ANNEX B: Quality Control Guidelines for the Single Scope Background Investigation
In accordance with the requirements of DCID 1/14 , this document sets out guidelines to maintain quality standards for the Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI). These guidelines assume the adjudicator's perspective because the adjudicator is the ultimate customer for the SSBI. The guidelines are divided into:
- Definition of Quality
- Conduct of the Interview
- Collection Requirements (Coverage)
- Quality Control Activities.
SOICs will ensure that investigative personnel employed by or assigned or detailed to their agencies/departments receive adequate initial and ongoing training in investigation and interrogation techniques, as well as familiarization with counterintelligence issues that may arise during investigation. Training should also incorporate findings of contemporary research in personnel security and medical disciplines and, in addition, evolving legal issues that may impact investigation collection requirements. As much as possible, training should be conducted as a joint effort with other investigative entities supporting the Intelligence Community, to facilitate information sharing and to enhance reciprocity.
2. Definition of Quality.
A quality investigation is a thorough and comprehensive collection of favorable and unfavorable information from a variety of sources, past and present, that may include employment(s), reference(s), neighborhood(s), credit, police, and the Subject.
The determination of eligibility for access to sensitive compartmented information is a discretionary determination using the whole person concept that such access is clearly in the interests of the national security. Accordingly, the investigation will be comprehensive and in such detail so as to affirmatively address unquestioned loyalty to the United States, strength of character, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, discretion, and sound judgment, as well as freedom from conflicting allegiances and potential for coercion, and willingness and ability to abide by regulations governing the use, handling and protection of sensitive compartmented information.
3. Conduct of the Interview
The quality of the investigation depends on the investigator's ability to elicit information from a source knowledgeable about the Subject. This is basic to the conduct of any interview. The investigator should plan and execute each interview so as to obtain the maximum amount of information from a source. Available sources should be selected from each area of coverage to ensure that pertinent information about the Subject's entire background is developed.
The investigator should conduct the interview in person and find a suitable location that protects privacy. Telephonic interviews are strongly discouraged; however, occasionally exigent circumstances may dictate that the interviews be conducted by telephone. If a telephonic interview is necessary, the report should always state why the interview was not conducted in person.
The investigator should initially advise the source of the reason/purpose for the investigation and should attempt to establish a degree of confidence in the source(s) that will promote a high level of rapport and cooperation.
The investigator should also advise the source about the Privacy Act of 1974, before completing the interview, since the source needs to understand that the Subject of the investigation has the right to review information provided by a source and has the right to know a source's identity, unless the source requests confidentiality.
4. Collection Requirement (Coverage)
a. For all Sources.
Investigators should establish the duration and nature of association between the source and the Subject to assess the sources extent of knowledge. The investigator should always secure the source's full name and any other appropriate identifying data, particularly in the case of a source with a common name. All derogatory or noteworthy information concerning the Subject of the investigation that is provided by a source should be fully explored in the interview, including elicitation of the names of any corroborating sources or record information that will substantiate any derogatory testimony provided by the source. For all sources, the report should indicate what issue areas were covered and whether the information provided was favorable or unfavorable.
b. For References and Neighbors.
Depending on the source's degree of association, investigators should ask each reference or neighbor relevant information regarding the Subject's:
(1) Family, citizenship, education, employment, residence history, and military service.
(2) Reputation, character, honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, discretion, reliability, and temperament.
(3) Financial stability, organizational affiliations, and whether there is a history of mental, emotional, or physical health problems.
(4) Whether the Subject exhibits a pattern of excessive use of alcohol or has ever used illegal drugs or abused prescription drugs.
(5) Activities which indicate a lack of discretion or demonstrate poor judgment, a character flaw, or a personality disorder.
(6) Participation in criminal activity or an altercation with law enforcement agencies.
(7) Travels abroad for business or pleasure and degree of contact with foreign nationals.
(8) Unquestioned loyalty to the United States.
