Background InvestigationsObtaining Security Clearance

Ask Your Clearance Questions – Part 10

Unique on the web! Our ongoing series allows you to ask your most complex questions regaring security clearances and our regular contributors will try to answer them. Here are the rules:

  1. Please do not address a contributor by name to ensure anyone who has knowledge might answer.
  2. Do not include your own name, email address, or other information that can identify you. This is a public forum and clearance holders have a responsibility for covertness.
  3. If you have questions regarding careers, job hunting, salaries, interviewing, or other career-related topics, see the other threads dedicated to this purpose.
  4. Understand that the suggestions and comments contributors provide are their opinions only. The owners of this site are not responsible for the suggestions and guidance from outside contributors.
  5. Provide full details about your case in your initial question thread.

Please read over previous threads to see if your question has already been answered. Use the Search tool to locate specific keywords. Thanks!

Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    I applied for Top Secret clearance on December 2003. I was denied because I held back an incident when I was 16 years old until an interview. I did not disclose that information on the original application. When I was 16 I was employed at a food store and stole beer once along with others. I wasn’t fired from this job, but was instead forced to quit. I did not put this on my original application for clearance because A. I was scared I wouldn’t get the clearance and B. Stupid. During an interview with an investigator I disclosed this information. After that I was denied Top Secret clearance and I entered another job in the military. I currently have a secret clearance and I want to train into a job that requires Top Secret clearance. Would I most likely be denied again because of the incident when I was 16? I’m aware stealing alcohol when I was 16 is definitely a negative image, however I am hoping my last four years in the military with an excellent record would help out my chances. Thanks for any response.

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    I’ve been reading this website for the past couple of days and I’d like to state that this is an incredible wealth of information!

    As such, I’d like to ask a few questions.

    I have just recently been offerred a job for which I need a secret level clearance. My future boss has also hinted at the fact that he’d like me to get an interim clearance, but hasn’t said that I need one. Are companys required to tell you if you need an interim clearance?

    Now, I’m worried about the prospect of an interim clearance because I did try marijuana once during my freshman year of college (almost 7 years ago, but not quite) and I plan to state that on my SF86. I also have a misdemeanor weapons violation (it is not related to firearms or explosives) for which I received a $70 fine that I paid (I was not arrested, but I was issued a citation). This incident happened over seven years ago, but should I put it on my SF86?

    I feel that I would be better off if I am honest about everything in my background, including the weapons violation. I also plan to describe these events and how I have moved on in the comments section.

    I also get the idea that interim clearances are hit or miss, but I was wondering if you have any comments about this situation. (Perhaps I’m just too worried).


  3. Avatar

    How is a person who is in for a clearance notified the outcome? Do they send a letter in the mail or what?

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    I currently hold a non-poly TS/SCI clearance, and am considering a change of employer/career to do something totally unrelated that doesn’t require a clearance. I am told that if I make the switch my clearance will go inactive for a period of 24 months, after which it will expire if I do not have a requirement to do cleared work again. My questions are:

    1. Is this the case for all clearances?

    2. Are there any “lingering” aspects of doing cleared work that could follow one in the future, should one choose to stop doing cleared work, such as follow up SSBIs or credit checks during or after this 24 month period? Or does my clearance just simply “go away” and exist as a footnote, should I wish to reapply in the future?

    3. How would leaving affect my ability to go on foreign travel? Currently pre and post notifications are required. I am told if I leave my employer these are no longer required, and I would be free to travel as I wish. Is this true for inactive clearances, expired clearances, or neither? Would foreign travel risk pursuing a clearance again in the future?

    4. Are there TS/SCI debriefs or read-outs, and what do they consist of?


  5. Avatar


    I say give it a shot–not a real losing situation and I’m pretty sure exemplary service will help your cause. Good luck and thanks for your service.

  6. Avatar


    No special anything–your FSO or Security Manager will be notified.

  7. Avatar

    I’ll ask again here. My clearance is one that would be classified as “complicated” as far as adjudication goes. It would most likely be reviewed by a few people before a decision is made. In fact, if I worked for OPM it would likely end up in Adjudicator101’s team’s hands.

    Anyways my original secret clearance was suspended in summer of 2005 for allegations that were disproven. It was never re-instated though. Reason being, I just submitted my SF-86 for an SSBI.

    SSBI goes and finished last winter. Clearance is still suspended while it pends adjudication. During the course of it I get married to a foreign national. My CAF has asked for all of her information for OPM to perform their check on her.

    Anyone know how long it usually takes? There’s not much to check. She’s been in the US twice as a tourist for a total of 4 weeks, and we havent even filed immigration paperwork yet.

    Secondly, I’m not sure what to do anymore. i’ve been waiting since 2005 and it’s completely out of my hands. Everywhere I turn is something else. First, I was told that all of paperwork to close the incident which suspended my clearance had been submitted. I find out later when my command gets involved that it had not been…only after that guy who was supposed to submit it is asked to leave his job ASAP.

    New guy is hired. He tells me he’s working it. He quits the job and takes off, I find out he hasnt done anything, and he tried to set me up for more problems and we find out he and the last boss were best friends.

    I’m not getting any help from higher level commands, nor is my command. I have a stack of paperwork a mile high from the last 3 commanders and security chiefs asking for my clearance to be reinstated, granted etc. It’s all been submitted.

    I eventually Contacted the chief for personnel security for my branch of the DoD. She made some inquiries and began speaking with my command about it.

    Now I’m still in limbo. I’ve been working as the security officer the entire time. My command supports me, they’ve even promoted me three times while my clearance is suspended and getting ready to do it a 4th time.

    But they are beginning to get tired of the waiting game and having to work around me not having access. It’s really disheartening to wait so long and constantly be reminded or asked when it will be adjudicated. I have no idea, and I cant contact anyone myself.

    I love what i do, but sometimes I just want to quit and forget about it. I wish I could just contact the CAF and tell them I will pay the overtime and all expenses out of pocket for the adjudicators to sit down and adjudicate my case either way and just get it moving.

    I dont know what to do any more. Any advice? It’s going on 4 years in limbo here. It really just crushes moral to have to continue being in limbo. Part of me just wants to quit.

    I have an offer on the table, its for $60k a year as a computer programmer in long island NY, but I dont think that’s enough to live off in NY city, and I still have enough desire to serve left that I’m sticking it out.

  8. Avatar

    crap, that’s longer than I thought it would be

  9. Avatar

    JZ – My take on your questions below:

    1. I am told that if I make the switch my clearance will go inactive for a period of 24 months, after which it will expire if I do not have a requirement to do cleared work again. Is this the case for all clearances?

    The 24 month period is what Federal contractors claim is the time period in which their FSOs have the ability to reactivate your clearance. The government doesn’t necessarily recognize this, but it is the reality for contractors.

    2. Are there any “lingering” aspects of doing cleared work that could follow one in the future, should one choose to stop doing cleared work, such as follow up SSBIs or credit checks during or after this 24 month period? Or does my clearance just simply “go away” and exist as a footnote, should I wish to reapply in the future?

    If you are read off and take a job that doesn’t require the clearance, you won’t be subject to additional background checks, periodic reinvestigations, etc.

    3. How would leaving affect my ability to go on foreign travel? Currently pre and post notifications are required. I am told if I leave my employer these are no longer required, and I would be free to travel as I wish. Is this true for inactive clearances, expired clearances, or neither? Would foreign travel risk pursuing a clearance again in the future?

    Yes, if you are no longer working a job that requires the clearance, you are free to travel wherever without notifications. However, do know that foreign travel can have an impact on your future ability to obtain a clearance again. This depends on where you travel to, for how long, and what your purpose is for being there.

    4. Are there TS/SCI debriefs or read-outs, and what do they consist of?

    As a clearance holder of a lower level, I can’t answer this. I’ve also never left the job that requires my clearance, so I’ve not been debriefed before. However, I have heard from my FSO that debriefs are standard procedure.

    Good luck..

  10. Avatar

    BW An Investigator,

    Thanks for the reply to my question. The only reason I am hesitant to give it a shot is because there is a loss if I am denied again. When retraining, you list a few jobs that you are interested in. I would love to do the one requiring TS clearance, however I am hesitant to put it because, if denied, I am stuck in my current career field and I definitely do not want that. Thanks again for your response!!

  11. Avatar

    BW AN INVESTIGATOR, Mr. Henderson:

    Can you tell me what exactly past employers and references are asked in the written inquiry (for an MBI)? Is the questionnaire the same for all federal agencies? Thanks.

    I am sorry. My question was in reference to an MBI.

  12. Avatar

    I have submitted an application with a civ. contractor which requires the State Dept to conduct a BI. The form I have to fill out is a SF-85. Question, I dont see anywhere on the form that talks about personal finance. I have a foreclosure in 2004 b/c of a renter skipping town on me and I could not sell the house or re-rent it. I owe nothing after the proceeding and my credit report showed a zero balance owed, etc.? Since then my credit has been excellent. Will this affect my security clearance for a non-sensitive position. I would be going to Iraq as a civilian.

    Thank you.

  13. Avatar


    Just about all companies will tell you if a clearance is needed. If an interim is required, you should be told. Just because you don’t get an interim doesn’t mean you can’t be cleared after the investigation. As for the weapons charge, I know you only received a citation, but that is actually an arrest–you were just not jailed. You will need to list the offense. Don’t stress too much–you will be fine, just be ready to explain your side to the investigator–the more details the better.

  14. Avatar


    Many times it is what you do after a mistake that matters. I’m guessing your MOS or AFSC was not what you originally wanted. It’s tough doing a job you dislike, but I still say go for it.

  15. Avatar

    Stick it out, the process is going thru many changes right now, should be fine in the end. I know it is taking a long time, due to circumstances explained, but it will be worth it. A lot of times the first request/initial investigation is what takes the most work; the rest are just ‘re-checks’ provided you don’t provide additional adverse information with each periodic investigation.
    Do you know where you investigation is right now? Does OPM have it? Disco, DOHA?

  16. Avatar

    BW an Inv. is right on. And from my view, provided you don’t have any other issues, you should be fine with also getting an interim. Make sure to list your ‘arrest’ and use, I would be able to mitigate it by time.

