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Amazon Hiring More Than a 100 Who Can Get Top Secret Clearances

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the we-have-clearance-clarence dept.

Security 213

dcblogs writes "Amazon has more than 100 job openings for people who can get a top secret clearance, which includes a U.S. government administered polygraph examination. It needs software developers, operations managers and cloud support engineers, among others. Amazon's hiring effort includes an invitation-only recruiting event for systems support engineers at its Herndon, Va., facility on Sept. 24 and 25. Amazon is fighting to win a contract to build a private cloud for the CIA. The project is being rebid after IBM filed a protest. In a recent federal lawsuit challenging the rebid, Amazon took a shot at IBM, describing the company as 'a traditional fixed IT infrastructure provider and late entrant to the cloud computing market.' Among the things IBM says in response, is that the government didn't look at Amazon's outage record. An analyst firm, Ptak Noel & Associates, concluded, in a report about the dispute, that CIA officials 'too casually brush off Amazon's outages' in evaluating the proposals."

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Decent. (5, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#44761883)

"Amazon has more than 100 job openings for people who can get a top secret clearance, which includes a U.S. government administered polygraph examination."

That's very decent of them, after having sold them all those 'How to beat the polygraph test' books.

Re:Decent. (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44761915)

In socialist Brazil the secrets of the Amazon are explored by YOU!

Re:Decent. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44761925)

They will also measure the shapes of their heads, just to be sure.

Re:Decent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762009)

I hear Eric Snowden is looking for a job...

Whuffo? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44761905)

Good thing I'm a notorious shifty-eyed weasel or I'd be inclined to join them in whatever their shenanigans are likely to be. Think they're about to pick up outsourcing of the NSA?

I think SO.

More than a one hundred? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44761913)

Basic englishs, you has grasps of its?

Re:More than a one hundred? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762081)

More than a one hundred?

That's over a nine thousand!!

A patheic thought (5, Interesting)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#44761921)

Finally a project that will hire some Americans.

Yeah, it's pretty sad.

Re:A patheic thought (5, Insightful)

gatkinso (15975) | about a year ago | (#44761951)

Why do you think clearances are so sought after?

1) no H-1B's
2) relatively few youngsters

Re:A patheic thought (1, Troll)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44762125)

On #2, even fewer competent youngsters. Not even the CIA wants to hire your average ideological College Young Republicans member.

Re:A patheic thought (4, Insightful)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about a year ago | (#44762307)

Why do you think clearances are so sought after?

{...} 2) relatively few youngsters

Then again ...

I had a security clearance in the military. All it meant was basically that I hadn't been caught doing anything illegal, and that I wasn't old enough to have had to file bankruptcy because of family medical emergencies and mortgages. Nor was I old enough to have pissed off any neighbors enough for them to bad mouth me :)

Being young can be an advantage for security clearances ...

Re:A patheic thought (4, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#44762753)

I had a security clearance in the military. All it meant was basically that I hadn't been caught doing anything illegal, and that I wasn't old enough to have had to file bankruptcy because of family medical emergencies and mortgages. Nor was I old enough to have pissed off any neighbors enough for them to bad mouth me :)

Being young can be an advantage for security clearances ...

Almost certainly the type you had was a Secret clearance.

Today more than ever, TOP Secret clearances are not only hard to get, they are hard to keep.

If the clearance you had didn't involve am anal probe an deep deep investigation that involved actually physically talking to many of your friends, neighbors, and college buddies, you didn't have a TOP Secret, you had only a Secret, which almost anyone can get.

Re:A patheic thought (4, Insightful)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44762563)

Many military jobs require TS special clearances and those are given to 18/19 year old people. It's actually a benefit to get them that young, since they are still duped by propaganda and have yet to see the illusions being painted by main stream media.

Re:A patheic thought (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44762605)

Yeah, it SO worked out that way with Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning.

Re:A patheic thought (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762701)

Her name is Chelsea

Re:A patheic thought (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762697)

Many military jobs require TS special clearances

First it was Don't ask, Don't tell. Then they allowed the homos. Now you can't even join the army unless you're a tranny?

Re:A patheic thought (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44762659)

Re few youngsters
They would understand how to sockpuppet, be up with slag, the culture, spelling, music, tech and faith.
They would also have been bought up in a world at war and could be more ideologically hardened with less of that early 1990's base closure/very early dot com days emotional baggage.
Then you have the math and CS elite, nurtured in top US universities - who know the role and wealth their parents enjoyed or are climbing out of poverty.
The dual citizenship question has issues too - too much US only material flows back to the real country of origin.

Re:A patheic thought (1)

whydavid (2593831) | about a year ago | (#44762029)

Yep, it's the old "fool me once, shame on you, ..."

The federal government is done with all of these foreign nationals running around spilling our state secrets to the whole world.

Oh wait, those were American citizens with security clearance? My bad.

'More than a one hundred'? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44761923)

...

whores (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44761927)

have dignity compared to the people who work in this field.

Quid pro quo (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762451)

And the quid pro quo of these deals is Amazon handing over the purchasers data to NSA.

