Term -Background Investigation

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A Background Investigation (BI) was the minimum investigative requirement for the granting of a TOP SECRET clearance or for participation in certain programs. The BI was an inquiry into the activities of an individual and was designed to develop information on which to base decisions regarding access authorization and sensitive program participation, which are clearly consistent with the interests of national security. Inquiry was made into pertinent facts bearing on the loyalty, trustworthiness, and suitability of the SUBJECT.

A traditional BI was conducted when required by special programs and when investigative limitations prohibit the completion of an IBI. The traditional BI was a combination of record checks and interviews in the public community where the SUBJECT was employed, educated or resided. The period of investigation covers the last 5 years of the SUBJECT’s life or from the date of the SUBJECT’s 18th birthday, whichever was the shorter period, provided it covers the last 2 full years of SUBJECT’s life, but does not precede the 16th birthday.

In addition to a valid NAC, the following elements represent the minimum investigative requirements: birth, citizenship, education, employment, credit, and local agency checks. DIS interviews a minimum of three developed character references whose combined association with SUBJECT covers the entire period of the investigation. References from places of education will only be interviewed when there was unfavorable information to resolve or letter of inquiry provides insufficient information. In those Instances, the special agent conducts a minimum of two education references interviews. The special agent conducts employment reference interviews of the SUBJECT’s supervisor and a co-worker at each place of employment, during the period of investigation. The SUBJECT was normally interviewed only when an investigation raises an issue.

During 1981, the Interview-oriented Background Investigation (IBI) was introduced, which principally relies on developing information from an interview of the SUBJECT, and, secondarily, from local agency checks, NAC’s and credit checks. Since the last three elements were common to the BI and IBI, the IBI was said to be a matter of substituting a SUBJECT INTERVIEW (SI) and selective records checks and interviews for the traditional records and interviews at the SUBJECT’s places of employment and education.

On 1 July 1983, the scope of the IBI was expanded or enhanced to routinely include interviews of developed character references and employment references. Generally, the IBI was the principal means of investigation when a TOP SECRET clearance was required. In addition to an in-depth subject interview (SI), the IBI includes a NAC, local agency checks (LAC’s), credit checks, the interview of three developed character references (DCR’s), three employment references with employment records checks, plus select scoping as required to resolve unfavorable or questionable information.

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