Background InvestigationsObtaining Security Clearance

Ask Your Clearance Questions – Part 12

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.
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Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    Greetings and thank you for making these communications available to the unknowing.

    I have a couple of incidents that I am concerned about and hoping the knowledgeable could shed some insight.

    I am concerned about a prior bankruptcy seven years ago in August 2001. Since then I have a perfect credit history. Perfect payment history on a mortgage, car and 1 credit card. Debt to income is great. Nothing negative to mention. Yes, I learned.

    I experimented with marijuana around 5 times (unsure of exact number) from the time period 1995-1999.

    I had a DUI arrest in 1994 (14 years ago) and was given a conviction of PBJ, probation before judgment, which means I wasn’t found guilty / no conviction given. Is that something I would even want to mention?

    Should I be concerned with any of these items? Please advise.

    I have a general sf-86 question as well. Is there a certain time period like 7 or 10 years back that we should stick to? If I got fired from a job in 1992 is that really something I would bother to disclose. Similarly, if my last drug as mentioned above was 9 years ago is it worth mentioning?


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    Is OPM still using “seriousness” or “issue” codes (i.e. “A”, “B”, “C”, and “D”) to document concerns/incidents/issues? Would 2 “B” rated issues that occurred 72 months ago now be “non-issues” when be adjudicated for a Top Secret clearance?

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    Does any one know a good attorney in the DC area that works on security clearance denial cases?

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    You will be required to list the bankruptcy on your
    SF-86. Although the instructions on the SF-86 indicate 7 years that is one of the questions for an SSBI that needs to go back 10 years. Be sure to be able to fully explain the the bankruptcy and as you mentioned in your post that your credit has been good since then. One important question that will be asked about the bankruptcy is what caused it. Was it irresponsible spending? Vices such as drugs, alcohol or gambling? How old were you when this happened?
    The drug use question on the SF-86 only asks “Since the age of 16 or in the last seven (7) years which ever is shorter…..?” So experimentation from 1995 until 1999 is not required to be listed since that time frame is more than 7 years ago.
    The DUI arrest in 1994 will need to be listed as the question on the SF-86 asks” Have you ever been charged or convicted of any offense(s) related to alcohol or drugs?” Details regarding the event from start to finish are going to be needed. What caused the officer to pull you over in the first place would be the first question I would ask specifically. I usually ask what happened and listen to what the SUBJECT has to say then ask more specific questions if they are not answered. Also what has been and is your current use of alcohol since the DUI? Do you still drink and drive hoping not to get caught? How old were you when this happened?
    The Employment Record questions are another set of questions in which the SF-86 says 7 years but we will ask 10 years back for an SSBI. Therefore your termination in 1992 does not have to be listed.
    Most of the questions are 7 years back but there are a few which go 10 years back.
    One thing to remember though if you list something on your SF-86 that is out side of the required time frame or you mention something during your interview more than 7 or 10 years back, we as investigators are required to follow up on what ever you say during the interview. That means more questions regarding the issue you metnioned or listed. I get frustrated when people list issues that happened 15 years ago and they were not required to list them on their SF-86 because that question is a 7 or 10 year question. Makes me wonder that if they can not follow directions on the SF-86 then how can they do their job they are getting the clearance for. But this is just my opinion. I understand people get nervous or scared when it comes to their security clearance investigation and they want to list everything that they have ever done even if it was when they were 10 and stole some candy from the drug store.
    Sorry that this is so long but I hope it helps.

  5. Avatar

    Hello, I had a question regarding clearance reciprocity. I have an active security clearance at FBI. I was just offered a job at DOD that requires the same level of clearance. Will DoD accept this clearance, or require a new background investigation (date of FBI investigation was within the past 12 months).


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    I am going to need to be eligible for a secret clearance. I filed for a bankruptcy three years ago and it cleared close to 3 years ago. I have not made any late payments since then. I have had credit card debt since then, never a late payment but my balances are 0 or extremely minimal. I had a drunk in public while in the Navy 9 years ago. I had to pay a 25 dollar fine. I have two traffic tickets. Will I automatically be denied a secret clearance because of the bankruptcy. That seems so harsh. My wife got out of the military and was unable to find employment. The debt mounted and we were unable to sustain. We learned our lesson and I am down a little that I will not be able to get the job because of it. It was nearly three years ago and i do not have one late payment since. Thanks for any advice you can offer

  7. Avatar


    I appreciate the detailed explanation, thanks. The ending part where you talk about people listing things that are not required, that is in essence what I am driving at, do I have to say anything that is outside the scope of the sf-86, and you made it clear no. I do appreciate you clarifying the reason why I do have to mention my DUI even though it was 14 years ago.

    to address your question so that I feel comfortable with your insight,

    DUI: My only alcohol offense and my only relationship with law enforcement. I was actually pulled over because the policeman couldn’t see my NY temporary plate which goes in the read window, I was in Maryland where it goes on the license plate area. I was also in a big party area on Solomon’s Islands in MD so they kinda look hard for anything. When he pulled me over he noticed a beer smell and he arrested me for DUI. The judge gave me a PBJ sentenced and that is the end of my legal or drinking problems. I drink occasionally when socializing with friends or family in a law abiding manner. I was 23 when it happened and am 36 years old now with a family and white picket fence.

    Bankruptcy: I was in sales making a lot of money and the company I was working for saw a slow down in business to where I could not maintain. It was job related not vices such as drugs, alcohol, gambling. Like I said my credit is flawless for last 7 years and feel confident in my credit history. It was definitely a learning lesson but much good came out of it. By losing the financial burden both my wife and I were able to return to school and get our bachelors degrees and are reaping the rewards of them.

    Based on the vetting of my past it seems my two issues will be the DUI in 1994 and my bankruptcy in 2001, what say you, should I be concerned? Based on the adjudication guidelines I feel confident that I shouldn’t be. There is no pattern or repetitiveness. Both events have aged with no recurring problems.

    I have begun applying for jobs that interest me for all parts of the IC community. I feel I have a strong chance of being selected, I am at ease with my history and am not ashamed or hiding anything. I guess what I am looking for is an “insider” to help me iron these events out.

  8. Avatar

    10 years back for a bankruptcy on an SSBI???

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    Those are the guidelines we have been advised to follow per our training department regarding bankruptcies for SSBI’s. The rest of the financial questions are still 7 years. If OPM has gone back to 7 years for bankruptcies then our training department has not advised us of that yet.

  10. Avatar

    My previous post did not post so I want to make sure this one does before I type up another one

  11. Avatar


    Background: 30 something has a MINOR mental health condition. It’s inherited, going back several generations. Medical records support my claim that it is MINOR. That said, from time to time, I do take a LOW dose of anti-depressant medication and have done so for close to 8 years. I respond very well to the medicine with limited side effects; never have I been suicidal or hospitalized, again, the condition is MINOR not major. But it is permanent, which is to say, that it comes and goes and without the option of medicine my energy level dips, sluggishness sets in, and I tend towards moodiness or irritability sometimes. When I’m off medicine, proper dieting and exercise usually keeps the condition at bay, however, given the biochemical inheritance and cyclical nature, the condition is recurrent.

    Aside from this medical issue, I am very healthy, play sports, run, etc. and do NOT have any other adverse information in my background with the exception of being 60 days late on two credit cards in the past year. I have never been fired, been promoted several times in the past, published an article, master’s degree in an intelligence related field, and served in a confidential environment as an intern.

    Also, over the past several years, I have cleared a couple of hurdles, only to receive a “not-selected for further evaluation”. Mind you these two jobs were with pseudo military units requiring TS/SCI clearance; prior to these two forays, I interviewed with a civilian agency, wherein, the opportunity arose and I asked about pre-existing medical conditions, and whether my condition would preclude me from employment and one recruiter responded: “unlikely”, in fact, he joked, “half the people at HQ are probably on something!” The recruiters were more concerned with my atrophied language skills and explained that the current crop of applicants was very strong and chances for a COE might not be forthcoming until I polished my language skills, which I have done.

    Question: Am I wasting my time applying to any more intel jobs? Soon, I will meet with a military intel recruiter and I want to know if I’m even in the locker room when it comes to competitiveness. I recognize you are not in a position to “ballpark” my specific situation, but can someone tell me whether or not I’m competitive?

    Thank you for the opportunity to ask away. Look forward to your response.


  12. Avatar

    That is the time frame we have been told to go back to for bankruptcies on SSBI type cases. The other cases are still just 7 years back for bankruptcies. All of the remaining financial questions are still 7 years.

  13. Avatar


    So my above post concerning the bankruptcy and DUI and their particulars, present any real issues for granting a clearance?


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    Mr. Henderson,
    I read your July 31st (3:02 am) post regarding OPM issue codes. I had previously read on a federal agency’s website that an issue with a code “A” will become a “non-issue” after 36 months and a “B” issue will become a “non-issue” after 72 months. Is this still valid information, or does it depend on other factors?

  15. Avatar

    There are timeframes for downgrading issue codes but I have not seen a current one in the public domain so I can not comment on the specific times. Issue codes should not affect adjudicator decisions, since the codes are based on the judgement non-adjudicators who use an issue matrix chart which has little relevance to the Adjudicative Guidelines. Issue codes are place in the report by investigators and sometime modified by case analyst based on their opinion of the seriousness of the information. The only practical use of the issue codes by adjudicators is that they draw attention to unfavorable information in the report. The adjudicator must decide how serious the issue is without regard to the codes–it’s their job, not the investigators.

    I have always had an objection to investigators being forced to include their opinions or conclusions in an investigative report. This includes issue codes and paragraph headings that suggest unconfirmed misconduct.

  16. Avatar

    I am not an Adjudicator so I can not specifically say if your past issues will prevent you from getting a clearance. They all happened a while ago and as long as you are upfront with the ones that need to be reported that is what we want to see. Maybe one of the Adjudicators on here can better answer your question.

  17. Avatar

    To my knowledge the only authoritive government-wide document regarding SSBI supplemental instructions for the SF86 is post at:

    I know this document is old (Sep 97) but it is based on the National Investigative Standards which haven’t changed since then. I have seen undated agency specific supplement instructions that require 10 years of information for more than just question 9, 10, 11, 22, 23(e&f), and 29. But I have no idea where these agencies obtained their authority to do this.

  18. Avatar

    I completely agree with investigators being required to mark a specific issue code. I think it would be easier if there was just a general issue box we checked in our reports letting the adjudicator know that there is an issue to look out for while reviewing the reports. As for paragraph headings that suggest unconfirmed misconduct I have never heard of that and have never used any paragraph headings in any of my reports.

  19. Avatar

    OPM and its contractors don’t use paragraph headings. More than 10 years ago DSS adopted a “High-Impact” writing style that used extensive headings, sub-heading, bullets, and white space. I believe there are a few investigative entities that are currently using this style. I had no objection to headings like: Employment, Residence, Education. But I felt that headings like: Illegal Drug Use or Criminal Conduct in a reference interview write up were inappropriate, since the information was only an allegation. They could have used headings like, “Alleged Criminal Conduct” and I would have be OK with that. But investigators weren’t allow to create their own headings if a standard one already existed.

    I think most adjudicators like High-Impact writing because the reports are much easier to read.

  20. Avatar

    Can someone answer my question when they get a chance

  21. Avatar

    It is very interesting to hear how previous investigators wrote their reports prior to when I started whether with DSS or OPM. Also I have always wondered how reports were “transmitted” before the adaptation of the laptop.
    I am not sure why our training department has indicated 10 years back for bankruptcies on SSBI cases. I figured it was at the request of OPM after the document you provided in a previous post of yours was published in 1997.

  22. Avatar

    I typed my first “Agent Report” (original plus 4 carbon copies) using a manual typewriter 29 years ago. By 1972 secretaries at DIS were typing reports for agents and transmitting them electronically by TWX (teletypewriter exchange). In the early 1980’s secretaries were typing reports on wordprocessors and mailing them in. In the late 1980’s DIS secretaries began transmitting reports using computers (DISNET), but reports with attachments continued to be printed and mailed. In about 1990 agents were issued notebook computers and began typing their own reports and transmitting them to their supervisors, who review them, then had them retransmitted to DIS/DSS headquarters using a system known as FIMS/CCMS which they continued to use until 2004 when they began using PIPS.

  23. Avatar

    Hello, I tried posting this yesterday but it didn’t post. My apologies if it gets double posted.

    I had a question regarding clearance reciprocity. I have an active security clearance at FBI. I was just offered a job at DOD that requires the same level of clearance. Will DoD accept this clearance, or require a new background investigation (date of FBI investigation was within the past 12 months).


  24. Avatar

    23d. makes clear sense I should disclose my 94 DUI charge but no conviction.

    27a. this is a little unclear for me. I realize you say 10 years but should i still enter it on my sf86 or just tell the investigator if asked 10 years. It is exactly 7 years this month, August 2008. My sf86 wont be submitted until at least September 2008 so technically speaking it is not within the 7 years. I don’t have nothing to hide there is nothing to report since the bankruptcy but then again I don’t want to raise something that I don’t have to.

    reviewing the sf86 again I noticed that as a result of my only background investigation with the FBI in May 2006 I have another issue.

    26a and b. The background investigation was completed in full and I assume it was good and I was invited to take a poly for the FBI intel position. I failed it due to my “inability” to answer the drug use history honestly. I can tell you that I was but only God and I know that. With that said, how do I answer those and what do I need to disclose on the sf86 or further explanation?

  25. Avatar


    If the Bankruptcy did not happen within the past 7 years, do not list it. If it comes up for any reason, you told the truth as you are only required to answer for the last 7 years on the question. You should not be asked if within 10 years. It may show on your credit report, but, again, if not within 7 years answer is “No.”

    If you have not used drugs or have not been convicted the answer is “No” if you truly know you have not used them.

    Good luck

  26. Avatar

    I guess it is just my company’s training department who wants us to go back 10 years for bankruptcies for SSBIs. I am going to have to look into that I was going to post the same thing BW did. If for some reason the investigator does ask back 10 years for your bankruptcy just say you did not know you had to go back 10 years since the SF-86 asks only back 7 years.

  27. Avatar

    BW and William,
    I checked the latest version of the OPM manual and question 27a is included in the 10 year time frame. OPM considers a bankruptcy a civil court action therefore falling under the same guidelines as question 29.

  28. Avatar

    You can disregard my previous post, you are going to have to list your bankruptcy.

  29. Avatar

    I posted this in “Part 11” and fear it may have been overlooked so I am reposting here looking for some direction on how to proceed….thanking you in advance:

    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?

  30. Avatar

    ok, excuse me for beating this but I am trying to come to a conclusion that is both correct and favorable. I will list it but the form clearly makes it seem that one should only go back 7 years, because its right around the 7 year mark I am going to list it anyway as I feel that it should not hamper my clearance since it is isolated and explainable.