So whether you buy a political book and can be flagged as politically active and worth monitoring, or you buy an environment book and can be flagged as 'eco terrorist potential candidate', all of that goes into the Stasibase.

I was told by a contractor working for Sammy, Samsung is going to cancel their EC2 cloud contract to avoid legal liability in some countries, their phones connect to Amazon and their backend is done on Amazon. So Amazon must be getting hit by this NSA fallout and that will grow worse over time as the existing contracts run out and aren't renewed. So NSA gave them a sweetener I think in return.

US trade deficit turned around in July and widened. Anyone wonder why? I know I contributed $700 of it at least simply by ditching US hosting.

So companies will get more dependant on the NSA subsidies.

Don't be evil? (2, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year ago | (#44761933)

I guess they didn't even think about having that as a slogan. As an engineer you can work to make the world a better place or a worse place. This is a choice that is actively made. Here are 100 people who aren't going to make the right choice. I feel bad for them.

Re:Don't be evil? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762121)

Sorry, that is Google's slogan. I believe Amazon's is "Don't pay taxes."

Re:Don't be evil? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762389)

"don't pay taxes... not legally required" is a moral imperative.

Re:Don't be evil? (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#44762519)

Since taxes == evil, that's really the same slogan.

FFS. (3, Insightful)

petteyg359 (1847514) | about a year ago | (#44761935)

Good: A hundred.
Good: One hundred.
Bad: A one hundred.
Bad: A 100.

Re:FFS. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762185)

"My daughter got a 100 on her math test."

Re:FFS. (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#44762703)

...and a 69 on her sex ed test.

Amz was the only good gov't RFP result I've seen (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44761945)

Private buyers are voting with their feet. They grumble about AWS but you don't see them flocking to IBM. The features, the rate of advancement and general ambition to build everything that could be useful, and the smooth automation and general competence of the whole thing outweighs their screwups.

(Which almost all seem to result from a datacenter-wide SAN and a lot of people in us-east-1. Wonder if they're regretting either the reliance on EBS or the concentration in one Region.)

And, yes, they had highly publicized region outages, but if you really need a lot of nines, you put boxes in multiple regions anyway.

Re: Amz was the only good gov't RFP result I've se (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44762103)

After having to use cognos and some other IBM products, I don't want anything to do with them

Over priced
Crappy documentation
Crappy install and config process that seems to break for no reason
Mysterious config changes you need to make to get it running that aren't documented anywhere

Ill take me SQL server over cognos any day

IBM's curse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762245)

IBM buys tons of companies and thus IBM has a very uneven experience. Cognos, for example, is a company that IBM bought and really didn't do to much to. IBM's thoroughness in 'bluewashing' acquisitions varies greatly, from barely slapping their brand on it to completely redoing the product.

Re:IBM's curse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762443)

Another "business model" I am seeing a heckuva lot of these days is when a company has competition, they do not improve their customer service nor lower their price.

Instead, they run to Congress and lawyers to have their competition either sued into the ground or delayed using legal maneuvering until their competition dies of starvation.

While we may say competition is the hallmark of a free enterprise system, in the real world a business pays off a protection racket ( Al Capone, Congress, whatever ) to have any competition wiped out. Artificial monopolies must be maintained in systems like this so as to guarantee the privileged class a high profit. While it is illegal to kill off your competitors with a gun, it is quite legal to stave them off with patent - copyright - business method lawsuits.

It takes two things for this thing to work:
1) A lobbyable Congress that makes law on the fly to either make doing something legal for one entity but illegal for another entity - or use their ability to coin tax law to economically penalize competition through tax penalties / credits.
2) A public which sees it going on and does not vote those bastards out of office. And I do not mean voting for either tweedle-dee or tweedle-dum; both are bought and paid for. I mean voting for the third guy who suddenly came out of nowhere who has an axe to grind about this.

In the Good Ole USA, we have both,

100 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44761947)

"one hundred"

"More than a 100" => "more than a one hundred"

eh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44761957)

They better hire some outside people. All the amazon software I've used is pretty poor quality.

Amazon CIA reviews (4, Funny)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year ago | (#44761981)

If Amazon wins the bid will there be a product page where CIA employees can rate the service like we do when we buy a toaster? "Five Stars. Amazon helped our CIA division keep our constitutional-violating secrets away from an unsuspecting American public. I even got to get back at that NSA guy who spied on my hot girlfriend's text messages. That take George!"

Re:Amazon CIA reviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762481)

Sometimes the comments are like "letter to the editor" at dirty magazine - they are a work of fiction and fun to read.

Top Secrets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44761983)

Doesn't Amazon need a top secret security clearance to hire those who would hold top secret security clearances? If they do, who gave this company that clearance? This is scary because Amazon sells just about everything.

Re:Top Secrets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762089)

The new hires are even having their clearances fast tracked through the system as well. Flies in the faces of everything that happened with Snowden, etc.

Re:Top Secrets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762261)

Doesn't Amazon need a top secret security clearance to hire those who would hold top secret security clearances?

I think you just have to be a government contractor. That's my impression as a guy sitting out here looking at job postings. Government contractors are the only ones who care about clearances, and the only way to get them is to work for the government or work for someone working for the government.

