Background InvestigationsObtaining Security Clearance

Ask Your Clearance Questions – Part 11

Our popular ongoing series allows you to ask your most complex questions regaring security clearances and our regular contributors of present and former clearance investigators and adjudicators 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. Provide full details about your case in your initial question thread.
  5. 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.

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

Comment Archive

  1. Avatar


    The line or statement of “Pending PSI Adjudication of NACI OPM, Opened 2008 04 23, Closed 2008 06 20, AFCAF” Means; that your investigation has opened on 2008 04 23, closed on 2008 06 20, and your case is now ready for adjudication by the AFCAF… There’s no decision yet… Hang in there!!

    I hope this helps?

  2. Avatar


    I agree with Adjudicator 101, ABSTAIN!!

    You should also be prepared for your eligibility of access to be suspended during the investigation and adjudication process (which will take some time). The investigation can not be completed until you go to your final court date (the adjudicator will want the final disposition). Don’t forget your treatment records must be reviewed too… Then the adjudication kicks in… And, it doesn’t look good, (two Alcohol related incidents within scope), It will be a up hill battle…

    Make sure you concentrate on ALL mitigating factors for the guidelines:
    Alcohol Consumption,
    Criminal Conduct and
    Personal Conduct.

    Good Luck

    I hope this helps?

  3. Avatar

    I’m having a lot of questions about the family portion of the SF-86. Who should I put down, and who should I not? I have nothing to hide, but it’s complicated. My mother divorced my biological father when I was still an infant, she then married a Palestinian born in United Arab Emirates when I was around four, who she subsequently divorced a few years later. She then married who I call my father, and who subsequently adopted me as his daughter. The previous two men have gone on to have several children of their own, but I am an only child by my mother. So… do I need to find out the information for step-brothers/step-sisters who I never talk to?? I very rarely speak to my biological father… and my step-father is dead. If I read the rules as strictly as possible it would only be my father, mother, and husband… but I don’t want to leave anything out that may be needed. What should I do?

  4. Avatar

    Hello guys,
    I am new to this particular forum. I recently married my wife who is in the process of getting her resident green card. I am about to join the navy and will require either a top secret or secret SC. The question I have is this, her mother and father are in the U.S. but are not in the country legally. I don’t have any ties to them at all as I don’t even speak their language. But she does. Will this automatically DQ me from getting a security clearance? What are my options?

    Thank-you Much in advance

  5. Avatar

    Also would like to mention that they are not bound by affection to me only my wife… I do not even speak their language.


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    I just wanted to thank “BW AN INVESTIGATOR” and “edge” for answering my questions about the fake id i had in the past.

  7. Avatar

    I am currently upgrading my clearance from a Secret to a TS. I have a perfect credit history, no arrests, no drug use or alcohol problems, no mental illness, no foreign relatives, no job firings. However I do have one speeding ticket 5 years ago that resulted in a $190 fine. This is the one and only blemish on my record. I put this offense down on my new SF 86 for the TS, but a few years ago when I applied for the Secret, I didn’t read the questions on police record carefully and didn’t report it. I still got the Secret within 6 months, no questions asked. Will this discrepancy prevent me from getting an interim and final TS? It was an honest mistake; I wasn’t trying to withhold any information. Thanks.

  8. Avatar

    I just got hired for an FCIP position and started working a few weeks ago. Just before I started working I had to fill out an e-QIP (SF 85) form which did not ask me questions about my credit history or finances but I am worried that my low credit score and high debt to income ratio may prevent me from getting clearance and thus lead to losing my job.

    In November 2007 I started to try and fix my credit issues by going through a credit counseling service, will this at least help me with my clearance if asked about my debt?

    Thank you.

  9. Avatar

    Mike –

    I don’t know if aiding and abetting an illegal immigrant is a clearance issue.

    However, it is your duty as a citizen and a future soldier to report illegal immigrants. You don’t want your investigator to think you’re an accomplice to a crime by willfully ignoring the crime your wife’s parents are committing. Report them anonymously to DHS if you truly aren’t bound to them by affection. If you aren’t willing to report them then doesn’t that show you are bound to them by affection?

    Also see:
    U.S. Code : Title 8 : Section 1325

  10. Avatar

    Kevin –

    No, this will not be a problem. And besides, if the fine was less than $250 I don’t think you have to report it, do you?

    I don’t think an investigator will think you lied about a speeding ticket. Speeding tickets are normal and not significant in the process, so why would someone lie about it?

    Don’t worry, if forgetting to list a speeding ticket is all you truly have on your record you’ll get your clearance just fine.

  11. Avatar

    CE –
    You have to report speeding tickets over $150. I did not realize this when I was applying for my Secret. But on the SF 86 for my TS that I just submitted, I did put it down. The discrepancy worries me a bit.

  12. Avatar

    Kevin –

    Yes you are right, it’s $150. I had forgotten the number. A speeding ticket really should not be worrying you. You didn’t lie, and it’s a freaking speeding ticket! Who doesn’t get speeding tickets? No one would commit a felony (lying on SF86) because of a single speeding ticket. You’ll have a chance to bring with up in your subject interview, why give it a second thought?

  13. Avatar


    My goodness, what were you thinking by not reporting that ticket!!!!!!!!!!!! Kidding, not significant. Besides, my guess is that they probably knew about the ticket 5 years ago. We investigators love to get cases like yours–1 ticket–makes our lives easy.

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    You still have to list them as they are your in-laws and required on the SF 86. You may not be close, but they are still foreign citizens and many questions will be asked by an Investigator. You are in a tough spot.

  15. Avatar

    I was granted an interim secret not too long ago in order to get a contract job. I disclosed my use of 3 different illegal substances (all 3 years ago) and 2 collection accounts placed against me (both for a sum total of 450$ and satisfied). I did my best to mitigate all the red flags. Unfortunately, I did not mention a misdemeanor traffic violation I just found on my police report. I recently discovered the violation was not just an infraction but a class 2 misdemeanor when I received a copy of my police record (which I requested on my own). At no time did know I had been charged with a misdemeanor! I paid a fine of less than 150$ and assumed it was a traffic violation hence me not disclosing it. Am I in a tough spot? I’d like to amend my application, or at least alert any investigators if possible – am I too late? The offense is a licensing violation and happened 4 years ago.

  16. Avatar

    BW What kind of questions will they ask me about them? What if I don’t know too much about them?

  17. Avatar

    Mike/vlcmstn808 –

    I doubt anyone will believe you “don’t know too much” about your in-laws.

  18. Avatar

    CE- I can understand your sentiment maybe you have huge thing against illegal immigrants or something like that. I honestly don’t know much about my in-laws. I can’t even communicate with them and my wife never talks about them. So I really have no clue. I’ve seen them maybe 5 times in my life. It would be nice if I could get some answers and not your opinions. I’m not trying to be rude but please keep away from speculation and stay on topic.

  19. Avatar


    I don’t think anyone is trying to offend you in any way. I understand your dilema. Be prepared to explain the extent of contact you have with them. You will need to list their DOB’s, Citizenship and address if you can. I would reccomend (Opinion only) you tell the investigator if they are here illegally–don’t let it get you later in any way. You will have to ultimately make your own decisions.

    Also, please understand this Blog is based on opinions. There is not a person here that can give you a 100% straight answer if we are not involved in your case. We can only try to speculate somewhat to form an opinion. Also, if you haven’t already tell your recruiter or whoever is helping you with the questionnaire. Also, as a 20 year veteran I would reccomend you do not talk to the investigator the way you did to CE. He/She will be asking alot of questions and your frustration will not help matters. CE has given many positive and truthful answers on this forum.

  20. Avatar

    I understand where you are coming from and I would never talk to anyone like that has as much say over my future as my investigator. I’m not trying to disrespect CE I don’t doubt that he can be very helpful. I just detected a hint of sarcasm in each one of his posts and that’s frustrating to me. I am already disappointed at the fact that people I hardly associate with have so much weight over my career. I just want to serve my country and be successful at the same time. I’m trying to an idea for what’s ahead. I’m not trying to lie or outsmart the system. I checked all the denials for clearances for the last 5 years and I found two that were like my particular case and they were both granted. I just want to know how much investigating is done into my wife’s family. Other then the fact that they are not here legally they haven’t done any other thing criminal. I also believe they have a lawyer and are trying to get their papers fixed. The Sf86 asks for birth country, nationality, and current address… So other then that how would they find out additional information about them? What kind of checks do they do, and with what agencies if any. Also will the investigator interview my wife if any additional info is needed? Or should I expect them to interview her anyways as part of the regular process? Thank Everyone so much for the answers!

  21. Avatar

    Could someone please answer my question?

    Thank you very much.

  22. Avatar


    put down your biological father, and add comments. Put down your stepfather, and your foreign father also, adding comments just like the others. The adjudicator will be able to figure out the foreign thing and it won’t be an issue unless you have maintained regular contact. There is a comments section for these type issues exactly.
    Sorry no one got to your answer earlier.

  23. Avatar

    Thank you so much for that answer.

  24. Avatar


    I understand your frustrations and I’m trying to guide you as best as I can. I suggest you just report as required and let the system work. The fact they are here illegally is not your fault. I think you will be fine. Sounds to me like you will make a fine Sailor as you seem really passionate about serving.

    Also, keep in mind that having a foreign national spouse will hinder any SCI access.

    There is a possibility your wife could be interviewed, but not absolutely required. That is a decision your investigator will have to make.

    Don’t get discouraged and keep moving along.

    Also, seems as if CE was challenging you–not insulting you at all. There are many occasions we post comments that hit directly so you can see what to expect–provoking thoughts.

    I wish you the best and the Navy can use people like you that really care. Have a great career.

  25. Avatar

    Do adjudicators factor in military service for security clearances? I mean would they be a big plus for someone wanting to obtain a clearance or does it really matter. I was just curious, i would think they would be willing to give some vets the benefit of doubt but maybe not?

  26. Avatar

    Monty3 (from Part 10):
    If your employer did not tell you before you were hired that an interim TS clearance was a condition of employment, I recommend you start looking for another new employer regardless of whether you get the interim clearance or not. I think it’s highly unethical for an employer act in this manner.

    The things you have done in the past two year will significantly mitigate your past financial problems, but you failed to mention the underlying cause of the bankruptcy. To an adjudicator this information is as important as your financial conduct during the past two years.

  27. Avatar

    No, military service is not necessarily looked at with any sort of preference when adjudicating. I personally don’t favor a veteran over a civilian when making decisions. As a vet, I see it as a choice, we weren’t drafted. Excellent service is a good thing. A college degree and work history is a good thing too. We gotta look at the persons ‘big picture’.

  28. Avatar

    I’ve been offered a job in which Secret security clearance is desired, though the employer tells me it’s not required – though I’m not sure if they’d find a reason to let me go if I didn’t get it. I have concerns about if I’ll be able to get the clearance, not because I have any one bad thing against me, but maybe several minor ones could add up

    The first situation is I’m married to a woman from the UK who is a permanent resident. We’ve been married eight years, though she hasn’t applied for citizenship yet. From what I’ve heard, this alone is not a problem.

    The second situation is I’ve been to counseling for panic attacks. Again, from what I heard this alone is not a problem.