    The form needs to be changed to reflect continuity.

    Thanks for all your help working through these issues.

  31. Avatar

    You are correct there needs to be continuity. OPM is in the process of updating the SF-86 form as the SF-86 form you are using was developed in 1995.

    You only have to worry about your own case. Just think how investigators feel dealing with hundreds of cases and all the adjustments of dates that need to be made as well as OPM changing the requirements on us.

  32. Avatar

    OPM investigators may be required to ask about bankruptcies that occurred 10 years ago based on their manual, but the manual is for use by investigators not applicants.

    I’ve seen the draft change to the SF86 and it continues to ask for 7 years worth of information for bankruptcies on SSBIs.

    I also take issue with OPM’s interpretation of a US Bankruptcy Court being a Civil Court. But again it is only in a manual that only applies to investigators, not applicants.

  33. Avatar

    I posted a response to your question at Part 11 on 08 Aug 2008 at 7:50 pm.

  34. Avatar

    There should be no problem with DoD accepting an active collateral clearance issued by the FBI. For SCI it gets a little more complicated, but if the FBI SCI is at the same sensitivity level or higher, it should also transfer over without a problem, provided your clearance was issued without any “exceptions.”

  35. Avatar

    No, you will not be automatically denied a security clearance because of your bankruptcy. As long as the traffic tickets were only infractions, they should not be a security concern. The drunk in public offense from 9 years ago is probably completely mitigated by passage of time, provided you have not been involved in any subsequent alcohol-related incidents. The adjudicatively significance matters surrounding a bankruptcy per se is not a financial. The issues are 1) the reason for the bankruptcy, 2) the persons financial conduct prior to, during and after the bankruptcy. I recommend you read the three articles regarding “Personal Finances & Security Clearances” post at

  36. Avatar

    Thanks for the response William. The tickets were one for speeding, 132.00 fine, and one for unsafe operation. it was for no points. i have had no issues with alcohol since the drunk in public when i was 23. i did go to counseling for alcohol though, but that was my decision, and there was no cause other than me choosing not to drink. i gave up drinking over two years ago now. The bankruptcy was due to my wife losing income and the bills mounting as a result.

  37. Avatar


    In my special round-a-bout way I guess what William said on the bankruptcies is what I was saying. The applicant not responsible to list if not within 7, but a record will be obtained if within the past 10 years.

  38. Avatar

    Thank you Mr. Henderson for your response, I really appreciate the insight you provide to the average Joe (the average “Ned” in my case) about obtaining a security clearance.

  39. Avatar

    I accepted a job offer from a contractor contingent on a security clearance in May and am currently in field work process. I am working for another company right now and unfortunately, the investigator showed up to my job and started asking questions, even when I specifically worte on my application that it would be better if he could call ahead to interview the reference and myself. He showed up and now I’m being let go and am still waiting on clearance which, as I understand it, can take up to two to three more months. Is there any recourse I can take? The company I am applying to is working on getting me a non-secure position for the brief period of time, but I feel like the investigator acted unethically by putting my livelihood in jeapordy. I suppose the real question is, should I approach this is a risk of applying for a clearance job or a violation of some sort? Thanks and I would appreciate any discussion that might come out of this.

  40. Avatar

    Do not fear this. Your story is very common and easily mitigated based on what you wrote up. You should be good to go for the DoD secret/ts review.

  41. Avatar

    I was pulled over for a DUI almost 3 years ago this case is still going through the courts it has been dropped once because the prosecution failed to take me to court on time. I have had some under age consumptions 8 to 10 years ago. I have had some speeding tickets, and some minor credit problems ( i say minor because I was able to buy a house a few months back. My security people told me that they were waiting for the outcome of my DUI case (which I am not guilty of. who knows how much longer they can drag this out for. If somehow I am convicted of the DUI this all leads me to believe that I will not receive my secret clearance. But in my defence I have not had any problems with alcohol or the law since my DUI case.

    (I received my DUI when I was sitting at the bar with alcohol in had long story but my lawyer says I should win the case)

    Main question out that i would like to know will they look at the last 3 years and see that the DUI was the last issue I have had with the police?

  42. Avatar

    Thanks for the response, Mr. Henderson!

  43. Avatar

    Oh and just read my question I wasnty pulled over that was a typo…I meant charged with:) Wasnt pulled over because I was already in the bar having a drink.

  44. Avatar

    Hello there,

    I have more questions… I’ve been curious about this for some time:

    Are federal employee clearance investiations & contractor investigations managed in a different manner? If so, why? Aren’t the adjudicative guidelines the same for both feds & contractors?

    Why are adjudicated cases for contractors posted out on the web? I’m sure this has to do with a particular regulation or past court case; nevertheless, I’m still curious to know why cases regarding contractors are “publicized” (if you will) and cases about feds are not openly available.

    I love this forum! Keep up the good work, and thanks in advance.

  45. Avatar

    Once a clearance application is submitted, the applicant has no right to control in any manner the investigators actions. By signing the General Release, an applicant has authorized the investigation. The investigator may interview anyone he/she chooses, when and where he/she chooses. Investigators are not required to comply any special requests made by the applicant and they are not required to coordinate their actions with the applicant. In the instructions to the SF86 under the heading, The Investigative Process, it states: “Your current employer must be contacted as part of the investigation, even if you have previously indicated on applications or other forms that you do not want this.”

  46. Avatar

    Jessica B:

    There’s no reason for it; it’s just their policy. I’m not aware of any regulation or court decision that compels DOHA to post its decisions on their website.

    DISCO only handles contractor cases. DOHA only handles the more complex DISCO cases. DISCO/DOHA is only one of many Central Adjudication Facilities (CAF). The Department of Defense alone has 9 CAFs. DOHA has chosen to post its decision at their website and the other CAFs have chosen not to. The adjudicative standards are the same for everyone, but there are slightly different rules regarding personal appearances/hearings and regarding the appeal process for contractors as opposed to government employees and military servicemen. I believe that if you asked for this same information from one of the other CAFs under the Freedom of Information Act, they could provide it, but the administrative cost of compiling the information and the cost of redacting personal identifying data would be much more than you (or anyone) would be willing to pay.

  47. Avatar

    SRVClapton –

    It may seem at first glance that the investigator, while within his rights, was rude. However, one must realize that the investigator would probably have interviewed your supervisor/manager anyways, as you had to list him on your forms. Whether he interviewed the manager in the office or called him outside, they still would have known and would probably have let you go either way.

    Additionally, someone interviewed from your office would have talked anyways and everyone would have known.

    It’s just a risk you have to take when making the transition to sensitive positions 🙁

  48. Avatar


    I’m sorry to hear of your dilema. Rest assure that we investigators would never intentionally jeopardize one’s career. Unfortunately it’s the nature of the beast. Please understand we can never let someone control our process. What good is an investigation if we allow the “Subject” (You) control. CE is correct, your supervisor and a co-worker would have to be interviewed either way as well as speaking to your HR to see your record. There are many people who have the same problem when entering the “Cleared” world.

    I hope all goes well for you.

  49. Avatar

    OK…so this is a break away question. Military guy here….still pending adjudication on a final security determination for alleged DEROG… have no, nor have ever had any permanent derog info on OMPF, no paper trail that would indicate negative behavior. Access suspension was based off of two Character letters from two O-5s with whom we mutually did not like being around each other and made it obviously clear. No Drug use, No Alcohol use, no debts, and a bad case of the squirts from the flu.It took 15 months to get a response from an adjudicator for rebuttal. It only took me 14 days, due to weekends and OPM personnel being unavailable to process rebuttal packet. Two letters of Expedite were submitted from two different commands due to upcoming operational commitments approximately 4 months apart. Response to adjudicator’s SOR was submitted nearly three weeks ago with all required documentation.
    Question 1. Is this a case of the Good old boys club vs. me, because Im of lower rank going against two O-5s?

    Question 2. Why did ACCF send my packet to my old unit and not my current unit for further review? shouldn’t my current command be the one to recieve my information?

    Question 3. What is the approximate processing time for a response if expedite letters are in play and have exemplary character letters from several field grade and flag officers?

    Question 4. How soon will the adjudicator, whose desk it is on, who also wrote the SOR, make a final determination, and what all does the adjudicator look at to make that determination?

    Question 5. Does my previous command from 18 months ago still have to validate or provide a response as well to make a final determination?

    Your help in answering this question is appreciated.

  50. Avatar

    I have a question regarding obtaining a security clearance. My mother is from Japan and has been a permanent resident in the U.S. for 48 years, but is not a naturalized citizen. She has been married to my father, a U.S. born citizen, for 49 years. I was told that this shouldn’t affect getting an interim clearance, but will this affect me getting a secret or top secret clearance?

    My mom is willing to apply for a naturalized citizenship if it would help me get secret or top secret clearance, but the process would take possibly up to 1 year or more. In the meantime my company has already started the process to get me an interim clearance, and also top secret clearance. Does it really make sense for my mom to proceed with the naturalized citizenship application (she is 70)? Would it really make a difference in my ability to get a secret or top secret clearance?

    Thanks in advance.

  51. Avatar

    I did not see this thread sorry if it is repetitive! I have been out of the service since 1997, I held a Secret clearance for 9 years, now I am needing a clearance to GET a job. Is there a way to reactivate my clearance before applying to a job?

  52. Avatar

    I have a few questions about clearances.

    First is about the level types of sponsering agencies. I have heard that CIA/NSA clearances are “interchangeable” and can be used in place of any neccessary military TS/SCI clearance, but the military (or other) TS/SCI cannot be used at the CIA/NSA. Does this mean the CIA/NSA have the highest clearances, and is it the same as the FBI?

    Second, I am in the process of a TS/SCI. I have heard some cases of the investigator’s talking to family members (mother/father/brother/sister) but not in others. All in all, my background is completed, but they did not talk to any family yet including my wife. I was also told by someone that my wife has to have some background run on her too. When does this occur and are they going to talk to my family? My position is for a civilian under the government and not a contractor.

    Third, since I am in for a civilian position, does this have stronger requirements? I heard the government can use the clearance investigation for job purposes too (ie a boss saying bad things or something along those lines). I am worried because I have the situation many others on this site had with SF86 missing information about drug use due to some misguidance on the part of the security officer in my current organization. I told my investigator this even though he didn’t ask and he said it might not have ever been caught. I just didn’t want to seem like I was hiding it (two times in college as a freshment didn’t seem all that big of a deal to me). So how is this going to be viewed? He wrote in his report I was changing my previous SF86 to add this in his notes or something like that. Will he mention my honesty? This is a big deal to me because I know information that is not right on a federal form is probably a huge deal.

    Finally, how long will my adjucation take? Is the time any shorter for government civilians versus contractors? I heard rumors it is quicker, but I suppose its more speculation. My hiring manager told me she went through hundreds of resumes and only found two qualified people and is doing anything she can to get us both in there ASAP, will this help any?

    Thank you very much and sorry for the long post.

  53. Avatar

    I’ve noticed on a few job postings that require a “National Agency Check”.

    Is that part of the security clearance investigation? Does this fit into a classification (i.e. Confidential, Secret, TS, etc.) I’m a little confused.

  54. Avatar

    Thank you for replying to my post. From a more personal perspective, do any of you know what folks generally do when they’re let go from they’re previous employer while waiting for a clearance? I understand that most contractors have an interim clearance program while one waits to be cleared. Are there any other options that people have heard of that I might suggest to the HR folks? Thanks.

  55. Avatar

    I worked for FAA where I held a secret clearance. When I transferred to AF (DoD) they would not accept my clearance but made me go through the entire process again. They gave me a clearance waiver until the forms had been adjudicated.

  56. Avatar

    I am looking for a good job, well educated and military trained, still in the Army National Guard. Can’t seem to get anyone to hire me. I know this is on security clearences, but I am desperate. I have a current secret clearence, and have had a top secret, when I was deployed after 9 11

    Would be grateful for a response back from an employer or anyone who knows how I could get hired.

  57. Avatar


    You can register as a job seeker on by clicking here. By registering, you can post your resume, search for jobs, and apply directly online.

    You can also search the current cleared job openings listed on

  58. Avatar

    The military Top Secret and/or Secret Clearance are two different clearance from civilian federal jobs (FBI, CIA, DOD, SECRET AGENCY). Which means YES they (the agency) have to redo your clearance.

  59. Avatar

    I’ve been losing a lot of jobs offer due to my clearance has been sitting in DISCO for adjudication. I never have an active duty break of service for 24 years. My security manager is unable to provide me any information or status when will be the adjudication will be completed. As far as I’m concern I’m under the mercy of someone unknown to make a decision to grant me my clearance again. We have technology that can provide online status the reason of the delay like the status of tax return but this has none. JPAS is not worth a thing for a person waiting for the status or result.

  60. Avatar

    Investigator, Contractor

    I have some general information to add. There is no time limit for the adjudication process. Cases sometimes bounce back and forth between OPM and the investigator, for whatever reason, for months. I can say the process has been faster of late.
    There is an on going initiative to make all agencies talk to and accept others clearances. Don’t hold your breath, but it is in the works.

    BTW, contract investigators do not have clearances that are in JPAS, try getting another position with that. I have lost a number of jobs because of it.

  61. Avatar

    I have a question but cant find where to put the question in. I am getting the run around big time from fso.

    what is the order of sf86 submit. meaning does it go
    me fso opm disco jpas or me fso opm fso disco jpas

    reason being, i was told by my fso that my final invetigation was denied by the government there fore , i have to be terminated immediately. however i got my print out from JPAS and it states my SF* wasn’t submitted to them at all. My question is can anyone and who if anyone deny my final clearance in the process. I was told i went thru the whole process and then denied the final final clearance, which is obviously a lie from the print out I have. where do i go from here. Does anyone know if or disco or opm can deny you or does it have to be the government. i am very unfamiliar with this. its just strange that i was told i was denied a final clearance but it wasn’t submitted to JPAS, does that mean someone else denied me and if so why did they tell me the government. Any info will be greatly appreciated

  62. Avatar

    Does anyone know when a new report will be available on the status of the clearance process regarding time lines and all other info?

  63. Avatar


    Recommend contacting Richard Bednar of Alexandria.

    Bednar, LLP
    Ph: 703-490-0000
    Fax: 703-991-0454
    Email: [email protected]

  64. Avatar

    I received a Secret clearance at the end of 2006. Shortly after receiving the clearance, I was hired as a contractor for a federal agency that did not require me to have a clearance. Presently, I still work on that contract. My clearance is approaching its 2 year anniversary and I have been told that in 2 years if I do not have a job that requires this clearance it will go to inactive status. I do not want to lose the active status of my clearance, because if tomorrow I have to go to next contract that requires the clearance I will possibly not get the job.
    What should I do to keep my clearance active.
    Is it a good idea to get another part time job just to keep clearance active?