I'd google for how to get one but I'm sure that'd put me on A List.

Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

whydavid (2593831) | about a year ago | (#44762025)

Of all of the things involved in securing top-secret clearance, I'm willing to be the polygraph is the least invasive. Interesting that it would be the only one called out by name.

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (2)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44762115)

You mean not having the government document your life for the last 20 years is not invasive?

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about a year ago | (#44762235)

I hate to break the bad news but the government has been documenting you long before the Internet existed. Birth Certificates, SSN, school records at every level, marriage licenses, car registrations, insurance records, credit history, income taxes, employment history, and private property registrations are some of the more common. And now people are freaking out about the government getting your call meta data (basically your phone bill with no bill amounts) and possibly but unlikely reading the contents of your e-mail.

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (3, Informative)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44762289)

that's nothing compared what is involved in getting a TS clearance if you don't know

people i've known said they investigate you at least 15 years back. find all your friends, find lost friends, interview them. people in their 20's said the government talked to all their teachers, neighbors, everyone they ever knew in their life

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#44762539)

Your friends have been bullshitting you. The investigation for TS is not nearly that invasive. It would be prohibitively expensive if it was. There about 4 million people who hold a TS.

Mostly they are looking for evidence that you are unreliable, prone to criminal behavior or are subject to blackmail.

For a Secret investigation they don't even interview. Just check your records.

It's only when they go to SCI etc. that they get picky.

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (4, Informative)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44762603)

You are speculating incorrectly. I held a special clearance and they went back and talked to elementary school teachers, old friends, etc... If they come up with concerns, they dig further than they did with me.

The 4 million number includes people that have held a clearance for decades. Renewals do not take much investigation.

In other words, if it was 4million new investigations it would be cost prohibitive. It's not, so don't make up stories.

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year ago | (#44762783)

You are speculating incorrectly. I held a special clearance and they went back and talked to elementary school teachers, old friends, etc... If they come up with concerns, they dig further than they did with me.

The 4 million number includes people that have held a clearance for decades. Renewals do not take much investigation.

In other words, if it was 4million new investigations it would be cost prohibitive. It's not, so don't make up stories.

What difference does it make if they look at your files and interview people? It's just a job. Either you want the job or you don't. If they want to look into your life they can do that whether its a security clearance investigation or not, so I don't see the big deal. I suppose the only big deal would be what do you tell your friends and family when they go to you telling you the government questioned them about you.

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

darkstar949 (697933) | about a year ago | (#44762883)

You are speculating incorrectly. I held a special clearance and they went back and talked to elementary school teachers, old friends, etc... If they come up with concerns, they dig further than they did with me.

What do you mean by "special clearance" though? For an SSBI they aren't going to go back and talk to elementary school teachers because there would be no point in doing that unless you knew those same teachers when you were older. When they do an SSBI for military personnel that are fresh out of high school they don't go back and talk to elementary school teachers unless they knew the subject in the recent past since someones opinion of a child is unlikely to give any indication as to their trustworthiness as an adult.

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year ago | (#44762775)

Your friends have been bullshitting you. The investigation for TS is not nearly that invasive. It would be prohibitively expensive if it was. There about 4 million people who hold a TS.

Mostly they are looking for evidence that you are unreliable, prone to criminal behavior or are subject to blackmail.

For a Secret investigation they don't even interview. Just check your records.

It's only when they go to SCI etc. that they get picky.

At this point they can already look anyone up for any reason so why fear a security clearance?
The main problem with a security clearance is that it's a pain in the ass to keep it and its more responsibility.

Why would anyone want to choose a job which requires more of you for the same or even for less pay?

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44762549)

Yes if the gov did not interview your extended family and friends... teachers, neighbours - your clearance was done (post 911) by a contractor, mostly state/federal searches on a computer, ie if its not networked it was never really uncovered. The US gov has really created huge security mess long term.
People the gov will not really know are moving up in the cleared systems and networks with totally unknown pasts eg the really basic stuff of state sealed youth court issues, school, personality...
What the US missed in its hast, the Russians will find over time.- offering cash or exposure or understanding.

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (2)

elucido (870205) | about a year ago | (#44762801)

Yes if the gov did not interview your extended family and friends... teachers, neighbours - your clearance was done (post 911) by a contractor, mostly state/federal searches on a computer, ie if its not networked it was never really uncovered. The US gov has really created huge security mess long term.

People the gov will not really know are moving up in the cleared systems and networks with totally unknown pasts eg the really basic stuff of state sealed youth court issues, school, personality...

What the US missed in its hast, the Russians will find over time.- offering cash or exposure or understanding.

I'm guessing you don't know what you're talking about. Everything is on computer networks now. The computer network knows more about you than your friends, your family, it knows more about you than you know about yourself thanks to the capabilities of big data. There is less reason to do intrusive interviews with friends and family.

Also people don't have friends who are in their neighborhood anymore. People have friends all around the world via the Internet so it makes a lot more sense in that case to look into the internet history and Facebook than to try to physically interview every person that any individual knows. It would probably be thousands of Facebook friends who would have to be physically visited which is just unrealistic.

