Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

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Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:33 am

There has been some discussion on TLS in the past on drug hiring policy at the DoJ, FBI, CIA, etc., but I wanted to ask about personal experiences/information in light of some newer information.

My ideal career path involves working for the federal government (in a dream scenario via the DoJ honors program) for a number of years after law school before settling in as an Assistant US Attorney in my hometown (mid-sized midwestern city).

The main potential flaw in this plan involves marijuana use during my undergrad. I regularly used marijuana during my sophomore/junior year of undergrad, (probably 30-40 times total). I used psychedelic mushrooms once during my freshman year. I have not, however, used drugs of any kind since my junior year, and have no problem revealing/admitting to past drug use during the hiring process.

As a policy update, the FBI (known to hold the most restrictive drug hiring policy) has recently lowered its standards-- the old "over 15 uses or out" policy has been discontinued :

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01260.html


Based on your experience with or knowledge of the hiring process would my drug use prohibit my employment at the DoJ? At a typical USAO? At non-security federal agencies like the SEC or DoL?

I'm not willing to lie on a polygraph, but again have no problem with admitting to my past drug use. I have no criminal record of any kind (and was never caught using drugs).

Thanks in advance for the help, I don't want to plan on a certain career path for the next few years before finding out its utterly closed.

Renzo
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Renzo » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:17 am

Definitely out at ATF, and FBI will be unlikely (not an automatic DQ, but not good--they like boy scouts). I think for the rest of the federal agencies you'll be OK. Just don't slip up between now and then. Some departments look for 5 years clean.

Anonymous User
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:51 am

So are FBI/DoJ hiring policies identical?

I know FBI runs the background check policies for the Justice Department, but does that mean they share the same regulations.

I would guess that the requirements for hiring a DoJ attorney would be less than, for instance, an FBI Special Agent, but I have no idea.

Renzo
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Renzo » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So are FBI/DoJ hiring policies identical?

I know FBI runs the background check policies for the Justice Department, but does that mean they share the same regulations.

I would guess that the requirements for hiring a DoJ attorney would be less than, for instance, an FBI Special Agent, but I have no idea.

It isn't that the drugs would disqualify you for FBI, it's just that they look for the kinds of personalities that would avoid drugs for no better reason than their illegality. I don't get the impression that DOJ is such a stickler for the "boy-scout" image. The competition is greater for FBI, since the need to be a lawyer inhrently reduces the applicant pool for DOJ, thus there is less arbitrary screening.

jfr1184
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby jfr1184 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:05 pm

You're probably fine for DOJ. I went through the background check there to become paralegal. The standards are stricter for attorneys than they are for support staff. From what I've read and heard, if you've done drugs within a year of beginning the background check to become an attorney, you won't pass. If you do have a drug history more than one year prior, DOJ cares about frequency of use, if you've ever bought or sold drugs, and which drugs you've used. They may ask for a breakdown of every drug you've used and when you've used it. I'm pretty sure this information is evaluated as a whole on a case-by-case basis. The fact that you'be abstained from drugs since your junior year is a big plus, since it demonstrates you're less likely to begin using again.

Anonymous User
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:16 pm

This is all bullshit. All these agencies shit a brick about a little pot smoking and some acid use when in reality about half of their employees are alcoholics.

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Doritos
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Doritos » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:27 pm

I have some friends who tried FBI, CIA (yeah they weren't supposed to tell me), and Border Patrol. They told me it was 3 years clean of marijuana and 10 years for other drugs. Also they said minimal use of marijuana so if you toked up daily for 5 years but quit for 3 then no go. I found this...http://www.fbijobs.gov/52.asp

09042014
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby 09042014 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:29 pm

How are they going to find out if you took drugs 6+ months out when there is no longer any trace in your hair.

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Doritos
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Doritos » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:34 pm

Desert Fox wrote:How are they going to find out if you took drugs 6+ months out when there is no longer any trace in your hair.


Polygraph

If you can pass the poly you're good but unless you can control your breathing and heart rate whilst lying...

09042014
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby 09042014 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:39 pm

Doritos wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:How are they going to find out if you took drugs 6+ months out when there is no longer any trace in your hair.


Polygraph

If you can pass the poly you're good but unless you can control your breathing and heart rate whilst lying...


I'm surprised they still use it, polygraphs are junk science. Easily beaten with coaching, and tons of false positives.

Anonymous User
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:41 pm

Do they use the poly for DoJ?

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Doritos
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Doritos » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:43 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Doritos wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:How are they going to find out if you took drugs 6+ months out when there is no longer any trace in your hair.


Polygraph

If you can pass the poly you're good but unless you can control your breathing and heart rate whilst lying...


I'm surprised they still use it, polygraphs are junk science. Easily beaten with coaching, and tons of false positives.


Hold the phone I may have misspoke. I found this http://antipolygraph.org/documents/fbi-psp-leaflet.pdf It's a leaflet about the FBI polygraph procedure. It says the poly is not used for lifestyle questions but rather for security questions (like are you a terrorist). I know the military does a thorough background check for the top secret level clearance. By thorough I mean they contact your references, references of references, old jobs, old employees at those jobs, etc. So I would assume that something like that would be going down. I really doubt the FBI is just going to take your word for it

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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:53 pm

To my knowledge, DOJ and their agencies (FBI, ATF, DEA, etc.) don't use the Poly for Attorneys as it's only used for Special Agents and maybe some other special personnel.

