FBI Loses 40% of New Recruits to Failed Polygraph Tests

November 1, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Data released by the F.B.I. in response to questions posed by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have revealed a serious drop in new recruits, as the number and scope of new terrorist investigations are growing. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, responded in his answers that as many as 40 percent of special-agent recruits failed required polygraph tests during the past year.

The questions asked of the F.B.I by panel members, were wide ranging and touched on agency policies in its poor record of responding to FOIA requests, the publication of its Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, its criteria for developing terrorist profiles and assessments, whether its post 9/11 focus on terrorism is taking away from other domestic inquiries, such as public corruption and to its refusal to participate in the torture of Guantanamo detainees.

A few answers and statistics stood out, namely the polygraph failures and the high daily numbers of individuals proposed for inclusion on the nation’s terrorist watch list.

Regarding the polygraph failures, the F.B.I. was asked if the lack of new agency hires was due to delays in the extensive security clearance process. The F.B.I. responded that by far, the main reason for the drop out of potential new agents, was due to failures to pass the polygraph test, surpassing other reasons, such as security issues, administrative or medical issues and the use or sale of illegal drugs.

According to the data provided: in Fiscal Year 2009, 339 special agent applicants were turned away on polygraph-related grounds, and 825 professional support applications were also discontinued, which represents 40 percent of all applications.

Regarding the data on the terrorists watch list, the F.B.I. noted that as many, as 1,600 people each day, qualified for the list because of “reasonable suspicion,” during a 12-month period ended in March this year. The list contains more than 400,000 unique names and over 1 million entries.

However, the F.B.I. noted that the ballooning list “does not necessarily represent a new individual, but may instead involve an alias or name variant for a previously watchlisted person.”

Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.) asked pointed questions on the F.B.I’s criteria for terrorist profiling and assessments. He wanted to know if the F.B.I. opened, investigations or assessments based on profiling, without any evidence of wrongdoing.

The F.B.I. responded that, none of its investigations were based on profiling, and that the agency engages in three types of investigations, assessments, preliminary investigations and full investigations. Initial assessments do not require “factual prediction that a specific person or group is engaged in wrongdoing, but they do require a purpose.” Evidence of wrongdoing would warrant the opening of either a preliminary or full investigation.

The complete document submitted to the Senate panel can be found here.



2 Responses to “FBI Loses 40% of New Recruits to Failed Polygraph Tests”

  1. ps3 spiele on November 9th, 2009 1:56 am

    The FBI responded that failed polygraph tests rather than other factors, such as the length of time for getting security clearances, are the main reason.
    Thank you.

  2. Richard Qulia on November 12th, 2010 1:28 pm

    The reason that 40% of FBI applicants fail their polygraph examination is because of the liberal colleges and media they are exposed to prior to looking for employment. Many of the young professionals now seeking employment with the FBI fell into the college life style of using drugs and now it has come back to bite them. Most federal law enforcement agencies have a pre-employment drug use policy and depending on that policy the qualified individuals pool will vary accordingly. The FBI has always set the bar pretty high and they expect applicants to meet their criteria. The trouble is, when a person is not given information regarding pre-employment standards as they attend school, they are then saddled with having to chart a different course as they look for those jobs that require a higher caliber of individual. There are certain federal jobs that the American public expects those employees to be held to a higher standard. The FBI is one of them.

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