But nothing stops them from going to the NSA, FBI and other agencies and digging up files. I'm pretty sure Google knows everything about a person and Facebook knows every friend the person has, and all of that combined is a pretty clear picture of who they are. Immediate family would have to be physically interviewed but this idea that the Russians will be able to corrupt people so easily is silly. No amount of background check will tell you with 100% certainty who will be corrupt.

Top secret? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762573)

So much for the clearance being "top secret", if everyone who every knew you finds out you are trying to get one.

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year ago | (#44762765)

that's nothing compared what is involved in getting a TS clearance if you don't know

people i've known said they investigate you at least 15 years back. find all your friends, find lost friends, interview them. people in their 20's said the government talked to all their teachers, neighbors, everyone they ever knew in their life

How do you know the FBI doesn't already have a file on each of us going back 15 years? How do you know they don't just have it sitting in databases and decide to simply look it up when they are authorized?

Going for a security clearance authorizes them to look at all the data they collected over the past 15-20 years but they probably have been collecting it whether you went for a security clearance or not. You think the FBI only keeps files on people who go for a security clearance?

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44762315)

It has been well-known that the government is searching email (beyond headers) for keywords for quite a few years now. And also, phone calls. It's not expensive any more, you know. Not when you're spending someone else's money.

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762437)

And now people are freaking out about the government getting your call meta data (basically your phone bill with no bill amounts) and possibly but unlikely reading the contents of your e-mail.

Yes. And rightfully so. Because while there's almost certainly not a call center of agents working 'round the clock, reading the full text of your e-mails, you can bet your ass they're storing them. And if they ever want to/need to ruin you, the data's already there.

Give me five e-mails and I'll find a felony to charge you with. And I'm not even a corrupt Cardinal.

Re: Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year ago | (#44762761)

You mean not having the government document your life for the last 20 years is not invasive?

The government has a file on people whether they have a clearance or not. They probably just open the files of all the data they already have.

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762143)

it was specifically mentioned because of recent media attention, as well as it's frequent use as plot devices in movies and television. it's what people know (or think they know), and media knows it to be an attention grabbing keyword. canvassing neighbors, digging through government files, credit and call histories, and interviewing family, past-and-present employers, co-workers, etc. is boring shit compared to the high drama of a pass-or-gtfo polygraph.

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (5, Informative)

DoctorChestburster79 (3017229) | about a year ago | (#44762159)

Of all of the things involved in securing top-secret clearance, I'm willing to be the polygraph is the least invasive. Interesting that it would be the only one called out by name.

It's not that. It depends on the type of investigation you initially undergo to get said clearance in the first place. The big one for anyone holding a TS is a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI). That goes through pretty much everything for (to start) the previous ten years. The next piece of the SSBI is the periodic review (PR), which should occur no later than five years after the previous investigation. Having been on the job market for almost 5 months, it was at least a relief to have the PR taken care of prior to my layoff.

Next step up is clearing for Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). Having the TS-SSBI (and PR) makes you ELIGIBLE to gain compartmented access, but that all falls under the umbrella of need to know. From what I recall back when I first became eligible, I was asked a few questions by the OPM investigator assigned to my case (really heavy on foreign interactions, etc.). Based on that info, along with the info in the SSBI, is what gets you into SCI.

The poly only comes into play whenever a specific SCI program requires it, and even then, it's a little more involved. The big one that we're all familiar with is the Full Scope/Lifestyle, which is what most of the three letter agencies require for the really involved work. Some programs are only interested in counterintelligence (CI), while other programs don't need a poly at all. The main difference between a FS/LS and a CI poly is pretty simple: FS/LS look at anything you can possibly fess up to in your entire lifestyle (money habits, sexual inclinations, drug experiences, etc.), while CI looks at whether or not you'd be the type of guy (like Snowden) who'd sell US secrets to someone that wasn't an American.

Having personally gone through the CI poly process, it's more tedious than anything else.

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762309)

CI looks at whether or not you'd be the type of guy (like Snowden) who'd sell US secrets to someone that wasn't an American.

Snowden did not sell any data, he gave it for free.

If you were any good at whatever it is you claim to be able to do, you would not
have been hunting for a job for five months. Of course since you cannot even get
basic facts straight when you spew your bs about Snowden, it's not a stretch to imagine
you are incompetent in other areas as well. Have fun picking up your check from the
dole, slimeball.

- Z

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

DoctorChestburster79 (3017229) | about a year ago | (#44762607)

Wow, make an offhanded comment, and get called a slimeball. Wow. Do you think I actually WANTED to be on the dole? At least I got my ass out there and pounded the pavement, and in the end got interest from a company I hadn't even thought of nor solicited for my services. In short, they wanted me. Before then, I had numerous offers, but most of them hinged on contingencies beyond anyone's control (thank you, budget sequester). So my apologies for not getting my facts straight, because I was too busy trying to find a position than sit at a keyboard and play "Internet Tough Guy".

Look, rightly or wrongly, the guy did what he did. I don't disagree with it, but at the same time, there could have been a better way to handle it (but obviously there wasn't). I don't see him as a hero or as a villain. At best, he's an opportunist.