  65. Avatar

    Can you register as a job seeker on if you only have an “interim” secret clearance? The ‘clearance type’ drop down menus on the web site do not list “interim secret” as a choice so it looks like you need to have an “active” clearance to register. I would like to know if this is true.
    Thank you.

  66. Avatar

    Ned_O – Yes, you can register on with an Interim Secret clearance. In the Clearance Notes field, please add this information so employers know. Also add any other details you’ve received regarding your final clearance.

  67. Avatar

    I have a question-

    The TS/SSBI is supposed to go 10 years back right?
    I happened to be an exchange student in a foreign country while I was in High School and although I did not mention this on the form/ interview (because it was over the 10 year mark) it was brought up by some of my friends and former co-workers when they were interviewed. Do you anticipate this causing any problems?

  68. Avatar


    Contract Investigators’ clearances are in JPAS. I just looked at mine a few days ago.

  69. Avatar

    No. Your prior clearance expired a long time ago and can not be reinstated. A new investigation will be necessary. Clearance actions can only be initiated after a formal employment relationship has been established with an agency or company that can sponsor your clearance.

  70. Avatar

    It is generally more difficult to obtain an interim clearance than it is to obtain a final clearance. If you are granted an interim TS clearance (this usually occurs within two to four months after an application is submitted), the probability of getting a final TS clearance is very good. For a collateral Secret or TS clearnce, I don’t think it will make a significant difference if your mother applies for or is granted US citizenship.

  71. Avatar


    You are correct about, “JPAS not worth a thing for a person waiting for the status or result.”
    JPAS is a tool, more for the industry of the security clearance world, like DoD, ect… It’s not for the person or applicant. It requires your comapnys’ FSO/ Security Manager to request an action.

    Adjudication does take time, as this blog site can verify.

    I hope this helps?

  72. Avatar

    The investigative and adjudicative standards for all levels of clearances are based on national standards, not agency standards. Current national policy requires all federal agencies to reciprocally accept active clearances issued other federal agencies at the same sensitivity level, provided the clearance was issued without any “exceptions.” In additional to collateral clearance sensitivity levels, there are three sensitivity levels within SCI.

    The investigation for TS/SCI is an SSBI (with or without polygraph). There is no requirement to interview a spouse or other relatives; although it is sometimes necessary for proper coverage. For an SSBI there is a requirement for a National Agency Check on a spouse. This is initiated at the beginning of the SSBI.

    I’m confused by the third part of your question where you said that the security officer at your current organization gave you bad advice. Why was he/she involved in preparing your SF86 for a different organization? I can’t imagine a situation where an investigator would fail to ask about illegal drug involvement during a Personal Subject Interview. Perhaps you just beat him to the punch. Failure to disclose drug use within the past 7 years will be view unfavorably.

    Contractor and federal employee clearances are adjudicated by different organizations with different workloads resulting in different processing times. No one can predict adjudication time for a specific case. At some agencies it is possible for a hiring manager to influence the priority given to the processing of a case and even the granting of an “exception” to adjudicative standards but it is pretty rare.

  73. Avatar

    If I received my interim TS from DoD two weeks after submitting an SF86, is it also likely a final TS will be granted quickly (within 6 months)? Investigators started working on my case right away, and there’s nothing negative in my background that will be uncovered.

  74. Avatar

    I’m not aware of any federal employee or contractor position that would require only a NAC. An NAC is almost always one component of a suitability or security investigation that has other components. An NAC by itself is not sufficient to grant any security or public trust clearance.

  75. Avatar

    Generally an active Secret clearance issued by one federal agency should be readily transferrable to another federal agency. If your FAA Secret clearance was issued prior to 1999 or if your AF position entailed not only a Secret clearance but also a Public Trust clearance, that would explain why the AF did not accept the prior clearance.

  76. Avatar

    I have a “Clearance Processing Flowchart for Contractors and Job Applicants” posted at my website. Click on my name (above), then on “about security clearance,” then on “resources.” You will find a link to the flowchart near the bottom of the resources page. It should answer most if not all of your questions. People who are denied security clearances receive a notification of the denial from the federal agency that made the decision with instructions on how to appeal the decision. Before that the applicant receives a notification from the government agency of the intended denial, so that the applicant can rebut the reasons for the intended denial.

  77. Avatar

    The next annual report in compliance with the IRTPA is due in Feb 09. OPM and DISCO periodically make presentations that include updated statistical data on request to congress and to industial association conferences.

  78. Avatar

    I have a question for investigator/adjudicator, if there are any? My investigation for TS Clearance was completed April 2007, reopened, completed again Oct2007. It is in adjudication since then. There is no decision on it. My questions are
    1. Does anyone have an idea how long does it take for the adjudication decision? Is there anything I can do to expedite the process.
    2. How can I find out the reason for this delay?

    Thanks in advance.

  79. Avatar

    That was fast. Did you previously have a favorably completed federal investigation? Usually it takes at least a month or two to get the advanced NAC results needed for an interim TS clearance, unless a NAC was previously completed as part of some other investigtion. If investigators in all locations that you have lived, worked, or attended school in the past 10 years have started working on your investigation, the investigation should be completed very quickly. I can’t predict how long adjudication will take because there are 9 DoD adjudication facilities with differing workloads and backlogs and most don’t individually publicize turnaround times for adjudication.

  80. Avatar


    I was granted a Secret in 2003 and then SAP access in 2005. In early 2007 an SSBI for my TS was initiated, but it was canceled after two months when I left for another company. Last month I was put back in for a TS. BTW, your book is extremely informative and overall a very interesting read.

  81. Avatar

    Thank you for the information. As for my third question, I guess what I left out a part of that. I am currently working for a contractor and hold a SECRET clearance. It was that SF86 that did not include drug use since I followed the FSO instructions not to include it because “they don’t care about that, don’t put it”, but this SF86 for the TS/SCI does include it. So how much is that likely to effect everything? It is a civilian position that will require TS/SCI and lifestyle polygraph.

    The second part to this is asking why this website has NSA/CIA as a seperate clearance level than TS/SCI? That is another part that made me think those two agencies have higher clearance levels (maybe its because one of the three SCI access levels you mentioned).

    With the SSBI investigation, will they talk to my wife or family? Also, how do I know if they did a background on her yet? They never asked me for her information, although I think her SSN was on my SF86.

    Thank you again!

  82. Avatar

    Sorry, just to add, my secret clearance was adjudicated in 2006. The drug use was in 2000.

  83. Avatar

    Lahroy –

    Regardless of bad advice you still falsified the document. It will affect your clearance because the form specifically asked you about your drug use. I am not an investigator/adjudicator but I would imagine you coming forth on your own will greatly help your situation. Also just a thought, I think your FSO will likely deny he ever told you to falsify a federal form, because otherwise he is in serious trouble. So be prepared for that.

    Top Secret is the highest clearance level, period. SAP, SCI, SCI with CI polygraph, SCI with LS polygraph are all additional measures used alongside Secret/TS collateral designations. Yes TS/SCI or NSA/CIA is harder to get, but SAPs (SCI is a SAP) are not “higher” per se.

    NSA/CIA are different because they are governed by different standards (e.g. suitability, etc.).

    The investigators may interview anyone they wish as far as I know. And I’m sure the investigators can find out all the information on your wife they need without asking you 🙂

  84. Avatar

    I am not suprised that investigators started working on your case right away. In certain parts of the country there is no longer a back log of cases. I was recently assigned an SSBI-PR case in which the SUBJECT filled out and signed his SF-86 on 07/28/08 and I got the case on 08/13/08. Also I was assigned a full SSBI case on 08/06/08 and SUBJECT filled and signed out his SF-86 on 07/07/08. I am even working on some case in which they are not due until the middle of November. It feels good as an investigator to be working on current cases. I can remember when I first started and I was working on cases 1 and 2 years old. I would contact the SUBJECT under investigation and they would say finally you got to me.

  85. Avatar


    Thanks for the information. The SF86 omission on my part is the only thing that would keep me from being cleared. And whether or not he admits it won’t matter to me since I know several people there who he tried to do the same thing with. It actually wasn’t him, but he was talking through a corporate FSO since we are a small satellite location, so he may admit it. I don’t think they will go through the trouble of finding him and stuff, but if so, great. I hear stories about this now after talking to people and realize it is common. Unfortunately, I am in agreement with you about the form itself. I didn’t intentionally hide the information (in fact I had it listed first and then he told me to remove it). But I did sign it stating it held everything. My mistake was not reading the form close enough and taking for granted I thought the FSO has my best interest at hand. If I do get denied I will appeal but I also imagine I will lose my SECRET clearance and in turn lose my job. But at least I won’t be working with a known falisified document that I would have intentionally left out this time (since I know it needed to be put in there, I put it in there after reading it closely). I figured its a position of trust and loyalty to “encapsulating” information is not good. I hope it works out though, its got me a bit worried.

    Thanks again!

    If there is anyone who does adjucation for SSBI at the CIA/NSA level, how is this going to look?


  86. Avatar

    I suppose now after thinking about this for long I’m getting really worried. If that is the one thing that stands out (SF86 SECRET not matching new SF86 TS/SCI), and its for the SSBI at the CIA/NSA level, does this immediately disqualify me?

  87. Avatar


    Regarding the falsification there are at least two mitigating conditions that work in your favor:

    Para 17(a) the individual made prompt, good-faith efforts to correct the omission, concealment or falsification before being confronted with the facts.

    Para 17(b) the . . . concealment was caused or significantly contributed to by improper or indadequate advice of authorized personnel . . . advising or instructing the individual specifically concernng the security clearance process. . . .

    Good luck

  88. Avatar

    As you have correctly stated, the only way to keep your Secret clearance “current” is to take a job (or a second job) that requires a Secret clearance. I suppose you could do this for just long enough to reactive your clearance before quiting, thereby buying an additional two years before it expires. I’m not sure a Secret clearance is actually worth the effort, and I don’t recommend it because it is unethical unless you are up front about it with the potential employer.

  89. Avatar


    Thanks for you references. I’ve been really stressed out about this whole thing since I have a lot riding on it. Nothing about the job I took makes sense to me (taking a paycut to move to an expensive area). You don’t work for the government to get rich (this does not mean working for the contractors). But its all heart and I really want to challenge myself (engineers are a strange breed). I really appreciate your site and books. I believe your advice and input has helped several people calm nerves and understand the process better. Tahnk you very much!

  90. Avatar

    William Henderson
    I was told by the HR person at the company I am planning on working for (pending clearance) that I would be in the next group of people to start orientation and training. I havent heard anything back on my clearance and I know its been in adjudication for a couple of months and I was wondering if my company could kind of dictate how fast my clearance comes back? Would they have any say or pull on a situation like this>?

  91. Avatar

    According to OPM only about 10 percent of their investigations are conducted as “Priority” cases. It seems to me that for an investigation on a contractor employee/applicant, the sponsoring company would have to get the approval of their government contracting officer in order to submit a case for priority handling. I don’t think this happened in your case.

    Other than getting the government to pay a premium for priority handling, there isn’t anything a company can do to influence the speed at which a case is processed.

  92. Avatar

    I have an unusual circumstance that came up during my investigation phase for TS/SCI clearance:

    I got a phone call from the investigator, who
    asked to my great surprise whether I had contacts with Guantanamo Bay detainees, which he said they heard learned during their investigation of me.

    I had totally forgotten about this, but in 1995 (at age 17) I lived in Europe, where I played on a cricket team that included a couple of Pakistanis. In 2002, when i was in graduate school, one of those Pakistanis emailed me (we had barely stayed in contact since 1995 – perhaps one or two emails to each other per year) and informed me his brother had been detained in Afghanistan by US forces and sent to Gitmo. He asked me to solicit a US lawyer to help represent his brother. I spoke to a US Congressman who was a friend of mine, who referred me to a prominent civil rights lawyer in NYC. I gave that lawyer’s contact info to the brother of the detainee, and the lawyer eventually filed a law suit in DC federal court on behalf of this brother and several other families who claimed they had wrongfully accused relatives in Gitmo. That was the extent of my involvement with the issue; I never knew and have never met the Gitmo detainee (who was later released), and have not stayed in touch with his brother beginning around 2004.

    At first when the investigator called and asked me about Gitmo contacts, I was silent and somewhat stunned. When I remembered what he was getting at, I explained all of the above to the investigator, and he said, “oh okay, the adjudicators should be happy with that explanation” — but I hope that doesn’t ding me somehow. What worries me is that I didn’t disclose the Pakistani brother under “foreign associates” on my SF86, but then again, the definition of an associate is “close and continuing contact,” “obligation” or “affection” — none of which I had with either the Gitmo detainee or his brother. So I still feel I was correct to omit the individual as a foreign associate.

    I’m a lawyer, and lawyers make such referrals to other lawyers for people all the time — it comes with the job. I’m sure I’ve made referrals for accused murderers, rapists, embezzlers, etc. before, too. Still, I imagine the adjudicators can get spooked about possible connections to Gitmo? Any take on how this might be playing out in the adjudication phase I’m currently enduring?


  93. Avatar

    I have a question that I haven’t seen on here that is confusing to me. I work for a large computer company that is getting more work for the federal government and is needing more employees to obtain security clearances.

    I was on a large project for DHS that required as far as I know, a public trust clearance with T2 computer access. I completed an SF86 for that one. I was given an EOD which I assume all the checks were completed but I was never notified by anyone of the outcome. It lasted seven months.

    I have recently worked on a VA project where I needed to complete an SF 85 and was granted access to work.

    About 2 months ago I was told that my company will be getting us secret clearances because of projects in the pipeline. I had to fillout another SF 86.

    My question is, I thought when they went to te eqip format that people would only need to fillout one form and not have to keep filling out the same forms for every agency?

  94. Avatar

    Hey I really appreciate that you are taking the time to answer our questions. Mine is pretty straight forward: Will admitting to occasional recreational marijuana use over the last year automatically disqualify me from passing an SF-85?

    Thanks in advance!

  95. Avatar

    I am currently undergoing an SSBI for TS/SCI access. I was termined as a senior exec about 6 years ago. My employee record simply states that I was terminated for performance. However, when they told me I was being terminated, they claimed that one reason was for giving away proprietary documents. I was an at-will employee, so I had little recourse, but did I sued them for defamation because they verbally allegated that I gave away proprietary documents as a basis fr the termination. Ultimately, the law suit was settled after several years of litigation.