If a Subject has had access to classified information and a source is in a position to know, the investigator should ask whether the Subject properly handles classified information or has ever had a security violation. Finally, the investigator should ask if the source can recommend the Subject for a position of trust and responsibility with the US Government or, in the case of a contractor, can the Subject be trusted with classified information. The investigator should conclude the interview by asking the source to provide names of additional references.
c. Follow-up Questions.
If a source provides noteworthy or derogatory information to questions in any of the above areas of consideration, the investigator should ask follow-up questions as necessary to elicit all available information. The investigator should report as fully as possible:
(1) The nature, extent, and seriousness of the conduct.
(2) The motivation for and the circumstances surrounding the conduct.
(3) The frequency and recency of the conduct.
(4) The Subject's age and maturity at the time of the conduct.
(5) Whether the conduct was voluntary or whether there was pressure, coercion, or exploitation leading to the conduct.
(6) Whether the Subject has been rehabilitated or has exhibited other pertinent behavioral changes since the conduct.
If the Subject has ended the questionable conduct, the investigator should attempt to determine the motivation for positive change. The investigator should also attempt to establish whether there may be personal animosity or bias towards the Subject on the part of the source(s). The investigator should supply any available documentary evidence relating to the conduct in addition to the report of the source.
d. For Employment References.
The investigator should identify and interview the best source(s) available. These employment references should include, but are not limited to, the Subject's immediate supervisor, coworker(s), and other persons with frequent professional contact. Where appropriate, the investigator should pursue the same line of inquiry as with references and neighbors. In particular, the investigator should inquire regarding:
(1) Whether the Subject is willing to abide by company policies and regulations.
(2) Whether the Subject appropriately safeguards the employer's proprietary/sensitive information.
(3) Whether the Subject is financially stable.
(4) Whether the Subject has a history of substance abuse, to include alcohol, and/or prescription drugs.
(5) Whether the Subject has been involved in any criminal activity.
(6) Whether the Subject is reliable and eligible for re-hire.
The investigator should obtain any available documentary evidence to support the report of the source(s).
e. For Subject Interviews.
The Subject is the best source of information about himself/herself. Hence, the investigator should explore with the Subject the same line of inquiry she/he pursues with a reference, neighborhood, and employment source(s). The investigator should obtain the Subject's version of the details surrounding all issues arising either in the course of the interview or in other parts of the investigation that have been completed by the time of the Subject Interview and report them completely. The investigator should inquire regarding:
(1) What happened and why.
(2) Where, when, how, and how often it happened.
(3) Who else was involved.
(4) Was the conduct voluntary.
Of particular value to the adjudicator is evidence that the Subject is being contradictory or dissembling. If the Subject claims to have ended the conduct, the investigator should attempt to determine the motivation for positive change. The investigator should report only the facts.
5. Quality Control Activities.
Quality control activities are designed to ensure that a high quality investigation and report have been provided. The following management tools can be used by investigative agencies to ensure quality investigations, and other techniques may be appropriate:
a. Case Review.
Case review consists of a supervisory review of the investigative requirements and the investigation to ensure that all coverage has been met using the best available sources. Depending on the agency, the investigative review may be conducted by the investigator's supervisor or by a quality assurance or assessment team.
b. Ride-Along Program.
In ride-along programs, supervisors and/or senior agents accompany the investigator, observing the investigator's performance, focusing on whether the investigator:
(1) Uses proper/acceptable investigative techniques.
(2) Explores all relevant issues.
(3) Possesses a demeanor that reflects positively on the investigative agency.
c. Source Recontact.
The supervisory element may select from a sample of an investigator's cases and contact some or all of the sources. The source is queried regarding the investigator's professionalism, line of questioning, adherence to established policies and procedures, and thoroughness. Both written and telephonic re-contact are acceptable.
These recommended monitoring activities ensure adequate training of investigators, acceptable supervisory oversight, and proper professionalism while conducting the investigation. They also ensure that the standards of investigative coverage are satisfactorily met.
ANNEX C - Adjudication Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information.