  17. Avatar

    If you were granted a Secret clearance after you were denied a TS clearance and you disclosed the theft on your SF86 for the Secret clearance and there are no other issues in your background, I can see no reason why you wouldn’t be granted a TS clearance. This is because the adjudicative criteria for a TS clearance should be exactly the same as for a Secret clearance and the theft was already adjudicated favorably for your Secret clearance.

  18. Avatar

    I applied for a position as a fbi special agent and also a cia agent. I am undergoing the exams for fbi and hiring process for cia. I am married to a foreign national from Peru with a work permit.

    Will my marriage prevent me from receiving the top secret security clearances necessary for cia and fbi? I heard the answers ‘yes it is a problem’ and ‘no it is not a problem’. I want a straight up answer from a security investigator, I don’t want to waste my time further with the hiring process for cia and fbi if I will not be hired due to my marriage.

    Please advise.

  19. Avatar


    You should know they do their own backgrounds. Now, with that said I do about a dozen or more (OPM) TS clearance investigations per year where there is a foreign spouse and or foreign family members. I say press-on with the process.

  20. Avatar

    My issue is a bit different – I currently work for a DOD contractor and have a secret clearance – I’ve been here over 5 years. Here’s my problem – when I was looking for jobs 6 years ago it was tough. Unfortunately I worked for a couple of companies that went out of business and I quit a couple of jobs after a short time over ethics (or rather the company’s lack of, ironically enough) and I was concerned that my job history made me look like a job hopper, so I consolidated the employers (yes, falsifying employment records on my resume). The dates worked and experience are correct, just not the employer names. I got the interview and offer and stupidly made the application out with the same false employment history. Shortly then and often sense my conscience wants me to come clean but every job application, including mine, has a clause that states “if we ever determine that any of this info is falsified, immediate termination” – hardly motivation to come forward and come clean. Now, 5+ years later, I have to get a SSBI – I’m absolutely planning on fessing all to the investigator, but if he/she goes over my job file and application with someone in HR and the HR person becomes aware that the sf86 (totally accurate) and my application don’t match, then the ssbi is pretty much moot as the company now has grounds for termination. More troubling is budgets are shrinking and layoffs are looming so they’re looking to get rid of people anyway. My investigation is open and of course now they’re claiming six months to do themAny suggestions?

  21. Avatar

    Thank you for the advice!

  22. Avatar

    I recently went through the SSBI process for TS clearance and the investigation was ended yesterday and sent to adjudication (woohoo!).

    My family (including extended) are all US Citizens (though my dad was naturalized 30 years ago). However, my father, 2 uncles, and 4 cousins live and work in Dubai. I have also gone out to the Middle East for months at a time visiting them and vacationing for many years now. I thought this would be a major part of my interview and investigation, especially with extended trips to the Mid East as well as living in England for about a year. But during the interview, it was maybe a 3 minute conversation.

    Is that really it? In no way am I wishing that I had to go through more SSBI, but it seems that all I heard was “extensive overseas travel slows the investigation” and the investigation was just like “ok, you went overseas? visited dad? ok. check.”

  23. Avatar

    Evan –

    You will probably not receive a TS/SCI clearance with full scope polygraph because of your foreign national spouse. Specific waivers are required for SCI access when there are non-US citizen family members or spouses, and from my understanding they are very rare cases.

    My advice would be to pursue a position that only requires a collateral Secret/Top Secret clearance if a classified position is what you are interested in. There are many contractor positions available, but in the intelligence community I believe SCI is almost always required.

  24. Avatar

    I want to make sure I understand your situation. Your father is a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Dubai but still works in Dubai? In addition you have two uncles and four cousins who are citizens of Dubai and live and work in Dubai?
    You also said that you visit the Middle East for months at a time for many years now? Do you only go to Dubai or other countries in the Middle East as well? How long are you there when you say months at a time? When you say many years now has it been every year for the past seven years?
    How long ago did you live in England?

    Sorry for the request of specific details but hopefully your investigator asked these questions in addition to many others regarding your foreign travel and foreign relatives/associates. If he/she just asked the questions you indicated in your first post then he/she did not do a thorough job?

  25. Avatar

    Yes, my father was born in Jordan, but became a US citizen in the early 70s (well before I was born). He moved to Dubai in 2000 to work for his brother’s company (also a naturalized US citizen way long ago). My cousins are in the 16-20 year old range and just live there with their parents and go to school there.

    I used to go over to Dubai during my summer breaks from college, and yes, I’ve been to Oman and Egypt as well for mini-vacations. I’ve been going every summer since 2001.

    I lived in England during 2007 as part of a study-abroad program through my college.

    She did ask these questions, I guess I was just expecting having to come up with immigration records, old passports, or have an Embassy check, which I was preparing for.

  26. Avatar

    I am applying for language positions not intelligence. The cia and fbi agent positions selected me for my language skills, does that make any difference in granting a top secret clearance?

    under what condition would a special waivers be granted?

    I can’t believe the ppl with arrests or drug charges in the past are allowed to get a clearance and I may not be able to get one because my wife is a foreign national with a clean record.

  27. Avatar

    Scared senseless

    First and most importantly put the correct info. Secondly, the investigator should not discuss any dates on your SF 86 in direct fashion. Your HR section will simply supply your record and the investigator should not disclose anything to the rep. With that said, you should know if you are getting an SSBI at a minimum, 7 years of your employment records will be checked with a possibility as far back as 10. Do not falsify the SF 86 or you may have a difficult time convincing anyone to adjudicate your case.

  28. Avatar

    Normally if an interim clearance is a condition of employment, companies don’t hire you until the interim clearance is received. For interim Secret clearances from most agencies this usually takes only a few days after the application is submitted. If you will be processed by DISCO for a DoD clearance, DISCO automatically considers all applicants for an interim clearance.

  29. Avatar

    1. All clearances “expire” (are no longer reinstateable) after 24 months of leaving an employer where the clearance was granted (see E.O. 12968 and DCID 6/4, Annex, Table 2).
    2. No checks or investigations are conducted on people after they leave employment that required a security clearance. There may be some restrictions regarding future foreign travel.
    3. Generally there are no special travel restrictions after your access terminates and you are debrief; however, there are exceptions.
    4. When your access terminates, you will be debriefed. This usually this only entails reading and signing a debriefing form. Some special access programs may entail both an oral and a written debriefing. Whether oral and/or written, the debriefing will cover any future travel or other restrictions that apply to you.

  30. Avatar

    thanks – I’m semi-feeling a bit better, but not much – my sf86 is 100% accurate. I’ve been pondering during the last 24 hours if I should, or should not, approach my HR or security dept and tell them what I’ve done. From an honesty standpoint it seems that it would behoove me to have a letter in my file stating that I’ve already admitted to what I’ve done. But of course my fear there is possible immediate termination as well as an instant blackmark on my current, and any future, security clearances. I guess my main question at this point is being forthcoming with the interviewer going to be adequate, or should I be proactive now and risk/face the consequences?

    God I’m so stupid sometimes…

  31. Avatar


    For some reason you have convinced yourself you will not be cleared. Just press-on with the process.

    Blog Administrator: Sorry if I’m out of line, but Evan taking pot-shots at folks in this forum because of past mistakes is inappropriate–taken from your above post:
    (I can’t believe the ppl with arrests or drug charges in the past are allowed to get a clearance and I may not be able to get one because my wife is a foreign national with a clean record.)
    I’m guessing maybe you meant no offense, but a little thought before typing????

  32. Avatar


    Evan is likely basing that on my opinion that he will not be cleared. I understand you stated you do dozens of TS cases with foreign national involvement a year, but that is collateral TS and not SCI. As Mr. Henderson has stated many times on this blog: laws governing foreign involvement are more strictly applied when SCI is involved.

    I do not think anyone should take offense. It is his right to believe that people with drug charges should not receive a clearance. It’s just a personal opinion.

    As always, mine is just an opinion too. There are people who receive SCI clearances with foreign relatives.

  33. Avatar

    One other thing that may not work well in the adjudication of your case is; if your foreign relatives are connected to a foreign government in anyway – could be a disqualifying factor too????

    I hope this helps?

  34. Avatar

    A foreign spouse is not an automatic disqualifing factor;
    Nor, is past drug use…
    Most of the time, these can be mitigated for seperate reasons…

    They are acually apples and oranges… They should not be compared together unless they apply to the same applicant…

    I hope this helps?

  35. Avatar

    scared senseless:
    I agree… DO NOT FALSIFY!!! Put the correct informaion where/when requested… The job hopper thing is not an issue (no disqualifing factors for finding suitable employment). Many applicants change employment, even after obtaining a security clearance (many times this may delay the investigation and the adjudication as there are more things to verify).

    I hope this helps?

  36. Avatar

    scared senseless:
    Further, I would not address it to your HR department at this time… If your SF 86 is 100% complete let it speak for you right now… If confronted at a later date?… You must have inadvertently or unintentionally omitted the past record however; this is the correct one…

  37. Avatar

    You should not have a problem with a foreclosure in 2004, as long as the debt has been paid or paying as agreed, and is no longer a bad debt or in charge off status?

    I hope this helps?

  38. Avatar

    I agree with Adjudicator 101…
    I would guess it appears to be hung up on the suspended part and then with the new foreign spouse added in (without requesting US citizenship, the country “Could be of concern”, also). Is her visa other paperwork in order? (Not here illegally or seeking asylum?) All these factors are to be added in on the time frame (does the State dept. have the means to conduct a check? that sort of thing)

    You should have received a letter pertaining to your access being suspended detailing why and what dept would be adjudicating your case… DOHA, Army, etc…? Next should have been reinstatement, or more information required for adjudication, or a Statement of Reasons being issued…

    You may consider requesting the assistance of your local Congress person and or obtaining legal advice from a firm that has had dealings with the government’s security clearance process…

    I hope this helps?

  39. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101:
    Get off this blog site and get back to work!! Or I will call TOM!!!!

    Welcome Aboard

    I hope to see you all soon???

    You’re beyond help!

  40. Avatar

    Adjudicator101/Edge 141,

    Spouse is from Australia, and I’m stationed overseas. We havent even filed immigration paperwork yet, because we dont have a need, and they just basically hold onto it until you are 6 months from returning back to the states.

