PI in the intelligence field

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Anonymous User
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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 04, 2011 11:01 pm

JamMasterJ wrote:
Verity wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:I would assume no to the first, yes to the second. I hear that FBI and CIA background checks are the most difficult among govt agencies. You can fail them for ridiculously trivial things, so if you ever plan on applying to another govt office, make sure you don't have some small thing in your past that could bite you



What do you mean by "trivial?" The worst thing I can think of is a speeding violation. No criminal/subversive history, otherwise.


Not that trivial. But I think a DUI or even something less egregious would get you dinged


Do those of you who have been through the process believe this is true? While (for example) drinking law violations might show a lack of judgement, wouldn't years of good behavior undermine the idea that one's temperament is problematic? I would think they would be more concerned with background imperfections involving moral turpitude.

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Patriot1208
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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Patriot1208 » Thu May 05, 2011 6:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:
Verity wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:I would assume no to the first, yes to the second. I hear that FBI and CIA background checks are the most difficult among govt agencies. You can fail them for ridiculously trivial things, so if you ever plan on applying to another govt office, make sure you don't have some small thing in your past that could bite you



What do you mean by "trivial?" The worst thing I can think of is a speeding violation. No criminal/subversive history, otherwise.


Not that trivial. But I think a DUI or even something less egregious would get you dinged


Do those of you who have been through the process believe this is true? While (for example) drinking law violations might show a lack of judgement, wouldn't years of good behavior undermine the idea that one's temperament is problematic? I would think they would be more concerned with background imperfections involving moral turpitude.


It will depend on the person. I had to write an addendum about underage drinking when I was getting my TS but it didn't seem to be an issue. But they will take drunk driving seriously and if it was recent i'd imagine it would be a problem but maybe not got you dinged by itself.
Last edited by Patriot1208 on Thu May 05, 2011 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

whymeohgodno
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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby whymeohgodno » Thu May 05, 2011 6:35 pm

What if your internet service provider once mailed you telling you to stop torrenting shit?

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Patriot1208
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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Patriot1208 » Thu May 05, 2011 6:39 pm

whymeohgodno wrote:What if your internet service provider once mailed you telling you to stop torrenting shit?

Lol you are fine

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Patriot1208 » Thu May 05, 2011 6:42 pm

Verity wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Verity wrote:Okay, okay, it's not like I'm expecting to segue from counsel to spy/agent.

The broader question, I guess: is there truly such a thing as "intelligence law?" The CIA's website says about its summer internship program, "The CIA Office of General Counsel has a Summer Legal Clerkship Program that allows a small number of exceptionally qualified law students to obtain broad exposure to the practice of intelligence law..."

How do you prepare for this in LS, or at least before you get into actually practicing "intelligence law?"


I interned at CIA in undergrad before coming to law school and met with several recent grads (no more than 3 years out) that were working as attorneys. As with just about every job at the agency, it's a lot less sexy than you think. Generally, you're handling the more mundane legal questions that every government agency handles: contracting issues, labor/employment issues, internal regulations, etc. Though, to be fair, it sometimes involves big, Stark-Industries-esque defense contractors and the employees are spies. Every once in awhile you may be tasked to work on some of the sexier things and tricky legal questions (do we have the authority to send x group to y country to do z, and what are the potential legal ramifications or can we give this agency access to this classified document). I was told the recent-hires rotated every few months to a different subject area so that by the end of a year or two they've dabbled in all of the different legal questions that face the agency.

I'd take administrative law, labor and employment, etc. Intelligence, as a field, is highly specialized and you can't really prepare for it in the private sector. But they expect that. It's more about getting good grades, having a demonstrated interest in the subject matter, and being clean enough to pass the background check (this is where 90% of people are going to fail). Hth.

Edit: Oh, and the CIA does have an Honors program where they take on entry level attorneys like other government agencies. Attorneys a few years out came from both firms and other government agencies, it didn't seem to matter.


Wow, thanks. I'm just kind of stunned at your appraisal of a 90% failure rate for background checks. I mean, what the hell do all of these attorneys have in their pasts that are so disqualifying? Considering that it's the CIA, do they disqualify candidates based on factors that would not normally raise a red flag (e.g., being of a certain race, religion or ethnicity)?



I never worked for the CIA but I have worked for two other agencies and I have no idea how it could be 90%. I think I saw roughly around 50% fail in my couple years working.