    The third situation is I smoked marijuana once about 6-8 years ago (I’m 35 now) – I can’t remember the exact year. I was drinking with a friend who offered it to me and I literally only took one or two puffs. Since I’m not entirely sure it even occurred within the 7 years, and no one else was around but me and him, I’m not even sure if I should report it. I want to be entirely honest, but it worries me that with the above factors, it could be “three strikes and your out”.

    What are my chances of getting the clearance based on the factors above? Do you have any advice on what I should put on the form? I’m an honest guy, church going, family man, etc and it hurts that this small mistake could trip up my chances.

  29. Avatar

    My background investigation for a Q clearance was completed in June. Now I have a follow-up interview tomorrow with DOE. What could this interview pertain to? I didn’t get a letter like most asking for further info, just an interview. Does this mean I may not get the clearance or is this standard practice to follow up on loose ends?

    I had a dui 20 years ago, I don’t drink anymore and I put that on the SF86 and discussed it with my investigator.

    I did travel to China and Thailand among other countries for my job. Maybe it is about that?

    My credit isn’t great, no collections but a couple delinquencies, just 30 days late last month. Never been over 30 days late, no bankruptcy or foreclosures etc.

    I’m just all worked up not knowing what to expect.

    Can you shed any light?

  30. Avatar

    I am 46 years old and I have been offered a job in which they will require a security clearance. I started using drugs and alcohol when I was 11 years old up until I was 24 years old. I started with beer and marijuana and progressed to cocaine and PCP. From age 20 to 24 I was arrested 4 times for driving under the influence and 3 times for possession / distribution of drugs. I was convicted of the 4 DUI’s and 2 of the possession drug charges. I entered a long term drug rehab when I was 24 and spent 14 months living there starting my life over. I graduated from the drug rehab program and started college while working full time and completed my Electrical Engineering degree graduating Suma Cum Laude. I have been clean and sober now for 22 years and have had many achievements over the years. I am wondering if there are any opinions as to whether I would be able to get a security clearance. Thanks in advance.

  31. Avatar

    Honest Abe – :p

    1) This is not a problem. It only prevents you from obtaining SCI eligibility (which sounds like you won’t have to worry about at that job). Many people with even Top Secret clearances are married to foreign nationals, just not TS/SCI.

    2) I’m not sure about the counseling but I would agree with your intuition about it not being a big deal. They may ask you about it I’m sure, but IMHO, having a panic attack doesn’t mean you’re more likely to divulge classified information.

    3) Drug use is a problem but it can be mitigated with time and the “whole person” concept. You should list your experimental drug use!!! If you’re up front and honest, it will likely be mitigated by time and you will be granted your clearance.

    In my unprofessional opinion I’m guessing you won’t receive an interim clearance but that shouldn’t worry you about the final determination.

  32. Avatar

    If possible could someone answer my post?

    I am getting nervous because I have moved my family to a new state and don’t know if because of this possible situation I should start looking for a new job.


  33. Avatar

    Is Secret SAP considered a clearance when completing the SF 86? I’m curious because I have Secret SAP access, but on the SF 86 for my TS upgrade I only listed having a Secret clearance. Also, what is the difference between SAP and SCI? Is SAP granted by the DoD and SCI by the intelligence community?


  34. Avatar

    Miles –

    I’m not an investigator/adjudicator but I believe I read somewhere else on this blog that the investigators do not have access to your debt-to-income ratio because they do not know how much you make. Certainly items on your credit history will need to be reviewed, but good faith efforts towards financial responsibility can mitigate debt.

    Money/debt is one thing that has historically caused Americans to spy and a person in dire financial straits is what they’re trying to avoid. A low credit score is common and will not prevent you from obtaining a clearance in and of itself. Keep making those efforts to pay it back!

  35. Avatar

    BW- Thank-You so much for trying to help me I went down to MEPS today and passed every test with flying colors. Now I am just waiting on a waiver for some trouble I got into when I was younger. Which I fully disclosed on my sf86. So once that is set I just need to pick a job. I’m so excited as I am finally going to be part of something meaningful and great. So many people have tried to talk me out of it but I’m not going to budge. If I have any more questions I know where to come and who to ask. Thanks once again.


  36. Avatar

    BW- In terms of doing the background check with your old employers. Say those employers have a corporate policy that states they will only give the dates worked, position title and salary of the employee. What would an investigator do at that point? Would that conclude the study of those work references or what?

  37. Avatar

    I’ve noticed that for alot of DoD CAF’s, they seem to process you for SCI access anyways. If your wife isnt from a particularly hostile country.

    I think it’s common enough that they process you anyways and someone is delegated the waiver authority for SCI to an adjudicator team chief, or similar.

    I know several people who are documented as having a foreign spouse, and apply for a TS clearance because of position or duties, and they are granted SCI along with it, without the commands issuing a letter of compelling need, request for waiver, etc.

  38. Avatar


    Depends on how the case plays out. It is always possible to find someone who no longer works for that company. There are alot of companies with the same policy, but there are ways to get interviews. If it is not possible it’s not possible. Usually these policies do not allow on-site interviews so we don’t disturb the workplace.

    Did you have a hiccup at a job. You will be OK to tell us here, nobody will be seeking you out. If so, give a little detail and I can address your concern–sounds like maybe there is more than just your question.

    Congrats on the testing. I’m sure your waiver will probably be along shortly. The military can be a tough life, but a very rewarding one as well. I wouldn’t change my 20 years for anything.

  39. Avatar


    CE is right. We don’t have your debt/income ratio. There are times we do know a persons salary because it is in their personnel record, but it is of no significance to us and not a required item for reporting. Use to be the DoD had us fill out a debt/income sheet, but we stopped doing that not too long ago.

  40. Avatar

    CE and BW,

    Thanks for the answers, it makes me feel a bit better about the situation.

    Thank you.

  41. Avatar

    BW- Yes at my last job I missed too many days of work because of court mandated classes, appointments, and interviews for my wife and I. But my recruiters put down I quit to go to school. I am really surprised how shady recruiters are and even some guys at MEPS were telling me to put untruths down. It’s really frustrating that these people encourage dishonesty. I keep telling them I would rather tell the truth and cut myself out of jobs then be caught in a lie by adjudicator and be denied a security clearance and end up as a cook or something stupid like that. I frankly don’t understand why they have recruiters at all.

  42. Avatar

    I have a question. For a top secret clearance, how in depth are the interviews with the references that are listed on the form? I have also learned that investigators will ask the references to name other people to interview – do the investigators always try to gain other names that were not listed on the form? and do they always contact those other folks? Thank you in advance for any information.

  43. Avatar

    The names you list on your case papers are listed just in case we can not find anyone else. Ideally we never interview the people you list on your cases papers under the section “People Who Know You Well”.
    As for how in depth the interviews are we ask the appriopriate questions to get an overall picture of the person under investigation.

  44. Avatar
  45. Avatar


    Thank you for your post. What do you mean “two Alcohol related incidents within scope”? I think you mean I had two incidents while holding a clearance, right? If so, my first incident was in 2004 and didn’t have a clearance then. I was granted a clearance in 2006 and my 2nd incident was in this past 4th of July weekend.

    How long is a typical re-investigation and adjudication process?

  46. Avatar

    I have read through a lot of these postings and a couple of people mentioned how they omitted information on the SF86 form and throughout the process. If the investigators find that out, what happens? i realize that you will most likely be denied a clearance or your clearance is revoked but is there typically any legal actions against these people since it is against the law or what usually happens?

  47. Avatar

    I have a quick question.

    I need a secret clearance for my job w/the DOD. The background investigation has begun – I know this because someone I haven’t talked to in a while called and asked me why the government would be sending them a questionaire about me…

    Should I expect to be contacted by a background investigator soon?

    Thanks in advance!

  48. Avatar

    There is a difference between unintentional omissions and intentionally leaving out information on your SF-86 or SF-85P and then intentionally forgetting to tell your security officer or the investigator. If you forget about a speeding ticket that is understandable but if you “forget” about your regular drug use for two years then there will be a problem.

    As to the legal ramifications I beleive it all depends on the agency who is paying for the investigation. I am not a legal expert when it comes to personnel security matters so there may be another individual who posts on this board who could give you a better answer.

  49. Avatar

    I think the recruiters are just concerned about their quotas. They need to recruit a certain number of people into their respective branch of the military each month. They will do what ever it takes to make their quota. I have done countless SPINS where the SUBJECT told me they told their recruiter about the issue but their recruiter told them not to worry about putting it down on their case papers or if the recruiter filled out the SUBJECT’s case papers the recruiter neglected to list the issue at all.
    There have been numerous news reports about how the military is allowing people to enlist in the military who they would have denied in a heartbeat 10 years ago.
    It’s all about numbers, numbers, numbers.

  50. Avatar

    There is a certain number of years back an investigation goes whether you had a clearance or not. “In scope” refers to that time frame. So 2004 will be “in scope” for your investgiation and your alcohol related offense in 2004 will be a factor regarding your clearance process in addition to the most recent one you got.

  51. Avatar

    Jessica B,
    When did you turn in your case papers? What type of case papers did you fill out SF 86 or SF 85P? Depending on what type of background investigation be conducted on you an investigator may not contact you. Are you positive it is a secret clearance you are in the process for an not a public trust position?

  52. Avatar

    Hi Investigator –

    SF 86; fairly certain that I’m in for secret.

    Thank you!

  53. Avatar

    Jessica B,
    To continue from above my above post. There are certain case types in which the SUBJECT under investigation is not contacted yet people they listed on their case papers are. Since you indicated a person you had not talked to in a while got a letter in the mail from the government it sounds to me like you are having an ANACI investigation. With ANACI investigations the SUBJECT under investigation is not usually interviewed. If it is a public trust position then you might be having an MBI and you will be interviewed.

  54. Avatar

    Investigator- Thanks for that answer. What is a SPIN?

  55. Avatar

    Also I graduated high school about 5 yrs back. I am wondering do investigators talk to old schoolmates? If they do how would they find them, how would they know how close to the applicant they are and how do they treat the info that they share? How much weight does it have as it might as well be considered hearsay or what not?

  56. Avatar

    I noticed that most of the clearance questions address jobs with government contractors. I was recently offered a job with the Department of Homeland Security and I accepted the offer. I completed my SF86 on July 3rd for secret clearance. I have a very clean background, without any credit problems, arrests, tickets, or drug use etc. Thus, my question is whether a “basic” secret clearance (e.g., not top secret) with a government agency such as the DHS might be faster than the process for top secret with a contractor? More specifically, will it be possible to be working and receiving a paycheck before Christmas?

  57. Avatar


    A SPIN is a Special Interview normally targeted to gain information deemed important by the DoD.

    Also, five years ago is within the scope of your case. Interviews from school will be attempted. How the investigator assigned to your case finds people to talk to is his/her’s responsibility. No information about you will be released to anyone, other than a release to gain access to records if requested. We are not in the business of releasing what we discover to anyone we interview. Hearsay is possible that is why a number of people are interviewed to gain a “Whole” person concept.

    Also, Investigator is dead-on, I cannot count the number of times I heard “My recruiter said not to list it/that.”