    I was told by one of my previous supervisors in 2005 that he suspended my clearance. I know my CAF has all the final reports, memos, documentation they need to remove incidents suspending my clearnce, and I know my SSBI was at Army CCF for adjudication.

    I was told 3 weeks ago (maybe 2 weeks) that because the check on my spouse hadnt been done, that they were having it done at OPM, and they requested all my spouses information, which I provided within the hour they requested.

    I dont imagine there is much to check, she’s only been in the US twice as a tourist for a total of 3-4 weeks with me, we had no problems.

    I was told my clearance hasnt been reinstated because CCF has opted to await my SSBI and adjudicate it all together.

    It just gets to me sometimes that i’ve been in this position so long…just waiting. Working…waiting…taking the occasional snide remark from the few that know about my position. I cant apply for jobs externally, because I cant transfer with a suspended clearance…

    Standard I’m to put someone with a suspended clearance on leave without pay. If that were to happen to me, I would likely be forced out. Being overseas without a means to work, etc.

    I’m 11 classes away from finishing my degree and I’m starting to get a job offer now and then as a computer programmer. I think if by the time I’m finished, it isnt settled I’m probaby just going to quit and go to the civilian sector.

    I wrote to my congressman, who happens to be the chairman of the armed services committee and responded by forwarding a letter from the army CCF saying my clearance is the adjudication process.

  41. Avatar

    Also: I’m a civilian federal employee. Non-contractor

  42. Avatar

    It sounds like you have done all that you can do at this time.

    Good Luck

    I hope this helps?

  43. Avatar

    I got some good news (I think) today. the person appointed to handle my security clearance spoke with my adjudicator. He was told that from what the adjudicator can see, allegations are unfounded, and they are awaiting the spousal check at OPM. Once that done my SSBI can be finalized.

    Good news I believe. Any idea how long it takes for a spousal check?

  44. Avatar

    I have a question – I am a retired military officer, 0-6. I held a TS clearance my entire career, and I retired on 31 Jul 07 with a current TS/SCI with an SSBI. The TS was updated and adjudicated in Apr 07.

    Does my clearance actually expire at some point? When I approach prospective employers, what do I tell them about the status of my clearance?

    Thanks much!

  45. Avatar

    DUI event

    I’ve been working for a government contractor for 2 years that requires a secret clearance. I was charged with a DUI on July 4th and lets assume it results in a conviction. It would be a first time conviction. First question: Should I report this to my company? Second question: Can this affect my current clearance? Third question: what can I do pro-actively about this to mitigate it’s impact on my clearance status?

    Thank you,

  46. Avatar

    If I received a DUI two years ago with a high BAC, given a PBJ with 3 years probabtion, with MVA placed alcohol restriction and monitoring, and completed alcohol classes. I have no other negative items in my past. The high BAC resulted in the MVA treating me harsher then other 1st time offenders. Will the background investigation be able to see the details of the case, i.e. BAC level. No accident occured. The fact that the MVA treated me more as though I had an alcohol problem but the court gave me probation. Will this hurt my chances for a secret clearence? Thanks.

  47. Avatar

    You MUST notify your company/FSO!!!! It may effect your present and future eligibility if you don’t!!!!

    You should review the guidelines of Criminal Conduct, Alcohol Consumption and Personal Conduct, focusing on the mitigating factors.

    I hope this helps?

  48. Avatar


    Tell your employer you had a current TS/SCI adjudicated 04/2007. It is inactive now, but can be seen. I retired from the USAF and the company I began with took ownership and I was good. Now, many other companies may redo, but at least they know you are clearable–also doen’t hurt that you were an O-6. They say the magical number is 24 months before you turn into a “Pumpkin” not my term, just heard from alot of FSO’s in the field and SCI monitors.

  49. Avatar


    I suppose it comes down to that. What publication or document do you refer to regarding Criminal Conduct, Alcohol Consumption and Personal Conduct? or are you referring generically to my company’s guidelines.



  50. Avatar

    Reciprocity of security clearance eligibility is not 100%, but you should be fine.

    Most eligibility’s have a two year window after seperation, where they can be converted/reinstated. It appears you would have until July 2009 to convert your access/eligibility. You may advise of the active status until that time.

    I hope this helps?

  51. Avatar

    BW and edge – Thanks so much for the responses – very helpful indeed!

    This is a very informative, obviously much needed website, and I appreciate you both taking time to address these kinds of questions. R

  52. Avatar

    It is more than just “comes down to that”… You are required to report incidents such as this to your FSO… Most likely your current access will be suspended until adjudicated.
    If you don’t report this immediately, it could be devistating to your future access too.

    You can research the security clearnce guidelines in many places… I believe this site will be able to assist you??? I know the subject has come up before…

    The three guidelines/mitigating factors are what will be reviewed in incidents such as this…

    If you don’t report it… It will look like you are hiding something and, It can come down to an AUTOMATIC disqualiying factor….

    I hope this helps?

  53. Avatar

    Edge is not over-reacting. You must report this arrest. I am pretty sure that you signed documentation during your security briefing that says what conditions/arrests/changes to your status you need to report if they occurred. An alcohol arrest is definately one of them.

    I find it hard to mitigate an alcohol arrest sent to me from an FSO that read it in the newspaper or a co-worker told them about it, etc.; not having any information from the actual employee regarding it.

  54. Avatar

    Edge 1411; Mr. Henderson; Adjudicator 101:

    I’ve posted here previously regarding my past Fed investigations history, but wanted to provide a bit of an update on my two current contractor-related investigations. I was (unbeknownst to me) granted DHS “EOD” (entry on duty) for my Public Trust Suitability investigation some time in Fed. ’08 and will shortly be moving “on site” with the client. I’m told EOD is a step between “interim” suitability and final suitability (i.e., people have been denied EOD before). Do any of you have any experience with investigating and/or adjudicating DHS PT suitability processes, and if so, what are the chances I may be denied final suitability, whenever that decision comes to pass? I’ve had two “unsuitability for employment” determinations made against me, one from an IC agency in 2005 and another from the FBI (applied to IA poz in CTD..i.e. TS/SCI w/ poly..not sure which scope, tho) in late 2007. Will DHS review those records, and most likely call me in for a SPIN at some point? My gut tells me the Bu may not be entirely forthcoming in handing over its records…at least that’s what a bud of mine who’s an LHM Program Security Rep at CJIS thought…

    Also, I submitted a FOIA-PA request to FBI for my SSBI/adjudication records way back in Oct. ’07, and have only recieved the generic “we have your request on file, and here’s the case #” letter…is there any way I can follow up with anyone regarding this, or am I doomed to sit and wait for several more months? The letter didn’t provide a phone number or otherwise expedient method of contact…

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated!



  55. Avatar

    Spouse may be getting a bankruptcy
    I am an active SECRET Clearance holder which comes up for re-investigation in 2013. My clearance was done by OPM at the time I was investigated and adjudicated. I am currently a contractor working for DoD and am looking at working in civil service for DoD as well in about 6 months.
    My wife owes about $70,000 in unsecured debt on her own credit report. We also are making mortgage payments on a house. My question is this: if she declares bankruptcy on her debt (the house will be sold or have a home exemption, but she is not going to get that as part of the cleared debt), will it affect my current and/or future security clearance? Thank you in advance.

  56. Avatar

    I have a situation that I hope someone can help me out with…

    I am active duty Navy and currently hold a Secret clearance. Several months ago I was arrested for Public Intoxication. After a birthday party at a bar I had too much to drink and was picked up by a patrolling police officer while trying to catch a cab on the curb (Officer said I was stumbling, then I slurred my words when talking to him). I was charged with Public Intoxication, but the case was dismissed because I had no previous record and it was not deemed serious. I immediately reported this incident to my chain of command, and all I recieved was a stern talking to… no official punishment. As for my clearance, I was just told to report it on my next SF-86. I understand that I will have to report this on my next security review (one year from now) but my command did not forward any information. I’m a little worried that the correct guidlines are not being followed. Is a dismissed Public Intoxication charge enough to get worried about?

  57. Avatar

    I think I finished my sf86 back in Feb . A buddy of mine from the military called me probably back in late Apr. saying an investigator came and talked to him about me and it was sometime in May an investigator showed up at my work. I called him about 2 weeks ago and he said he was already done with me (he probably talked to about 8 people), friends and neighbors and called another military buddy just verifying stuff.
    My case has to be in adjudication now so hopefully it wont be long.
    I would think that they would interview you but who really knows, at least he called you so you know its being worked on. If it goes much longer I would just call and see whats up.
    Ive been trying to research anything I can about DOE adjudication and I cannot find anything, its like the facility doesn’t exist or something. Anyone help me out?

  58. Avatar

    I’ve been offered a job that requires Secret clearance and I’m worried about taking the job because of concerns with obtaining the clearance. My concern is the previous mental health counseling I received for social anxiety and public speaking phobia. I don’t think this by itself would be a problem, but I went to numerous counselors due to a) changes in insurance and b) dissatisfaction with the counselors. I think it will look bad having 5+ different counselors listed. Is it a problem to see too many counselors, though it’s only for one mental health issue?

    Thanks for any info or advice.

  59. Avatar

    DOE Clearance Worries

    Im currently trying to get a DOE Q. Back in Dec I completed my SF86, was interviewed by OMP (USIS) back in March, friends were interviewed all through March, and my security officer says the case went to adjudication in May.

    I figured all I had to do was wait for a decision. I just found out now I have to do a second interview, with some people from DOE Chicago. Most people I know who have a Q did not have a second interview with DOE. The security officer says that tends to happen when something is omitted, dosent match up, something is discovered, etc. I know there are some negative things from my past but I disclosed everything I could think of (4+ yr old drug use, child support arrears which have been paid in full, trouble with the law when I was a teenager).

    At this point, should I be worried? Like I said, nobody else had to do this. I truly believe I was honest, took responsibility for what I did bad in my past, and tried to demonstrate that I have overcome all of it. Does this mean the adjudication should be done shortly after the interview, or does this mean after the interview it goes into the pile with many months more of waiting?

