Or, maybe that word should be; "Interviewed".
I have, and this is how it went!
This event is real. The names of the Federal Agent and the Applicant he was investigating have been changed of course. The Agent will be "Agent Adams", the person being investigated will be "Lieutenant-Colonel Norman", I will be "Mr. Kennedy".
(The doorbell rings...)
Looking at the security monitor I see a man dressed in a proper but comfortable business suit. The jacket was closed but not buttoned. He is fit and trim; an athletic build. He is carrying a briefcase under his left arm, he is clean shaven and wears no hat. The car parked out front appears to be a newer four door Ford sedan, cream colored. The left arm that is holding his briefcase against his body also has a hand that is holding what looks like a man's wallet. His right hand was empty with his arm at his side.
I open the door.
"Good afternoon, Sir, what may I do for you?"
"Good afternoon; I am looking for a Mister Kennedy."
I see now that his left hand holds his ID Folder (Credentials Case, or "cred case") in his hand. This tells me that he is not a salesman.
"That would be me, Sir; you're at the correct address."
He shows me his creds in a proper manner; easy to see, easy to notice the design of the Logo and the shield of the FBI. A remarkable card quality, a georgeous shield.
"My name is James Adams and I am an Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have a backgound check in progress and believe you may have valuable information if you could spare some time?"
"Absolutely, Sir. Come on in, Agent Adams."
He then put his ID Folder back into his right rear pocket, which briefly exposed his Glock-22, (40-cal) as he moved his jacket out of the way. This told me why he already had his creds in his hand before he identified himself. That reasoning is obvious.
(Note: Through the years the Bureau has fielded several different sidearms for Field Agents. Before this time the "piece de resistance" was the Sig P229 in caliber 9mm. At this time, the standard issue sidearm was the Glock in forty caliber. Agents who had been issued the SIG P229 however could elect to either keep their SIG or exchange it for a new Glock if they so desired).
I asked if he would care for a soda or water or coffee. He said thanks, but he was good. Agent Adams takes a chair that I indicate and opens his briefcase.
"Could I please ask to see your picture ID before we begin, Mister Kennedy?" This Agent is experienced. Any background investigator, or criminal investigator, who does not request valid identification from those he interviews, is taking a chance that will eventually bite him big time.
"Yes, Sir, absolutely." I remove my ID case from my pocket, hand him five dot-gov picture ID's; two Federal and three State.
He smiles and tries to hold back a chuckle; "Thank You, Mister Kennedy; there is certainly no question who I am interviewing!" He hands the ID's back to me
"I am looking into the background of an Army Officer, Chief." (This told me he had already reviewed my record.) "We see this Officer had been your superior at one time. After we briefed your record we chose you for a source of information on this background." I liked the way he started his interview. He was being complete, informative and honest.
He makes notes in his file as he is talking, then tells me the name of the Officer. I am a bit concerned that the Bureau is investigating this Officer, but of course say nothing. I wonder why there would be a Bureau background investigation in progress. The Government already has everything on file that this officer has ever done. But Agent Adams had asked me a question.
"Yes, Sir, that is correct, that Officer was indeed my superior at one time." He makes notes in his file.
"We will first just ask your overall, average, opinion to begin with. What is your overall rating of this Officer on a scale of one to ten, with ten of course being the highest mark?"
I didn't have to think very long to answer that one; only how to answer it properly.
"If there were a hundred critical standards to consider, Agent Adams, every rating would deserve a solid ten. This Officer was always proficient and efficient. From knowledge of regulations, to people-skills, to leadership skills, to proper, fast, logical decisions, to assigning tasks to those who could complete them, to team-work, to being able to sort the wheat from the straw, to personality, to absolutely impeccable morals, and for simply being enjoyable to work with on good or bad days; she always earned a solid ten."
"Thank you..." (Agent Adams makes much longer notes in his file)
"Do you know whether this Officer drinks alcohol to excess?"
"This Officer does not drink alcohol as far as I know, Agent Adams. I served with this Officer on several extended TDY assignments as well as regular daily tasks as Staff members at Division Headquarters. Diet Coke was the drink of the day."
Agent Adams made longer notes in his file. He asked several other questions before the interview was coming to a close. Then the final question.
"Chief, would you take a bullet for this Officer?"
Now I am relieved and confident that this investigation is not because of something adverse, as this question would not have been on the list of interests for the interview.
"If this Officer was in peril and I couldn't get both of us out of the way or effectively engage the peril, I'd be in front of this Officer, Agent Adams."
(Agent makes longer notes in his file.)
"Very good, Chief, that was well-said, thank you. But the actual question was; would you take a bullet for this officer?"
Now I mentally chastise myself for changing his question by the way I had answered. I feel my face get a bit red. I know better than to change the meaning of a question, or not answer it in direct terms. If he had asked something like; "If this Officer came under fire, would you protect...." my answer would have been appropriate. But that was not the question. The question was; would I take a bullet for this Officer.
"Yes, Sir, Agent Adams, I certainly would take a bullet for this Officer; any time, anywhere, for any reason, any caliber."
Agent Adams nods his head in the affirmative then makes a much longer note.
This interview was very pleasant. The Agent was very pleasant, personable, professional, efficient and thorough. The investigation obviously included interviewing people from perhaps six or eight years prior. Which was about how long it had been since I had worked with this Officer. I asked the Agent if I was correct in thinking this Officer was being considered for an important position. Instead of answering directly he, very appropriately, simply stated the present rank and name of the Officer. I was pleased to know the Applicant had earned a couple of promotions since I had been her subordinate. Agent Adams said there were several possibilities for upcoming assignments and promotions. Several applicants were being considered. A well-said, appropriate, general answer. Then he concluded the interview.
"Thank you for your time and your valuable information regarding this Officer, Mister Kennedy. I believe this interview will effectively wrap up this report. There is not much more that could be said by anyone we would be concerned with." He closed his briefcase, stood up and shook hands.
"And thank you, Agent Adams, for considering my opinion to be worth your time to drive all the way up here."
I watched as he went to his car, got in, made some more notes on another note pad before starting up his car, checking front and rear for traffic, then driving away.
Probably an hour and a half had elapsed from the time Agent Adams rang my doorbell until he concluded his interview with me.
I never did know what the competition was for which rated a full background investigation by the FBI. But it had to be some assignment that was important. I do not know if promotions themselves are something that would rate a full background investigation from the Bureau Agents. I don't believe that would be possible with the limited Bureau resources demanding full time crime investigations from all the Field Agents.
Whatever the competition was for, I personally hope she was chosen; she certainly deserved it.