  58. Avatar

    Yes, a Secret SAP is a security clearance. SCI (Sensitive Compartmented Information) is an intelligence SAP (Special Access Program). Many people, including government security officials, refer to SCI as being distinct from other SAPs. DoD is the largest member of the IC (Intelligence Community) and owns most of the SAPs. There are 3 types of SAPs–Acquisition, Intelligence, and Operations/Support.

  59. Avatar

    Would any of the investigators or adjudicators be able to comment on my situation above? I greatly appreciate the feedback.

  60. Avatar

    I am in for a job that requires a top secret. The case has been moving fairly quickly – I received the tentative job offer on May 1, the investigator interviewed me on June 17, and the completed case has been in adjudication since July 9. Is it unusual for a case to be in adjudication for 2 weeks? I am a little nervous because I have a high debt to income ratio, but a very high credit score. No other issues – no drugs, crimes, bad employment history… Should I be worried?

  61. Avatar

    on 21 Jul 2008 at 4:26 pm #


    Check post from CE, date and time above. I’m pretty sure as a joke, he referred to you as “Honest Abe” in his post–your answer lies above.

  62. Avatar

    William –

    So if I have a Secret SAP, it’s either Acquisition or Operations/Support?


  63. Avatar

    A few questions.

    First, what is a spook? (On the side of this page, it says SPOOKS for hire)

    Second, does anyone know what the attrition rate is for NSA applicants? And how many do not get cleared? I hear its very high that many people for CIA, NSA, and FBI don’t get cleared (like over 65% or something).

    Third, if I don’t get cleared for TS/SCI/Full Scope Poly, what happens to my current SECRET clearance?

    I’m nervous because I have a lot riding on being cleared. I don’t have anything will hold me back from being cleared, but I am still nervous I will forget something and an interview will pick it up and it will look like I was lieing or something crazy like that. I really want this job I’m going after and once I get cleared, I’ll be relieved I don’t have to go through all this again and proud I was cleared.

  64. Avatar

    I was (conditionally) offered a government position about a month ago, which I accepted. I was not aware that the position required a clearance, but was sent an SF86. I’ve had 2 Secret clearances before, so I’m familiar with the form. I completed the SF86 and was, unexpectedly, fired from my job the next week. I contacted my government contact to update the person on the situation, and was told to send an addition changing the relevant SF86 sections. Before this I had a pretty spotless record – I have never been fired before, or even had a speeding ticket. But I am worried about the timing. Am I likely to be declined a clearance and lose the position as a result of being fired?

  65. Avatar

    I currently work as a govt. contractor with a secret clearance. I applied to a government agency for a job that requires a TS/SCI, I was told that my background was complete and have been offered a job by the agency. However, it doesn’t make financial sense for me to leave my current job.

    My current employer recently began the process for me to get a TS. I want to know if having a completed background investigation from a government agency will allow me to transfer the govt. obtained clearance for my contractor job or at least make my contractor-initiated clearance go faster?

  66. Avatar

    One other thing: my offer letter states that my employment is subject to a “background investigation” but makes no mention of a clearance level. Is a background investigation the same thing as a security clearance investigation?

  67. Avatar

    Has anyone on here received a TS or a Q clearance in the past year? If so how long did it take?

  68. Avatar

    Mack –

    You will get many different responses. TS clearances have and continue to take 5 months – 2years+ end to end. It does seem that worst-case response times in some areas have improved recently, however.

    It largely depends on luck and how clean your case is. Also communicate often with your security officer. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

  69. Avatar

    Can my security officer inquire on my case if I ask him to?

  70. Avatar


    CE is right. My wife’s case started in end of 04/2008 (SSBI) and she was done/adjudicated last week–and no I have no influence on the process :), but only one area worked with one investigator needed, which speeds things up. I have many cases I’m working, some quick some not so quick. I guess what I’m saying is their is no magic number to give. Hang in there–how old is your case?

  71. Avatar


    I just had my interim secret-level clearance denied. How long will it take to reach a decision on the final secret-level clearance?


  72. Avatar


    I had my interim secret-level clearance denied. How long will it take to reach a decision on the final secret-level clearance?


  73. Avatar

    It has been three weeks since I submitted my SF86 and have not heard from anyone. How do I know who my security officer is? Will he/she contact me? I kind of feel like I submitted my paperwork into a giant black hole and that there is no information regarding the process.

  74. Avatar

    As CE and BW mentioned in their posts to mack it all depends on your case. There is no exact time frame that can be provided for when your case will be completed.

  75. Avatar

    I submitted my SF86 in Feb. so I figured it could be any day or it could be a couple more months. One thing that will probably slow my case down is I lived in a couple diff. places in different states but I know they were done investigating my current location over a month ago and I am about 99% sure they are done where I used to live so I am assuming its in adjudication. It makes me feel a lil better knowing that there are some people getting theirs done pretty quick. My case should be fairly simple, one misdemeanor for dis. conduct over 2 years ago, no drug use since I

  76. Avatar

    You can ask your security officer the status of your case but I have dealt with many security officers who tell me they get frustrated by people always asking them about the status of their clearance.
    When your clearance is granted it is granted. I am sure your supervisor and security officer are just as anxious as you in finding out about your clearance so you can start working on TS or Q clearance projects for your organization.

  77. Avatar

    was in high school over 5 years ago which was very minimal and I got let go from a part time job while I was in the military for applying for a store credit card ( I guess I wasnt allowed to do that), also a delinquent credit card which I was the co-signer and had no idea it was past due but paid it off when I was made aware. I guess thats more then some people buts its all pretty minimal in my opinion. As the Joe Dirt would say, “you gotta keep on keepin on”.

  78. Avatar

    On the issue of pestering/checking the status of your clearance with your FSO:

    Clearly there is good reason non-security personnel can’t access JPAS, but what would be wrong with allowing contractors/agencies to develop separate databases/email scripts for their organizations that notify applicants of their status?

    You’d log in to a web app and could see part of your, only your, JPAS entry. (e.g. investigation started, investigation closed, adjudication started, granted, etc. etc.). This wouldn’t be any more risky than the internal and external job websites companies run that you put your current clearance level into. You wouldn’t even have to stored personally identifiable information there.

    Many companies email you automatically in plain-text when your clearance comes through so what’s the harm in putting generic JPAS status updates on a relatively secure website?

    Just a thought.

  79. Avatar

    Homeland Security

    What branch? It should start rolling soon. Is it an MBI or SSBI? Have you started working yet?

  80. Avatar

    Homeland Security,
    Where are you from?

  81. Avatar

    Can one of the investigators or adjudicators give me an opinion on my case stated above? I would appreciate your thoughts.

  82. Avatar

    In your type of case, they would look at the “whole picture”. You had two incidents within the last XX amount of years, not just while holding a clearance.

    I hope this helps?

  83. Avatar

    I was made a TO (tentative offer) by the Chicago office and only need a MBI for a GS 07 postion before I get a start date (EOD). From what I understand from other blogs, some MBI’s with the DHS can happen in just a few weeks. But, the timeline listed on this blog makes me think it could take more than three months.

  84. Avatar

    Homeland Security

    As soon as your case hits an investigator it should not take long. Keep in mind, questionnaires are being sent out to refs so the sooner they act the quicker things will go. Your interview will not take long if there are not alot of issues. I’m surprised they haven’t let you start work yet, the offices where I am start folks and then do the MBI in most cases.

  85. Avatar


    Don’t worry 2 weeks is not long.

  86. Avatar

    2 weeks is not long at all. My case has been in adjudication for for about a month and a half.

  87. Avatar


    I am interested in applying for an internship with the IC next summer.

    However, I am also interested in an exchange program with Germany. The program consists of a group of German students visiting my school’s campus in February 2009 (and I would be actively involved in organizing events for them during their stay), and then my group visiting Germany in May 2009, which would be immediately before the start of any prospective internship.

    I am curious how such a program would affect my suitability for a security clearance and, moreover, my eligibility for selection. (I would obviously be up-front with the hiring agency about my plans).

    Thank you!

  88. Avatar

    I accepted an offer for a position that required a clearance a week after I was arrested for DUI and resisting arrest. I was informed that my interim clearance(?) was denied but I could wait the 18 months for the full clearance to go through. Does this mean that any job that requires a clearance, I will be denied and will have to wait a year? (Also, I was told by NSA that they couldn’t process my application until a year from the arrest date.) (Plus, I am currently in the process of appealing my case.) I admitted everything on the application however.

  89. Avatar

    BW AN Investigator:
    You were right! I got an email from my investigator this morning offering me two EODs. It looks like they are going to let me start working then finishing processing the MBI.
    Thanks for all of the great info on this blog!

  90. Avatar

    I would say, no. It should be no problem in getting your clearance. Just my opinion: I would grant it based on what you have said. Provided nothing is missing, you should be good to go on an industrial Secret or TS.

  91. Avatar


    A background investigation does not mean a clearance. If you need a security clearance, your employer will tell you. Did you fill-out a SF 85 or SF 86 (Forms). If you did neither you will not be getting a clearance.

  92. Avatar


    Don’t feel blue(Ha,Ha)about the follow-up with DOE. I’m sure they will be asking questions about what you told us in the post. It is common. The better information you have ready, the quicker things will work.

  93. Avatar

    Sooo many questions about the security clearance process! Sounds like you might benefit from some free material available on the internet. For starters there’s an excellent Security Clearance FAQ posted at . At my website I have posted the Introduction, TOC, Chapter 1 and Chapter 10 of my book, Security Clearance Manual. Chapter 1 covers the scope and period of coverage of each type of security clearance investigation. Chapters 2 and 3 are not posted, but you can see some of it at using the “search inside the book” function. Chapter 3 includes info on how investigations are conduct, the types of questions asked of different references, and a little on Polygraph. Chapter 2 has some specific information about the PRSI and SPIN; it also has a little over 3 pages of advice for military applicants/enlistees. At the “resources” page of my website under “about security clearance” tab you can find links to a number of important government documents including the Adjudicative Guidelines. If you go to and use the SITB function, the section for Military Applicants/Enlistees starts on page 27.

    Good luck.

  94. Avatar

    If you are cleared for a Secret SAP, you should know what type of SAP it is. The very existance of many SAPs is classified, so it is impossible to know if there are intelligence SAPs other than SCI.

  95. Avatar

    Given your situation, it is doubtful that any federal government agency will grant you an interim clearance at any level for a year or so. No one can tell you with any certainty how long it will take you to get a decision on a final secret clearance. There is no time period following a DUI where you can not apply for a clearance; however, some federal agencies may have such rules about being considered for employment following a DUI.

  96. Avatar

    It shouldn’t be any problem, but avoid establishing any close or continuing contact with foreigners you meet and don’t do anything in Germany to attract any special attention. Avoid any contact with foreign government officials, except those you absolutely have to contact (i.e. passport control, customs inspectors, educational officials). Depending on the type of security clearance you will be required to obtain, you will have to make yourself reasonably available while your clearance investigation is being conducted. So, you don’t want to be out of the U.S. for too long and you should put a comment on your clearance application on your anticipated travel dates and a method of contacting you during that period.

  97. Avatar

    You have been most helpful! Thanks for helping people like me with questions about clearances and have nowhere to turn. Continue doing wonderful things!