    I thought everything was going very well and all I had to do was wait, but now Im pretty stressed all over again. Help please?

  60. Avatar

    Thank you for this site. My question concerns a previously filed SF86 for military service in which I failed to disclose experimental drug use in college, I was granted a Secret clearance in 2000. I am now out of the military and in the process of applying for a position which requires a TS/SCI w/ a poly. I want to be completely forthright in this application as my reluctance to admit the experimental use has bothered me greatly these past 8 years. Am I subjecting myself to not only a denial, but also criminal issues for the past SF-86? Nothing on my current SF86 would be untrue. I was told by a recruiter not to list the use when I filed the previous SF-86, but the choice was still mine and I made a poor decision by not listing it. The investigation has not started yet, but I am contemplating pulling my application. Should I be concerned if I am completely honest on this one, that my very poor decision on my prior SF-86 will form the basis of a criminal charge?

  61. Avatar

    Hi guys and gals, stumbled on this site this morning and is packed of good info (thanks to those who made/participate).

    My question is that I want to be an Air Force readiness officer, what level of security clearance do I need? My second question is that I used to have a fake ID when I was 18. I used it to get in bars and buy beer. Will the fake disqualify me?

    Thanks in advance for the help!

  62. Avatar

    With one Alcohol related incident two years ago, it should not be a deal breaker. However, the still on probation thing may hurt?

    I hope this helps?

  63. Avatar

    I am about to start my interim clearance and wanted to know if I should include and event that happened Nov. of 97. It has been a little over ten years since I was charged with possesion of marijuana in school. I know, I know, dumb teenager hanging around the wrong crowd. I was never arrested and it was considered a misdameanor. I’m worried about the question of “Have you ever been charged with or convicted of any offense related to alcohol or drugs?”. According to the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 21 U.S.C 844 it sounds like that conviction should be expunged from my record. If you could give me any advice on this matter, I would highly appreciate it.

  64. Avatar

    Hi, I posed a question on Part 9 about getting an “expert” opinion on being able to possibly get a secret clearance with a 21 year old felony and a BCD from the Marines at the same time. If there is ANY chance at all of getting someone to look at what I wrote and give me an opinion on this, it would be greatly appreciated. I just want to know if I am screwed for life for something that happened when I was 18.

    Thank you,


  65. Avatar


    In my opinion not too many. Explain it as best as you can. Many folks have the same circumstances. Gotta go where they will pay and where you are happy. Keep moving forward and good luck.

  66. Avatar

    John Dough,

    Of course I cannot say exactly what it is, but some of the issues may need further explanation to the DOE. The DIA also does this alot when something arises–this is on top nof what us OPM Investigators do. Just hold tight and see what it is. You may very well have to re-explain what you already told another investigator–pretty common.

  67. Avatar


    Usually the Air Force will clear you at whatever level is necessary at your current duty station. You could spend a career getting cleared, uncleared and re-cleared.

    Question #2–who didn’t 🙂

    I think you will be OK–but our expert adjudicators Edge 141 and Adjudicator 101 will probably chime in.

  68. Avatar


    I apologize for all the people on this site that are providing sound “FREE” advice, in the attempt to help others!!! We are sorry for not replying sooner to your post(s). There are many people here providing “expert” and “real” knowledgeable answers.

    Normally people with Felony’s and BCD’s, have a real low success rate (as I think they should). I would still attempt obtaining a clearance. Just understand it is a “REAL” long and up hill battle. All they can say is; yes or no…. (can’t kill ya)

    You can be disgruntled with the government for denying your request but, remember YOU did it… I know it was a long time ago, but think of the way the government would look at it and all the risk factors involved… (The government does not like taking risks when it comes to national security!)

    1. You raised your hand and joined the military (you went AWOL, awarded a BCD not a general … a BCD!!!)

    2. You were at the time, such a brilliant individual, (You went out and gained a Felony arrest and conviction)

    Now you tell me, if you were running a company, and somebody had worked for you in the past, then one day they just get up a walk… (AWOL)

    Get arrested, charged and convicted of a FELONY….

    Would you hire them again? Would you take a risk on them?

    You also should review this sites previous post/replies, as I am sure you are not alone in this type of situation.

    I hope this helps?

  69. Avatar


    You didnt go AWOL… (just kidding!!).

    If there is an arrest record somewhere, there could be some small impact (depending on how long ago, your age at the time, your accomplishments since) … but do able… one time thing, etc…

    If no arrests, you are the only one that knows, then I wouldn’t worry about it.

    I hope this helps?

  70. Avatar

    At the beginning of March I submitted SF86 for a DOD Secret clearance. I was denied an interim, presumably for admitted drug use – Pot, 4 times, 9/06-11/06 and cocaine, 3 times, 4/06-5/07. The investigator spoke to me at the end of April. My FSO tells me it went to adjudication May 12.

    My employer (contractor) is about to release me since I don’t have this clearance.

    My question is how close should I expect this to be from a final decision? My FSO says there is nothing they can do to get a time estimate, is this true? My co-workers are making suggestions like hire a lawyer or contact my congressman. Are these reasonable suggestions? I know you can’t rush the process but if I just knew how close it was to completion I could be making some better informed career choices.

    From reading this blog I think I still have a good chance of getting the clearance, am I wrong?

    I am in my early 40s, I have 16 years military service (honorable discharge), and I have no other derogatory info.

    I would be grateful for any input from the “pros”.

  71. Avatar

    Also, is there a difference between a TSA clearance and a DOD secret? Are they at all interchangeable? If I am denied the DOD secret will I be denied the TSA?

    Thanks for all your help!

  72. Avatar

    I just found out today that my wife has a delinquent account that has gone into collections for like 400.00
    My clearance is being processed now and I think its in adjudication. Will this affect me at all? Should I contact my inv. or is it necessary?

  73. Avatar


    I think it’s worth giving a try, but it wont be easy. I’ve read a couple of cases where people convicted of manslaugher and having a BCD have gotten a TS clearance. Theyre crimes were ~20 years old.

    However it should be noted that they had absolutely exemplary records afterwards, such as a whole laundry list of volunteer activites, and even serving the government afterwards.

    You CAN be certain that you will NOT get an interim, and will be waiting the entire time for clearance to finalize, and you’ll likely be interviewed for your secret clearance to clarify things. If you do go for it, just be ready to come clean and clear the air.

    You might as well try. What if they say no? Well then you have your answer and can move on.

    It wont be easy, but 20 years is a long time of mitigation and mitigating factors. It’s going to depend 100% on what you’ve done between now and then, who you are now versus who you were then, and how well you show it.

    Best of luck

  74. Avatar


    I currently have an Active Secret clearance and am debating seeking counseling for stress related symptoms. Would I have to report this to my FSO immediately, or just wait until the next periodic review to disclose it?

  75. Avatar

    I have a question about whether a mistake I made a few years ago is something I need to bring up during my personal interview when my reinvestigation comes up next year. To make a long story short, I fooled around a couple of times when it looked like marriage was going to be over anyway due to all the problems we were having. My spouse and I have talked about it since then and we are working things out with professional counseling. It was a big mistake on my part and only made problems in the relationship get worse, and it will not happen again, ever, period. No other problems of any type or any other possible security issues to report this time around, and according to my security officer at my job it is not required for me to bring this up to the investigator because it is not one of the questions on the security forms or that they will ask you specifically about when you get interviewed, and that the counseling is not a reporting issue either because it is not having anything to do with violence or drugs or arrests or any stuff like that type of nature, and he said you get to have at least some extent of privacy for marriage issues generally speaking. If one of the investigators or ajudicators who post on here could please let me know I want to make sure that is correct information since what the security guy told me was a surprise, being not at all like as bad as what I was expecting to hear when I asked about it.

  76. Avatar

    I would not worry about the public intox thing. If that were the only thing that you had; definately would be favorable. I look at it like this: your only arrest/citation; you weren’t driving, trying to get a cab to go home, etc…. Looks more like a PO just being a butthead. Don’t you wish we could just teleport ourselves home from a night out drinking? 🙂
    List it in your next PR or subject interview, and don’t fret.

  77. Avatar

    List all counseling, explain the reason in your subject interview and don’t worry about it. The guidelines are changing for mental health counseling reporting requirements anyhow. Your reason for counseling does not appear to be a ‘security’ issue for our government, with what you reported to us….

  78. Avatar

    Dave in VA,
    Why in the world did you do the drugs? You are 40 years old and 16 years in military? Seems to me you should know better. I can’t say for sure, but my point of view is normally reflected by most of the adjudicators here, as is the hearing judges, etc. Kudos for listing it, not so much for the decision to get involved in that activity at that time in your life. May take many, many days for you to establish trustworthy ‘Personal Conduct’ qualities.
    TSA and DoD are different, the clearance adjudication process is done by different organizations. Reciprocity is a work in progress.

  79. Avatar

    seek counseling, get help if you need it. Your clearance should not be effected; unless you don’t seek help and do something you regret…..
    You can report it to the FSO, tell them the reason and give a counselor contact if they need it. They may or may not submit it in an Incident Report. List it in any PR you have later. Don’t worry about this too much. Get help if you need it, Please.

  80. Avatar

    This will be one that you will refer me to the client I am sure. I have not been able to get any further response from them, I guess they didn’t feel a need to talk to me. I was cleared to the highest level, at a point I met and went to visit a foreign national with approval. On my return I was told to brake it off, reluctantly I did as I was told. Fourteen months later I chose to get back with her we now plan to marry next year. She has gone though the background checks already, they would not tell me if they found any problem other then where she was born. I know their stand here but I would like to continue working in the cleared sector but so far when I tell the truth I get tossed. I told them the truth about all of this from the beginning now I would like a fair deal. In many jobs over the years in a lot of places I worked with foreign nationals and folks I have worked with were married to them too. You may take the same view that so many do, that you have heard more then you wanted to already. What’s it going be, do I get tossed again?

  81. Avatar

    Dearest Interview Question,
    Are you able to be blackmailed over this?
    If no, then let it go. If yes, then get it out in the open and tell everyone you know or take out full page ad in The Post, then forget about it.
    If the infidelity was not a cause of divorce, you both worked it out, etc,. forget about it. Learn from it, but don’t lose sleep.