    I disclosed the termination on my SF86 and stated that I was terminated for performance, which is what’s on my employee record. However, I stated in my lawsuit what they alleged when they verbally told me I was fired because that was the defamation. Obviously, I listed my lawsuit on the SF86,too.

    I went through my initial subject interview and the investigator asked me very little about it, although she tried to get some details on the settlement, which I can’t provide per the terms of it. I said I was fired for performance, which is the company’s official line. I’m not allowed to say anything about the situation per the settlement agreement.

    My question – when the field investigator goes to the court to pull the file (it’s voluminous), what will he/she actually do with it? Will he/she sit there and start reading documents? Will he/she look to see that I actually filed a suit and that it was settled (no details of settlement are available in court case files, just a stipulation signed by the judge accepting a settlement)?

  96. Avatar

    I work as an 1811 Criminal Investigator for DoD, specifically, Army, and I have held a TS and/or TS-SCI for 20 years. I recently had my SSBI-PRI (five year update) conducted. I was informed by my security officer that the investigation was completed on 3 July 2008 and was sent to Army Central Adjudication Facility on 10 July 2008. She told me it could take months to adjudicate. In any event, I was told by that my case had “issues”, specifically: 1. Minor Financial; 2. Minor Firearms; 3. Minor Intoxicant; 4. Honesty 5. Qualifications; 6. Employment. The financial I believe are two or three bills that went over due while my wife was ill (she takes care of our finances), or when we were briefly separated in 2005. The firearms I have know idea. I have never had an accidental discharge etc. The intoxicant I believe was a US Air Force on base DUI I had in May 1986. It was handled as an Article 15 by my commander and was NJP. I have never had any trouble with alcohol since, in fact I hardly ever drink. The other three are the big ones. I will start with employment. While working the agency I worked for before I joined my present agency, and basically the agency said I deliberately did what I said was a mistake. An internal investigation was done; I received an initial finding that I be removed from my 1811 position and suspended for 14 days. The removal from the 1811 was thrown out and I never had to take the 14 day suspension because the agency I work for now hirded me on the day the suspension was suppose to begin. So, honest: they think the mistakes I made were done maliciously. My lawyer’s addressing of the Douglas Factors was outstanding and demonstrated that what had happened had to be a mistake and I had nothing to gain by doing it myself. What is your opinion. My case is under adjudication. I was an OPM investigator and I reported on things that were 100 times worse than whatever the government thinks I may have done (the worse being falsifying a form – changing the date because I truly thought the date on the form was incorrect). How do you think it will go in my case.

  97. Avatar

    Back in June ’98 I was fired before entering active duty for several years. I only worked for the employer for 6 months and he fired me after he found out I was going to leave for active active duty. The boss said that I said negative things about him, then fired me. That was it. A TS investigation was opened on me at the very end of May ’08. I put all this down on my security application, but wanted to know if the investigator will likely go back and talk to this employer.

  98. Avatar

    I retired from ATF on 11/30/2007. I have had a top secret clearance with ATF since the beginning of my employment on 7/29/1979. I have had a background update every 5 years with the last one in 2004. In pursuing new employment would my top secret clearance still be considered current?

  99. Avatar

    I am interested in becoming an adjudicator or case manager! I don’t have a background in adjudication and I am trying to find out who would hire me. I work as govt contractor providing support to the CIA. I’ve been in and out of the Intelligence world for the past 20 years. I have excellent organizational, time management and interpersonal skills. And I am extremely administratively savy. I know that if someone is willing to take a chance on me, I will probably have to take a severe decrease in salary (which I’m not sure I am prepared to take!) Anyone with any suggestions/recommendations? Thanks!

  100. Avatar

    From what you explained you filled out the SF-86 properly. You are not “bound by affection, obligation or close continuing contact” with this indvidual so therefore you did not have to list him. Also you did not have direct contact with this detained individual. It was just through his brother.
    If I was your investigator and had to recontact you regarding your investigation I would have not done it by phone. It would have been in person and I would have reminded you of the unsworn declaration and of Title 18 USC Section 1001 you agreed to.

  101. Avatar

    That is exactly what your investigator will do. She will see who the plaintiff and defendants are, why the civil court action was filed and the outcome yet since you indicated the outcome is sealed she will have to indicate that in her report. Since your termination happened six years ago that is within the time frame of your investigation so that employer will be contacted. No what information your investigator will get from that employer depends on their policy. The most important thing is you admitted it on your case papers and you answered the questions your investigator asked to the best of your ability. If you could not answer a question due to the terms of your settlement she will indicate that in her report. Now when you say “she asked very little” do you recall some of the questions she specifically asked?

  102. Avatar

    I just learn that DISCO return my documentation to OPM for additional information.What type of information that wouild be requier.


  103. Avatar

    It could be any number of things. Did you have any issues in your case?

  104. Avatar

    Under the law there are only two things that require a collateral security clearance to be denied–current illegal drug use is one of them. Because you indicated SF85, it appears that you are applying for a Public Trust clearance so that law does not apply, but the underlying rationale for the law applies to all clearances. There are many potentially disqualifying factors for clearances, but almost all of them can be mitigated. Current drug use is extremely difficult to mitigate for any type of clearance, because it is difficult to convince an adjudicator that you will not continue to use illegal drugs in the future. The more time and distance you put between yourself, your past drug use, and the environment in which the drug use took place, the better your chances of getting a clearance.

    Withholding information about recent drug use will almost certainly result in a clearance denial.

  105. Avatar

    Robert Wyatt:

    Yes, it will remain “current” until Nov 09 or 5 year anniversary of your last reinvestigation, whichever occurs first.

  106. Avatar

    Maybe. Normally the period of coverage for employment for an SSBI (for TS clearance) is 7 years. However since you correctly listed the employment termination at question #22, the employment portion of the investigation can be expanded back further than 7 years. It depends on the case analyst/controller at the agency conducting the investigation and ultimately the adjudicator.

  107. Avatar

    It is possible that you were granted an interim clearance by DHS but your contract ended before the investigation was completed and the final clearance was granted. With regard to the VA, the only situation I am aware of where a contractor must complete an SF85 is for PIV Card required under HSPD-12. If the DHS contract was for a Public Trust clearance, you should have submitted an SF85P not an SF86. If it was for both Public Trust and a Secret clearance than an SF86. There is also a problem with some DHS clearances not be in the central clearance database, and people often have to have the clearances verified by letter then submitted to DISCO for authentication and entry into the appropriate clearance database.

    eQIP didn’t eliminate the need to resubmit clearance applications. eQIP is only a way of filing out forms online. Some agencies use eQIP as part of JPAS (a DoD clearance processing system that is designed to prevent unneeded investigations). Other agencies use eQIP solely as an online application form. If an FSO attempts to initiate an eQIP submission in JPAS, the system will not allow it, if a current investigation at the appropriate level already exists. JPAS has a flaw when it comes to Public Trust investigations, but most FSO know how to work around it.

  108. Avatar

    Hi all:

    I have a question about what kind of background check is being performed on me.

    I accepted a position with the US EPA. They had me fill out an SF-85 form. The position is in air enforcement. What kind of BI does this correspond too?

    Also is it normal for government agencies to let you start working before they do your BI? I’ve been on the job for 2 months and they just submitted my paperwork to opm??


  109. Avatar

    My credit is good,i have no criminal conviction.My immediate familiy living in US and have American citizen ship.I have some relative living in forein country, other than that i don’t see any issues.


  110. Avatar

    FYI I was granted TS clearance a few months ago after a very short period (~2 months) it turned out there was a mistake in processing and one person thought I had been cleared. I was issued a start date, notified my job of leaving and made moving arragements, only to get an apology that there was a mistake and the clearance had never happened, I am still awaiting clearance. I would double check to make sure this did not happen to you.

  111. Avatar

    If you filled out a SF-85 you most likely getting a clearance for a public trust position. Public trust background investigations are not as in depth as TS clearance related background investigations.

  112. Avatar

    Your case coming back to OPM from DISCO could be because not enough information or coverage was obtained by the investigator and it may have nothing to do with anything you did.

  113. Avatar

    Investigator, she just wanted to know what happened. The questions she asked seemed pretty basic and didn’t push very hard on this matter. In fact, she actually pushed a lot more about my divorce, which was a simple no fault. She kept asking for the reason and I kept saying there was no specific cause. I was somewhat perplexed because that was a truly simple matter, yet she kept pushing for something that wasn’t there.


  114. Avatar


    I just found out that my investigation was closed and sent for adjudication (a TS in about 75 days). Other than the initial interview with the investigator at the beginning of the investigation, nobody ever came back to ask me additional questions. I’ve been told that this is a very good sign and that the clearance should go through without a problem. Might people be mistaken? Is it true that the investigators go back and ask follow-up questions whenever unfavorable information is discovered or do they sometimes just leave it to the adjudicator to handle on the adjudication side? To the best of my knowledge, there’s nothing unfavorable out there, yet there’s always this feeling that someone could say something stupid…always second guessing myself and waiting for this to conclude. I know, it’s totally illogical.

  115. Avatar

    I just received Interim Secret. My SF86 is very clean regarding finances, drugs, crime, etc.

    My only concern is that my parents are still foreign nationals (Russia), but they have been US residents since 1999. The live part time with me, part time back in Russia, where my dad sometimes works (he does not speak English to work here). Their official address is here, in the US. Any chance this could be a problem and what’s the best way to handle questions about them?

    Thank you!

  116. Avatar

    I would love some advice/opinions on the following situation. I have worked in a DoD position for 7 years with a secret clearance. My job will now require me to upgrade to TS. I submitted my SF86 about two weeks ago and now I sick with worry. I answered truthfully, “NO”, to question 27 as to whether I had been delinquent more than 180 days in the past 7 years. However, my credit report tells a different story and shows a charge off from 2001 for $800 owed to a cellular phone company. This was/is not my account. I have disputed this account several times over the years with letters directly to the phone company, collection agency, and through formal disputes with the credit bureaus. I never heard back from any of the letters and the results of my formal disputes always come back as verified. I finally gave up and the derogatory mark is due to come off next year (June 09). This is the only blemish on my credit report. Should I have answered Yes to the question? That really would have been the untruthful answer. Also, my credit card debt is really high at $20K mainly due to helping my husband with the start of a new business, which has just now started to profit. However, I have never been late with any of this debt and it is completely manageable based on my salary. What do you think? Should I be worried about getting denied? Thanks!

  117. Avatar

    It depends on the agency conducting the investigation and the agency requesting the investigation. If OPM is conducting the investigation and a DOD agency requested the investigation, then a Special Interview (SPIN) would automatically be conducted (and paid for by DoD) to resolve any major discrepancies or confront the Subject with any previously undisclosed unfavorable information. For other requestors OPM sends the case as is to the requestor and the requestor decides whether or not they want to pay to have OPM conduct a SPIN. There are several government agencies that don’t use OPM and have their own arrangements with their contract investigations suppliers.

  118. Avatar


    An SF85 is used for an NACI (National Agency Check with Inquiries). An NACI is required for all federal employees in non-sensitive positions. The NACI can be completed before being hired by a federal agency or within 2 or 3 months after being hired. It is used to determine suitability for federal employment. For positions with higher sensitivity levels other forms are used (i.e. SF85P, SF85PS, and SF86). Not requiring you to submit the SF85 for 2 months after being hired, tells me that the EPA is very lax about security.

    The NACI is also used for contractors who need a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card required by HSPD-12 to enter federal facilities.

  119. Avatar

    Much appreciated, William. This was a DoD clearance, so it looks like I should be good to go. There was nothing unfavorable during the initial interview. Thanks again. Now I sit and wait 🙂

  120. Avatar

    Hi –

    I have a question regarding obtaining a secret clearance. A while back I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa. It was a 90-100% Muslim country, so there was very little to no alcohol. Instead, people there smoked marijuana. It was everywhere, socially acceptable, and very cheap.

    To help my interactions with people there in social situations, I would routinely (perhaps once a week) smoke with people. I did this for the better part of a year, in the middle of my service. It was a comfortable routine.

    Eventually, several months before the close of my service, I quit smoking the stuff (I have now not used the stuff in the last 6-9 months), due to wanting such activities to not interfere with me when I returned to the US. I figured there would be no problems, as my environment, friends, activities, etc. are all completely different in the US than they were there.

    I have entirely no desire for the stuff, and have no intent to use it in the future.

    What are the chances of my use of marijuana while I was a Peace Corps volunteer hurting my chances for a security clearance?

    Thanks – Mark

  121. Avatar


    I currently have a DOD TS SCI clearance, issued last year. I have been offered an opportunity outside the goverment that will not require a clearance. I plan to move to another area in the next two years and would like to return to Government work that will need a clearance. In the lapse of time between now and when I return to government work, will my clearance still be accepted if I jump ship for a year or two?


  122. Avatar


    Tough call on this one. I spent 20 years in the military and have been to all but one continent during my career. I worked with an untold amount of foreign nationals in some odd places. Much of the culture was as you described, but I never would partake in the activities just because they wanted me to. Not trying to be rude, just showing you what what others may think. I guess you will have to convince an adjudicator to grant clearance based on what you said, but current drug use will definitely hurt your cause.

    Hopefully an adjudicator will chime in

  123. Avatar

    I am interested in applying for a job with DoN and required to obtain and maintain a Top Secret clearance. I currently have a Secret clearance (issued in 2002).

    My issue is the following: My father is not a United States citizen. He is a citizen of Mexico. My father has been a Legal Permanent Resident of the US for the past 26 years. My mother is a naturalized US citizen.

    Will my father’s legal status in the US affect my possibilities of obtaining a Top Secret clearance?

    I do not have any close and frequent contact with any foreign national, other than my dad.

  124. Avatar


    I recently been granted a industrial secret clearance working for a military contractor. I’ve been w/ this company for 6 mnths. If I choose to leave this company now for another will my clearance transfer over? With instances of the job requiring a TS or DOD clearances.

  125. Avatar


    Your level of clearance is going to be a big factor. If you are sponsered for a TS/SCI, more so if in intelligence, you will likely be denied. If you review the FBI’s requirements, you need at least a three year lapse. Second, I believe the requirements are less than 15 times of use in a life to be considered “experimental”. Thats not to say you can never get cleared, but it is going to take time to mitigate it.

    Second, the Peace Corps actually has some background of conflicting with the mission of different agenices within the government. It is known if you were in the Peace Corps you will not get cleared if your sponser is one of these agencies.

    Personally, I don’t think you can get cleared due to the time factor. Six months is not a long time. But I am also assuming your on a clearance through the DoD of TS level. Most clearances though will look negatively upon drug use. Even though it was “socially acceptable” and even “legal”, its the fact that you still did it. Your best best, come clean obviously and don’t lie. You may be rejected but you can then ask how to mitigate it. But truthfully, the answer may be “time”.