Also, posting AC just proves that you are exactly that: a coward.

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762569)

Having just gotten past my PR, I can say that PR stands for Periodic Reinvestigation.

Still, everything else you said matches my understanding.

Haven't had to do a poly yet, but am hoping my next job will require one. I'm hoping maintaining TS/SCI et al will keep me employable for another 10 years or more with the government. I am assuming you are/were a contractor who was laid off.

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762611)

To ask the question in a less antagonistic manner:

Has it been demonstrated that Snowden has *sold* classified information to anyone? From what I understood, he was delivering it gratis to known-responsible members of The Press.

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (2)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44762621)

while CI looks at whether or not you'd be the type of guy (like Snowden) who'd sell US secrets to someone that wasn't an American.

Pretty sure Snowden could have honestly replied to any questions that made him sound like a spy.

Or is a standard question... "If you found out your the entire apparatus of your employer up to the very top was corrupt and conducting illegal acts, and then lying to Congress about it. Would you keep quiet and participate in those criminal acts in violation of the law and the constitution?

Lol... reminds me of those ethics tests they make people take for retail jobs. Where the "right" answers are to be a sociopath freak.

"Suppose there is a coworker you were friends with, lived through a kidnapping with, and who is the god parent to your children and the best man at your wedding, and is in your opinion an excellent employee. Now if they were in a car accident, and he's running a touch late. He calls you from the parking lot as he's rushing in and asks you to punch them in so they would not appear to be late... would you:
a) clock him in early
b) stay out of it
c) promptly report that he asked you to clock him in on time to your manager, and testify for the company against him when we sue him for the attempt to commit fraud?

Company Answer sheet:
a = wrong answer, automatic fail, and you are a worthless criminal
b = wrong answer
c = correct, this is the exactly the kind of people we want as employees. Just think, your new boss passed this test!! We bet you are looking to work with such ethical people!

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year ago | (#44762847)

while CI looks at whether or not you'd be the type of guy (like Snowden) who'd sell US secrets to someone that wasn't an American.

Pretty sure Snowden could have honestly replied to any questions that made him sound like a spy.

Or is a standard question... "If you found out your the entire apparatus of your employer up to the very top was corrupt and conducting illegal acts, and then lying to Congress about it. Would you keep quiet and participate in those criminal acts in violation of the law and the constitution?

Lol... reminds me of those ethics tests they make people take for retail jobs. Where the "right" answers are to be a sociopath freak.

"Suppose there is a coworker you were friends with, lived through a kidnapping with, and who is the god parent to your children and the best man at your wedding, and is in your opinion an excellent employee. Now if they were in a car accident, and he's running a touch late. He calls you from the parking lot as he's rushing in and asks you to punch them in so they would not appear to be late... would you:
a) clock him in early
b) stay out of it
c) promptly report that he asked you to clock him in on time to your manager, and testify for the company against him when we sue him for the attempt to commit fraud?

Company Answer sheet:
a = wrong answer, automatic fail, and you are a worthless criminal
b = wrong answer
c = correct, this is the exactly the kind of people we want as employees. Just think, your new boss passed this test!! We bet you are looking to work with such ethical people!

My understanding of it is that Security Clearances are about war. There is a chain of command, and ethics usually come in second to winning the war because being dead and ethical isn't as good as being alive and unethical in the context of a war.

The other problem is the fog of war, if everything is compartmentalized then how can you know what is or isn't ethical in a situation when the information you have is incomplete and "need to know".

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (2)

elucido (870205) | about a year ago | (#44762811)

Of all of the things involved in securing top-secret clearance, I'm willing to be the polygraph is the least invasive. Interesting that it would be the only one called out by name.

It's not that. It depends on the type of investigation you initially undergo to get said clearance in the first place. The big one for anyone holding a TS is a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI). That goes through pretty much everything for (to start) the previous ten years. The next piece of the SSBI is the periodic review (PR), which should occur no later than five years after the previous investigation. Having been on the job market for almost 5 months, it was at least a relief to have the PR taken care of prior to my layoff.

Next step up is clearing for Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). Having the TS-SSBI (and PR) makes you ELIGIBLE to gain compartmented access, but that all falls under the umbrella of need to know. From what I recall back when I first became eligible, I was asked a few questions by the OPM investigator assigned to my case (really heavy on foreign interactions, etc.). Based on that info, along with the info in the SSBI, is what gets you into SCI.

The poly only comes into play whenever a specific SCI program requires it, and even then, it's a little more involved. The big one that we're all familiar with is the Full Scope/Lifestyle, which is what most of the three letter agencies require for the really involved work. Some programs are only interested in counterintelligence (CI), while other programs don't need a poly at all. The main difference between a FS/LS and a CI poly is pretty simple: FS/LS look at anything you can possibly fess up to in your entire lifestyle (money habits, sexual inclinations, drug experiences, etc.), while CI looks at whether or not you'd be the type of guy (like Snowden) who'd sell US secrets to someone that wasn't an American.

Having personally gone through the CI poly process, it's more tedious than anything else.

The real question is why would anyone want a Top Secret clearance? Is the pay really so great to be worth the trouble?