  82. Avatar

    Does OPM do a credit history check on spouses for TS clearance.

  83. Avatar

    Where is she from?

  84. Avatar


  85. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101,

    I wish I had a good answer for my stupid action. Mid-life crisis is the best I can do. The stuff was given to me by a family member who had it given to her by a co-worker. I will never do it again, but what’s done is done.

    Thanks for the kudos. Over the past couple of months I’ve had moments when I questioned whether I should have mentioned it. Of course it was morally and legally the correct thing to do. But in moments of despair a person wonders.

    So you are saying there is a strong chance the clearance will not be granted? What are my odds (I won’t hold you to anything, just interested in your opinion)?

    I am looking at a position with TSA. If my DOD clearance gets denied should I just hang it up? If it gets denied how long would I have to wait to try again?


  86. Avatar

    Interview Question,

    Before you proceed, check the SF 86 on the question of counseling. Marital Counseling not involving violence is left at that, But read the question again. If there are others out there who know about any past indiscretions, it has the potential of coming up somewhere. I know how uncomfortable it can be to discuss, but in my opinion, better to clear the air sooner than later. It appears to rarely be a suitability issue. Adjudicator 101 is dead-on in my opinion.

  87. Avatar

    I currently hold a Top Secret clearance (adjudicated by DISCO in June 2006). I am considering a contractor position with DHS. The position requires a CBP Full Field Background Investigation (FFBI) personnel clearance. I am unable to find information about this clearance check. Isn’t the TS transferable? What checks are made for the FFBI (credit, criminal, etc)? How long does the clearance take?

    Thanks in advance.

  88. Avatar

    Dave in VA,
    I only adjudicate for DoD, not TSA clearances. I can’t be 100% for sure, but given what you stated; drug use, when, why, and your brief history; I would deny a clearance to you, based on your personal conduct that I can not mitigate. It can be mitigated with time though, so, for your sake, lets hope it gets ‘held up’ for some time, beyond your control. You could reapply after 1 year after receiving a statement of reasons. Sorry for the crappy opinion/initial verdict. TSA may clear you after mitigating the issues and a clearer understanding of all the circumstances.

  89. Avatar

    Ukraine you say?
    Well, be truthful, regardless. That way you won’t have the falsification issue to overcome….

  90. Avatar

    I am about ready to lose an investment property to foreclosure. I am otherwise in good financial shape. Does anyone know if losing a place to foreclosure causes a revocation of a TS clearance? Thanks, DM

  91. Avatar


    Credit checks are not scheduled as part of the Spouse National Agency Checks for a TS

  92. Avatar

    Hi, I have two quick questions for the investigators out there so I can try to guess where I am in the PR process at the moment. (1.) When you do your periodic reinvestigations, do you still normally do the neighbor interviews and personal references or are those usually skipped now and you just do the employment references/supervisors? (2.) Do you do the subject interview first or at the end after the record checks, credit check, and the other interviews? Nobody has contacted any of my neighbors or references or called me yet so I am wondering how this works nowadays, plus I heard there have been some changes. Thank you in advance for your answers and for this great forum which I know must be very helpful to many people who have questions about what can sometimes seem like (or just be) a long and confusing process.

  93. Avatar

    Somewhere in the PR

    You will be contacted and the same process is used, however some coverage dates changed slightly. Neighbors, yes, references–not always. We do not always interview folks on the questionnaire. Ideally, the Subject interview is conducted first, but that is not always the case. How long ago did you submut?

  94. Avatar

    Somewhere in PR,
    To piggy back on what BW said there is a certain PR type case in which no neighbors or references are interviewed. We only speak with supervisors and or co-workers. I am sure BW agrees with me that these type of PR cases are the best to do. I usually get them done in one day.

  95. Avatar

    I an an air traffic controller. In 2005, I was discharged from the military (general under honorable conditions) for a one time use of marijuana.
    I immediately applied for, and received a job as a contract tower controller. As part of the employment process I had to fill out an SF85p. I told the absolute truth on it and everything worked out fine.
    In July of 2006 I committed a DUI. I reported this to all agencies I was required to, and was able to maintain my public trust position as well as my medical clearance. In 2007 my conviction was removed/downgraded to a violation.
    I am now considering applying to the FAA for a RADAR controller position. I believe I will have to fill out and SF86 for this position. I plan on being completely honest again.
    I realize this two blemishes are serious, and their proximity is an issue. Do you think I have a chance of “passing” the SF86, or should I stay at my current position and not “push my luck”.

    Thank you in advance

  96. Avatar



    The check is very similar to your last one, but some questions may be added or deleted during your interview. I’m guessing they will not take your last clearance as they do have a slightly different method, but I’m betting the time frame for coverage could be shortened.

    Hope this makes sense

  97. Avatar


    $400.00 is not a huge problem–pay the debt and don’t sweat it. If it makes you feel better tell your FSO, but would’t worry too much.

  98. Avatar


    Were you given a citation? Are you sure the record was expunged? Either way I think you should report it. Ten-years old and a juvenile–I think you will be OK.

  99. Avatar


    They ask general character/performance type questions. There is also an area to give your thoughts. Not too extensive.

  100. Avatar


    Public Intox Charge although not extremely serious should be reported. You did what you needed to do, but I suggest going to your security officer/manager as well. Memo the info for yourself and just report it on the next questionnaire. If your CO isn’t too worried neither should you be.

    Good luck and thank you for your service.

  101. Avatar

    If you’re looking for something in writing that requires you to self-report, here’s the appropriate paragraph from DoD 5200.2-R.
    C9.1.4. Individual Responsibility
    C9.1.4.1. Individuals must familiarize themselves with pertinent security regulations that pertain to their assigned duties. Further, individuals must be aware of the standards of conduct required of persons holding positions of trust in this connection, individuals must recognize and avoid the kind of personal behavior that would result in rendering one ineligible for continued assignment in a position of trust. In the final analysis, the ultimate responsibility for maintaining continued eligibility for a position of trust rests with the individual.
    C9.1.4.2. Moreover, individuals having access to classified information must report promptly to their security office:
    C9. Any information of the type referred to in paragraph C2.2.1.
    or Appendix 8 (Appendix 8 is the Adjudicative Guidelines).

    Other agencies have similar regulations, for instance Chapter V, paragraph 3 of DOE M470.4-5 requires self-reporting of even traffic infractions with fines of only $250. Verbal reports must be made within of the incident 2 days.

  102. Avatar

    A non-US citizen immediate family member (including spouse or cohabitant) is an unmitigatible disqualifier for SCI eligibility (DCID 6/4, paragraph 5b). Only exception is with a waiver from a SOIC. Almost all IC employees must be SCI eligible.

  103. Avatar

    DOE doesn’t have a Central Adjudication Facility. Their adjudications are done at several offices in different parts of the U.S. These adjudication offices can grant clearances but not deny them. If denial is contemplated, the case is sent to the Security Office at DOE Headquarters. You should read DOE M 470.4-5, “Personnel Security.” Go to the DOE website and request a copy of it. They will send it to you in pdf format.

  104. Avatar

    Somewhere in PR:
    Chapter 1 of my book, Security Clearance Manual, explains in detail the scope and period of coverage for all National Security Clearance Investigations. The government is planning changes, but they will probably not go into effect for at least 12 to 18 months. A couple of chapters (including Chapter 1) of my book are posted at my website. Just click on my name (above).

  105. Avatar

    David M.
    The foreclosure per se will not be the issue, unless it resulted from some grossly irresponsible conduct by you. The issue will be how you handle any debt resulting from the foreclosure. Practically nothing results in an automatic clearance revocation. Serious issues (depending on the circumstances) could result in a clearance suspension until the matter is investigated and adjudicated. If the foreclosure is due to circumstances largely beyond your control and you act responsibly and reasonably during and after the foreclosure, you should be able to mitigate the negative effects of this problem.

  106. Avatar

    Whoever told you about FFBI is mixing investigations and clearances. Full-field background investigation is a generic term for about 3 different federal investigations. The SSBI for your TS clearance is considered an FFBI, so are BIs and PT-SBIs (BIs and PT-SBIs are for High-Risk Public Trust Positions). PT-SBIs are rarely used by any agency. My best guess is that the CBP clearance is for a High-Risk Public Trust position. I have heard of situations where people at DHS who had current TS clearances had to undergo a new BI for a High-Risk Public Trust position. It doesn’t make any sense, but at lot of things concerning clearances at DHS don’t make much sense to me. I have a chart posted at my website on the various federal investigations for security and public trust clearances. Click on my name (above) and navigate to the “about security clearances” page, then to the “resources” page. You find the link to the chart at the bottom of the page.

  107. Avatar

    Bob S: Here’s my answer to your follow-up question from part #9. His new employer will not have access to the information, but the investigative and adjudicative agencies will. This previously undisclosed information could result in the denial of access eligibility at the government agency that is requiring the poly exam. This agency has the authority to share any new unfavorable information they acquire on your friend with other concerned government agencies.

  108. Avatar

    Thank you for this website. I wish I had found it 3 years ago when I started the TS/SCI clearance process because I know I wouldn’t be in this position.
    I work for a defense contractor.
    I have taken two polys and then was brought in and took what I later found out was the ‘blue book’. My FSO said that the particular test was normally reserved for staffers. Is there any information you can give me regarding what I took and possibly why I took it? Appreciate it tremendously.