  126. Avatar

    I have a question about something I just realized. When I filled out my SF86 forms, I had to do it by hand and was not allowed to use the online version (I have no idea why). I sent in all the paperwork I filled out by hand, but never copied it for myself. Is there a way I can get a hold of the SF86 I filled out? I heard when your five year reinvestigation is in, you fill out another form and anything that does not match exactly is questioned and looked into. So what I really want is to get ahold of all my past employment and housing because its really a pain to keep track of that exspecially not knowing the exact dates I put (I estimated a few places I lived in college not knowing for sure the exact dates, but did put EST next to them).

    So is there a way to get a copy of the forms I sent in?


  127. Avatar

    When I requested a copy of my investigation through FOIA, OPM sent me everything including a copy of my SF-86 that I fille dout.

  128. Avatar

    I have heard security officers at my company complain that applicants sometimes provide “too much” information or “irrelevant” information in response to questions asked on the forms or by investigators. They said this is a normal tendency but to avoid it because it slows down the process without any good reason if you do this. One example they said was providing information older than the 7 years or however long it says in the questions or “telling them everything you’ve ever done wrong” when it is not something that is within the specific scope of the questions. What do investigators or adjudicators think about these comments?

  129. Avatar

    I work for CBP as a subcontractor and have what has been described as a “Full BI” (I have also heard it referred to as a “Dept. of Treasury BI”). I have found out that it is not actually a “clearance”, but rather a “suitability” study.
    The investigation was subcontracted out to an investigator, took 6 months to complete and involved an investigator actually knocking on my parents’ door as well as the doors of people I had lived next to ten years ago in different locations around the country. It also included a financial investigation into my credit history and current financial practices.
    To sum up, I’ve ben offered a position that requires a DOD secret clearance with another govt. subcontractor, and I am being told that my clearance may not help speed up the process.
    1. How is my clearance different than a DHS BI?
    2. With such an indepth investigation, how can it not speed up the process for the DOD investigation?

    As a side note I had a secret clearance that was initiated 12 years ago when I was active duty military.

  130. Avatar

    Apache –

    You can receive a Top Secret clearance. Your investigation/adjudication will take longer because of foreign influence, but that fact alone is no reason to deny a clearance. If at some point in the future you decide to pursue a position that requires SCI access on top of your TS clearance, all immediate family members and spouse must be U.S. citizens.

  131. Avatar

    merc –

    Secret clearances are good for 2 years after the moment you leave your company/agency or for 10 years, whichever comes first.

    If you quit your current job tomorrow, you would have until August, 2010 to get a new classified job and have the new company reactivate your clearance. Your clearance goes inactive while you are not employed in a cleared position.

    If you are transferring, make sure you give advance notice to everyone involved so your clearance can transfer smoothly. In some cases DoD can be very slow in transferring clearances (months).

    I did not understand the last part of your question. Could you please rephrase it?

  132. Avatar

    How much info is too much?:

    I’m one, that thinks you can’t give “too much information” and the more the better. If the information is out the period of investigation, or if the information has been previously adjudicated, then all becomes a non issue thus, the information should not be a problem. However, if it shows a pattern of a disqualifying factor(s), it could be in the Statement of Reasons.
    To your credit: It differently shows your not hiding anything…
    The bigger problem is “not giving the information”, when the information should have been listed or provided. (Not being truthful and frank, in your answers or information)

    I hope this helps?

  133. Avatar


    The examples the security officer gave were things along the lines of “if you smoked pot 10 years ago, I don’t need to hear about it,” “if you fooled around with someone and you already told your husband or wife about it, I don’t need to hear about it,” and “if you have too much money on your credit card, but you are paying all your bills on time, I don’t need to hear about it.” The officer said it wastes time and money to include things like that and these were examples of things he told people they did not need to put down on their security forms or report to him, sir.

  134. Avatar

    Edge141 and Investigator:

    Thanks for taking the time to reply to my posting, sirs.

  135. Avatar


    Thanks for the response. For the last part of the question I meant… How difficult/long it would be to have my secret clearance upgraded to a TS/SCI with a contractor company?

    Thanks again for the response.

  136. Avatar

    merc –

    If you are sponsored for a TS/SCI you will have to fill out a new SF-86 and undergo a new investigation. This is because TS generally includes a SSBI (single scope background investigation) whereas Secret does not. SCI does not require more investigation than a TS. SCI with no polygraph uses the same investigation as a collateral TS clearance (SSBI), but the adjudicative standards are applied more strictly. The time required for a TS/SCI may be greater than just TS because a different adjudication facility, not DISCO, must approve the SCI eligibility.

    While having an active Secret clearance before being investigated for TS does not put you farther up “in line”, it could help to speed your case as the investigators may be able to rely partially on the Secret’s results.

    As a side-note, you will likely receive an “interim TS” within 1 month after submitting your SF-86 because an interim TS and final Secret are essentially the same, provided nothing negative happened since you filled out your Secret SF-86.

    Lastly, some organizations will put you in for TS, wait for you to be cleared, *then* put you in for SCI. Depends on the work you’ll be doing.

  137. Avatar

    How much info is too much:

    Great question. I am a proponent of answering the SF86 questions precisely, accurately, completely, and truthfully. And the same applies to questions asked by an investigator. There are no questions on the SF86 about extramarital affairs, debt-to-income ratio, excessive alcohol use, unethical conduct, etc. and therefore such matters should not be listed on the SF86. However these are matters that an investigator can legitimately explore during a Subject Interview. When answering an investigators questions, it’s necessary to listen to each question very carefully, so that you answer the question that is asked, rather than providing an answer that addresses the general topic of the question. If he asks for more information than you listed on the SF86 or for information that goes back further than a related question on the SF86, he probably has a legitimate reason to ask.

    There are important exceptions to providing unsolicited information either on the SF86 or during the Subject Interview. One exception is when there is information that mitigates unfavorable information you listed on the SF86 or provided to an investigator. Volunteering mitigating information at the earliest opportunity (i.e. using the appropriate comment section of eQIP or the “Continuation Space” of the SF86) generally results in a more favorable and faster outcome. Another exception is during a PRSI when an investigator inadvertently fails to ask about unfavorable information or foreign travel/connections that you listed on the SF86. These questions will eventually be asked (after the investigator or his supervisor catches the mistake) at a follow up interview. Covering these matters the first time around will obviate the need for the follow up interview that could delay the case.

    Regarding the unasked flip side of your question: If an applicant believes that an investigator’s question is inappropriate, the applicant has the right to refuse to answer. But the applicant better be certain he is more knowledgeable about current investigative policy than the investigator. Refusing to answer a legitimate question (or refusing to sign a release) is the surest way to have a clearance denied. Investigators are not required to explain or justify any question that they may ask. They are required to inform an applicant that their refusal to answer a question could result in a clearance denial.

  138. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson:

    Thank you for your detailed response, sir. What questions would be considered inappropriate? I guess if someone asked what political party you vote for or are you gay or something like that would seem to be inappropriate, but is there anything else?

  139. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson:

    What information mitigates affairs or debt-to-income ratio or excessive drinking? How does someone prove that possible problems like that have been taken care of? Would the investigator have to interview your husband or wife or ex-huband or wife to find out that you told them about having an affair or would they interview your credit counselor or AA sponsor or something if the other issues could be problems?

  140. Avatar

    Does anyone know when the new version of the online clearance application will be available and when the new process for initial investigations and reinvestigations that is discussed in the GAO report will be implemented?

  141. Avatar

    This one is for Mr Henderson or Investigator:

    I am in the final stages of clearance adjudication….I recently went back to court to modify my child support for my two children. The judge ordered that I pay retro-active child support and the state is threatening to send the amount that was retroactive to the Treasury dept.
    I’ve never been late on a child support payment since my divorce of 11 years. how will this affect any clearances that I currently am applying for and what can I do to mitigate this issue as an order to pay retro active child support and not delinquent child support?

    Your advice is greatly needed

  142. Avatar


    I’ve got an job interview scheduled that will require a security clearance of some sort (level unknown at this time).

    I intend to be honest and forthright with the form and the investgator(s).

    My problem is that I had a background check last year (85P) where I just panicked and lied about past drug abuse. It was recreational (never even bought the stuff) over a period of 5 years while in the military (76-81).

    After I left the military in 88, I occasionally (1-2) times a year from 91-99. Haven’t touched stuff since then.

    The investigator specifically asked me if I ever tried illegal drugs at all and was careful to instruct that this wasn’t limited to a 7 year period.

    So I’ve got 2 lies against me. (Including dugs while in the public trust).

    I really don’t want to jeopardize a new job or the firm.

    I just don’t wanna have this hanging over me for the next years.

    I just wanna come clean and not quite sure what to do. I’m about 99% sure, I’m going to go ahead and withdraw from the interview. I think it might be the best everyone.

    TIA for all comments.

  143. Avatar


    I was recently charged with a misdemeanor, soliciting a prostitute. I’ve had a Top Secret SCI clearance in the past but it has expired. Will this misdemeanor prevent me from getting another TS or S clearance?


  144. Avatar

    If you didn’t sign up for selective service between the ages of 18 and 26 through no fault of you own and didn’t receive notification that it was required by law while you were in school or by mail….can that be cause for a clearance denial? I have a buddy that was denied strictly for that reason and nothing else. The investigator said that you cant have any federal jobs, benefits, or assistance if you didn’t apply and there is nothing that can be done. Basically….you are punished for life for unknowingly and “not willingly” taking care of your registration.

  145. Avatar

    William Henderson
    About a month ago someone on here said that if you case has been in adjudication for 3 months you contact your FSO
    and he can make an status inquiry. Is there any truth to that? My case has no issues so I figured 3 months would be plenty of time for a DOE Q…

  146. Avatar

    Well your investigator made a mistake. On the SF-85P the drug use question (21a) asks in the last year have you illegally used drugs. Question 21b asks in the last seven years have you been involved in the illegal purchase, manufacturing, transfer, receiving, etc of drugs. The Supplemental Questionnaire for Selected Positions
    SF 85P extends the illegal drug use question to the last 7 years or since your 16th birthday which ever is shorter. This question mirrors the SF-86 illegal drug use question. So the dates you used drugs fall outside of that coverage period. But since your investigator did ask you have you ever used you did lie. This is why I strongly recommend all SUBJECT’s have a copy of their SF-86 or SF-85P with them while being interviewed. This way you can follow along. Investigators do make mistakes especially the newer ones.
    I would not cancel the interview. I would still meet with the investigator and just explain your situation. It never hurts to try.

  147. Avatar


    Thank you very much for your reply.

    I’m just bothered that I filled out the 85P/85P-S (EG) (before the interview) *and* lied when asked if I ever used drugs.

    Especially since I used while holding a Secret clearance and while in the military (question 3b on form 85P-S (EG)). I had days to change this answer and correct it, but didn’t.

    I understand why these questions have to be asked/answered and would rather gut myself with a teaspoon than harm this Country.

    If you still think this is “do-able”, I’ll got for it.

    Truthfully, of course…

    Thanks for your encouragement.

  148. Avatar

    Hmmm…am I talking to myself or is Henderson or investigator not wanting to reply?

  149. Avatar


    Just report the info to your FSO. Doesn’t sound like a serious problem if you were not late.

  150. Avatar

    I did not realize you had used drugs while having a security clearance. I must have misread your first post. Using drugs while maintaining a clearance and then lying about it is not good. It did happen a while ago according to your first post but the main problem is the fact you lied about it. That will cause problems.

  151. Avatar

    Thanks again Investigator.


  152. Avatar

    To follow up on what BW posted, just be honest. You were not late with the payments they are just retro active. Let your FSO know and having documentation to prove this will help.

  153. Avatar

    More details will be needed. How did you get caught? What was the disposition, fine jail time, probation? Have you completed the jail time if any, the probation if any, paid the fine if any? Who else knows? Ever going to do it again? Why did you do it in the first place?

  154. Avatar

    Steve, BW AN INVESTIGATOR, and Investigator –

    It looks like more than 1 Steve is posting here, so maybe it was a different one complaining. /shrug

  155. Avatar

    How much info is too much:

    There are very few specific questions that investigators are not allowed to ask. Generally organizational affiliations are off limits (with some exceptions) as are personal beliefs regarding religion, government policy, or race. Basically any question not directly related to the investigation is inappropirate (i.e. what are you doing this evening after work?). It is impossible to create a comprehensive list of prohibited questions. During my six years as a supervisor, I don’t remember having one incident where an investigator actually asked an inappropriate question. There were a few complaints but the people complained about legitimate questions that they thought were too intrusive. I have heard of incidents where investigators have asked inappropriate questions.

    An extramarital affair is not really a security issue; the issue is susceptibility to blackmail/coercion, unless you are subject to a criminal code that still lists adultery as a crime. Former spouses are normally interviewed as part of an SSBI, but I can’t imagine a situation where an applicant could be blackmailed using the threat of tell a former spouse about an act of infidelity.

    Debt-to-income ratio hardly ever becomes an issue, unless there is some other financial problem that triggers a closer examination of the applicant’s overall financial situation. Mitigation: situation was caused by things largely beyond the applicant’s control and/or the applicant sought counseling and is following a plan to pay down the debt.

    Mitigation for excessive alcohol consumption can be a significant period of abstinence or successful completion of a program of counseling/treatment with a good prognosis. I’ve never heard of an AA member being interviewed because of the rules that govern AA members.

    Basically when necessary to resolve an issue, anyone able to provide relevant information can be interviewed, including cohabitants, relatives, medical practitioners, law enforcement officials, etc.

  156. Avatar


    I try to answer any reasonable question that has not already received a good answer, but I don’t monitor this blog hour by hour. I visit it about four times a week.

    Based on your statement that you “have never been late on a child support payment,” at this point you don’t have a security issue. If you fail to comply with the court order for a period of 90 days or more, then there will an issue. If it becomes an issue, then I would need to know why you failed to comply with the court order before I can offer you any advice on mitigation.

  157. Avatar

    I’ve only put three posts on here…but I did get the answer I was looking for. I’m just worried because of the amount that the judge told me to pay that was retro-active. BUT…if as long as I can prove that I was never delinquent…then I can sleep easy at night now.

    I really appreciate your replies. Thanks!


  158. Avatar

    New process and forms:

    I doubt that anyone knows for certain when the clearance processing reforms will be implemented, not even the people on the JSSRT. The new system(s) haven’t been completely designed yet, then they will have to be tested, then implemented. The implementation will probably occur one or two agencies at a time. Don’t expect to see anything concrete until next year.