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year ago | (#44762219)

Really all you need to know about Polygraphs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROhp2aS9pQU [youtube.com]

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#44762633)

Really all you need to know about Polygraphs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROhp2aS9pQU [youtube.com]

Polygraphs are a reminder that showy useless security measures do, in fact pre-date the kind of silliness that is currently practiced in airports.

Maybe they should make them take "truth serum".

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762243)

Agreeing to take the polygraph is like agreeing to be tortured and to be subjected to the falsifciations of results by the "test" givers. Anyone who demands a polygraph as a requirement of employment is not a fit person to breathe, much less work for.

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year ago | (#44762851)

Agreeing to take the polygraph is like agreeing to be tortured and to be subjected to the falsifciations of results by the "test" givers. Anyone who demands a polygraph as a requirement of employment is not a fit person to breathe, much less work for.

So just don't apply for the job?

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762567)

Of all of the things involved in securing top-secret clearance, I'm willing to be the polygraph is the least invasive. Interesting that it would be the only one called out by name.

Because after all your friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, coworkers, former coworkers, and people you may only know peripherally interviewed by the agency with no red flags, your credibility hinges on the technological equivalent of a Ouija Board that is "read" by a person who actually believes they can "sense" when you are not telling the "truth". Well, at least you'll finally be able to get that OT3 audit and those pesky body thetans taken care of...

Re:Who cares about the polygraph? (2)

Endovior (2450520) | about a year ago | (#44762675)

Quoth Cory Doctorow:

"Polygraph" is the fancy, semi-scientific name for a "lie detector," a machine that's supposed to be able to tell whether you're fibbing by measuring things like "galvanic skin response" (another science-y word, meaning "sweatiness") and your heart rate. They were invented in 1921, and, like many science-y things, people decided they were so complicated that they must work. This, of course, is an insane reason to believe something.

Lie detectors are crap. What they tell you is whether the person they've been hooked up to is sweaty, or whether his pulse has gone up, but that doesn't mean he's lying. Courts don't admit lie detector evidence for a reason.

But they're still made and they're still used -- for much the same reason that people still wear crystals around their necks to cure their diseases or buy "homeopathic remedies" to get better. It's a combination of two distinct flavors of stupidity. I call the first one "It's better than nothing." I call the second one "It worked for me."

These delusions are why many big corporations, the U.S. military, and the FBI subject their people to lie detectors. Imagine that you're some kind of millionaire big-shot company executive, the founder of a chain of successful convenience stores. You need to hire a regional manager, and if you hire the wrong person, he or she might rob you blind and ruin you. You need to get this right.

So you pay some expensive "executive recruiting" company to find the right person. They have a big sales pitch: we're smart, we've been doing this for years, and best of all, we're scientific. We have "scientific personality tests" we'll administer to make sure you're getting the right person. And before you hire that person, we'll wire her up to our lie detector and ask her some important questions, like "Are you planning on robbing the company?" and "Are you a secret drug user?" and so on.

Science is awesome, right? A scientific recruiting company's going to be totally bad-ass at finding you the right person, using the science of hiring-ology, and their science lab must have a bunch of Ph.D. hire-ologists. But you've heard that the polygraph is, you know, kind of sketchy. Does it really work?

"Oh, sure," the consultants tell you. "Not perfectly, of course. But nothing's perfect. Polygraphs, though, sometimes tell you when someone is lying, and isn't that better than nothing?"

(The correct answer is "probably not." Flipping a coin or sacrificing a goat would "sometimes" tell you if someone was lying, if you had enough lies and enough goats and you did it for long enough.)

Now, imagine you're a section chief at the FBI. You got your job by passing a lie detector test. You'd been wired up, you'd been asked if you were a secret communist islamofascist terrorist dope-fiend. You'd said "no," and the machine agreed. It works! Now, some people out there say that the machine's a piece of crap, but what do they know? After all, it not only worked on you, it worked on everyone you work with!

(Of course, everyone it didn't work on wasn't hired, or was hired even though they're snorting lines of meth through rolled up pages of The Communist Manifesto while they strap on their suicide bombs.)

The world is full of science-y crap. You probably know someone who wears a copper bracelet to "help with arthritis." They might as well burn a witch or cover themselves in blue mud and dance widdershins under a full moon. There's a chance either of those things will make them feel better, because of the placebo effect (when your brain convinces itself to stop feeling bad), but there are an alarming number of people who insist that because something "works" it must not be a placebo, it must be "real."

My Interview and Polygraph Experience (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762055)

I have been through the full scope polygraph process, and it sucked. I had to do it twice. It has been 1 year and I am still waiting for adjudication even though I passed the poly in April. However, my friend was hired by Amazon for the CIA work and he is getting a fast-tracked Full Scope Polygraph clearance apparently in only a few months. Considering how Amazon is staffing up and pushing people through for clearances, it would be very detrimental if IBM ended up winning the contract.

I was also interviewed by Amazon for one of these positions. It was a phone call with a shared coding session. The guy was not friendly and he asked a lot of academic questions that do not directly apply to the job or anything I have done since college. I was turned off by the experience and didn't care that they did not want to proceed with a 2nd interview. However, my friend had a much more positive experience so it really depends on who you interview with I guess.

