McSwane, 17, is actually just the kind of teenager the military would like. He's a high school journalist and honor student at Arvada West High School. But McSwane decided he wanted to see "how far the Army would go during a war to get one more solider."
McSwane contacted his local army recruiting office in Golden with a scenario he created. He told a recruiter that he was a dropout and didn't have a high school diploma.
"No problem," the recruiter explained. He suggested that McSwane create a fake diploma from a non-existent school.
McSwane recorded the recruiter saying that on the phone.
"It can be like Faith Hill Baptist School or something -- whatever you choose," the recruiter said.
As instructed, McSwane went on the computer to a Web site and for $200 arranged to have a phony diploma created that certified him as a graduate of Faith Hill Baptist High School, the very name the recruiter suggested. It came complete with a fake grade transcript.
"What was your reaction to them encouraging you to get a phony diploma?" CBS4's Rick Sallinger asked.
"I was shocked," McSwane said. "I'm sitting there looking at a poster that says 'Integrity, Honor, Respect' and he is telling me to lie."
McSwane also pretended he had a drug problem when he spoke with the recruiter.
The Army does not accept enlistees with drug problems.
"I have a problem with drugs," McSwane said, referring to the conversation he had with the recruiter. "I can't kick the habit ... just marijuana."
"[The recruiter] said 'Not a problem,' just take this detox ... he said he would pay half of it ... told me where to go."
Drug testers CBS4 contacted insist it doesn't work, but the recruiter claimed in another recorded phone conversation that taking "detoxification capsules and liquid" would help McSwane pass the required test.