  98. Avatar

    Civil Litigation and Academic Dishonesty

    I recievd a COE from an agency and want to know how to best address an issue relating to an expulsion for academic dishonesty, a civil rights court case which eventually reinstated me and had my record wiped clean, and a large settlement (more than 1/2 a million US) from the school in question. The record is sealed, and I have since obtained a grad degree from another Ivy League school, however in the event that the BIs go to my ugrad school and a sore Dean there rats me out, I am conflicted about how to address the issue. Part of the settlement requires confidentiality on the part of myself as well as the school and the Deans–but they really hate me there.

    I guess my general question is how do (civil rights) civil cases impact a BI? I have never seen a DOHA decsion which denied a person a clearance for suing another party;however, clearance and suitability issues are not the same. I can have no disqualiying information surface in my BI, but the hirring agency could surely say this guy is messy and problematic….and if we screw him he will sue the hell out of us.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

  99. Avatar

    I have a question regarding my chances of getting denied for Interim Secret clearance..

    I have been offered a position with a company contingent on me obtaining an interim clearance. I was provided an e-QIP link to fill out my SF-86 which I populated fully and truthfully. My credit is clean with no criminal history. However, I do have a small history of drug usage which I disclosed on my form.

    Between the dates of 01/1994 and 02/1995 I used marijuana 5 times socially. This was during high school and once I was finished with school I distanced myself from these friends.

    Between the dates of 01/2005 and 06/2005 I used marijuana 3 times. This was socially and with friends which I no longer associate.

    I have read posts on here saying that its normal for interim clearance to be denied but after investigation it would be mitigated by time and the clearance most likely granted… Since this job offer is contingent on recieving my interim clearance I can’t help but be nervous!

  100. Avatar

    I am currently active duty navy. I carry a secret clearance. I have just taken orders that require me to be upgraded to TS/SCI. My wife, however, is a foreign national from Canada. Will this automatically disqualify me?


  101. Avatar

    It took 2 years and 9 months to deny my TS/SCI FSP. I’m relieved that I finally have an answer, however; apprehensive about ‘what was wrong with me’. Is there anywhere on this forum that you can point me to so that I can see what the next step is? I’m sure it’s been explained here before.
    I understand that a letter will be sent out within 45 days that details the reasons for the denial. Also, what are the statistics of denied clearances being ‘won’ on an appeal…in your best guess? Thanks-

  102. Avatar

    Moving Forward:
    The broadest definition of a “spook” is someone who works in the intelligence field. The intelligence community (IC) agencies reject many applicants, but I think a lot of them are rejected based on employment suitability issues rather than security clearance denial. If you are rejected based on unfavorable information not previously known during the adjudication for your Secret clearance, the agency processing your current investigation has the authority to pass the new information to other concerned federal agencies, such as the agency that granted your Secret clearance. If the unfavorable information is significant, your Secret clearance will be readjudicated.

  103. Avatar

    When your company FSO submitted the request for your TS clearance, the govt agency processing your application automatically checks the relevant databases to see what prior federal investigations/clearances have been done. Since you have at least a Secret clearance, you should be immediately eligible for an interim TS, provided there is no new unfavorable information on your new SF86. If the investigation for your TS clearance was actually completed, it will be used as the basis for adjudicating your final TS clearance. A new investigation should not be necessary. This is the way it is suppose to work, but there can be exceptions in a small percentage of cases.

  104. Avatar

    Does anyone know how long a spousal nac investigation takes? I currently have a spousal NAC open on my wife, and would like a rough estimate on how long they usually take.


  105. Avatar

    That seems like an absurdly long time to wait for a denial. Did you just find out? You must have some major patience, I have been waiting for about 5 months and I cant hardly stand it. Did they contact you at all during your wait?

  106. Avatar

    I have held a TC/SCI for almost 25 years. My wife and I seperated in 2003 and divorced in 2005 and I remarried shortly after that. My ex-wife and I do not get along. She has accused me of so many things that are not true. I have not criminal records, my bills are paid on time with the exception of a mortgage payment that got behind 30 days during the divorce (we were arguing over who should pay it). I am in the middle of my 5 year PR and my ex-wife told me she had two (1) hour interviews with the FBI last week. I have no idea what she told them but I am sure she is still making accusations about me that are not true. How much weight will her interview have on my 5 Year update?

  107. Avatar

    Here is my situation.

    When asked whether or not I had any arrest/convictions or anything expunged/dismissed, I had said no. My reasoning was it was expunged, and therefore put me back to my standing before it took place. I also stuck to that during my interview with the investigator. As I am finding out, I was pretty naive in my thought process.

    My question is, how will an admission be treated if it is reported to my investigator before a judgement during adjudication is reached? Or should I wait for the SOR to explain why it was omitted?

  108. Avatar

    I would not wait to explain your situation. Let your investigator/security officer know what happened and why you did not list it on your case papers or discuss it during your interview.
    Reading the instructions for section 23 of the SF-86 which is the “Your Police Record” Section they state: “For this item, report information regardless of whether the record in your case has been “sealed” or otherwise stricken from the court record. The single exception to the requirement is for certain convictions under the Federal Controlled Substance ACt for which the court issued an expungement order under teh authority 21 U.S.C. 844 or 18 U.S.C. 3607″.

    “otherwise stricken from the court record” in my eyes means expunged. Now if the court record is regarding the two U.S. codes mentioned above then you are ok.

    For what you explained it does not sound like you intentionally and willfully did not list it on your case papers or not discuss it with your investigator so I don’t see a falsification issue.

    Better to be upfront with it and explain the record was expunged then for the investigation to turn up the arrest while interview a source or reviewing a record and you listed on that record. I do not know about BW but if I am looking through an employment record for a former employment I am not looking for admitted arrests but if I see it and know it wa not listed on the SF-86 I am indicating in my report.

  109. Avatar

    From what I’ve seen, expunged or not, it shows up. Reason being, if you were arrested, you were fingerprinted. Your record/offense/court sentence may be expunged, however, the record of your arrest (guilty or not) is always there. I’ve seen a few people tell me before that the charges were never pressed, dropped, expunged, and all other sorts but as soon as the fingerprint is run at the FBI, the issue code that would have been an A or a B in seriousness level, now becomes a D (disqualifying) for suitability reasons and likely clearance reasons as well.

  110. Avatar

    Thank you for the responses. I called my investigator that did the initial interview and disclosed the expunged charged. Hopefully this will be reflected as inexperience and not intentional falsification. My case has not gone to adjudication either, so I don’t know if disclosing the charge before adjudication will help my situation or not.

  111. Avatar

    Typical is also dead on. That FBI check gets a lot of people every time. I have done a number of SPINS where the SUBJECT has not listed any convictions on their case papers but after that FBI check is done an unadmitted arrest has appeared. Then I have to talk to them about it and they say that they did not think that had to list it because the charges were dismissed.

  112. Avatar

    Hi Mack-
    I was approached by my FSO exactly one year in so that I could resubmit my paperwork because she said it was ‘lost’ and the signature on the 86 had to be within the current year when the BI started.
    So taking that year out…let’s say it’s been 21 months to give two polys, a personal interview, and denial.
    If I had found this website earlier- I would not have been denied.

  113. Avatar

    I told my SSO that I was starting marriage counseling a few months ago. I also went for grief counseling a few years ago when losing a close relative and told my SSO about that also. Both times the SSO said they would stick a note in my security file but not to worry about it, just to list it on my SF-86 for my reinvestigation. Now the SSO says I should NOT list either type of counseling because the policy about this changed and counseling is not supposed to be listed when it is for marriage, family, grief issues, or PTSD following a combat deployment. Since they put the notes about grief counseling and marriage counseling in my file when I reported it to them, however, will the investigator see the notes in my folder and still want to ask me about the marriage counseling and grief counseling and will I need to get medical release forms from the counselors–or will I not be required to talk about this with the investigator at all now because of the change in the policy meaning I will not be required to list it on the SF-86?

  114. Avatar


    First odds are if you don’t work for the FBI, she has not seen an FBI Agent, But probably an OPM Investigator. If things spiral out of hand, I’m pretty sure you will get a chance to dispute any allegations. Ex-spouse’s testimony is the same as everyone else. Just hold-tight and wait to see what happens. She may also be pulling your chain, I see no reason why there would have been 2 interviews especially for 1 hour each time. Even the worst I’ve come across has not taken 2 hours.

  115. Avatar

    Thanks for the reply. It was for sure an FBI investigator (I am a contractor at NSC). I think the worst she could accuse me of is adultery which is not true but she always accused me of that. I suppose as long as they give me a chance to dispute her allegations I should have nothing to worry about.

    —————— QUOTE ———————-
    First odds are if you don’t work for the FBI, she has not seen an FBI Agent, But probably an OPM Investigator. If things spiral out of hand, I’m pretty sure you will get a chance to dispute any allegations. Ex-spouse’s testimony is the same as everyone else. Just hold-tight and wait to see what happens. She may also be pulling your chain, I see no reason why there would have been 2 interviews especially for 1 hour each time. Even the worst I’ve come across has not taken 2 hours.

  116. Avatar

    I have a question about the JPAS system. Is it only for cases that are in adjudication or is it for cases that are under investigation as well?

  117. Avatar


    It should show your case.

  118. Avatar

    In answer to my own question, it appeared to be a non-issue. I was granted my interim clearance and now am waiting for the full clearance to be issues.

    My FSO is saying this takes 6 months, which I have read on here definitely varies..

    I am glad I found this site and will continue to be an avid reader of posts.. This is a great source of information!!

  119. Avatar

    My TS SSBI investigation just finished adgudication….28 days ago! My FSO says that it normally takes 20 working days for my “package” to be signed by a thousand people in the government community!!

    Please…. Tell me, what really goes on after you’ve been notified of your adjudication complete date!!!

    Be honest….Who’s blowing smoke here and for how long? My Agency clearance was a cake walk compaired to getting through this one!

    Signed: Your former spook of 3 years ago!!!!!!!

  120. Avatar

    Thelonius M.
    Was your marriage counseling due to violence caused by you?

  121. Avatar

    I have a TS-SSBI clearance that is not maintained in the JPAS database. The agency that adjudicated the clearance is only allowed read access to JPAS but cannot enter clearances into the database.

    I’m currently looking for a new job and one prime contractor could not offer me a position b/c the terms of their contract, with the agency, specifically state that the individual that was hired (for this position) must have a clearance in JPAS.

    My question is “Can a contractor verify my clearance with my current agency(which adjudicated the clearance) and then “sponsor” my clearance through their company to be entered into JPAS?”

    Other companies that I’ve interviewed with have not found this to be a problem but the company I’m interested in is/was offering a higher salary and the position is aligned w/ my career goals.

  122. Avatar

    Recently, I have a misdemeanor record in vandalism – I found out my ex-fiance was cheating on me. I broke his some of his personal items.

    The incident happened almost 6 months ago. I was sentence to some fines, anger class and 1 year conditional probation that ends right after my anger class ends. I’ve paid the fines and attended the class. At this point, I am just waiting to pay the restitution.

    Will this prevent me from getting a security clearance?

  123. Avatar


    No sir, it was not due to violence caused by me; it was simply due to general problems with commuication and not having the same expectations and things like that.