I have worked in defense contracting for 10 years. I am now working for a startup company now and getting a lot more satisfaction out of my job. My friend received an outstanding job offer from Amazon, but he will likely end up hating his job and have the "golden handcuffs" put on.

One interesting thing is that Amazon is hiring for both Seattle and D.C. area for these jobs. I don't like either city but it's interesting they are wanting to have people with clearances work in Seattle. At least there is an option for people that want one of these positions.

Re:My Interview and Polygraph Experience (2)

DoctorChestburster79 (3017229) | about a year ago | (#44762229)

I, too, interviewed with Amazon back in June. Probably had the same guy you did, because he sure as hell didn't seem all that interested in any of the softer skills you'd need to do certain aspects of the job, especially with your spook counterparts. And this was for a systems engineer position.

My feeling on any poly is meh. As long as you're up front with your security folks and asking questions about certain things (remember, the onus is also on you to keep things up and make the investigator and security team's lives easier), you shouldn't have any problems.

Fortunately, I'm starting with a smaller defense contracting firm on Monday. Commute's not bad, and I can get into a position closer to home should some opportunities show up. At least it's not a big firm like what I've worked for previously.

Re:My Interview and Polygraph Experience (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762275)

If I were you, I would apply with them again. The job with Amazon would pay very, very well if you can get to the offer. That is my advise if you are already in defense contracting in Northern Virginia. At least do it to try to get the clearance upgrade.

The guy I interviewed with was a jerk and had no clue about anything related to defense contracting. They have driven away at least one (me) quality engineer by asking obscure algorithm and math questions for a software engineering interview and in general being out of touch with their applicant.

Re:My Interview and Polygraph Experience (1)

DoctorChestburster79 (3017229) | about a year ago | (#44762333)

I've already got the TS, and have had an SCI w/ CI poly in the past (my previous employer was trying to get me in on a YW, but my previous PR hadn't been completed when they submitted the paperwork). I had a MD-based company contact me out of the blue for some work at the Fort, but they couldn't do the upgrade. From the talk with one of the heads of the firm I start with next week, there could be an opportunity to upgrade (they'll at least keep the TS in place), but I'm just happy that I don't have to rely on UI or draining any more savings for the foreseeable future.

Re:My Interview and Polygraph Experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762535)

Reading some of the interview experiences on Glassdoor for Amazon, that seems par for the course - ask a bunch of obscure dry academic questions that might be good for a CS student going into grad school or postdoc but totally irrelevant and needlessly obscure for industry work.

Re:My Interview and Polygraph Experience (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44762591)

Twice or more is the real mind game. Watch for the pre interview and they will watch you in the waiting area. What you read (on the net before and on the day), how you act, how you sit.
Then the interview, then the questions, finally the hardware is hooked up... after the hardware ... more cute questions and offers to 'help', been on your side... if you are truthful NOW .... its all in the "other" questions and the build up over 2-3 tests.
The UK looked at the tests the US offered in the 1980's and found them to be total junk. Good staff would be lost/never hired, bad people would get to advance unnoticed.

Don't do it. (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about a year ago | (#44762157)

DC is my home town, and I have several friends who have had jobs that required clearances with polygraphs. They've all told me that the job isn't worth the abuse.

-jcr

Re:Don't do it. (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#44762211)

Beltway bandit jobs. Chances are, the ones with the clearance are the least competent in terms of technical prowess. Political prowess, that's a different thing altogether.

Re:Don't do it. (1)

DoctorChestburster79 (3017229) | about a year ago | (#44762247)

Even then, it amazes me how certain people got into their positions in the first place, regardless of what prowess (or lack thereof) they leveraged to get there.

Conflict of interest much ?!? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762183)

Bezos owns the Washington Post.

And now Amazon wants to get in bed with the CIA ?

What a crock of shit.

Today it's Amazon (2, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44762213)

Tomorrow it's McDonalds and Coca Cola. The old timers are dying off. They have to find somebody that can keep their recipes secret. It's like Willy Wonka finding his successor.

Hire me! (1)

NetNinja (469346) | about a year ago | (#44762271)

I can pass the TOP SECRECT clearance exam! whats the job pay? it would have to be in the $250K range to be worth my while.

Not hard to get actually (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762319)

TS clearances are pretty easy to get as long as:

1) No criminal history
2) No heavy debt or credit issues
3) No skeletons in the closet to feed blackmail
4) No drug and only light alcohol use
5) No relationships with foreign nationals
6) US citizen goes without saying, foreign born may disqualify you.

Polygraph likely dependent on how the rest of your background check goes. If the neighbors / coworkers statements are all positive, they may not even bother.

So, if you lead a very boring life, you're a shoe in for Government jobs :)

Re:Not hard to get actually (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44762377)

Have they added 'Patriotic; but not , y'know, that patriotic' since they got Snowdened?

Re:Not hard to get actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762455)

That is better rendered: Patriotic, not "patriotic."

