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FAS Intro: This Directive issued by President Bush in 1991 established common, government-wide standards for background investigations governing access to Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information.



October 21, 1991



SUBJECT: Single Scope Background Investigations

To eliminate redundant and costly investigative practices currently employed throughout the Executive branch, I direct that the following minimum investigative scope and standards be adopted by all agencies and departments for access for Collateral Top Secret/National Security Information and Sensitive Compartmented Information:


Past ten (10) years or to age 18, whichever is less.

Expansion of Investigation

The investigation may be expanded as necessary, to resolve issues and/or address employment standards unique to individual agencies.

National Agency Check

Checks on subject and spouse/cohabitant of investigative and criminal history files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, including submission of fingerprint records on the subject, and such other national agencies (DCII, INS, OPM, CIA, etc.) as appropriate to the individual's background.

Subject Interview

Required in all cases and shall be conducted by trained security, investigative, or counterintelligence personnel to ensure full investigative coverage.

An additional personal interview shall be conducted when necessary to resolve any significant information and/or inconsistencies developed during the investigation. In departments or agencies with policies sanctioning the use of the polygraph for personnel security purposes, the personal interview may include a polygraph examination, conducted by a qualified polygraph examiner.


Independent certification of date and place of birth received directly from appropriate registration authority.


Subject must be a U.S. citizen. Independent verification of citizenship received directly from appropriate registration authority. For foreign-born immediate family members, verification of citizenship or legal status is also required.


Independent verification of most recent or most significant claimed attendance and/or degree/diploma within the scope of investigation via sealed transcript received directly from the institution. If all education is outside of the investigative scope, the last education above high school level will be verified.


Direct verification through records of all periods of employment within scope but in any event the most recent two (2) years. Personal interviews of two sources (supervisor/coworkers) for each employment of six months or more shall be attempted. In the event that no employment exceeds six months, interviews of supervisor/coworkers shall be attempted. All periods of unemployment in excess of sixty (60) days shall be verified through records and/or sources. All prior federal/military service and type of discharges shall be verified.


Four required (at least three of which are developed). To the extent practical, all should have social knowledge of subject and collectively span the entire scope of the investigation.

As appropriated, additional interviews may include cohabitant(s), ex-spouses, and relative(s). Interviews with psychological/medical personnel are to be accomplished as required to resolve issues.


Interviews with neighbors for last five years if residence exceeds six months. Confirmation of current residence shall be accomplished regardless of length to include review of rental records if necessary. In the event no residence exceeds six months, interview of neighbors should be undertaken.


Verification of the subject's financial status and credit habits of all locations where subject has resided, been employed, or attended school for six months or more for the last seven (7) years.

Local Agency Checks

A check of appropriate Police records covering all locations where subject has resided, been employed, or attended school for six months or more during the scope of investigation, to include current residence regardless of duration. In the event that no residence, employment, or education exceeds six months, local agency checks should be performed.

Public Records

Verification of divorce(s), bankruptcy, etc., and any other court (civil or criminal) actions to which subject has been or is a party within the scope of investigation, when known or developed.


Investigations satisfying the scope and standards specified above are transferable between agencies and shall be deemed to meet the investigative standards for access to collateral Top Secret/National Security Information and Sensitive Compartmented Information. No further investigation or reinvestigation prior to revalidation every five years will be undertaken unless the agency has substantial information indicating that the transferring individual may not satisfy eligibility standards for clearance or the agency head determines in writing that to accept the investigation would not be in the national security interest of the United States.


Immediate family -- spouse, parents, brothers, sisters, children, and cohabitant of the individual requiring access.


George Bush

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