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Old January 26, 2010, 02:46 PM   #1
Mike Irwin
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Federal background interviews

I was called earlier today to give a background interview for a friend of mine who works for the Fed. Gov't. I'll be doing that in a couple of days.

This just popped into my mind... And this is strictly apocryphal.

Say my friend has done something very sketchy, and I know about it, but I don't mention it when the interviewer asks me.

Later my friend is found out and it is revealed that I knew all about it.

Could I be prosecuted for lying to a federal investigator?

Don't know why I never thought of this until now.

As I said, I know of nothing in my friend's background that would prevent him from either obtaining a clearance.

Just curiosity.
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Old January 26, 2010, 04:05 PM   #2
rwilson452
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I wouldn't lie to them. If they get close to something you want to avoid, keep your answers brief and to the point. chances are they already know about it.

Once upon a time I had a very high clearance they ask about things I had forgotten about.
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Old January 26, 2010, 04:09 PM   #3
Mike Irwin
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Notice I said that this was apocryphal.

I have NO reason to lie to them.

I want to know if lying to a Federal investigator could result in charges being levied.
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Old January 26, 2010, 04:21 PM   #4
birdshot
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links of contact

i never expect to get any damaging information from the applicants references, but always ask the references for other individuals who also know the applicant, after you make the jump a couple of times you can usually get a clear picture of the applicants character and past.
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Old January 26, 2010, 04:29 PM   #5
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Irwin
I want to know if lying to a Federal investigator could result in charges being levied.
Yes. It can and it has in different fact patterns (though I don't know if it has in the specific fact pattern you outlined). The statute in question is 18 U.S.C. 1001.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years

A great article about the rule and how to avoid going to jail in that circumstance can be found here:
http://library.findlaw.com/2004/May/11/147945.html
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Old January 26, 2010, 05:49 PM   #6
pnac
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Ask Martha Stewart. She wasn't convicted of "insider trading", she was sent to prison for lying to investigators.

Last edited by pnac; January 26, 2010 at 05:51 PM. Reason: Corrected spelling
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Old January 26, 2010, 06:43 PM   #7
bob.a
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I don't recall.
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Old January 26, 2010, 06:52 PM   #8
Dragon55
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My son has some super top clearance relative to his job. Lots of guys with dark suits asked a lot of people a lot of questions about him. My neighbor was telling me about some of the questions she was asked and I was amazed.

But anyway.... to your specific question.....

Bart has posted the law but I wonder why you couldn't just choose not to do the interview if indeed your friend had some sketchiness in his past. Sort of taking the 5th kinda sideways.

At least this is the tactic I would use.
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Old January 26, 2010, 06:59 PM   #9
Chaz88
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I had a couple of questionable things when going through security clearance back ground checks. I was totally honest from the start and answered all questions honestly. I sailed through with no problems. Had I been evasive or dishonest I would not have been given the clearance I needed. That would have put a serious crimp in my plans to make it to retirement.

That being said don't develop diarrhea of the mouth, giving information not asked for. If you are asked about something specific, they probably already know the answer. Tell the truth.

EDIT: If you do have some reason to think your friend should not be trusted with classified information. Tell them the truth about it. We don't need any more classified information in the wrong hands. Our military is still trying to recover from some well known incidents.
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

No spelun and grammar is not my specialty. So please don't hurt my sensitive little feelings by teasing me about it.

Last edited by Chaz88; January 26, 2010 at 07:06 PM.
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Old January 26, 2010, 07:12 PM   #10
pnac
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Quote:
I don't recall.
HAHA! Right you are!
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Old January 26, 2010, 07:20 PM   #11
Chaz88
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Quote:
I don't recall.
Quote:
HAHA! Right you are!
Well....... Never-mind just pack a tooth brush and a change of underwear for the interview when you use that answer.
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

No spelun and grammar is not my specialty. So please don't hurt my sensitive little feelings by teasing me about it.
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Old January 26, 2010, 07:30 PM   #12
pnac
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Quote:
Quote:
I don't recall.
Quote:
HAHA! Right you are!
Well....... Never-mind just pack a tooth brush and a change of underwear for the interview when you use that answer.
Why? Politicians use that answer all the time, when they don't "misspeak" of course.
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Old January 26, 2010, 07:42 PM   #13
Don H
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Quote:
Well....... Never-mind just pack a tooth brush and a change of underwear for the interview when you use that answer.
Many people don't recall every ocurrance in their lives. I've, at times, been surprised at what I've forgotten and other people remember.
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Old January 26, 2010, 09:05 PM   #14
Mike Irwin
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Bart, thank you, that's what I was wondering about.