  109. Avatar


    I have one of the most complicated clearance cases imaginable. I applied in Oct of last year for a position requiring a TS/SCI. I was unaware of my school’s disciplinary restrictions regarding accepting offers for employment. So, I pursued the TS/SCI job and a backup job in case i didn’t get the clearance. I was asked to complete the SF/86 and other paperwork during my final exams so as you can imagine I didn’t have too much time to fill out the details carefully. Accordingly, I remembered incidents later and notified the agent processing my paperwork. I have legal training so I have trouble with yes/no answers to begin with. Thus, when time came for the poly, I had trouble with many definitions used by the polygrapher. (ie. define “close and continuing contact,” “foreign contact”) I was also very nervous as I had learned quite well through my academic work that the poly is distrusted by many courts because of unreliability. I did not want to mess up the test. However, there was a time during the test where the polygrapher asked me if I had ever cheated on a test. At the time I couldn’t remember anything resembling academic dishonesty so I answered “no.” However, when time came for the 3 x repeat of the same questions, I started to remember an incident in high school where the entire class opened our books during the exam. My memory of the incident was hazy. I was (1) under the impression that I could not change my answers during the administration of the test and (2) unsure whether or not this incident counted because I thought the poly only went to the time where I was 18 years of age or older. So, I stuck with my answer. I knew I could only give a yes/no answer but I really wanted to answer “I’m not sure.” In any case I got frustrated at this point because I thought I messed up the test and the charts reflected this. I really wish they just allowed me to explain in narrative. In any case, my school brought me aware of the disciplinary rules regarding maintaining two job offers and I had to give up the TS job. Additionally, because my poly was many months ago, some of my answers may change due to subsequent personal contacts as well as rekindled memories of other incidents that I think investigators should be aware of.

    Additionally, from the age of 16 until late 2004 or so (when I was 19), I was extremely politically active, writing op-ed pieces and speaking out on foreign relations issues sympathetic to two major US allies. I never thought at the time of my advocacy that my positions were detrimental to US interests. I am an American citizen of foreign descent (e.g. Israeli-American, not dual citizen but just ethnic heritage) and selected portions of my writing reflected this dual sense of nationality. Had I known I would be screwing myself out of a job due to loyalty concerns I would never have engaged in issue advocacy. Both of the issues I worked on involved U.S. allies and highlighting their status along with the United States as victims of terrorism. Most of my non-immediate family is also overseas. Hence, if I was an investigator, I might be worried about foreign preference/influence.

    What are my chances of getting a job with a TS/SCI or Secret? I have never been convicted of anything, never used drugs, have decent credit, with the exception of college partying, no serious alcohol abuse. I feel terrible about my past political activity and confusion during the polygraph casting doubt on a future career helping protect the United States. Should I just give up?

    Any responses from investigators would be highly appreciated.

  110. Avatar


    Versus the other person’s spouse collection of $400, my spouse would be declaring bankruptcy on $70,000 in her name, but in our state, I will have to listed on court records as non-filing spouse. with my current OPM Secret clearance good for another 4-5 years, will this affect my clearance now or at later renewal of SECRET clearance? Thanks in advance.

  111. Avatar

    Mr. H

    You are correct… (again) I must have missed the SCI in the question…


  112. Avatar


    That is a substantial amount and may be a little more complicated. Better you direct the question to folks with adjudications experience like Edge 141 or Adjudicator 101, and the overall expert, Mr Henderson. I would not be able to offer sound advice with this particular case. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

  113. Avatar

    Edge 141, Adjudicator 101, and Mr Henderson:
    Spouse to declare bankruptcy on only her credit debts

    Versus the other person’s spouse collection of $400, my spouse would be declaring bankruptcy on $70,000 in her name, but in our state, I will have to listed on court records as non-filing spouse. With my current OPM Secret clearance good for another 4-5 years, will this affect my clearance now or at later renewal of SECRET clearance? Thanks in advance. (Also thank you to BW)

  114. Avatar

    If you are not listed in the Bankruptcy filing, it will not be adjudicated on your financial background. I don’t believe I have ever had to adjudicate a spouses financial issues with consideration, unless the applicant also had significant financial issues. You did not incur the credit card debts, you are not responsible for them, they will not effect your clearance.
    Personally, if I were you, don’t worry about it.

  115. Avatar

    If you need an interim Secret clearance, use the comment section of the mental health question in eQIP or the continuation space at the end of the paper SF86 and explain the nature of the disorder, any medication taken (include dates), the reason for changing counselors, and the reason counseling ended (i.e. counselor felt that the problem was resolved and no further counseling was needed).

  116. Avatar

    The USC sections mentioned on the SF86 only apply to people who were convicted under federal law. Most people are charged for a violation of state law, unless there they committed the offense on federal property.

  117. Avatar

    Yes, you should be concerned. However 8 years is a long time and your story is a very common one. Being influenced to conceal information on an SF86 by someone like a recruiter is a mitigating condition (see paragraph 17b of the Adjudicative Guidelines). Also passage of time is a mitigating factor. I think your chances of getting the clearance are better if you are applying for a contractor position rather than a position as a federal employee. The reason is that applicants for federal employee positions are adjudicated for employment suitability and for a security clearance. Often applicants who would have received a clearance are non-selected for suitability reasons and their case is never adjudicated for the clearance.

    People are rarely prosecuted under 18 USC 1001 for making a false official statement on a security form. I’ve never heard of a case where a person was charged based on false information on an old SF86. The only time people are prosecuted for this offense is when the falsification is exceptionally egregious (plus they lied to the investigator) or when the prosecutor adds the offense to a bunch of other charges in case involving national security crimes.

  118. Avatar

    Dave in VA:
    There is nothing a lawyer can do for you at this stage of the process. If you receive a Statement of Reasons indicating why they intend to deny your clearance, then the assistance of a lawyer would be useful. Your FSO is correct; there is no way to get an estimate of how long adjudication will take. Your case falls into the 20% group for which there is no statistical data on adjudication time. I personally rate your chances of getting a clearance as poor to fair because the last drug use occurred only a year ago. Of course it’s possible that by the time adjudication is completed, if an SOR is issued and answered, and a hearing is conducted, instead of 1 year, 2 years may elapse since your last drug use.

  119. Avatar

    Interview question:
    If your clearance was issued by DoD, the new supplemental instructions issue by DoD in June 2008 for the mental health counseling question now allows you to answer “no” if the counseling only pertains to grief, marital, family, or combat-related issues. I would point you to the new instructions but I’m on vacation right now and I don’t remember the URL. You should be able to google it. By the time your PR is due, there may be a completely new clearance application form.

    Your FSO is not exactly right about what may be asked during a Personal Subject Interview. There are a number of questions that investigators are required to ask that do not appear on the SF86. Such questions include moral misconduct, self-destructive s e x u a l conduct, alcohol consumption, misuse of technology.

  120. Avatar

    I think you have a fair to good chance of getting a security clearance. The marijuana use was 3 years ago. You reported the DUI and hopefully you have had no other alcohol-related incidents. Your history of alcohol use and current lifestyle will be looked at carefully. Positive factors in your life will also be considered.

  121. Avatar

    I’ve never heard of a “Blue Book.” Maybe someone else here has.

  122. Avatar

    Edge 141, Adjudicator 101, and Mr Henderson:

    I am a contractor trying to get a CAC card for working overseas. I have been told that I had to go through the security process before it could be approved. My sponsoring agency could not approve it and said it need to be approved at OPM due to a minor court case,that was dismissed, I disclosed to them on my SF85. Well we received word that OPM has finished there investigation and we received a notice from JPAS that says the following “Pending PSI Adjudication of NACI OPM, Opened 2008 04 23, Closed 2008 06 20, AFCAF”. I was told that after the adjudication was finalized I would be able to get a CAC card. What does pending adjudication mean?? How long does the adjudication process usually take??

  123. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson:
    Sorry for not clarifying earlier. I was given a 400+ multiple choice ‘test’ along with a short written Q and A about my childhood and my family history that was in a blue book. It felt like a psychological work up. I didn’t ask questions when I got there- did what I was told because I was so relived to not have to take another poly.
    I was curious if this was standard anywhere else given that my FSO had no idea that I was scheduled for anything other than a personal interview and that she had not heard of a contractor taking that sort of thing. Thank you again for your time.

  124. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101,

    How would you evaluate this situation?

    1st DUI Arrest 2004 given Probation before Judgement sentence and fined. 1st offense

    2nd DUI Arrest July 4th weekend 2008, currently in a treatment program for alcohol abuse (binge drinker), attending AA. 2nd offense

    I reported the incident to my FSO first day back to work. Engaged graduate student, working as a contrator with a TS.

    What are my chances of retaining my clearance if I am convicted of a DUI?

  125. Avatar


    Here is my situation. I am a pretty straight laced kid, I went to a great school, made excellent grades, and studied a critically important language. During college I did try marijuana my sophomore year (probably between 10-20 times) and then stopped. I resolved to never do it again.

    My Junior year I was fortunate enough to receive an offer for a very competitive internship requiring a secret interim clearance. You can probably smell where this is going. Yes, I “lied” on my sf-86. I know it was incredibly stupid. My rationalization at the time was hey, I have never been caught doing weed, I am never doing it again, and this internship is so competitive that if I fess up they will just give the offer to one of the other 5000 kids that was rejected (I have mulitiple friends who were given conditional offers to similar places that were rejected after coming clean about minor marijuana use on their SF-86s and, yes, that influenced my decision). Obviously, I did not take the form seriously enough. I now know that falsifying an SF-86 is probably sufficient to DQ me from any future clearance.

    I recently graduated college (within the past 2-3 years), and I would really like to pursue OCS, which, requires a secret clearance. I want to come clean about my previous falsification. Other than this, I don’t have any dirty laundry.

    Given that it has been 4 years since my falsification, and 5 years since I smoked, what do you think my chances are?

    Am I permanently dead in the water for any SC?

    I would really appreciate any response from an investigator.

  126. Avatar

    It is not the ‘conviction’ that is of concern. I would still be reviewing your file the same if you are convicted or not, given your are reporting probationary type activities after both. Bottom line is the actual offenses and how you dealt with it…
    First off; both are within scope of investigation of 5-10 years. Bad, but not enough to decline eligibility.
    Second: were you diagnosed as alcohol dependant or alcohol abuser? Either way, you should abstain until your clearance is resolved. Let me be clear here: this is not the decision that absolutely will be made; but giving you an idea of how to make your file a little more ‘appealing’ for a favorable decision;
    -do not drink, attend AA regularly and document it.
    -do the counseling that is required for your probation, complete it sucessfully and get the documentation from the counselor and abstain.
    -admit the error in judgement while drinking and be clear to the investigator during the interview of your intent to not drink or let this behavior happen again.
    -did I mention to Abstain?. yes, do that too.
    -you have a TS with the DoD, you need to really reflect your drinking involvement and understand that your career/TS eligibility is more important than ‘beers with your buddies’. You have had a free pass with the first DUI. The second should be a real wake up for you.
    I am glad you asked me this. I want you to keep your clearance, you may not though. If you do maintain it, heed my advise on the abstain thing; it is not worth it.