That being said, you do not want to lie on a background check, and I am not sure what their policies are when it comes to past drug use of potential hires for non-Special Agent positions.

BTW, it's false to say the FBI only uses the Poly for National Security questions. They deal with NS, lifestyle (although no homo stuff anymore), and integrity.

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Doritos
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Doritos » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:24 pm

I was just going off the pamphlet when I said it was for non-lifestyle questions. If the pamphlet is incorrect then I am incorrect. If you get caught in a lie at least in the military you are discharged immediately. I think its safe to assume if you lie about drug use to the FBI and they find out you better dust off the old resume...

Anonymous User
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:48 pm

Well, if the pamphlet was for DOJ or FBI attorney hires, then it may be correct. I don't know for sure that they don't polygraph them, but I know other agencies that mimic their hiring policies and they don't. For Special Agent hires though, it does deal with lifestyle and integrity. A lot of that is due to defense attorneys. They don't want a Special Agent to lose credibility on the witness stand.

Renzo
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Renzo » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:09 pm

Desert Fox wrote:How are they going to find out if you took drugs 6+ months out when there is no longer any trace in your hair.

The are going to talk to EVERYONE who knows you, and if one single person outs you, you're forever a liar.

ArmyVet07
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby ArmyVet07 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:22 am

I took a polygraph test in the military as part of having a top secret security clearance. The questions were limited to counter-intelligence matters (e.g. Have you ever been involved in espionage against the United States?), but the background investigation did involve filling out a questionnaire that asked about any prior drug use. Any government job (military or civilian) with a security clearance will require you to fill out such a questionnaire.

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

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AR75
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby AR75 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:23 am

There are two portions of the FBI poly--the anti-terror-ish portion and the lifestyle portion. Both are given full exams compared with what you submit on your pre-poly questionnaire. I did background investigations for my LEO agency before law school. Regardless of what you've done, just admit it on both the questionnaire and on the poly. If you get popped lying on an application or poly, you're done forever. Your credibility will be forever fucked, and you will NOT get a job at any other comparable agency. Also, Renzo is correct about the background investigation--it supplements and usually precedes the poly, so they already have a good metric on the accuracy of your questionnaire answers. The poly is just the stage at which they get a final chance to sweat you out on potential lies or inconsistencies.

Good luck.

ScaredWorkedBored
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:55 pm

You've got a higher percentage of getting away with fessing up to "disqualifying" character issues outright than hoping to beat the FBI background check. As in "Ha, you thought the State Bar was bad..."

ArmyVet07
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby ArmyVet07 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:54 pm

Doritos wrote:I was just going off the pamphlet when I said it was for non-lifestyle questions. If the pamphlet is incorrect then I am incorrect. If you get caught in a lie at least in the military you are discharged immediately. I think its safe to assume if you lie about drug use to the FBI and they find out you better dust off the old resume...


It is not correct that the military would discharge someone immediately if he/she gets caught in a lie. If this person has a security clearance and access to a secure facility, the only thing that happens immediately is that his/her access is suspended. Actually kicking someone out of the military is a lengthy process.

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rw2264
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby rw2264 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:58 pm

shit, i guess i'm never working for the department of justice.

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superserial
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby superserial » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:05 pm

rw2264 wrote:shit, i guess i'm never working for the department of justice.


+1

MDLR3
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby MDLR3 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:35 pm

To anyone with inside experience with the FBI, could you please let me know if there are any exceptions made on a case by case basis to the rule regarding using marijuana in the past 3 years? To explain my situation, I am up for Phase II testing and was told that anyone who experimented will be considered based on their overall situation. My personal situation that I plan on being completely truthful of just as I have with some other federal organizations I have interviewed with is that I have used about 7 times in my life, all of which were during college that were more than 3 years ago, with exception to twice overseas (in Amsterdam and in West Africa) the last being 2 years ago. I have also never tried anything beyond marijuana, purchased it (always just offered a puff on a friend's joint) and have never sold or possessed it.

I know what the FBI's website says, but in addition to what I have heard I find it strange that at all the orientations and info. sessions we have never been told "if you have touched anything in the past 3 years you can leave now". Is there any chance that my honesty and particular situation could be given an exception? Thanks.

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kumba84
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby kumba84 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:04 am

Here are some reputable sources that might clear up some of the questions:

For DoJ's National Drug Intelligence Center: http://www.justice.gov/ndic/jobs/drugpol.htm#Top

Summer interns at DoJ: http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/C ... curity.pdf (most important thing for summer internships appears to be not using drugs in the past year)

ATF's policy: --LinkRemoved--

FBI: http://www.fbijobs.gov/52.asp

Anonymous User
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Re: Drug Hiring Policy and the Federal Government

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:36 am

So what if I, myself, at one point in their life sold some of their extra cannabis to a friend for a very small amount of money. By small I mean 10 bucks worth. Does this make me a drug dealer? Will the DOJ have me? I definitely didn't profit. Help me. I'm so scared...




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