Re:Not hard to get actually (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44762709)

1) No criminal history - if your from a good family...the computer says your ok...
2) No heavy debt or credit issues - some seem to be very over extended...
3) No skeletons in the closet to feed blackmail - you would really think that one would be vital...
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/upshot/pentagon-declined-investigate-hundreds-purchases-child-pornography.html [yahoo.com]
4) No drug and only light alcohol use - always good to test for.
5) No relationships with foreign nationals - but you sooooo need that regional dialect, language, cultural insight.
6) US citizen goes without saying, foreign born may disqualify you. - some nations are more equal than others and the US really has risked/lost so much on the dual citizen aspect.

Polygraph Tests (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762347)

They always accuse you of using drugs. Always. They also try to beat you into a confession. Always.

I got up and walked out of my polygraph at the CIA when I interviewed. I didn't want to come close to finding out how an organization treated its employees when it treated its prospects like that.

Re:Polygraph Tests (2)

darkstar949 (697933) | about a year ago | (#44762861)

They always accuse you of using drugs. Always. They also try to beat you into a confession. Always.

Generally speaking the odds of a random American having tried drugs was about 42% back in 2008 and I'm sure that on a generational basis that number is likely higher or lower. Plus if you know where someone grew up or is currently living that affects the odds as well. So from that perspective it kind of makes sense to push someone on the issue - if they will not admit to doing something once or twice (that they really don't care about) then what else are they likely to keep close lipped that can actually be used against them?

Fuck a polygraph. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762401)

Everyone knows reading tea leaves is just as accurate. Or throwing bones in the dirt and analyzing the shape.

OMG what if they hire people who are not numerologically compatible for high security positions?

THE SKY MIGHT FALL!

captcha: doubting

Well in my case (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about a year ago | (#44762445)

I did a short stint with a military contractor. Had to be fingerprinted, urine tested, background checked and get secret clearance. Problem was the clearance process takes SO long that by the time I had completed the project and left the company I get a call about my clearance interview. Told em' it was a moot point.

IBM is one of the last that should get it. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#44762489)

They will simply outsource it India and China. Time to remove IBM from the fed and state payrolls.

Obviously never worked with IBM and Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762631)

IBM dealing with the government is pretty much 100% US employee driven. It's one of the things IBM can do really well.

IBM is a strange company. In some areas the poster child for rabid off shoring even when it doesn't make financial sense due to a religious belief that India and China are *always* cheaper no matter how the reality works. In other areas, they actually show signs of sanity, making appropriate personnel decisions that involve the most appropriate and/or cost effective choice including US hiring.

However, while IBM has some of the best and worst, as a corporate culture I think there is a significant challenge. The great bits of IBM seem to move forward in spite of, not because of, the leadership climate.

Washington Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762537)

Quite a coincidence that this came so close to purchase of Washington Post.

Buying a 'private cloud' from someone else (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44762545)

is utterly fucking retarded.

If its large enough to warrant Amazon hiring people for a 'private' cloud, its damn sure large enough to do it yourself and cut out the half assed middle man better known as Amazon.

Their 'cloud' is by far the most expensive, poorest performing, highest downtime 'cloud' I've ever seen. You have to be a rather large moron to buy compute from Amazon. You want to serve files with S3, okay, its not 'the worst' so I can understand that choice, but as far as compute is concerned, they are the worst of the worst.

As evidenced... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762671)

By the need to hire 100 employees, basically Amazon has nothing to contribute here except skim off the top. They aren't providing ready-to-use talent, they aren't providing facilities. They are basically promising that they can find 100 employees with no prior amazon experience to recreate EC2 inside a Federal datacenter.

This is one of the cases where I think if *anyone* was a good fit, it might actually be IBM (given they actually do have tons of people already trained up with the requisite clearances good to go and a lot more experience with federal government processes, which 99% of the time they do competently, though the 1% of failures are pretty spectacular). The biggest problem is they have a huge library of inappropriate software they have a habit of trying to shovel in. However, they do actually have the talent and in fact good software to do it well when they have the will to do so.

Re:Buying a 'private cloud' from someone else (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year ago | (#44762913)

is utterly fucking retarded.

If its large enough to warrant Amazon hiring people for a 'private' cloud, its damn sure large enough to do it yourself and cut out the half assed middle man better known as Amazon.

Their 'cloud' is by far the most expensive, poorest performing, highest downtime 'cloud' I've ever seen. You have to be a rather large moron to buy compute from Amazon. You want to serve files with S3, okay, its not 'the worst' so I can understand that choice, but as far as compute is concerned, they are the worst of the worst.

Government does not have the money or expertise to do it themselves.

Headhunters (1)

mbone (558574) | about a year ago | (#44762565)

They don't want people who can get clearances, they want people who have clearances, and that means Amazon needs to go to headhunters.

If they are really desperate, they should start running audio ads on WTOP.

(I live in the DC area, and that's how it is done.)

Re:Headhunters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762827)

I'll bet there are a lot of people who have clearance, but no current job due to the sequester

Well the NSA Sys Admin layoffs... (2)

jftitan (736933) | about a year ago | (#44762961)

All them Sys Admins now have a private job waiting.

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