  127. Avatar

    I currently have a DoD Secret Clearance which was granted to me in 2003. That same year before the clearance was granted, my wife and I filed chapter 7. This has never been reported as I was not briefed on the requirement until literally years (3 years) after the occurrence. The other part was when my wife and I filed chapter 7, the NAC investigation was just starting so I “assumed” this was known before I was granted the clearance. I know this is strange however at my site we did not have an FSO just an admin assistant who processed and gave our statement. I also had a misdemenour petty theft conviction in 1996 that was expunged from my record for completing community service. Oh, I will say that I do have some debt but am actively paying much greater than the minimums and have an income that can continue to meet obligations.

    Getting to my real question(s). I have a possible new job opportunity with a DOD contractor. A minimum of a secret clearance is required; but they do plan to put me in for a TS SCI, I’m not sure with or without poly. Will my situation affect the likelihood of being granted a clearance? At this point with the chapter 7, should I report it or wait until re-investigation? I’m not sure what the right move is to make in terms of the opportunity. The 1996 event, I’m not too concerned with because it was 12 years and no other event has ever occurred. What does truly concern me is the fact that I don’t know if the chapter 7 was reported in the NAC investigation and not stating this years ago. And having debt again, but managable debt. Could someone post their thoughts on whether a TS SCI would be denied?


  128. Avatar

    I’ve been searching for a new job and currently have a public trust but there are 2 possible jobs that will require a secret clearence. I held a secret clearence up until 2002.
    I’m a little nervous of being able to obtain another secret clearence, since then I have used marijauna a couple of times and my credit score has dropped to about 500.
    I am currently enrolled in a Credit counseling program and participating in their debt management program.
    Will these things effect my abilty to get a clearence?

  129. Avatar

    So. In 2004 I reported on the SF86 that I had never used drugs, when in fact from 2002 to 2003 I smoked a considerable amount of marijuana. I was at some point later granted final DoD secret clearance. Now, I’m up for DoD collateral TS.

    A person very close to me minimized his drug use on his SF86 for DoD TS, was granted DoD TS, then came clean in the personnal interview during subsequent investigation for SCI( by a different Agency) and was Denied SCI and his TS was suspended.

    Based on those events, for the TS investigation, I submitted SF86 again with no mention of marijuana use. If I were call the investigator up and report my prior drug involvement, which ended in 2003, what would the most likely outcome be? No other significant derogatory information or disqualifying conditions exist.

    I would love to hear from a adjudicator on this.

    Thanks so much!

  130. Avatar

    Sorry if this ends up getting posted multiple times, but it seems not to work when I click on submit comment. With the new mental health “Question 21” policy, may you still check “no” if your counseling was only for marriage, family, grief, or post combat deployment issues but it did included the care provider giving you a prescription for a common anti depressant medication?

  131. Avatar

    Several experienced employees and contractors of the Government were unlawfully suspended or unjustly accused of unproven wrongdoing by the Office of Personnel Management Federal Investigative Service (OPM FISD) because of the corruption and the inability of the investigators hired by OPM FISD to conduct backgrounds.

    The Government knows it and will not do anything about it. All those, in what they call the Cave in Boyer, PA are acting on their own and out of control, they are deceitful and destroying this country and American citizens civil rights and it is known.

    The process to defame citizen’s characters; disrupting livelihoods; and being judged, convicted, and hanged by inept OPM Background Investigators needs to stop. Kathy Dillaman of OPM FISD, her staff to include those of USIS is acting as executioners and will lie to save their jobs and again it is known.

    Those contractors wrongfully accused of unproven criminal acts, made every effort to obtain proper due process, but OPM Officials failed in every sense of the word to provide fair and impartial justice, and purposely disregarded all responses and correspondence. The offices included: Director of OPM; OPM Inspector General; OPM FISD and the OPM General Counsel.

    Dillaman, Director of OPM FISD purposely delays all inquiries against her, and her office, by ignoring all requests and appeals. All those of OPM FISD had deliberately ignored our Constitutional and Federal Laws, Regulations and OPM Notices. Even the OPM General Counsel’s Office to include the OPM IG ignored all responses for a request of due process.

  132. Avatar

    I have a question, please. My son was recently discharged from the military due to their decision that he has a personality disorder. It was an honorable discharge. He is devastated, as he loved his career potential. He believes that he can never again get a security clearance, but I think that since he is still not yet 21 he has time to “shape up” and get his life together. Am I wrong for being so optimistic?

  133. Avatar

    I am not an adjudicator but I don’t think the problem is going to be your drug use. It is going to be the fact that you intentionally falsified information on your SF-86 and to an investigator. A section of Title 18, US Code 1001, which we now read to all SUBJECT’s prior to their SUBJECT Interview and is in the instructions for the SF-86, states there may be penalties of prison terms and monetary fines if a person knowingly and willfully furnishes false information in a federal investigation. If you did not list the information on your case papers and then you did not tell the investigator, or your security manager about the drug use, you lied three times. One of the questions we also ask now is “Have you ever deliberately provided false or misleading information concerning matters to any investigator, security official or other party involved in the personnel security determination?” Once this question is asked by the investigator be prepared to give a detailed explination as to why you lied the first time. Also be ready for othe questions
    I do not know the consequences at the adjudication level but if you falsified and lied on your SF-86 have you lied and falsfied on your work at your job.
    I don’t mean to be so negative but falsification is a big deal in the personnel security world.

  134. Avatar

    Contract Investigator,
    I am sorry you feel this way but do you have examples of the deceitful acts they did that are destroying this country?

  135. Avatar

    Contract Investigator,
    Do you have a question or what?
    Are you one of the wrongfully terminated, now watching the ‘out of control’ destruction coming from the cave in Boyers?

  136. Avatar

    Investigator has it dead-on. Faslification of a federal form or to a federal investigator is a felony, punishable by prison time. If you don’t report it voluntarily, the consequences would definately be worse than if you just came clean. If you plan to stay in the current career path with the requirement of a security clearance/PR, your best bet is to clarify yourself of the issue now before any more falsifying is done that cannot be mitigated. The actual drug use is not that much of a issue anymore.
    It is almost always found out, some way or another, via a reference that slips, several ways really, and the old sf86 will always be in you background file. Don’t work for your company for 10 years and get fired for having your clearance pulled because you falsified your forms for this. You would never get a cleared position with any government agency again.

  137. Avatar

    You are not wrong with the optimism. However, what are you thinking with saying he needs to “shape up” ? My understanding of most personality disorders is fairly broad, and that it is a ‘uncontrolled’ condition that can be ‘controlled’ with medication or treatment. Is he seeking counseling or treatment of some kind or is he just holding on to his ‘teen’ years too long? You contradict yourself in your question.
    Secondly, the military usually will not discharge someone unless they are unable or unwilling to correct their issues… maybe he is not telling you the full story.

  138. Avatar


    Optimism is the best way. I am retired from the military and I have seen several occasion where kids were discharged for the same reason and have become successful. I am no doctor, but not everyone is suited for a military career and I’m guessing your son had some difficulty adjusting. Your optism is wonderful and tell your son to keep moving on and it is not the end of the world. Issues with any mental health are somewhat differently handled in the civilian world -vs- the miltary. Best of luck and by all means if your son needs additional help–have him get it and he will be fine. Seeing a counselor does not automatically preclude anyone from getting a clerarance

  139. Avatar

    Contract Investigator,

    WOW!!!! May I suggest a different forum to folks who have a legitimate chance of addressing your concerns. I kinda have an idea of your concerns, but this forum is not going to help.

  140. Avatar

    Just finsished the eqip for a TS for a DOD contractor. I’ve been working there for a couple of weeks now. I’ve been told that I need to get the Interim or I lose the job.
    I worked on the eqip for a long time. I think it’s in good shape, but here’s the deal.
    Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 3 years ago. Paying back 100% of all debt. I’ve paid 36k over 36 months. Also have paid a lot of money and stayed current for the same 36 months to all creditors. I attached and faxed all documents that show all of the payments. Also rebuilding my credit with a couple of more creditors, car payments and such. All 100% on time payments over 3 years. Bankruptcy has 24 more payments to make over the next 2 years, I think I proved I can make them.
    All in all I think it looks really good. Of course I have read all the bad things that can happen to an interim. I am extremly clean otherwise. 20 years of clean work history and owning my home and supporting my family. The Bankruptcy is the only blemish, and I’m hoping the 3 years of payments and my explanations are enough to mitigate the financial concerns.

    Just wondering what those of you in the know might think.


  141. Avatar

    What is the point of the question the investigator asks people about “moral issues” or doing something “immoral” during the interview? Isn’t this sort of too open ended, especially considering that different people often have VERY different ideas about what constitutes moral or immoral conduct? It seems like this is highly open to interpretation and someone could answer yes or no and feel as though they are telling the truth even though others might disagree or suspect they are not being honest depending on their own definitions?

  142. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101,

    Thank you for your advice, this is a great forum. I have abstained from alcohol and documented everything as well.

    I wasn’t clear in my initial post. But in 2004 I did not have a clearance then. I applied for a clearance in 2005 and was granted a TS in 2006. Does that even matter that this is my first DUI while holding a clearance?

    What is the procedure after my court date in Sept., regardless if I’m convicted or not. Also, from reading other comments within this blog, does it help my case I reported this to my FSO immediatley?


  143. Avatar

    AimHigh/Adjudicator 101:
    For several years now the IRS has considered the amount of debt absolved in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy as taxable income. So when AimHigh’s wife has $70,000 absolved, they will have a federal tax debt of at least $7,000.