  124. Avatar

    Just to add, before this incident, I was never arrested, or have any record or violation of the law. I pay my taxes, don’t do drugs and have good credit.

  125. Avatar


    Please read the SF 86 again in ref to counseling. SSO’s tend to do things they hear have changed, when maybe they haven’t yet. This form of counseling will not hurt you, afterall you did the right thing.

  126. Avatar

    How long is a “Secret” security clearance valid after you quit a position with a government contractor?

    I am curious because I would like to take some time off and travel after I finish a 3 year contract, but I don’t want to lose my clearance. I heard that if you don’t move straight to another job then you lose it. Any info would be great.

    Thanks for the help!

  127. Avatar

    Just curious what you meant by : Ex-spouses testimony is the same as everyone else :

    Will they take into consideration that she is an EX spouse and could enjoy saying bad things about me? Also we were seperated in 2003 and divorced in 2005 so I have not even lived in the same house as her in 5 years.

    —————— QUOTE ———————-
    First odds are if you don’t work for the FBI, she has not seen an FBI Agent, But probably an OPM Investigator. If things spiral out of hand, I’m pretty sure you will get a chance to dispute any allegations. Ex-spouse’s testimony is the same as everyone else. Just hold-tight and wait to see what happens. She may also be pulling your chain, I see no reason why there would have been 2 interviews especially for 1 hour each time. Even the worst I’ve come across has not taken 2 hours.

  128. Avatar

    In the late 90’s I was offered an intelligence job and went through the security process. During the poly, I told them everything I ever did wrong and everything I ever thought of doing wrong. Needless to say, I had said too much and was denied my clearance…and therefore my job.

    I now have another opportunity to work with a contractor in the intelligence industry. This job will also require a clearance (I am not sure of the level).

    Will my previous denial automatically kill any chances I have for this clearance approval? Will they even know about my previous denial?

    Thank you.

  129. Avatar

    For a TS/SCI clearance, is there a polygrpah involved in the process?

  130. Avatar

    EH – You have a certain amount of time when the clearance becomes “inactive” which I believe is 2 years. After that, it becomes void. But given the ease of getting an interim SECRET only takes 2-4 weeks now, a SECRET doesn’t really add much kick like a TS would for future opportunities.

    Thomas – If it was in IC, they maintain records but I beleive you can appeal that decision and plus the records only go back 10 years for TS/SCI. Although, depending on why you were denied the first time, it may be an uphill battle.

    MB – Most IC jobs require the polygraph, but not many outside of those ones.

  131. Avatar


    Not always–depends on your job. They will tell you of the requirements.

  132. Avatar


    What I meant was all testimonies are taken into account. The adjudicators are smart people and all testimonues are weighed. Ex-spouses do have the potential of trying to get back at the other, but an allegation is just an allegation. Ten people speak extremely highly of you, work record impeccable–one person bad mouths you–see what I’m getting at? When your case is done, I reccomend you obtain a copy for review. I hope this makes sense.

    Hopefully one of our fine adjudicators will chime in.

  133. Avatar

    Thanks for your feedback BW. I believe my 5 Year Pr will be adjudicated by the NSC adjudicators. I do know that most of my references, neighbors and coworkers (including boss) has spoken highly of me to the investigator.

    I believe my ex will over exagerate the truth rather than out right lie about me. We have never had a domestic incident but we have had plenty of fights. She also thinks my morals are not as high as hers since she has become very religious.

  134. Avatar


    found out that JPAS is only for DOD. Does DOE use a
    similar clearing system?

  135. Avatar


    Sorry, thought you were on a DoD gig. They have some form of database, but I am not familiar with it as I rarely see a DOE case where I live.

    I’m betting Mr Henderson knows.

  136. Avatar


    Sounds like you have nothing to worry about. Good luck.

  137. Avatar

    I have a secret clearance and may need to be looking for another position soon. I started a LinkedIn account that has been a great help, however is it possible to post your clearance level on your profile? I can’t get a straight answer from the FSO and many other people on LinkedIn are listing their level of clearance. It would seem that listing a clearance is a big draw for recruiter searches.
    One can make the profile private, as in not being visible on the web, however even the private profile will be visible to the millions of people using the site now. Thanks for your feedback.

  138. Avatar

    BW An Investigator,

    The revised question 21 is already supposed to be in use throughout DoD, according to the Defense Department website this is the revised question to be asked “immediately” as of February.

    Standard Form 86, Question 21 Revised
    (Feb 2008)

    Mental health counseling in and of itself is not a reason to revoke or deny a clearance.

    In the last 7 years, have you consulted with a health care professional regarding an emotional or mental
    health condition or were you hospitalized for such a condition?

    Answer if the counseling was for any of the following reasons and was not court-ordered:
    – strictly marital, family, grief not related to violence by you; or-
    – strictly related to adjustments from service in a military combat environment.

    If you answered “Yes,” indicate who conducted the treatment and/or counseling, provide the following
    information, and sign the Authorization for Release of Medical Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

  139. Avatar

    To the Investigators, I first want to thank you all for volunteering and helping out. A lot of us appreciate it greatly. Now, if you will let me ask a different type of question:

    Supposing a 18 year old kid wanted to be legally able to buy alcohol; he goes to the DMV in his state and gets an official state driver’s license under an assumed name (by using, for example, a deceased person’s birth certificate). His picture is taken for the license, but not any fingerprints. After he gets the license, He buys beer for his friends with it once or twice, but then never uses it again and it eventually expires. He has no criminal record; he never got any other driver’s license in that state. Five or six years later, now of legal age (23), if he submits to a SSBI (or even an SF-85/p), is there any chance this past indiscretion will be discovered?

  140. Avatar


    Regarding ex-spouses, after your investigation is finished, you can obtain a complete copy by making a FOIA request to OPM. It may depend on particular circumstances, but I did it with mine, and I recieved it with ZERO censures or deletions, so it was the whole case.

    You can then read what you want, but dont get to worried about it.

  141. Avatar

    The government isn’t too concerned about people suing them. There is no right to a security clearance; there is a concept of sovereign immunity; and some federal positions are “excepted service” which places them beyond the reach of the MSPB. I recommend you revisit the confidentiality clause of your settlement agreement and see if there are any exceptions. Adjudicators should not concern themselves with the outcome of civil law suits or other court actions. Adjudicators should concern themselves with the conduct that led to the court action. This is particular true of settlements (as opposed to judgments). Usually in a settlement there is no stipulation about guilt or wrongdoing.
    I don’t think listing a civil court action on your SF86 where you were the plaintiff will cause you to be screened out the selection process before a clearance investigation is started. You don’t need to list the terms of the settlement on the SF86. If your clearance investigation requires a personal interview, you should consult your lawyer before meeting with the investigator.

  142. Avatar

    Tough question. If you already had the TS/SCI then married a Canadian citizen, I’d say don’t sweat a revocation of the SCI. Having a foreign citizen spouse is a disqualifier for SCI, but a waiver is possible. For some reason active duty military seem to have less trouble getting waivers than civilians or contractors, but it’s still a problem. I can’t give you even an informed guess as to what might happen in your case.

  143. Avatar

    The procedures regarding rebuttal and appeal of SCI denial is contained in Annex D to DCID 6/4. There is no time frame for sending you a letter regarding the agency’s intention to deny SCI access. There are time limits for your response. If you receive a Statement of Reason (SOR) explaining why they intend to deny your SCI, you will have an opportunity to rebut the SOR in writing. If after reviewing your rebuttal, a decision is made to deny SCI access, you will be informed in writing of the appeal process. Either during the SOR rebuttal stage or during the appeal stage, you will also have the right to appear (with or without an attorney or personal representative) before an adjudicative authority to present rebuttal information in person. A copy of DCID 6/4 is posted at my website, but you should also be able to find it using Google. There are no statistical data regarding successful appeals of SCI denials. About 40% of collateral clearance denials are successfully appealed. Also, if you are denied SCI access and your company wants to place you in a position that only requires a collateral clearance, your investigation will be readjudicated for the collateral clearance with the same rebuttal and appeal rights.

  144. Avatar

    Just a note of clarification. The issue codes used by OPM (A,B,C, & D) are used for statistical purposes and to alert the reader of significant issues. A “D” code is not disqualifying, since (with only a few exceptions) even the most serious issues can be mitigated. For example multiple or repeated unmitigated “B” issues could result in a clearance denial, but a sufficiently mitigated “D” issue could result in a clearance being granted.
    Also as explained earlier, when a court expunges a record, it removes the court record from the normal filing system, thereby making it invisible to anyone trying to find it. Sometimes the court is able to have the arresting police agency expunge their record as well. However, there are secondary criminal justice records that are rarely affected by the court’s expungement order, such as the county sheriff’s office that booked and held the person until the arraignment or bail; the state-level criminal justice record system, and the FBI.

  145. Avatar

    Thelonius M.
    Probably not. Whether the investigator sees the note in you file or not is irrelevant. The investigator should only ask the basic mental health questions that they ask during all SSBI-PRs.

  146. Avatar


    Would you mind commenting on my situation above?
    I posted my situation on July 29th.

    Many thanks

  147. Avatar

    What was done sounds like fraud and identity theft to me? What other identifying information was provided for the license besides the dead persons birth certificate? What SSN was used?

  148. Avatar

    It sounds like this was a one time incident. You should explain the details as to why you broke your fiance’s items to your investigator. Do not hide anything. As for being denied a clearance I doubt it but the Adjudicators on here would be able to answer that question better.

  149. Avatar

    My TS SSBI background was completed on MAY 30th, 2008. The $10,000.00 question is when will my clearance finally make it through the system? It’s now 60 days and counting.

    Can someone please give me a rough guess; (educated) on when my adjudication may be finished.

    Site B

  150. Avatar

    SITE B
    Are you saying that your investigation was completed May 30th? How do you know for sure did you talk to your investigator? I am in a similar situation, mine was finished probably 2-3 weeks after yours and I am waiting as well. Ive read that OPM said it is taking an average of 30 days to adjudicate a case but I find that hard to believe. Try this link…

  151. Avatar

    Where do you go on this site to ask a question?

  152. Avatar

    Right here!

  153. Avatar

    SITE B –

    Adjudication takes 1-3 months. Frequently it goes longer than 3 months, but after that magic number 3 your FSO can request a status update from the adjudication facility.

  154. Avatar

    I did not know that my FSO could request an update after 3 months. Thats good to know, I really don’t wanna call the guy because I feel like I would be bugging him but the day my adjudication goes over 3 months then I’m def. calling.

  155. Avatar

    Does anyone know if the NSA still requires a Psyc evaluation for the engineers there? I know it requires the lifestyle polygraph, but I’m not sure about the Psyc eval.

  156. Avatar

    Mack –

    I seem to remember hearing that, but I just checked and found this quote by William Henderson

    “If the adjudicative agency is DISCO and it’s been 6 months since the case was closed, your FSO can request a status check. ”

    But I thought I read somewhere it was 3 months. Is this official policy for DoDCAFs? Can anyone else confirm?

  157. Avatar


    Yes that is correct. My FSO verified the information with DISCO and said it will take all of 90 days or more to receive the final blessings (adjudication)!!

    My friend, things have changed since 9/11 and I’m convinced clearances will continue to be a major problem. It will take forever to complete a TS and above clearance.