Thanks to everyone for your insights.

As I said, I do NOT have any reason to doubt this individual, nor do I know anything damning about him.

Hell, he's been a highly placed member of the Federal Law Enforcement Community for years.

I'd think that anything that might be in his background would have come out long before I got to know him.

I've done probably 20 to 30 of these interviews over the past 20 years, and as I said, this is the FIRST time I've ever thought about whether someone could be charged for knowingly lying to an investigator.

I'm going to approach tomorrow's interview the same way I always have -- answer the question asked, and not volunteer anything extemporaneously.
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Old January 26, 2010, 09:13 PM   #15
OldMarksman
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Quote:
I'm going to approach tomorrow's interview the same way I always have -- answer the question asked, and not volunteer anything extemporaneously.
Sounds OK to me (lay opinion).

I will point out that I have been advised over the years that the omission of a material fact can constitute a violation of the statute in question.
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Old January 26, 2010, 10:16 PM   #16
Erik
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"I will point out that I have been advised over the years that the omission of a material fact can constitute a violation of the statute in question."

As with the quoted statute, the phrase "knowingly and willfully" need come into play, in addition to "material fact."
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Old January 27, 2010, 12:27 AM   #17
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I agree with Chaz88. I work in the defense industry and I am required by law and the agreement I made with the federal government to notify appropriate personnel if I have any suspicions of wrong-doing by anyone I work with if I think that it may call into question their loyalty to the United States. As you have said you have no reasons to have concern about your friend so that should not be an issue. But if you did, you should not hesitate to disclose the reason for your concern to the investigator. Most issues get worked out, but the danger of the person divulging information to foreign persons or governments it far to serious to keep you mouth shut. Just my $0.02 worth.
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Old January 27, 2010, 09:40 AM   #18
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
I will point out that I have been advised over the years that the omission of a material fact can constitute a violation of the statute in question.
I am just going on memory of my White Collar Crime class that is now several years old; but I don't believe you can be charged under 18 USC 1001 for omission of a material fact unless there was a duty to disclose that fact created by some other statute (like in this example).

Another fun thing to note is that the guy in the example got nailed for lying to TennCare, not the Feds; but because TennCare received the funding from the Department of Health and Human Services and because it was a DHHS requirement, he got sent away for lying to the Feds (since he induced TennCare to lie to the Feds on his behalf by lying to TennCare). Considering the far reaches of federal money these days, that has some scariness to it right there.

As for omission of material fact, it has been several years since the class and I am going on memory without looking up any case law. If any of you are in a position where this might be relevant to you, you would be well-advised to contact your own attorney and have a discussion with them.
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Old January 27, 2010, 11:01 AM   #19
Mr. James
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Or decline to be interviewed. This is a background investigation. Mr. Irwin would not be required to even meet with the investigator. Might play hell with his buddy's clearance, but, hey, I'm pretty selective about who I'll go to the Gray Bar Hotel for, too!
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Old January 27, 2010, 11:46 AM   #20
Mike Irwin
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You know who it's for, Mr. James.

In fact I told him that I wanted $50 or I'd tell the investigator he's a member of Al Queda...

You can imagine the response.
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Old January 27, 2010, 12:23 PM   #21
Mr. James
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Hmmm. Two syllables. One verb. One pronoun. Am I close?
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Old January 27, 2010, 12:25 PM   #22
Mike Irwin
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You'll be even closer. She asked for other people who know him, and I volunteered your name...

I just phoned him and left this message:

"Hey I just finished with the investigator. If you start running now you might be able to avoid the SWAT team that's heading your way..."
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Old January 27, 2010, 12:56 PM   #23
noyes
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The person getting a clearance has already filled out a questionnaire or a computer disc. going back 7 years or more into their life. They want verification that the questionnaire was filled out truthfully by that person.

I would just answer the questions they ask you truthfully . Most of those people have zero sence of humor (I would delete that one post.). National security rules , laws .......Be honest.
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Old January 27, 2010, 01:01 PM   #24
Mike Irwin
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I was 100% honest.

After the interview was finished, we discussed Ipods and similar music devices for awhile. She saw my Sansa Clip hanging off my lanyard.
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Old January 27, 2010, 01:44 PM   #25
Mr. James
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Quote:
and I volunteered your name. . .




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"...A humble and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." Ps. li

"When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law." —Frederic Bastiat

Last edited by Mr. James; January 27, 2010 at 01:44 PM. Reason: clarity, my boy, clarity.
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