for any reason. Essentially, once the Office of Personnel Security and Suitability has received the applicant’s security package, “A case manager will direct the background investigation to cover key events and contacts from the individual’s past and present history,” according to state.gov.