    My Agency clearance back in 1996 took only 19 months to complete…. From paperwork, tests, interviews, background, poly’s and adjudication. And that was with (2) Poly’s!!!! I worked for DSS and traveled all around the world in over 10 countries and worked with many Foreign Security Services and Intel agencies.

    That’s why I have such a problem with the process today! It just doesn’t work like its programed to do!

    SITE B

  158. Avatar

    About 2 year ago i have been granted interim security clearance, i just recived message from my cogressmen office that my investigation finished and my paperwork move to OPM. The quetion i have is haw long i have to wait before i found out the result of this investigation and haw the conclusion of this investigatin can effect my present clearance.

    Thanks DG

  159. Avatar

    The SSN in these old ‘paper chase’ schemes is usually from the same birth certificate, and never used otherwise — the SSN is untied to the real person using it.

  160. Avatar

    My secret clearance is showing that OPM has closed the investigation on July 10 08 and it is pending adjudication from DISCO. Can you tell me how long this process normally is

  161. Avatar

    SITE B
    Yeah I agree this whole clearance process is a big huge pain in the rear. There needs to be alot of reform but from what they are saying I guess they are doing some things to speed up the process. I just dont understand why it would take even a month to adjudicate a case let alone 3+. They must have a huge backlog or are grossly understaffed, probably both. I am in for a DOE Q clearance and I cant imagine that there are that many people needing a DOE clearance to make this process so slow.

  162. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. It seems that my security officer is not providing accurate information. She told me on three occasions that I would receive a registered letter within 45 days listing the exact reason for the denial and at that time I would be able to file an appeal.
    I specifically asked her if I needed or should get an attorney and she said she highly advised against it and that she was capable of assisting me with the appeal.

    I submittd paperwork in January 2006 and when I asked repeatedly what the status was, I was told it was in process. Then 1/07 I was told to fill out my paperwork again since it was lost.

    My company has said that they would be able to submit me for DOD clearance and I was given that impression that that type of clearance was easier to get than TS/SCI/FSP. Is that true? Am I able to try again for TS/SCI at some point?

  163. Avatar

    Mr Henderson- can you clarify for me?
    You say “‘There is no time frame for sending you a letter regarding the agency’s intention to deny SCI access. There are time limits for your response. If you receive a Statement of Reason (SOR) explaining why they intend to deny your SCI, you will have an opportunity to rebut the SOR in writing.'”
    Should I have received an SOR explaining that there was intent to deny me? Is this a common thing? I didn’t receive any warning. Just a phone call telling me that I was denied.

  164. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,
    I am a college junior and live in a very high-tech/government oriented city. I have applied for an entry level job, for which I am highly qualified. This job requires a Secret clearance. My concern is that three years ago (just after my 21st bday) I plead guilty to a class C misdemeanor of “Harasssing Communication”. In frustration I said some things in an email that I shouldn’t have. I paid a fine and was placed on 2 yrs probation. Other than that I have a perfectly clean record both criminal and financial. Not even a speeding ticket. I am greatly ashamed of my actions and want to keep my “record” as private as possible. I am prepared to disclose all info in my SF86 but worried that this incident cause my clearance to be denied. If that happens, I would have to disclose “security clearance denial” on all future applications. I’m afraid that a stupid mistake may greatly influence the positions I can pursue.

  165. Avatar

    I have a secret clearance that was granted in 2004. I want to apply for a system administrator job for DOD and assume it is an SAP because it is a computer support type job. 20 years ago I was convicted of a concealed weapons charge and received over one year in jail. I have not had any issues since except a parking ticket. Would I be wasting my time applying for the job?

  166. Avatar

    Yes, you should receive an SOR if they intend to deny your clearance. First they give you a chance to rebut their reasons for their intention to deny the clearance. After considering your rebuttal, they make a final decision to grant or deny. If you are denied the clearance, they will tell you about the appeal process. They will not deny a clearance until the applicant has been given a chance to rebut the SOR. Please read DCID 6/4, Annex D.

    Yes, a collateral clearance from any federal agency is easier to obtain than SCI, but the only difference is the foreign influence factor.

    When SCI access is denied and the sponsor (company) indicates a need for a collateral clearance, the case is transferred back to DISCO for adjudication.

  167. Avatar

    OPM has been doing 99% of DOE clearance investigations for decades. JPAS (or more correctly, the JCAVS portion of JPAS) is an interface that allows DoD and other users to enter information and display information from OPM and DOD clearance and investigative databases (DCII, SII, and CVS). I believe DOE security offices use the OPM system (PIPS) to access these same databases as well as their own database (CPCI).

  168. Avatar

    Danny B.-TS not in JPAS:
    Yes, they should be able to do it. Your future employer’s FSO sends or faxes a letter to the security office of the agency that granted your clearance requesting your clearance and investigative data. Once he/she receives a reply on the agency’s letterhead stationary, he/she faxes the letter with a cover letter to DISCO and does an RRU. A few days later the FSO should follow up with a telephone call to DISCO to insure that they received the fax. DISCO will create a record in CVS using JPAS, but it could take a few weeks.

  169. Avatar

    Need to Work:
    Absent any complicating/aggravating factors or other misconduct, a single misdemeanor conviction is not a potentially disqualifying condition for a security clearance. When you complete your SF86, be sure to list the anger management class at question #21 and specify the qualification of the person conducting the class. Many anger management classes are conducted by instructors without any professional qualifications. This may save some processing time.

  170. Avatar

    Here’s the link to the regarding the change to mental health question.

  171. Avatar

    Your secret clearance can be reinstated within two years after you leave the job or ten years after you were granted a Secret clearance—whichever occurs first.

  172. Avatar

    Many people are screened out of the clearance process at Intelligence Community (IC) agencies before a security clearance investigation is completed. When this happens (usually because of the results of a polygraph exam) they are notified that they are unsuitable for employment. This notification can not be rebutted or appealed. When a person is denied a security they are told in writing the exact reasons for the denial and their right to rebut and later appeal the decision if necessary. If you were not informed of any right to rebut or appeal their decision, you were probably not denied a security clearance. Clearance and investigative records are stored in archives for 15 years and can be readily obtained when a new clearance action is initiated. People who have previously been denied a security clearance have been successful in getting a clearance later.

  173. Avatar

    I think you may have misunderstood your congressman’s office. You case probably moved from OPM (the investigative agency) to the adjudication facility of the federal agency that will grant or deny your clearance. The only exception to this is if you will be working directly for OPM as an employee or contractor.

    Adjudication time varies from agency to agency. The interim clearance goes away as soon as a final clearance is granted or denied.

  174. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson-
    What are the ramifications if I didn’t receive the SOR? My understanding from reading as well as your explanations (thank you very much) is that I’m entitled to know I may be denied before I am denied.
    I was never given the opportunity to withdraw the paperwork.

  175. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    I was recently offered a job and they are going to sponsor me for a secret clearance, and have a few minor issues on my record that have me slightly worried.

    First, I was arrested in 2001, when I was 21, for possession of a controlled substance. I have only smoked marijuana a few times, and I wanted to try something else. Because of my inexperience, I was caught the first time when buying. I did community service, drug screening, etc etc, and the charge was dismissed. I am, of course, going to report it on the form.

    Second, I was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It is a mild case, and I haven’t had any psychotic episodes, nor has it significantly impacted my life or judgment. I went to a psychologist because I had been having minor issues and was hoping to pre-emptively solve any problems for the future.

    Finally, I quit my last job after allegations of misconduct were made. I was a teacher, and there were allegations of a relationship with an 18 year old student. They were not true, there was an attraction there…we discussed it and decided to do the right thing and not pursue things.

    Now, I understand that each of these isolated incidents is not likely a concern. What I AM concerned about is how this looks all together. Do these combined make it doubtful that I would recieve a secret clearance? I have no interest in a TS or higher clearance, and understand that this would likely create a problem in the future for any high clearances.

    Other than that my record is clean and clear.

    Thanks for spending your time here helping us by the way.


  176. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    Thanks again for your assistance (see Ask Your Clearance Questions Part 7) with the security clearance process.
    I was approved today, 04 Aug, for an interim secret. I submitted my e-qip on 31 July and it was loaded into JPAS on 01 Aug.
    The number one thing that helped me was your book. I read it and followed the advice you provided, namely,
    1). Get your free credit reports and make sure they are correct. If not, fix them!
    2). Get all your dates and facts straight, and do not withhold information or attempt to conceal facts.
    3). Use the additional space on the e-qip form to provide additional info that will help clarify any anomalies on your application.

    It is also a good idea to read through this blog and blog history.


  177. Avatar

    My 5 yr PR was completed this month. Now…because of this housing market i’m in so much debt it’s ridiculous. I can’t afford my house anymore because of the 2nd mortgage. And due to the fact that i was barely paying my mortgage i maxed out all my credit cards. My wife was a real estate agent and..because of the market wasn’t making any money. Now i’m working 2 full time TS/SCI jobs (16 hrs a day) and she went back to nursing(LPN) but the debt is just too crazy. I’m never at home to raise our 2 kids and it’s putting a strain on our marriage. We are SERIOUSLY thinking about filing for bankruptcy but i heard they will take my clearance. That would just make things worse. But i can’t hold up working two full-time jobs for much longer. Will they take my clearance. We just need a fresh start and i will never get in this predicament again!

  178. Avatar

    I am completing an SF86 for the 1st time for a government contract position which requires a Secret Security Clearance.
    I was arrested in 2006 for a petty retail theft (1st offense) and the case was dropped and expunged. I am definitely listing this in the SF 86.

    I also had a misdemeanor arrested for marijuana when I was a juvenile in 1997. I did the necessary community service and it was dropped.

    Neither incidents resulted in a conviction or incarceration.

    Do I have to disclose the juvenile arrest which as 11 years ago?


  179. Avatar


    I left the army on 01/02/2008. I was employed then as an analyst with access to SCI. My SSBI was closed and adjudicated late 2004. I recently received a COE for a counter intelligence position that would require a CI poly. Will I have to submit a new SF86 or will I only be required to pass the CI poly to get my TS w/SCI access reinstated. Thanks


  180. Avatar


    List both offenses. Refer to Question 23D on the SF 86 for the drug charge. Even though it was dismissed, odds are there is an arrest record out there and will probably be found.

  181. Avatar

    Thank you for your rapid response!

    Do you all think these two offenses will severly harm my chances of getting the clearance approved?

    The retail theft involved the removal of a promotional item from a convenient store and was definitely an unusual and isolated incident.

    Thanks for your time.

  182. Avatar

    Hello, I have a question regarding a PIR. Had a TS and got a DWI 6 years ago. Intend on fully disclosing it on the SF 86. What kind of impact am I looking at?

  183. Avatar

    Question: If a job was really volunteer, and didn’t pay anything, should it be disclosed under the employment section of the SF86? I listed the ‘job’ on my resume as employment.

  184. Avatar

    Years ago I went to a private military style academy affiliated with ROTC. Because I was planning on entering the armed forces, I remember (about 10 years ago) filing out some background check form, which I was told was for a secret clearance– but I never heard anything from it.

    Months later I asked about it and they said there was ‘no problem’. I later decided against joining the armed services.