    If I did AimHigh’s periodic reinvestigation, I would want to know the nature of the credit purchases and when they occurred. If the purchases were for extravagant items and expensive vacations while they were married, I would detail it in my report. I’m not suggesting that this is what happened in AimHigh’s case, but I believe that a husband and wife are mutually responsible for living beyond their means, even if they only use credit established in the name of the non-cleared spouse. The word “Bankruptcy” does not appear in the Adjudicative Guidelines, so in my opinion it doesn’t matter who declares bankruptcy. It is the financial conduct leading to the bankruptcy that should be adjudicatively significant. If the bankruptcy was due to the financial irresponsibility of both spouses, then the cleared spouse should be judge based on his conduct and/or his acquiescence to his spouse’s conduct. If the debt was incurred before marriage, then I agree with Adjudicator 101.

    Bottom line: Due to the nature Secret PRs, the spouse’s bankruptcy will probably not be noticed.

  144. Avatar

    My husband had a TS/SCI with NAVAIR, and was read out 2 yrs ago when he went to another job. For the new job he was put in for a full scope lifestyle, and was recently denied. As a result of the denial he lost his job, and found another job which only required the ability to get the TS/SCI with NAVAIR again. Now he’s had that job offer rescinded and was told that his full scope denial means that he can’t get an SCI ever again and can’t go above his current TS. Is this accurate?


  145. Avatar

    In light of the recent court decision for some of NASA’s JPL contractors, what are the chances someone from another Agency could make similar arguments?
    I mean, for the most part, security investigations are rather involved and intimate, and in a lot of cases, don’t centralize on how well a person can do the job.
    Just wondering what some of the investigators thought on this issue.

  146. Avatar

    Did you list your 1st DUI on your forms?
    It won’t really matter that you had a clearance or now, the incidents both happened. The issue will become if you were totally honest on your prior investation.
    After your court date, get copies of the probation requirements, provide copies of all the things you have done since the arrest (AA mtg, counseling, abstaining, etc.) and provide a copy to the court to place in your docket. When your probation requirements are made, get a copy of the closing of your case from the court. Have all the documents for the investigator to review and have him put the information in the investigation. This will usually save a lot of time for everyone.
    It doesn’t necessarily “help” your case, mainly because you are required to report it anyhow. But, we in adjudication look favorably at it because so many don’t do that and hope we don’t find out about it….
    Good luck, I hope it goes smoothly for you.

  147. Avatar

    Yeah AimHigh, William Henderson is right! …. Harrumph!

  148. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101/Mr. Henderson,

    Thank you so much for your honest assessments and thoughtful replies.

    I have an additional wrinkle I would like to run by you all. My current company has sponsored my clearance request. Sadly, they have given me a termination date a few days from now. I have been assured that they will not remove me from JPAS, so my clearance will process to conclusion.

    Another company has extended me a tentative offer for a position requiring a Secret. I informed them of my clearance status from the get-go, but they have wanted to move ahead anyway.

    The “new” company’s FSO has sent me the instructions to submit a new SF86. I have not even accepted a position with them or been extended an official offer. I am not sure what to do.

    Can’t the new company just “take over” my existing case that is still in adjudication? If I re-submit does that start the clock over? If I re-submit will I have to answer YES to “Have you previously been denied a clearance” since I was denied an Interim 4 months ago? If I do that it will add another issue that needs to be adjudicated, yes? Why would they want me to resubmit if they know I already have a pending application?

    There is a possibility that my current company will extend an offer for a non-clearance position. My gut tells me if that happens to jump on it, let the ongoing process play itself out, and respond accordingly. Am I missing something? Does the new company know something I don’t?

    Thank you for this forum!

  149. Avatar

    Don Bishop

    I’ll say you will be hard-pressed to get a good investigator to comment on the story. People have the right to do as they please and I will never stand in judgment of anyone. I simply get the facts and I am fully aware of how tough it can be on some folks. I am always empathetic as I hope all investigators are.

    Now, on the other hand, just because you are the best at whatever you do–does not mean you are a trustworthy person (Not referring to anyone–just generalizing). There has to be some checks-and-balances.

    I know my revelations not too revealing or informative, but I stand neutral in all instances like NASA’s. Also, just remind everyone–getting a clearance is “Voluntary.”

    INVESTIGATOR, What say you?

  150. Avatar


    As you state “What is the point of the question the investigator asks people about “moral issues” or doing something “immoral” during the interview?

    You say this is open-ended and open to interpretation. We need a little better explanation of what you mean to be better informed to provide you with an opinion. I am not sure what you are referring to as I have never asked such a open-ended question in the fashion you describe. Give us more context.

  151. Avatar

    Dave in VA,

    Tough situation, but my 2 cents–always take the sure thing and never bank on what may or may not happen in the future unless in ink/signatures and of course binding. Not based on any special insight–just my opinion. Good luck.

  152. Avatar

    Question 21 Advice:
    My reading of the new question 21 permits you to answer “no”, even if you were prescribed medication. Here’s a link to the SecDef’s memo that includes the new wording.

  153. Avatar

    Yes, both issues will affect your ability to get clearance. Whether or not you will be granted a clearance will depend on the extent to which you can mitigate the issues. There is a three-part article on Financial Issues & Security Clearances post at I recommend you read all three parts. You should also read Guideline H (Drug Involvement) of the Adjudicative Guidelines to see which mitigating conditions apply to you. I have a copy of the Adjudicative Guidelines at my website (click on my name above and navigate to the resourses page under “about security clearances.” The most important mitigating conditions for drug use are passage of time and distancing yourself from the associates and situations where you used drugs.

  154. Avatar

    Graduate Student:
    We don’t have “thought police” in the U.S. and the 1st Amendment has not been repealed. There is nothing wrong with legally advocating any political position you prefer, even if others might think it is detrimental to the security of the U.S. But be careful that your “speech” doesn’t cross over into sedition. You can not advocate action to do something illegal that would hurt the security of the U.S.
    Based on the information in your question, I don’t see a Foreign Preference issue. Paragraphs 7a & 7b (Foreign Influence) of the Adjudicative Guidelines can potentially apply to a large percentage of Americans. The degree to which you might be susceptible to foreign influence will be gauged by the nature and frequency of your contact with foreign nationals and how much financial support might be given or accepted by you—these are the indicators of personal loyalty, obligation, and affection. The nationality, occupation, and country of residence of your foreign contacts are also concerns.
    My best guess is that the polygraph question about having ever “cheated on a test” was a control question. They expect almost everyone (especially college students) to “flutter” the polygraph instrument on that question. So, don’t worry about it.
    Your chances of being granted SCI eligibility or a collateral clearance (TS or Secret) will depend entirely on the scope of your contact with foreign nationals. The only official difference between the adjudicative standards for SCI and collateral clearances is the presence of immediate family members who are not US citizens. However, I suspect that SCI adjudicators use a generally stricter interpretation of the Foreign Influence guideline.
    Unless you have an uncle who is a Mosad or Shin Bet agent, I think your chances of getting SCI or collateral clearance are good. You should read about the Jonathan Pollard case to understand why the IC is particularly sensitive about Israel. Good luck.

  155. Avatar

    Sounds like you went through some sort of psychological testing. I’ve never heard of contractor employees being required to undergo psychological testing; although it is sometimes required for federal employment at IC agencies.

  156. Avatar

    Who defines what is moral or isnt?

    Investigators have as much trouble with this question as applicants. The underlying purpose of the question is to elicit information about conduct that the applicant feels is immoral and therefore might feel guilty about and therefore might be susceptible to blackmail if the conduct has been concealed from others. Of course if the applicant reveals conduct covered under the Adjudicative Guidelines, then it doesn’t matter how the applicant feels about it. Bottom line: The Adjudicative Guidelines determine what is and what is not adjudicatively significant.

  157. Avatar

    In regards to the question of what defines MORAL behavior or not, the sociologist in me speaks out.

    I would imagine the definition of immoral behavior would be something similar to behavior that falls outside of the standard social norms in a given society, in particular behavior that falls outside of the norms so much as to be deemed illegal, or to cause shame or embarrasment to those behaving as such to the point where the individual may choose to hide this behavior and may be vulnerable to blackmail or duress if exposed.

    That would be how I would broadly define it, from a personnel security standpoint. Thats just sociology major speaking though.

  158. Avatar

    Dave in VA:
    The company that terminated your employment can not allow your clearance to continue being processed without continuing some type of employment relationship with you. Interim clearances are not actually denied; they are just not granted. Not being granted an interim clearance is not a clearance denial; therefore you do not have to list it as a denial, but you must list the investigation on any future SF86. The new company that wants to offer you a job should be able to assume “ownership” of your existing clearance application and thereby substitute themselves as your sponsor in place of the other company. They may just want a copy of your SF86 for their records.

  159. Avatar

    Don Bishop:
    First, I’d like to say that the requirement of HSPD-12 have no relationship to 99% of the people who ask questions on this forum, because HSPD-12 is unrelated to Public Trust positions or National Security clearances.

    I understand (but don’t agree with) the JPL scientists’ opposition to the HSPD-12 requirement. It’s sort of an ex post facto law for those that already occupy positions there. But I also believe the government must have the flexibility to adjust security requirements as threats to security change. I also believe that HSPD-12 was ill conceived. The issuance of PIV cards could have been based on an investigation of more limited scope than a NACI and a new application form specifically for that purpose (rather than the SF-85).

    I don’t think that people applying for Public Trust or National Security clearances have an legal basis for challenging the current process.

  160. Avatar

    I doubt that anyone would ever be permanently disqualified from being granted SCI eligibility, other than for incureable insanity. I was once involved in the investigation of a man who was arrested because of our investigation. He was convicted of illegally exporting rocket technology to Egypt (an ITAR violation). After serving two years in federal prison, he was released and immediately applied for a job that required a security clearance. We were told that we (DSS) had to conduct the investigation for the new clearance application and that the new case would have to be processed to its conclusion and adjudicated. Without knowing the issue involved in your husband’s case, it is impossible to give you an informed opinion on his chances for a future clearance. It is possible that even his collateral TS clearance may not be reinstateable depending on the issue involved.

  161. Avatar

    I failed to mention that the ITAR case occurred before the Smith Amendment. The Smith Amendment was repeal and replaced by a less restrictive law that disqualifies applicants for SCI clearances if served one year or more in prison for a felony offense or if they received a dishonorable discharge from the military. It also disqualifies collateral clearance applicants if they are current illegal drug users or insane.