I ran into a neighbor at the gym today. She said that our Diplomatic Security investigator contacted her. That was a little curious, because although I had given him a list of all the people who live on our street, I didn’t specifically tell him that she would be a good contact. It seems that he wants to get contacts from contacts. We give him a name, and he asks that person to give him another name. Maybe the idea is that this is a way to get unrehearsed or unprepared responses from people.
I sent in the medical forms for Stacy, Ian and Evan’s medical clearance, and I forgot to sign Evan’s form. It was bounced back yesterday.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that I have noticed that the speed of responses from the State Department has been encouragingly fast. I read somewhere that there was an initiative to reduce the time needed for clearances. Maybe it’s working.
So I have to sign and re-submit Evan’s forms. It’s all done electronically: I email a PDF file to State with a scan of the forms. Good thing I have a scanner at home.
With this delay, Evan’s medical clearance will take a little longer than Stacy’s and Ian’s. My clearance came through in a matter of days. So maybe by the end of next week, we will all have medical clearance. Knock on wood!
The investigator who is doing the local background check is almost done. Tomorrow he will talk with my current boss, then he will be all done with his information-gathering.
This process has been more time-consuming than I thought it would be. I thought he would talk with me and a few people, then write up his report. Instead, he is asking very detailed questions about my past activities, trying to understand exactly what I was doing when. He is being very meticulous. If I were trying to hide something or lie to him, it would be hard to keep my story straight. Maybe that’s part of the point of asking so many detailed questions.
Although it’s taking more time than I anticipated, the investigator is a nice guy, a retired Secret Service agent. He has called me about a half-dozen times with follow-up questions, and every time he apologizes for being so nit-picky. His pleasant demeanor prevents the experience from being unpleasant.
I’m starting to get anxious. I want to get cleared, to be put on the Register, and to get The Call. I want to start the next stage in my life. I want to start a new career in the Foreign Service. Many other people have written that this part of the application process is hard, because there is little you can do to help speed the process along. I feel helpless.
Tom Petty was right: the waiting is the hardest part.