    Question: Should I disclose this incident under the section for former security clearances applied for? I’m guessing it was a secret clearance form, but I just dont remember, it was years ago.

  185. Avatar

    Do investigators compare your resume with your sf-86 for inconsistencies with your work record?

    If so, can you explain inadvertant mistakes made on your resume?

  186. Avatar


    If you can’t afford your house, have you tried to sell it? It would seem to me to get rid of things you can’t afford would be the most proactive thing.

    Bankruptcy could definetly cause some questions to be raised or at least give you a harder time in maintaining your clearance.

  187. Avatar

    I got out of the Army in October 1989. I had a Secret clearance at the time. I know it has lapsed since then. My question is, would it be possible to reactivate that clearance, or would I have to go through the whole process as new with my employer sponsering the application.

  188. Avatar

    Typical – I have tried. I’m so upside down right now on my house because of the housing market it would be impossible to sell it right now. I guess i can try a short sell. Short sells are just like foreclosures though. But that still leaves alot of debt so just filing bankruptcy would give me a fresh start. So your saying they would definately take my clearance by filing bankruptcy? If so..that so sucks but oh well.

  189. Avatar

    T Thompson,
    Please clarify “inadvertant mistakes”?

    If a resume is included in the packet that I receive with the SF-86 and releases I would look at it to see if it matches up with the information on the SF-86. If there are inconsistencies then I may ask the SUBJECT about them. Minor date differences are understood but if an employment is listed on a resume and not on a SF-86 and it was suppose to be then many questions will follow. Yet I do not routinely compare resumes and info on SF 86s.
    As for looking at a resume in an employment record I do not routinely do that either. If I am allowed access to the employment record and while looking through it I see a resume I may glance at it and if I see an employment listed on a resume that was not on the SF-86 I will make note of it and follow up with it if the employment is in the coverage period. Seeing an employment on a resume that was not listed on the SF-86 does peek my interest as to why the employment was not listed on the SF-86.
    My advice is to list all employments on your SF-86 so nothing is found during the investigation which should have been listed.

  190. Avatar

    glreed 2001,
    1989 is a long time ago. You will have to go through the whole process again.

  191. Avatar

    I would disclose it. The question on the SF-86 asks “Has the U.S. Government ever investigated your background and/or granted you a security clearance?”

  192. Avatar

    Brian W,
    The instructions for the “Your Employment Activities” on the SF-86 do not indicate listing volunteer work. But there must be no breaks and all time frames accounted for in the 10 year period you go back on the SF-86.
    Why did you list the volunteer work as employment on your resume if it is not?

  193. Avatar

    More information is going to be needed than what you provided. What were the consequences from the DWI? Have you fully satisfied all fines if any, jail time if any, probation if any, counseling if any as a result of the DWI? What has been your alcohol consumption since the DWI? Have you driven while intoxicated since the DWI and just not been caught? Do you plan on driving while intoxicated in the future and hoping you don’t get caught?
    These are just some of the questions I would ask if I was your investigator.

  194. Avatar

    I have been working as a contractor for DHS for 19 months and am still currently waiting on my 6C clearance. My case has been pending sutablity since August of 2007. I call the security office and check on my clearance they tell me it still pending sutabliy. How long does a clerance usually stay in pending sutability? Im getting fustrated because my backround is tottaly clean and I have a DOD secret from that has been active since Feburary 2006. In a couple of weeks they are moving me to a department where I don’t need a 6C to do my work.
    There are a couple of government positions that are open and I qualify for but I am afraid that since my clearance has not come through this might disqualify my.

    Any advice would be appreciated.


  195. Avatar

    Hi Investigator,

    Thanks for replying. All fines were paid, I was on probation, and finished the alcohol safety classes. I now only have one or two and most of the time at home or without the intention of driving. I learned my lesson and it is just not worth it. Much better in the end also to just call a cab if I was to ever get in that sort of situation again.

    Thanks for your help. How bad does it look for me?


  196. Avatar

    Has anyone waiting for a decision on a clearance ever contacted you through email. You know they are some persistant people out there who can find almost anything on the net. I might be one of those people who may have found a way to contact an adjudicator through email. I wouldnt contact them even if I did know how mainly because I dont know what I would say but has anyone ever contacted you. Im sure its against policy or whatever.

  197. Avatar

    zzz –

    So you had a TS clearance when you were DWI? You said it was 6 years ago and are in for a PR? That would mean either it wasn’t on your last SF-86 5 years ago or it happened while you had your clearance but you didn’t report it?

    Correct me if I’m misunderstanding.

    If you didn’t fail to report it while holding a clearance, and if you didn’t falsify a SF-86 previously, I don’t think it will be a problem. You didn’t repeat the offense and took steps to address the problem (classes) so the investigator could say the drinking problem has been mitigated.

    If that’s not the case, then I wouldn’t worry so much about the DWI as the failure to report it. That would weigh in much more heavily in my opinion and might preclude you from receiving your clearance.

  198. Avatar

    Hi, I just found this site and find it very informative, I just started filling out the SF-86 form and I was hoping someone could give me some advice. I have no criminal record, no problems with alcohol or drugs, my credit is good, and I don’t have an employment history expect for some volunteer work I’ve been doing for the MPA degree I just got. First, question I had was whether I should list this volunteer work even if it involves no pay. Secondly, I have traveled quite a bit over the past years. I’ve gone to Chile several times to visit family and friends and I worry about how this might affect the process. I have a lot of friends and family over there and a fiance as well. I don’t have anything to hide, I don’t know any bad people over there or anything. I figure I’ll just include the most important relationships that I have over there and put down three names or something, even though it’s a lot more than that, but it worries me that some how this could jeopardize my clearance, sometimes I think it might be best to just not include anyone from over there but I know that’s probably not a good decision. I also usually wire money to my fiancé and family overseas when they need it… I just hope that none of this affects me negatively because I’ve always maintained a good clean record.

  199. Avatar

    One question about part of the NACLC/SSBI process: “Local Agency Checks: a check of appropriate criminal history records. . .”

    How does the OPM / Investigator actually go about doing this check? What does it entail? Do they just check for criminal convictions or arraignments at the local police station?

  200. Avatar


    No, not saying they would take it from you at all. Bankruptcy would just likely through some kinks into the whole thing. More questions to answer, longer interviews, more to look at, etc. Depending on specifics it could go either way.


    I know with my agency, they dont even want security officers contacting adjudicators directly if at all possibly, and when we do, it’s kept very short and too the point. Usually along the lines of “Provide XXX by XX date for subject XXX.”

    I’ve only spoken to two adjudicators and worked several hundred cases from the security officer standpoint.

    They also specifically state that we are took the name/contact information of the adjudicator from the subject and not to release it under any circumstances.

  201. Avatar

    I want to thank all of those that are “in-the-know” regarding this security clearance process. I followed the advice (pulling my credit report) prior to submitting my SF-86. It was probably a life-saver (or clearance saver).

    Apparently, my power-of-attorney did not pay all of my bills while I was deployed to Iraq and I had about 5 smaller credit accounts (about $300-500 each) go into collections. Thankfully, I paid them all off in full and properly disclosed what had happened and why it happened on the SF-86.

    My security officer told me that because I was very forthcoming and knowledgable about what had happened and that I had mitigated the problem, that I would most likely be granted my clearance without any problems.

    Given my history of nothing more than a couple of speeding tickets (fully disclosed) and the credit hiccups in 2006 due to my deployment, does anybody think I’ll have an issue?

    Thanks again!


  202. Avatar


    Can anyone tell me the process for a CBP background investigation? I was told they would complete a preliminary check before my resume was further considered. I held a Secret clearance in the past, which is no longer active.

    I have a spotless credit record, no criminal history, but am married to a Middle Eastern individual who I am in the process of divorcing. I have no personal ties to this person’s family members or country, nor do I even speak the language, nor have I ever traveled to this country.

    Do you think my spouse’s (who is a US citizen)country of origin could be a problem for me? Any and all advice would be appreciated.


  203. Avatar

    As a follow up, I last saw and spoke to my foreign national mother-in-law in February 1999. I last saw and spoke to my foreign national sister-in-law and foreign national (adopted) brother-in-law in 1996. Keeping in mind, conversations were via my spouse’s translation. These in-laws speak no English.

    In my case, I truly know nothing about my in-laws other than what my spouse has told me. My mother-in-law is in her early 70’s, my sister-in-law is a stay-at-home mom in her mid 40’s, and my brother-in-law (via adoption) is 50? and unemployed and the black sheep of the family who they rarely speak to. All of these in-laws are residents of their country of origin.

    Thanks again!

  204. Avatar

    Sorry, I meant to write that I last spoke to/saw my mother-in-law in 1999 and last spoke to/saw my brother- and sister-in-law in 1996.

  205. Avatar

    I am a contractor with an “interim” secret. After reading many posts here I realize that I have unintentionally left something off my SF86 from 5 years ago and I am concerned that I may have my “interim” revoked and/or not obtain my final clearance.
    I was arrested over 6 years ago for “resisting” but the case was dismissed since I voluntarily took an “anger-management” class. I listed the arrest in Section 23: “Your Police Record” but did not list the “anger-management” class under section #21 “Your Medical Record”. It did not occur to me that the anger-management class should be listed as the person giving the class was not a doctor or psychiatrist/psychologist.
    What, if anything, should I do now?
    How do you go about making changes/corrections to your already submitted e-qip form?

  206. Avatar

    I have been contacted by applicants. I make sure not to be the person who is adjudicating the file, but will look into the location and ask another adjudicator if they can do it now or let me know when it is reviewed, etc. Why? I don’t mind it, others definately do though. Depends on the adjudicator…

  207. Avatar

    I currently have a career Govt. I.T. job and have accepted an offer from another agency (in I.T.). My current job did not require a clearance when I entered. However, with the tranfer I will need to apply for a clearance. My concern is that I have a felony conviction from 1995 along with about 4 misdemeanor convictions (same time frame). It was all releated to a bad time in my life and was going through a divorce. I was 23 at the time. Since then I havn’t had so much as a traffic stop and have been in a Federal job since 1996. Do you think my application for a clearance will be denied?

  208. Avatar

    Some criminal records in states are checked electronically through a statewide database. If a record is found and not enough information is provided in the electronic database then an investigator is sent out to the police department where the arrest occurred. We may also go to the court because most police departments do not have the disposition of the offense in their files. The disposition is what we want.
    If a state does not have statewide electronic criminal database then an investigator has to go out to every local law enfrocement agency/courthouse in the jurisdiction the SUBJECT under investigation lived, worked or went to school at with in the coverage period.
    Then there is the FBI check that is done as well.

  209. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101
    I was just curious, I may have stumbled onto a way to contact the adjudicators for DOE. My luck I would contact someone and P them off though. I figured I would not be able to communicate with my adjudicator simply because of conflict of interest. Thanks.

    Typical Adjudicator 101… Do you both work for DOD?

  210. Avatar

    If you read the instructions under the “Your Employment Section” of the SF-86 volunteering is not required to be listed. Yet since you were unemployed during the time frame you were in school the investigator with ask what you did during your time frame of unemployment and that is when you can tell him/her about the volunteering.
    Having foreign contacts is a big deal. Read the instructions for the “Relatives/Associates” section of the SF-86 and make the determination about who you should list. Code 17 and 18 and the specific instructions for these codes is what you need to ask yourself when filling out the
    SF-86. During your interview be prepared to answer many detailed questions regarding your relatives and associates who are foreign nationals. Also be prepared to answer questions regarding the wiring of money overseas and what the money is specifically for. When ever wiring of money overseas is involved it is looked into very carefully.

