Obtaining Security Clearance

A Motorcycle, a Ring, and Anger Issues Doom Clearance Eligibility

The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Hearing and Appeals upheld the security clearance denial for a contractor based on financial issues, and criminal conduct. After reading the details on the applicant’s appeal presentation in the hearing, it is not surprising – here is a summary of the case:

In October 2018 the applicant submitted an SF-86 security clearance application for a DOE contractor position and on it annotated he had experienced financial issues over the past seven years with still yet unresolved collections totaling $2,500 and two charged-off debts for almost $30,000. He blamed these issues on a period of unemployment, mixed in perhaps with a bit of irresponsibility on his part. Additionally, the applicant had been involved in ten separate incidents between 2006-2017 involving alcohol abuse, driving under the influence, harassment, driving on a suspended license, battery, and resisting arrest. The local security office issued him a Letter of Interrogatory (LOI) in June 2019 asking him to provide mitigation for the financial issues and criminal conduct. His response to the LOI did not mitigate the issues and he was denied clearance eligibility.

Turns out, the two charge-offs were for a ring he bought for his then girlfriend for $1,300 and a motorcycle for over $28,000. Soon after, he became unexpectedly unemployed and stopped making payments on them. He also had five other car payments at the time and couldn’t afford all of it. The collections were for medical procedures and the applicant just failed to follow through on contacting creditors to set up payment plans. Although the loss of one’s job is a life event sometimes beyond one’s control, irresponsibility in spending prior to the loss of a job is a flag indicating a lack of maturity and responsibility. The appeals judge thought this as well. The judge also noted almost every instance of his criminal conduct involved the abuse of alcohol which directly impacted his ability to control his emotions and resulted in angry outbursts and violence. The applicant could not provide a reasonable excuse for any of the incidents and predictably so, clearance eligibility was denied again. You can read the entire case here.