  159. Avatar

    It could have been me. But I was referring to DISCO cases, not DOE. Just for info, when dealing with DISCO it is possible for an FSO to request that a “case file be written up” on a case where the case status hasn’t changed in over 120 days and the case has been open for more than a year. This can be done by the FSO calling the DOD call center. I don’t think this is written policy, so it may be possible to make the request for shorter periods of time.

  160. Avatar

    I have a question regarding a TS Clearance. I currently have a job offer with a federal agency and they have conducted my BI and file is in adjudication. It has been there over 30 days. I talked to the recruiter today and she said the analyist had a question regarding my income. She wanted updated income. My credit is OK.. I have had a few 30 days late, but every thing is current. I made a poor job decision a few years ago and left a job for another, that was supposed to be more lucrative, while I went back to school. The job wasn’t and I had to rely on credit cards to make house payment and ends meet, until I found another job. I maxed out my cards, but since then have been working on paying them down, and have been pretty successful. She initially said the analyist stated that I did not make enough money, but they had the wrong or low figures. I gave her updated figures which was about 24K more than what they originally had. Should I be concerned about being turned down, or am I just worrying for nothing. Any insight would be helpful. The recruiter just worried me when she said she did not have one take this long recently. I have no other problems, except for this one. Thank you for any help you can give.

  161. Avatar

    The agency is the FBI as a S/A. If that helps.

  162. Avatar

    I am recently divorced and am interested in marrying a foreign national. What can I do, if anything, to minimize the impact on my security clearance should I decide to marry a foreign national?

  163. Avatar

    This may be the wrong forum to post this question, but I will try here first.

    Since a TS/SCI/FullPoly takes so long to recieve and conditional offers state explicitly that there is a large attrition and the job is not guaranteed, does the hiring entity expect that you sell your house while waiting? I have a friend waiting to complete his and he doesn’t want to put his house up for sale until the clearance is through and he knows he definitely has the job. The problem is, trying to sell a house right now is not easy and can take some time. Also, he cannot easily move to DC and pay rent there and his mortgage is Boston (government civilians don’t get paid that much). Do the hiring entities work with you and understand you have to sell your house before you move to work for them?


  164. Avatar

    I have a DOD TS (SSBI) with a government contractor.
    Finalized less then 6 months now.
    They are putting me in for an SCI.
    My FSO tells me it will take 1-2 years. Is that correct.
    My understanding is that as long as you have a recent SSBI investigation, that will be used for the SCI as well.

  165. Avatar

    William Henderson
    Can you tell me exactly what this means?

    As a result of OPM’s significant increase in capacity and the increased flow of completed investigations to the adjudicators, some agencies served by OPM are now experiencing backlogs in their adjudication process.

    Pending Monthly
    Adjudications Adjudication
    45 days old Equivalent
    DOD 76,000 1.4 months
    DOE 3,300 2.4 months
    DOJ 1,200 2.6 months

    Does this mean it takes roughly 2 and a half months to adjudicate a case for DOE???

  166. Avatar

    Engineer Phd –


    Why would the government care when someone sells their house? They don’t expect anything while you’re waiting.

    If your friend wants to sell his house after his clearance, great. If your friend wants to sell his house immediately, great. If your friend wants to sell his current house 10 years after starting his job, great. If your friend wants to keep it and also get a multi-billion dollar mansion on a Carribean beach, great.

  167. Avatar

    mack: I’d be curious to hear the answer to that too. I’m pending for an SSBI by one of those agencies. The agency pulled my credit in June (for the second time, actually), and hasn’t talked to any listed or developed contacts since April, so far as I know. So, I’d like to think I went to adjudication some time ago. If it was soon after they pulled my credit, and the backlog is what you listed there, I should be adjudicated soon. I hope?

  168. Avatar

    I interpret it to mean that the backlog (cases more than 45 days old) equals 2.4 months of work for DOE.

    Since the target for 1997-1999 is 30 days for adjudication time on 80% of cases, I’m not sure why they defined the backlog as cases in adjudication more than 45 days. Perhaps if you average the age of all cases closed each month it equals 45 days.

    At any rate if the backlog represents about 73 days of work and the non-backlog cases represent 45 days of work, then the average case takes about 118 days.

  169. Avatar

    I am confused, I was in the military for 9 years, all of which i held a secret security clearnace. I got out august 2005 and my clearance was archived. I now work for a defense contracting company and need a security clearance. I submitted my sf86 in april 2008 the investigation started in may 2008 and i was told someone would be contacting me for an interview. I just got word from my fso that the investigation is complete as of aug 15 2008 and it is at the adjudicator. I was totally confused because I was told I would get a call for an interview by my fso and that did not happen.

    On yesterday i called DISCO personnally and asked them what it means if you never get an interview but the investigation is closed and at the adjudicator. The guy replied that it is a good thing and everything is good to go.

    Can someone reassure me on what i was told by DISCO.

    Also why wasnt i interviewed.

  170. Avatar

    Follow-up to previous question. If I am not favorably adjudicated becuase of money issues, can I appeal the decision? I am 36 and this is my last shot for this kind of job. My plans are this: I have to move for job and current house is worth well over what I paid for it. Thought about taking that money and paying off all old debt, from lean time between jobs.

    If I am reading the adjudicative guidelines right, this is a mitigating factor and if so, could I then be granted clearance. Or am I still worring over nothing. I also figured up debt-income ratio w/o house payment and it is roughly 30%. I am married and we have 2 incomes, does that make a difference as well??

    Thanks for any help you can give

  171. Avatar

    If you are past the age of 26 and you didn’t register for selective service unknowingly and not willingly, does that kill your chances of getting a clearence?

  172. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    I’m confused, and our Security Officer is on leave, so I’m left with somebody at my unit who is less than helpful. Here’s where I stand…

    According to the JPAS Person Summary I have in my hands, it states:
    NACLC, 20080702, OPM

    (further down the page it states…)

    SAC FROM OPM, OPENED 20080626, CLOSED 20080627
    NACI FROM OPM, OPENED 20050801, CLOSED 20060123

    Can you tell me what this all means? According to my credit report, they ran my credit on 2 July 2008. I’m just curious how much longer this should take for my SECRET clearance.

    Thanks for all you do!


  173. Avatar

    See my response under the GAO Post

  174. Avatar

    The data in mack’s post are from the Feb 08 SCOG report and is now 6 months old. For what it’s worth the report also said, “…timeliness of their adjudications should return to the desired levels by the Third Quarter of FY08 [Apr-Jun 08].”

  175. Avatar

    My husband is planning on applying to be a CID agent, when the time comes to do a Single Scope Background Investigation waht info will they retrieve since I am the spouse and have to be listed on the sf 86 form? My credit is not that great and I am worried that might keep him from getting a Top Secret Clearance. Any advice would be great, thank you

  176. Avatar

    I’m hesitant to contradict your FSO, because he may have a lot of practical experience with the specific intelligence agency involved. However the rules on this are clear—the IC agency must accept and adjudicate your existing SSBI, unless: a polygraph exam is required, the investigation did not meet the standards of E.O.12968, or there is new information that might disqualify you.

  177. Avatar

    Unintentionally failing to register with Selective Service will not by itself “kill” your chances of getting a clearance. Of course you may have to provide a plausible reason for not knowing about this legal obligation. Your failure to register will be considered under the Personal Conduct and/or Criminal Conduct criteria of the Adjudicative Guidelines.

  178. Avatar

    I assume you have already established a relationship. Report it to your security officer as soon as possible after the relationship meets the definition of “bound by affection, obligation, or close and continuing contact.” If your prospective spouse lives in a high risk foreign country, be careful when you travel there, be suspicious of any requests for information about you, and be suspicious and report any requirement imposed by that country. There really isn’t anything else you can do.

  179. Avatar

    For an FBI S/A position your case file is first adjudicated for employment suitability. If you are rejected at this stage there is no appeal. If you are found to be suitable for employment, your case file is transferred to another office for security clearance adjudication. There is a right to rebut and later appeal a security clearance denial. But this rarely seems to happen because the suitability adjudication appears to use higher standards than the clearance adjudication.

    I can’t comment on the employment suitability adjudication because it is outside my area of knowledge. For clearance adjudication, I think you have a fair to good chance, but it’s kind of moot if you don’t get past the suitability adjudication. BTW 30% debt-to-income, based on total income and excluding mortgage, is high, but if you have been gradually reducing the ratio, then it should significantly reduce this security concern.

  180. Avatar

    William Henderson or Investigator

    As an update to my question above on Aug 25 at 3:48pm:
    I have been contacted by the agency I was being recruited by, and was told to expect an offer letter with two days. The next day I was contacted again.The VP of HR explained that since I only have a suitability study and not a clearance, they would not be able to offer me the position. The estimated turnaround of the clearance process would be 3-4 months at best, too long for a sensitive position that needed a hot fill. I spent a month in the interview process and was the first choice of several candidates to fill the position. The agency will now have to offer the position to the second or third choice because no one could efficiently expedite my clearance.
    After having 8 years in DOD and then having successfully been granted a CBP “suitability study” (which I assume is an SSBI), I have a hard time justifying our tax dollars being spent on a system that can’t turn-around a case like this in less than 4 months. Am I missing something, or do I need to call the waste, fraud and abuse hotline?


  181. Avatar

    I figured it up and it is less than 30%, but like I said it was due to changing jobs. Thanks for the information. Is there any where I can find info on the suitability adjudication?

    Thanks Mr. Henderson

  182. Avatar

    Hello –
    I have a question that I don’t think has been answered… When undergoing a BI for whatever level of clearance that requires some sort of check of the applicant’s spouse, does a spouse’s own criminal record affect one’s likelihood of being granted clearance? If a spouse has committed serious offenses, does this doom the applicant’s ability to ever be cleared? Basically, if you marry an ex-con, what are your chances of getting cleared?
    Thanks so much for this service!!

  183. Avatar

    CBP Contractor –

    There is no law requiring them to grant a clearance in under 4 months, so the waste, fraud and abuse hotline will not help. Unfortunately it is exactly because not *enough* tax dollars are being spend on personnel security that these problems exist (that and immovable bureaucracy).

  184. Avatar

    There is information about suitability criteria for federal employment on the web, but it is so general that it is worthless, it does not apply to excepted service positions like FBI S/A, and it probably bears no resembance to the suitability criteria used by the FBI and other IC agencies. Suitability criteria for federal employment are basicially the same criteria as for security clearances (minus foreign connections). The big difference is how the criteria are applied.

  185. Avatar

    CBP Contractor:

    It sounds like the investigation for your CBP subcontractor job was a BI based on an SF85P (application form). There are three investigations used for Public Trust positions—Background Investigation (BI), Limited Background Investigation (LBI), and Minimum Background Investigation (MBI). The BI is the most thorough of the 3 investigations, but is not as comprehensive as an SSBI for a TS clearance. The basic scope and period of coverage for a BI are the same regardless of the agency involved (including DHS). The problem is that you probably submitted an SF85P for the BI. Security clearances must be based on an SF86. Your secret clearance from the military 12 years ago is completely irrelevant at this point.

    All DoD contractor positions are processed through DISCO. DISCO automatically considers every applicant for an interim clearance. If there is no unfavorable information, an interim Secret clearance can be granted within a few days after DISCO receives the clearance application (SF86). For the vast majority of people who need a Secret clearance to do their job, an interim Secret clearance is just as good (exceptions include FRD, COMSEC, NATO). So I don’t understand why your potential employer is making it sound like you can not be hired because of the security clearance.

  186. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    Thanks for all the input. That helps, it don’t sound like I am entirely sunk. I acutally figured it up and it is 22% ratio. And getting better. Hopefully if it is questionable, they will contact me and I can explain why it is like that, loss of income 3 yrs ago. I appreciate your response.


  187. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson i know you probably heard this a billion times but i have to know what is my best course of action on this matter. I was employed with a dod controcating outfit overseas i had a intrim clearance i left the company for about 3 months they hired me back and when they went to apply for the clearance they told me that it was on hold i asked them why they told me because they stopped the process since i was no long an employee well i was close to having my interview and now i waited 8 months to have interview now that its over i no longer have my interim and i’m still pending a answer from the interview. this is my dilema i do have another company interested in hiring me and they cant give me a intrim either am i at the mercy of waiting for the results of my interview do i have to wait another year?

  188. Avatar

    Hello… thank you for all of you help

    I have two adverse updates on my profile that I voluntarily add to my SF-86 (I am changing jobs and to transfer the clearance the FSO needed an update of my SF-86). I am wondering what will happen… will my clearance get transfer or will the agency submit a special investigation for the case (my access was granted just last year so I’m not up for renewal anytime soon). If the latter the company may not hire me because the process would take longer and that makes me very anxious to get this resolved.

    1. I’m currently dating a Canadian citizen that I intend to marry. We started the process for a fiancee visa for her to immigrate here. She never work for the Canadian gov’t and neither did her family. All of her immediate family members are Canadian citizens as well. I do not have any property and financial interests in Canada.

    2. I was fired from my last TS/SCI job for excessive tardiness. It wasn’t something I meant to do but management were out to get me ever since they knew I was looking for another job. I was simply underpaid and overworked. But that is no excuse. This was the first job I ever got fired from and I really wanted to correct this. But I have to get another job first to show that I am reliable by being on time and performing. It’s a Catch-22. I was offered the current job that asked me to do another SF-86 to transfer my clearance.

    From your expert opinions on the situation is it likely I will have to wait months before my clearance transfer and I can be briefed on a new project ? Or is it something that doesnt need a special investigation ? Is it possible to lose clearance over these ? How should I brace for the storm ?

    Thanks much

  189. Avatar

    Guilt by Association:
    The only clearance that requires any investigation on a spouse is an SSBI, which is used as the basis for Top Secret clearances. The SSBI includes a National Agency Check (NAC) on the spouse. There is only one criterion in the Adjudicative Guidelines that could apply to your situation—Guideline E: Personal Conduct, association with persons involved in criminal activity. If your spouse 1) is no longer involved in criminal activity, 2) has no intention of being involved in criminal activity in the future, and 3) has never and could never influence you to become involved in criminal activity, there is no issue and you should have no problem getting a clearance. If your spouse has displayed good conduct since being released from prision and you have never engaged in any criminal conduct yourself, it should not be difficult to convince an adjudicator of these three conditions.

  190. Avatar

    I don’t fully understand your situation. What type of clearance and investigation? What do you mean by “it was on hold.”? Did they have you resubmit a new application? At what point was your interim clearance recinded and why? What agency are you dealing with?

  191. Avatar

    Mr Henderson.

    The company That i went through was DSS for the clearance After i left the company they put a stop on my clearance because i was no longer with the firm the clearance i was trying to obtain is a top secrete.

