Another topic covered by the Federal investigator is Criminal Activity. Once upon a time, if you answered Yes to “Have you ever been arrested?” you were toast. Now, we are so enlightened that arrests matter relatively little, unless you have a string of them. The more important issue has become a verification of convictions. A conviction for trespass when you were in high school is not as serious as, say, three convictions for assault this year. And if you make a habit of driving drunk, then your reliability and judgement come into question.
Emotional Health. Of concern here is a history of visits to mental health workers over an extended period. Any history of hospitalization for inappropriate behavior, a regimen of medication for mental illness, or involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital would be closely examined by the investigator. As well, the conditions would come under close scrutiny by an adjudicator.
Physical Health. If you have been athletic most of your life, chances are you have broken some bones along the way; not an issue. If you are diabetic, or asthmatic, or have serious allergies, you will be on medication, probably for the rest of your life. A concern here is that you may may be posted, or temporarily assigned to a place that exacerbates your condition, or where, in an emergency, you may not be able to get the prompt, skilled attention that you need. So while this may not eliminate you from consideration for employment, your condition may limit you in your assignments.
Finances. Here the main question is “Is the SUBJECT spending within her apparent means?” If the person has just paid cash for a new car, or brags about trips she routinely takes to exotic places, we would question her source of funds. If the funds can be accounted for, we move on. If not, we then initiate special inquiries into spending habits, credit reports, part-time jobs, and the like. While Uncle Sam does not care how much you spend, he is concerned that you could make yourself vulnerable to blackmail or extortion by running up debts you cannot pay.
Alternately, perhaps you are selling something that you should not be selling….
Foreign Travel. Of importance here is where one travels, how long the person remains, and how frequent the trips are. Part of this could involve a question about how the person can afford these trips. Another part is whom the person visits or talks with on these trips (friends, relatives — foreign persons with no apparent relationship to the SUBJECT?) Serious questions would be raised about trips to Cuba, North Korea, or Mexico City. (Yes, Mexico City. For years, a haven for persons spying against the United States, staging contraband drugs, or trafficking in women.)
Foreign Contacts. Related to, but not the same as Foreign Travel. Penpals with foreign nationals? Outside the United States? Inside the United States? How did you meet? What do you talk about? What countries are involved? Have they ever asked you to collect information, or to introduce them to high profile Americans?
THIS IS UNCLE’S GAME
I want to stress again that this is a typical U.S. Government investigation, on a person who is being trusted, or could be trusted with secrets of American government. It is not the way a private firm would conduct a Background Check. The questions and the approach are quite different. In a later post, I will tell you how a background check should be conducted in American industry, or for a law firm checking witnesses or jurors. In the meantime, go to www.pitorriassociates.com/backgroundchecks.html .