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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 05, 2011 6:55 pm

Verity wrote:
Wow, thanks. I'm just kind of stunned at your appraisal of a 90% failure rate for background checks. I mean, what the hell do all of these attorneys have in their pasts that are so disqualifying? Considering that it's the CIA, do they disqualify candidates based on factors that would not normally raise a red flag (e.g., being of a certain race, religion or ethnicity)?


The intern again.

I was counting the number of people applying for positions agency-wide, not just attorneys, but it wasn't meant to be a completely accurate number. During the orientation session they told us roughly how many people applied -> got offers -> got clearance, and it was less than 20%. Reality is, there are tons really qualified people that want to work for the agency. The vast majority don't get the job because they got dinged during the background investigation/polygraph/drug test/psych evaluation. The CIA is more particular than other agencies (I'm applying for DoJ now and it's a cakewalk by comparison). Probably harder than any other agency aside from NSA, if I had to guess.

Race, religion, or ethnicity are not ding worthy - they encouraged people with backgrounds that you would probably think would be dings to apply - they need the diversity.

From memory, the things they cared about: Drug use. Drunk driving or other reckless behavior. A history of stealing information (a major issue for me was downloading music), hacking, or just general dishonesty. Criminal behavior. Sketchy foreign contacts. Failing to disclose something they feel is important. Bombing the polygraph. Not passing the psych eval.

Edit: Changed "passed the background investigation" to "got clearance."
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu May 05, 2011 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

whymeohgodno
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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby whymeohgodno » Thu May 05, 2011 6:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Verity wrote:
Wow, thanks. I'm just kind of stunned at your appraisal of a 90% failure rate for background checks. I mean, what the hell do all of these attorneys have in their pasts that are so disqualifying? Considering that it's the CIA, do they disqualify candidates based on factors that would not normally raise a red flag (e.g., being of a certain race, religion or ethnicity)?


The intern again.

I was counting the number of people applying for positions agency-wide, not just attorneys, but it wasn't meant to be a completely accurate number. During the orientation session they told us roughly how many people applied -> got offers -> passed the background investigation, and it was less than 20%. Reality is, there are tons really qualified people that want to work for the agency. The vast majority don't get the job because they got dinged during the background investigation/polygraph/drug test/psych evaluation. The CIA is more particular than other agencies (I'm applying for DoJ now and it's a cakewalk by comparison). Probably harder than any other agency aside from NSA, if I had to guess.

Race, religion, or ethnicity are not ding worthy - they encouraged people with backgrounds that you would probably think would be dings to apply - they need the diversity.

From memory, the things they cared about: Drug use. Drunk driving or other reckless behavior. A history of stealing information (a major issue for me was downloading music), hacking, or just general dishonesty. Criminal behavior. Sketchy foreign contacts. Failing to disclose something they feel is important. Bombing the polygraph. Not passing the psych eval.


What do they ask you on the polygraph? If it's something like "Do you download music/movies/warez illegally? Have you smoked weed?", I can't imagine many people from our generation passing...

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Verity
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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Verity » Thu May 05, 2011 9:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Verity wrote:
Wow, thanks. I'm just kind of stunned at your appraisal of a 90% failure rate for background checks. I mean, what the hell do all of these attorneys have in their pasts that are so disqualifying? Considering that it's the CIA, do they disqualify candidates based on factors that would not normally raise a red flag (e.g., being of a certain race, religion or ethnicity)?


The intern again.

I was counting the number of people applying for positions agency-wide, not just attorneys, but it wasn't meant to be a completely accurate number. During the orientation session they told us roughly how many people applied -> got offers -> got clearance, and it was less than 20%. Reality is, there are tons really qualified people that want to work for the agency. The vast majority don't get the job because they got dinged during the background investigation/polygraph/drug test/psych evaluation. The CIA is more particular than other agencies (I'm applying for DoJ now and it's a cakewalk by comparison). Probably harder than any other agency aside from NSA, if I had to guess.

Race, religion, or ethnicity are not ding worthy - they encouraged people with backgrounds that you would probably think would be dings to apply - they need the diversity.

From memory, the things they cared about: Drug use. Drunk driving or other reckless behavior. A history of stealing information (a major issue for me was downloading music), hacking, or just general dishonesty. Criminal behavior. Sketchy foreign contacts. Failing to disclose something they feel is important. Bombing the polygraph. Not passing the psych eval.