    After 3 months they hired me back asked me to do a equip then they some how let me make changes to the old
    equip. After completing the the task my sfo contacted me and said there was no need to do it because they will pick up were they left off. in other words i had gone so far into investigation processs to start over again. at that point i was waiting for a interview. once i had my interview there was a few items on my credit report that was there but i told the truth and promised they would be taken care of. ok its been 4 months now and my position has gone bye bye. I was hired by a nother company and i was told that i would some how be eligable for a intrim clearance with another company as long as they dont go through dss now they are telling me that cant get me a intrim and i have not got a answer yet from my interview i’m stuck some where in the middle . hope that it makes sense.

  192. Avatar

    You didn’t answer my question, “At what point was your interim clearance recinded and why?” But I’ll try to partially explain what may have happened. If you did not list the delinquent debt on your original SF86, DSS/DISCO could have withdrawn your interim clearance and you are no longer eligible for an interim clearance because of the delinquent debt and/or your failure to list the debt on your original SF86. When you first left your employer for 3 months, they would have had to report it and DSS/DISCO would have cancelled your investigation due to “lack of jurisdiction.” Sometimes it’s possible to restart the investigation if too much time has not gone by. Under these circumstance it wouldn’t be unusual for them to pull a new credit report that may have contained unfavorable information that did not appear in the original credit report.

    When you say that “I have not got an answer yet from my interview,” I can only guess that you mean your Personal Subject Interview (PRSI) for the clearance. Applicant’s don’t get an “answer” about the results of their PRSI. The only answer they get is the final clearance decision. Now that you have left the company again, your investigation has been cancelled again and you will not get an answer, unless your new company is able to get DSS/DISCO to restart your investigation again.

    Even if I knew what type of clearance you need at your new company and what agency is involved, I doubt that there is anything you can do except go through the entire clearance process with the new agency.

  193. Avatar

    A Spousal NAC (National Agency Check) is a normal part of an SSBI. This does not include a credit report under the spouse’s social security number. However it is not unusual for one spouse’s credit information to appear on the other spouse’s credit report. More importantly, every SSBI includes a Personal Subject Interview (PRSI). Your husband will be asked broad questions about his financial situation. When family income is used to pay debts, it really doesn’t make a difference which spouse is legally responsible for the debt. If you are concerned because you have a low credit score due to past financial problems that have been corrected, it probably will not make a difference for your husband’s clearance. However if you currently have delinquent debts, then it may have an impact. Take a look at Part 3 of the article, Personal Finances and Security Clearances at for information about how to mitigate financial problems.

  194. Avatar

    Hello… thank you for all of you help

    I have two adverse updates on my profile that I voluntarily add to my SF-86 (I am changing jobs and to transfer the clearance the FSO needed an update of my SF-86). I am wondering what will happen… will my clearance get transfer or will the agency submit a special investigation for the case (my access was granted just last year so I’m not up for renewal anytime soon). If the latter the company may not hire me because the process would take longer and that makes me very anxious to get this resolved.

    1. I’m currently dating a Canadian citizen that I intend to marry. We started the process for a fiancee visa for her to immigrate here. She never work for the Canadian gov’t and neither did her family. All of her immediate family members are Canadian citizens as well. I do not have any property and financial interests in Canada.

    2. I was fired from my last TS/SCI job for excessive tardiness. It wasn’t something I meant to do but management were out to get me ever since they knew I was looking for another job. I was simply underpaid and overworked. But that is no excuse. This was the first job I ever got fired from and I really wanted to correct this. But I have to get another job first to show that I am reliable by being on time and performing. It’s a Catch-22. I was offered the current job that asked me to do another SF-86 to transfer my clearance.

    From your expert opinions on the situation is it likely I will have to wait months before my clearance transfer and I can be briefed on a new project ? Or is it something that doesnt need a special investigation ? Is it possible to lose clearance over these ? How long are the investigative checks ?

    Thanks much

  195. Avatar

    William Henderson and CE

    Thank-you for the thorough answer, I now have information I can use to dig deeper. This confirms my early impressions that the company that recurited me may not be as squared away as I was led to believe. Thanks for your help, it was invaluable.

  196. Avatar


    I’m reposting hoping I get a response…

    I’m confused, and our Security Officer is on leave, so I’m left with somebody at my unit who is less than helpful. Here’s where I stand…

    According to the JPAS Person Summary I have in my hands, it states:
    NACLC, 20080702, OPM

    (further down the page it states…)

    SAC FROM OPM, OPENED 20080626, CLOSED 20080627
    NACI FROM OPM, OPENED 20050801, CLOSED 20060123

    Can you tell me what this all means? According to my credit report, they ran my credit on 2 July 2008. I’m just curious how much longer this should take for my SECRET clearance.

    Thanks for all you do!


  197. Avatar

    I have heard that under the new process that is supposed to be starting next year there will no longer be subject interviews or references for SSBI periodic reviews unless potential problems are listed on the forms. Is that accurate? Will they only be doing interviews for new SSBIs?

  198. Avatar

    I Have a few questions, and need some help here.
    I applied for a job, location Iraq, for a linguist company, I’m US citizen have a dual citizen ship,
    The job require security clearance, My credit is good, no drugs or alcohol problem, accept one arrest I have on July 2008 for domestic violence call it misdemeanor, anyway the judge ordered no contact, then the next day changed to order recision no contact, the state attorney did not file any charge and the case was dismissed.
    Can I get my clearance? That’s the only arrest I have and never been arrested before thank you and God bless you all.

  199. Avatar

    I have an active secret security clearance and last November I married an illegal foreign national (Mongolian). Because of circumstances relating to her entry her illegal status is not corrected by our marriage. At work this week I was given my yearly refresher training which clearly points out my need to disclose my marriage. Does anyone know what the effects of this will be on my security clearance? Will my disclosure somehow notify DHS and start removal proceedings on my wife?

  200. Avatar


    I learned that it was recinded in september 2007 after i completed my 1 year contact overseas. the clearance for this job requires secrete. I had a interview with a investigator at that time i told him i was no longer with the company and he advised me to let him know when i was with a company and needing clearance . after 3 months the same company wanted to hire me back on dec 2007. So they asked me to make some changes to the equip(sf86) and submit it. after i done that after about 2 week my sfo told me that there was no need to complet another sf86 because i was already in the system. if i can remeber exactly what she said was that my interim was put on hold and then she said its bad and its good . so i’m still confused about this whole thing. so in may 2008 thats when i had my interview and i have been waiting on the final clearance or a determination. i hope this makes a little bit more sense . if not i will call my sfo and write down per betum whats transpired.

    The new company i’m looking at LCM requires a secret and because i guess the final is still out for determination they cant seem to pull my interim
    i’m going to continue to work on my credit but i need to be employed to do that so is it possible to get a intrim while your final is still being processed?

  201. Avatar

    After reading your last post I became more confused than before. I’m sorry, but it’s going to take someone smarter than me to give you any useful advice.

  202. Avatar

    After reading these blogs i can see you have helped so many and you are the go to person here . I’m going to see if i can get a more clear explanation as to the status of my clearance and what happened to the intrim
    from my FSO then i will repost the question with the proper lingo.


  203. Avatar

    I have had a secret clearance for more than 30 years. I’m due for an update-I have 30 days to provide the requested info thru eQIP. My spouse and I were separated for a long time then we reconciled. While my spouse has not been working I’ve been the sole provider. My credit score is 601 and I have only one account that was past due only once in June (I’ve since paid that account off) and this was just an oversight on my part. All other accounts are paid on time but my debt to income ratio is poor. Will a rating of 601 with only one late payment over a 48 month period on one account jeopardize my 30+ year career? I have only a few more years to go before I can retire so I’m losing sleep over this. Thanks.

  204. Avatar


    I currently hold a TS/SCI clearance with CI poly with the FBI. My fiancee is tentatively offered a marine corps intelligence job pending TS clearance. We are both squeaky clean in terms of financial and criminal background. My fiancee’s family are all US citizens for generations and have no foreign influence of any kind. I am a naturalized US citizen and so are all my immediate family; however, my mother and sisters are US citizens living overseas in Taiwan. I don’t have any ties overseas other than my mother and sister. We plan to visit them no more than once a year after getting married. Would this hurt my fiancee’s chances to obtain the TS clearance; or to keep my own? I’m uncertain how the adjudicator(s) may spin the relationship even though it was not a problem for FBI. I kept on reading adjudication guideline B and just get more confused each time.

  205. Avatar

    I Have a few questions, and need some help here.
    I applied for a job, location Iraq, for a linguist company, I’m US citizen have a dual citizen ship,
    The job require security clearance, My credit is good, no drugs or alcohol problem, accept one arrest I have on July 2008 for domestic violence call it misdemeanor, anyway the judge ordered no contact, then the next day changed to order recision no contact, the state attorney did not file any charge and the case was dismissed.
    Can I get my clearance? That’s the only arrest I have and never been arrested before thank you and God bless you all.

  206. Avatar


    Don’t lose any sleep over it. As long as you are paying the bills you will be fine. One late payment is no major issue.

  207. Avatar


    Sorry for the late reply. I guess my question was “Does the entity offering him the position understand he cannot move until his house sells”? It may take a few months but he cannot start work until the house is sold. Once he is cleared, does the hiring entity accept that he cannot start for a few months after the clearance to start work? Or do they expect to start right away?


  208. Avatar

    If your mother and sister were living in Taiwan when you were granted your TS/SCI, I don’t see where visiting them once a year would have much of an impact on your clearance, as long as you comply with whatever reporting requirements the FBI has for foreign travel. If your fiancée is going into the intel field, she will probably also need a TS/SCI. Having US citizen in-laws living in a foreign country should be less of a security concern for her than having immediately family members living in Taiwan was for you.

    I agree; reading Guideline B only gives you an idea of what topical areas adjudicators consider in making their decisions. It doesn’t tell you how each condition is view and weighed against individual circumstances. You can get a little better idea of adjudicators’ rationale in deciding these cases by reading individual case decisions at the DOHA website. But keep in mind that DOHA cases are for collateral clearances not SCI eligibility.

  209. Avatar

    Engineer Phd –

    Ah, I understand the question now. I am not sure. That would depend entirely on your friend’s department. Just tell him to be honest and say that he can’t agree to a firm start date as soon as his clearance comes in because he may need a few months. They will probably be very upset if they ask him to start once his clearance comes in and he says “oops, um, just hold the position open for me for a few more months until I sell my house and buy a new one”.

  210. Avatar

    Thanks so much for your quick response and the service you provide here. One more question – with such a low credit score (601) how likely am I to lose the government purchase card or travel card? I heard they were going to start doing credit checks on card holders. I have a purchase card with a high transaction limit because of my training/experience – highest in my department which means they depend on me especially at the end of the fiscal year. It would be very unfortunate not to mention embarassing! Have you seen others with such a low score maintain their clearance and cards? Thanks again for your help!

  211. Avatar

    Investigative checks:

    Both situations could potentially prevent your clearance from being reciprocally accepted (transfer) by another IC agency or reinstated by the original IC agency that granted your clearance. The rules say that agencies do not have to reciprocally accept a clearance granted by another agency if the gaining agency has in its possession new information (since the last adjudication) that indicates that the applicant may not meet adjudicative/investigative standards. In such cases the gaining agency can conduct any investigation they feel is appropriate. But the rules also say that the gaining agency may not request a new SF86 from a person with a current clearance at the same sensitivity level. So according to the rules, the only justification for requesting a new SF86 is if you are being considered for an SCI with a higher sensitivity level (see 16 Jul 06 OMB Memo on reciprocity).

    If you and your fiancee are cohabiting, you could lose your SCI. When you and your fiancee marry, you could lose your SCI. In either situation a limited investigation will be conducted regarding your collateral TS and readjudicated. The actual investigation could take as little as one month, but the total end-to-end time which includes case initiation time, queuing time, review time, case transfer time, and adjudication time could take much, much longer.

  212. Avatar


    Apparently you were hired as a federal employee in 2005. The NACI (Natonal Agency Check with Written Inquiries) is typically used as the basic investigation to determine if a person meets suitability standards for federal employment. OPM (Office of Personnel Management) opened your NACI on 1 Aug 05 and completed the case 23 Jan 06.

    On 26 Jun 08 OPM opened a Special Agreement Check (SAC) and completed it on 27 Jun 08. There are numerous different SACs. Without the SAC code letter (a, b, c, etc.) there is no way to know what it is (see OPM Federal Investigations Notice No. 07-07). Only your agency knows why a SAC was conducted.

    On 2 Jul 08 OPM opened an NACLC (National Agency Check with Local Agency Checks and Credit Check). This investigation is still open and pending. The NACLC is the basic investigation for a Secret Clearance.

    Did your agency grant you an interim Secret clearance? If not, was it based on something you listed on your SF86? If there is no unfavorable information in your case, OPM should be able complete the investigation in 2 to 4 months. Much depends on the backlog of FBI fingerprint searches. I don’t know how long your agency will take to adjudicate OPM’s completed NACLC.

  213. Avatar

    SSBI Periodic Changes:
    I guess you didn’t heard that Periodic Reinvestigations are going to be replaced by “Continuous Evaluation.” The JSSRT has not yet disclosed the exact scope of investigative activity that will be included in “Continuous Evaluation.” Some informed sources have speculated that Continuous Evaluation will not include a PRSI, unless there is an issue.

  214. Avatar

    You should be seeking advice from an attorney; not here.

  215. Avatar

    If MTS no longer has an employment relationship with you, they should have notified DISCO of this when you left their employment the second time and the case should have been closed as “loss of jurisdiction.” I am surprised your case is still being adjudicated. Since it has been in adjudication since May, I can only guess that there are some major problems, which may be the reason your interim clearance was disappeared. Your interim clearance could also have disappeared because of a normal administrative procedure when a case is closed before it is adjudicated. As to your question about why adjudication takes so long, the answer is the size of the backlog of cases awaiting adjudication and that fact that they do not operate on a first-in, first-out basis. Complex cases take much, much longer than simple cases.

  216. Avatar

    Recent Grad:
    I assume you are talking about copyright violations. There is no place on the SF86 to list the misconduct that you describe. If and when you are asked about such conduct, that is the time to disclose it. The only specifically applicable section of the Adjudicative Guidelines that addresses “Misuse Of Information Technology Systems” (Guideline M) indicates that the: “introduction, removal, or duplication of hardware, firmware, software, or media to or from any information technology system without authorization, when prohibited by rules, procedures, guidelines or regulation” is a security concern and may be potentially disqualifying. I don’t think that what you did was something that the foregoing part of Guideline M intended to specifically address. There are two other sections, Guideline E, Personal Conduct, that includes: “a pattern of dishonesty or rule violation” and Guideline J, Criminal Conduct, that includes: “a single serious crime or multiple lesser offenses” that could also apply to your conduct.