  211. Avatar

    As long has you fully disclosed and explain your situations and there are no further financial issues or negative contacts with law enforcement I do not forsee any problems yet I am not an Adjudicator. The most important things which you have already done are that you were honest about your issues and that you have taken care of your financial delinquencies.

  212. Avatar

    Does OPM still utilize the seriousness or issue codes (i.e. “A”, “B”, “C”, and “D”) to document and classify issues discovered during a background investigation? If so, will 2 issues classified as “B” still be “non-issues” when 72 months has elapsed from the date that the issue occurred? (I am being considered for a SSBI / Top Secret clearance).

  213. Avatar

    Glen –

    You must list your foreign contacts. You’re not only bound by familial ties of affection but you have a financial connection as well.

    In my opinion it will not be a problem when you list your family/fiancee/friends. Chile isn’t a high-risk country as far as I know and it’s perfectly fine to have family/friends that live in other countries (even if they’re high-risk).

    They simply need to know the names so that they can evaluate whether you would be susceptible to foreign influence.

    Your personal visits are exactly that, personal. The majority of clearance holders are in the military, and they certainly travel overseas a lot 🙂 It might take a little bit longer for them to verify your travel but it’s no reason to deny you. Imagine all the high-risk places intelligence officers have to go and they still get clearances.

    Just list everything that you think might be even a little be relevant, always, and you’ll be fine.

    Note: If your clearance involves SCI (e.g. CIA/NSA/some contractors) all immediate family members and your spouse must be U.S. citizens. If it’s just collateral Confidential/Secret/Top Secret there are no restrictions on your family’s citizenship.

    ¡Buena suerte!

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    Your situation is covered at paragraph 31(a) of the Adjudicative Guidelines. It says: “A single serious crime or multiple lesser offenses.” A serious crime is generally defined as a felony. A single misdemeanor offense by itself does not rise to the level of being a potentially disqualifying condition for a security clearance.

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    To me SAP means Special Access Program. Is there some other reason you think this job requires an SAP eligibility? If the job does not require SAP eligibility, you don’t have a problem. Did you actually spend one year or more in prison/jail or were you just sentenced to more than one year? This is a very important distinction and without the answer, I can’t give you a good response.

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    Yes, you have a right to know why they intend to deny your clearance before it is denied. The applicant must sign and date an document acknowledging receipt of the SOR. This acknowledgment is sent back to the adjudication facility. The date of the acknowledgment is used to determine the deadline for an applicant’s written rebuttal. Usually the SOR (or an envelope contain the SOR) is given to the applicant by the applicant’s security officer. The applicant signs and dates the acknowledgment and gives it back to the security officer, who sends it to the adjudication facility. If they deny your clearance but you never received an SOR, suspect foul play.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “never given the opportunity to withdraw the paperwork.” Everyone has the right to stop their investigation by simply quiting the job that requires the clearance. They can also recind the general release (Authorization for Release of Information) that they signed before the investigation started. But no one is asked at different points in the processing whether they want to continue or not.

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    One other variant: Some agencies may send the SOR directly to the applicant by controlled mail with a return receipt require.

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    Unfortunately two of the problems you cited are security concerns, but both of them can be mitigated. The third issue will depend on the perception of other people who knew you at the time.

    I think you should be more concerned about the individual issues rather than the aggregate of the three. The adjudicators on this blog can give you better advice regarding the catchall “Personal Conduct” criteria that deals with the “whole-person” concept.

    You should also know that the adjudicative criteria is exactly the same for Secret and Top Secret clearances.

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    Dean L:
    Thanks for plugging my book and best wishes for your future career.

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    For security clearance purposes bankrupty is preferable to going further in debt. Taking the second job was a good move, because it shows an earnest attempt to solve your problems before resorting to a backruptcy. As I have mentioned before, the word “bankruptcy” does not appear in the Adjudicative Guidelines. It is the underlying cause of the bankruptcy and a person’s conduct before and after the bankruptcy that is scrutinized during a clearance investigation. Much will depend on how you used the money from the second mortgage and what changed between the time you took out the second mortgage and the bankruptcy. Yes, your clearance might be suspended then later revoked. But before any clearance revocation there will be an opportunity to provide mitigating and extenuating information. Don’t be afraid of bankruptcy. It’s a legal process for solving an otherwise unsolvable financial problem.

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    According to OMB and DNI policy, you should only have to pass the polygraph exam. . . but policy and practice aren’t always the same.

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    A level 6C clearance is for a High Risk Public Trust position involving computers. The investigation is usually an LBI or a BI, both of which are more comprehensive than the investigation required for a DoD Secret clearance. DHS is unlike other federal agencies when it comes to security or public trust clearances. I don’t know what is meant by “pending suitability.” For me, investigations are either opened or completed. Once completed the investigation is sent to adjudication. If your case has been stuck in adjudication for a year, something is terribly wrong and may require some type of intervention to shake loose.

    If your background is totally clean, don’t worry about DHS’s clearance processing. Unless you continued to hold a job that afforded you access to classified material until at least August 2006, your Secret clearance has expired. But you shouldn’t have any problem getting a new interim security clearance quickly from another federal agency.

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    Mr. Henderson- Thank you again for your time.

    ‘Foul Play’ raises a red flag for me especially given the fact that they lost my paperword after one year and that I was given a psych test that no one in my office seems to be familiar with.

    My FSO has no idea what an SOR is and asked me if perhaps I was referring to a DoD clearance; I am not going through the DoD.
    She said I was denied and I should receive a letter -registered- with in 45 days detailing exactly why I was denied and at that point, I can decide if I want to appeal or not.
    I’m at 60 days.
    Is this a discussion that we can have off the main board? Am I able to email you specific questions?

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    I tried posting yesterday, and it seems my posts did not make it to this board.

    Anyway, let me try again. I am applying for a contracting position with the CBP. They require a BI. I am awaiting the link to e-QIP. I have held a Secret clearance in the past, which is no longer active.

    I have a very clean record: no alcohol use, no drugs, no mental health problems, no criminal activity, very good credit score; however, I am in the process of divorcing my Middle Eastern spouse who is a US citizen, but with family in that country. I have never visited this country, I do no speak the language, and I last saw my in-laws in 1999 and 1996. The mom is 70+, the sister-in-law is a middle-aged stay-at-home wife, and the (adopted) brother is hardly ever seen or spoken to by the family there.

    Does anyone foresee a problem with this scenario?

    Thank you in advance!

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    yes, DoD, Industrial side.

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    Click on my name above. That will take you to my website. Click the “Security Clearance Manual” button, then the “author” button. You will see my email address at the bottom of the page.

    The acronym SOR is used by security officers at many agencies, not just DISCO/DOHA. Some agencies use the acronym LOI (Letter of Intent) instead of SOR.

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    Thanks for the help guys, I really appriciate your input. I’m going to list my family and most important contacts and I’m going to try not to worry about it too much. I don’t have anything to hide or have bad connections or anything just the insecurity toward the issue and how it might affect my clearance got me worried. As far as the money aspect of things, it’s usually only between 50 to 120 dollars that i send out about once a month to help out over there. It’s not in the high hundreds or thousands or anything like that. I know if it was large quantities i’d likely be facing many many questions, but does the fact that its only a small amount decrease the significance of the issue? Again, many thanks.

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    I don’t see a problem. If you were married to your current spouse at the time your Secret clearance was granted, then the foreign influence issue was favorably adjudicated at that time. If not, well you’re getting divorced and it doesn’t sound like your going to maintain any contact with your former in-laws.

    Since you’re apply for a contracting position with CBP that requires a BI, you’re probably being considered for a High Risk Public Trust position. This entails a suitability investigation rather than a security investigation. According to OPM there are suppose to be differences in the adjudicative criteria (although some agencies use the same criteria). OPM says, “A major difference between suitability adjudication and security adjudication is that suitability adjudication considers only an individual’s personal conduct while security concerns may go beyond the individual’s conduct to that of (for example) their associates or relatives, or the influence of foreign contacts.”

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    As you correctly stated Question 21 asks about counseling by a mental health professional or other health care provider about a mental health related condition. Many anger management classes are conducted by lay personnel who are neither mental health professionals nor health care providers. And the classes are usually educational/informational in nature rather than consultative. I would have listed the class just to be safe, but I would not say that you were wrong in not listing it.

    I suggest you send an email to your FSO explaining the omission and let him deal with it. You will be on record as having disclosed the information before anyone confronted you about it.

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    Regarding issue codes, see the first half of my post on on 31 Jul 2008 at 3:02 am,

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    Mr. Henderson,

    Thank you for your response. It was of great help.

    Just a quick question, although everyone fills out the same form on e-QIP, I guess different levels of investigation are conducted based on the type of clearance needed?

    I just found out the Patent and Trademark Office is offering me a job as a contractor, too. Given the nature of their work, can one assume it is more of a public trust position also?

    I was not married at the time of my Secret clearance. Do you think OPM looks at separation from one’s spouse the same as a final divorce?

    Thanks again.

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    I read that people confessing to experimental marijuana use were denied a top secret clearance for an otherwise perfect record (confessing in SF-86 form or polygraph exam). That is unfair. Why does the government do that? By not forgiving minor transgressions, the government is eliminating good people. Even though the posts here say ‘it will not be a problem’, I have heard many horror stories. So those people end up working for private industry and make a lot of money and become very successful.

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    Most agencies have delegated authority from OPM to do their own adjudications for suitability cases on federal employees/applicant. I don’t believe OPM has the authority to adjudicate contractor cases for other agencies.

    If the agency that adjudicates your investigation even considers relatives & associates, they can only consider the potential influence those people can have on you. Since your are in the process of divorce, you can plausibly disavow any potential influence by your spouse’s relatives.

    I don’t know about the sensitivity levels of contractor positions at PTO, so I can’t say whether your job will be for a PT or National Security position.

    By the way, everyone does not fill out the same form in eQIP. There are different versions of eQIP for the SF85, SF85P and SF86.

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    Do you know if they had any other issues? These individuals may think they were denied a clearance just for the MJ use but it could be for another reason(s).

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    I’m hoping someone might be able to give me some insight.
    I currently have a career Govt. I.T. job and have accepted an offer from another agency (in I.T.). My current job did not require a clearance when I entered. However, with the tranfer I will need to apply for a clearance. My concern is that I have a felony conviction from 1995 along with about 4 misdemeanor convictions (same time frame). It was all releated to a bad time in my life that has long passed. I was 23 at the time. Since then I havn’t had so much as a traffic stop and have been in a Federal job since 1996. Do you think my application for a clearance will be denied?

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    LOOKING for an Answer…….. have a top secret clearance and was Terminated from my position…. how will I know it can be transfered to another position if i apply for a position that requires it???

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    I currently have a Secret clearance, but I have rental property that may have to go into foreclosure because of the slow housing market. Will I automatically lose my security clearance which I’ve had since 1995?