Edit: Changed "passed the background investigation" to "got clearance."



Hmm...the only thing I see there that might apply to me is the whole music pirating thing. I haven't downloaded music illegally, but I remember buying ripped CDs off of my friend in 7th grade, just when CD burners became widespread. I'd be pissed to get dinged for something like that.

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Patriot1208
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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Patriot1208 » Fri May 06, 2011 10:13 am

whymeohgodno wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Verity wrote:
Wow, thanks. I'm just kind of stunned at your appraisal of a 90% failure rate for background checks. I mean, what the hell do all of these attorneys have in their pasts that are so disqualifying? Considering that it's the CIA, do they disqualify candidates based on factors that would not normally raise a red flag (e.g., being of a certain race, religion or ethnicity)?


The intern again.

I was counting the number of people applying for positions agency-wide, not just attorneys, but it wasn't meant to be a completely accurate number. During the orientation session they told us roughly how many people applied -> got offers -> passed the background investigation, and it was less than 20%. Reality is, there are tons really qualified people that want to work for the agency. The vast majority don't get the job because they got dinged during the background investigation/polygraph/drug test/psych evaluation. The CIA is more particular than other agencies (I'm applying for DoJ now and it's a cakewalk by comparison). Probably harder than any other agency aside from NSA, if I had to guess.

Race, religion, or ethnicity are not ding worthy - they encouraged people with backgrounds that you would probably think would be dings to apply - they need the diversity.

From memory, the things they cared about: Drug use. Drunk driving or other reckless behavior. A history of stealing information (a major issue for me was downloading music), hacking, or just general dishonesty. Criminal behavior. Sketchy foreign contacts. Failing to disclose something they feel is important. Bombing the polygraph. Not passing the psych eval.


What do they ask you on the polygraph? If it's something like "Do you download music/movies/warez illegally? Have you smoked weed?", I can't imagine many people from our generation passing...


The thing is (again, from a DOJ Top Secret prospective not CIA) that if you are honest about some of these things you'll be fine. They may still ask you about it at the polygraph but they will give you a chance to be honest and talk about it.

Most of my polygraph was questions about drugs, underage pornography, theft, drunk driving, anti-american sentiments, etc. And they do grill you. But I was honest about the fact that i've driven drunk and we talked about the instances that happened and it was fine. I haven't done any of the other things so i'm probably more clean than others. Weed as well is generally fine if it is in your past and you are honest. If you are just honest in the first place you won't have a problem.

Also, I don't know specifically about the FBI and CIA attorneys, but most DOJ attorneys do not need to take polygraphs.

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Patriot1208
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Re: PI in the intelligence field

Postby Patriot1208 » Fri May 06, 2011 10:15 am

Verity wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Verity wrote:
Wow, thanks. I'm just kind of stunned at your appraisal of a 90% failure rate for background checks. I mean, what the hell do all of these attorneys have in their pasts that are so disqualifying? Considering that it's the CIA, do they disqualify candidates based on factors that would not normally raise a red flag (e.g., being of a certain race, religion or ethnicity)?


The intern again.

I was counting the number of people applying for positions agency-wide, not just attorneys, but it wasn't meant to be a completely accurate number. During the orientation session they told us roughly how many people applied -> got offers -> got clearance, and it was less than 20%. Reality is, there are tons really qualified people that want to work for the agency. The vast majority don't get the job because they got dinged during the background investigation/polygraph/drug test/psych evaluation. The CIA is more particular than other agencies (I'm applying for DoJ now and it's a cakewalk by comparison). Probably harder than any other agency aside from NSA, if I had to guess.

Race, religion, or ethnicity are not ding worthy - they encouraged people with backgrounds that you would probably think would be dings to apply - they need the diversity.

From memory, the things they cared about: Drug use. Drunk driving or other reckless behavior. A history of stealing information (a major issue for me was downloading music), hacking, or just general dishonesty. Criminal behavior. Sketchy foreign contacts. Failing to disclose something they feel is important. Bombing the polygraph. Not passing the psych eval.

Edit: Changed "passed the background investigation" to "got clearance."



Hmm...the only thing I see there that might apply to me is the whole music pirating thing. I haven't downloaded music illegally, but I remember buying ripped CDs off of my friend in 7th grade, just when CD burners became widespread. I'd be pissed to get dinged for something like that.

I promise you that you wouldn't.




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