    I am not sure how your conduct will be viewed by an adjudicator, because I have not seen any specific examples of this type of conduct resulting in a tentative or final decision to deny a clearance. I believe that your misconduct is relatively minor when compared to most other potentially disqualifying issues that surface during a security clearance investigation.

  217. Avatar

    I am a DoD employee for 8 years. I have to filed bankruptcy Chapter 7 because of investment properties I had when down the drain with the current housing market. Can DoD fire me? also if I try to apply for another DoD agency job will the bankruptcy affect the chance for me to get the job?

  218. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    Thank you for response. I appreciate you spending your time helping others. The company rescinded their offer because of the need to justify a Letter of Compelling Need. I don’t think I will be applying for an SCI position anytime soon. However, what will happen if I apply for a TS/SSBI position? Will the limited investigation still be required? What if I apply for positions that will only require a Secret clearance? How does that work (to get the clearance downgraded)? My Secret was granted in December 2005. I has been more than 2 years but I currently hold the TS/SCI. How do I initiate the limited investigation or do I have to have a job that requires it ?

    Thank you.

  219. Avatar

    Investigative checks:
    The answer to part of your question depends on what information has been reported to a clearance granting authority. Did you report your foreign fiancee to your FSO before leaving your previous job? Did your previous employer submit an adverse information report concerning your termination of employment? Was your new SF86 submitted to a government agency? Any of these event could have resulted in an notation in your clearance database record. If such a notation exists, it could prevent your clearance from being reinstated at any level without further investigation.

    The 2 year rule for reinstatement of a clearance is based the time since you were last employed in any position that required a security at any level. If 2 years have not elapsed, then the time since the last investigation will be considered—5 years for an SSBI or SSBI-PR and 10 years for a NACLC. An NACLC is a part of both the SSBI and the SSBI-PR, so in your case the date that matters is the date of your last SSBI or SSBI-PR. Your clearance terminated the day you left your last employer, but based only on the time limitations it will remain eligible for reinstatement for 2 years from that date. However, the new information about your termination and foreign fiancee complicates matters.

    The only way to find out if you are eligible to have your clearance transferred to a new company at any level, is to apply for a job that requires a clearance. The FSO at that company will check the appropriate clearance database and will see if there are any problems. You are not obligated to report your termination of employment or your foreign fiancee until you apply to have your clearance reinstated at any level or apply for a new clearance. There is nothing you can do by yourself; all clearance actions must be initiated by a government agency or government contractor. You need to disclose both matters to any potential employer and let their FSO decide how to proceed.

    Neither the termination of employment nor your Canadian citizen fiancee are serious security concerns for a collateral clearance, but a foreign citizen fiancee will probably trigger a limited investigation with or without affecting your current eligibility to have your clearance reinstated at the Secret or Top Secret level.

    I can see a scenario where a potential employer requests that your clearance be reinstated at Secret or TS level and concurrently submits a report about your fiancee. This could possibly result in your clearance being reinstated and a limited investigation being initiated within days of each other.

  220. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    Your answer helped a lot. I didn’t report my fiancee before my leaving the last job. That was because I didn’t know and didn’t think anything of it since she was my gf and we didn’t know if we wanted to get marry. I do not think my employer submit adverse information about me (they agreed to let me resign instead of being terminated)? How do I check? I also do not think a new SF86 was submitted to a new agency. The company rescinded the offer before doing that since the FSO conveyed it ahead of time. If there’s a notation to prevent me from getting cleared at any level do I get notify and allow to appeal ? Also how do I categorize the termination on the SF-86 (I put category 4- Left job by mutual agreement following allegation of unsatisfactory performance) ? Is that correct(i understand that it is not a consultation but an opinion and I will follow up with my company to categorize that the right way). I am grateful for your help even if it is bad news. Should I be even applying for cleared jobs anymore or just regular jobs now ?


  221. Avatar

    Investigative checks:

    As I previously indicated neither the job termination nor foreign citizen fiancee are serious issues for a collateral security clearance. I don’t think either should limit your job search. I would probably avoid jobs that require SCI, if you and your fiancee are cohabiting or have definite plans to get married. The only way to check on what might be listed in your clearance database record is to apply for a position that requires a clearance.

    This is the way I think it should work: After making a contingent offer of employment to you, the prospective company FSO can initiate the appropriate action in JPAS to reactivate and take “ownership” of your clearance, then wait a day or so to see if it works. If it works, the FSO would then immediate submit an RRU to DISCO concerning your foreign national fiancee, if appropriate. This may seem like working around the system, but the system is not set up to accept reportable information on a person who does not have an “active” clearance or who does not have an open security investigation. In fact DSS only requires that marriage (or cohabitation) to a foreign national be reported for a person with an open clearance investigation. They also require that any marriage (or cohabitation) be reported for a person with an active TS clearance (and some Secret SAP clearances) or who has an open SSBI – Marital Status Changes.

    From what you said, I think your clearance will be reinstated. If not, your potential employer will have submit the appropriate request and wait for the matter to be resolved through some type of investigation and/or case review. You can not appeal unless the case review results in a denial/revocation of your clearance.

    How you choose to categorize your job termination on the SF86 is not important, as long as you list it at question #22 and explain it in the comment section following question #22 on eQIP or at the continuation space at the end of the paper version of the SF86. Option 4 under question #22 appears to fit your situation closer than the other options. I don’t think you will be required to submit a new SF86, unless there is a notation in your clearance database record.

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    William Henderson

    I have contacted a few attorneys, both immigration and security clearance related, and none as of yet can tell me the answer to the simple question If I disclose that I have a foreign wife to DSS will they report that to DHS which will start removal proceedings. My question appears to be in the grey area between security and immigration. I do not really care too much if I lose my clearance, but I do not want to get my wife deported. If anyone knows if it is standard procedure for DSS to alert the Department of Homeland security about an illegal immigrant that is reported that information would be greatly appreciated.


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    I was denied a interim security clearance so I wasn’t able to get a overseas job. How do I find out why my interim was denied. Janurary 08 I got a a bad mark on my credit report from a previous landlord that wasn’t true. I need to find out if this what kept me from getting my clearance.

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    I don’t think DoD can fire you just because of a bankruptcy. They might be able to fire you, if your position requires a security clearance and your clearance is revoked.

  225. Avatar

    I misadressed my response to you (above) by indicating it was for Dave.

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    I can not definitively tell you what will happen if you report your marriage. DoD and most other federal agencies require anyone holding a security clearance to report their marriage to a foreign national to their security officer. So if you don’t want to report it, the only choice you have is to quit your job.

    There is a general rule applicable to agencies processing security clearances that allows them to report current criminal activity to the concerned law enforcement agency, but this rule does not require that information be reported. Please read the instructions on the SF86–specifically paragraph 3 under “Privacy Act Routine Uses.”

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    If you did not receive an interim SECRET clearance, the declination was based only on something in your SF86 or your credit report. You should be aware of any foreign connections or unfavorable information present in these documents.

    If you did not receive an interim TOP SECRET clearance, you can request a copy of your investigative file from the federal agency that conducted the investigation by submitting a Freedom of Information/Privacy Act request. It will probably take a few months to get the file.

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    I have few quick questions:
    I have a final TS and currently am undergoing SCI portion. The paperwork has been requested/submitted to DIA now:
    1) How long does usually does an investigation for an SCI take? Mind you I have a full active TS.

    2) My grand parents who lived in Eastern Europe have recently passed away. In their will I was given the apartment that they lived in. However, currently the will is being processed by the court system of that country therefore I am not 100% certain if I will receive the apartment or if it will be given to my family members. Now assuming I receive the apartment that was given to me in my grand parents will then will that affect my current and/or future clearance? I know that in the SF-86 there is a question regarding any foreign property. At the time I was filling out the SF-86 I had not foreign property but now I might. Will me owning the apartment given to me in my grand parents will affect my clearance status? Will I have to sell that apartment in order to keep my clearance? Can I give the custody of that apartment to my family members and still retain ownership without affecting my clearance?

    Thank you very much,

    John Baker

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    Am curious if I will be able to get a clearance in my current job.

    Here are the factors:
    1 – terminated for inappropriate conduct at work with a coworker in 2005
    2 – have been in therapy for anger management,depression, childhood issues

    I plan to be open and honest about the terms of my termination, and if need be the issues I am addressing in therapy.
    The above mentioned coworker and I are now engaged.
    And I chose to undertake therapy to better myself as a person, it was not court mandated, etc.

    I have no other criminal, or civil issues.
    Any advice, suggestions appreciated.

    Would I automatically be rejected for a clearance?

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    No US citizen is automatically rejected for a clearance. There are five disqualifying issues that can not be mitigated, but when one or more of them exist, an investigation is still conducted and adjudicated. Neither of your issues are among the five. Within the Adjudicative Guidelines there are mitigating factors related to the issues you described.

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    Owning property in a foreign country is a potentially disqualifying condition, if it can subject a person to a heightened risk of foreign influence. But it is a condition that can be sufficiently mitigated depending on the property’s location, value (as a percentage of your net worth), and any concomitant responsibilities/obligations. Transferring custody while maintaining ownership isn’t going to make a difference.

    If your last SSBI or SBPR was less than five years ago, the only additional investigative action necessary might be a polygraph exam. Your last investigation (and the results of a polygraph exam, if required) will be adjudicated for SCI eligibility. There are no publicly available data on current adjudicative time at DIA.

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    Thank you very much William Henderson for your response. I have just few more follow up questions.
    Mainly, if the courts of that nation grand me the inheritance of the apartment then how fast do I have to notify the DSS/OPM/my work? Should I notify them right away or wait for my 2 year review?
    The net worth of the apartment is probably only about 40% of my annual income therefore I do not know how much that will play a role.
    Also, can I pass the ownership to my parents? Will that mitigate the situation? I do not want to loose my job just because I got inheritance.
    Will DSS notify me about my inheritance and ask me to explain or will they just pull my clerance without notice? (The court system of that country is slow and I am not really keeping tabs on it therefore I do not know if they might find out before I do).
    Mainly, if they find out before I do, I want to have a chance to actually talk to someone and have enough time to transfer the ownership to someone else before loosing my clearance and hence my job.
    The country is question is a currently an ally of the U.S (one of the missile shield nations).

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    Hello! I currently hold a TS/SCI and am looking at changing jobs. However, I have been told by recruiters that DHS (and some other agencies) will not hire anyone who needs an LCN (letter of compelling need), and refuse to sign one. We have an au pair from Bhutan living with us to take care of our two kids…even with my clearance, they don’t trust me not to talk about work at home?

    It doesn’t appear that all agences have this rule, but it does severely limit my job opportunities.

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    Notify your security officer as soon as you have received some official notificiation that you are the owner of the property. I highly doubt that any government security official will know about your inhertance until you report it. Transferring the property to your parents should fully mitigate the security concern and so will selling the property. The security significance of the property is based more on your net worth than your annual income and its location. There is no rule of thumb for whether or not a foreign financial interest is “substantial.” My best guess is if the property represents less than 15% of your net worth it is not “substantial.” Basically if your financial situation will allow you to abandon the financial interest if it becomes a source of foreign leverage against you, then it is not “substantial.” The worst that could happen after you report it, is that your clearance could be suspended pending a limited investigation. Absent any aggravating circumstances, I don’t think your situation is serious enough to warrant even a clearance suspension. It is possible that the only thing that will happen is that you will be interviewed about the property and asked a lot of questions about it, your intentions regarding it, and any other foreign connections you may have.

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    Under DCID 6/4 (which governs SCI access at all federal agencies) a “Certification of Compelling Need” is the document required to obtain a “waiver” for a non-US citizen immediate family member (see DCID 6/4, paragraph 6). I have never heard of a waiver being required for a non-US citizen live-in servant. DCID 6/4 defines immediate family member as: spouse, parents, siblings, children, and cohabitant of the person requiring SCI access. A cohabitant is a person living in a spouse-like relationship with the individual requiring SCI access. Only the Director of National Intelligence has the authority to establish SCI policy.

    I recommend you talk to someone in personnel security at DHS. Their recruiters may not have a clear understanding of when a waiver is needed.

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    Mr. Henderson,

    Hello. Thank you for this service you are providing to the public. just a short backgrounder – i was in the Air Force for 12 years, honorable discharge with a TS/SCI that was going to expire in 2010. I came out here to the Middle East with *TT in 2006 and they just pulled a Secret since that’s all they had on their contract. now I am here in Iraq with another company and they were reviewing my records and saw that i had a TS/SCI so they asked me if I wanted it reinstated and that would require a re-investigation. the FBI just recently interviewed my ex-wife and she of course brought up the fact that we are divorced due to infidelity. the whole world knows about it since I had a son from that relationship outside the marriage (my little one was born after my divorce was finalized so it doesn’t look as bad).

    My question is – can the adjudicator say i cannot get my TS back because of infidelity even if that cannot be used against me for blackmail or whatever?

    thank you so much for your help.

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    Thanks for the reply! Here is the reply I got from the security officer:

    “A cohabitant doesn’t have to be someone of a spouse like relationship. It is anyone living with the person requiring SCI access. I am very familiar with the DCID 6/4 and we have processed many others in the same situation as you, and they require an LCN.”

    If that is so, then what prevents a client agency from signing an LCN? Is there a cost involved?

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    The definition I quoted for cohabitant was taken right out of DCID 6/4 (paragraph 1. Definitions).

    The requirement is that a “Senior Official of the Intelligence Community (SOIC)” or designee must certify the existance of a compelling need. This basically mean that there is no other candidate reasonably available who can do the job. SOICs are the Directors of the CIA, NSA, NGA, DIA, NRO, DHS etc. As a practical matter, someone at a much lower level, such as a program manager, prepares the document and forwards it with the clearance request. There is no cost (other than time and effort) involved.

    Unfortunately you are not in the position to demand that the security officer show you the paragraph in an authoritive written policy document that supports what he is saying.

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    I was a foreign born and a naturalized US citizen. I tried to apply for a linguist contractor position with FBI. They informed me that they could not offer me the job right after my security interview even though I had passed the language proficiency test. I demanded to know the reasons behind the rejection by sending in the request. After about 4 months of waiting, they finally sent me something in the mail telling me basic nothing since all the factors suggested by the agent who interviewed as “great concern to FBI & national security” were blocked. I suspect it had something to do with my family’s background and my foreign connection since this country is currently considered as one of the risks to the US. Is there anything I can do at this point to make them change their minds? Can I file an appeal? If so, where to? I can’t help being born into a prestigious family and having some important people as my friends. But I was truthful and honest about all of my connections. I volunteered all the information, yet they use it against me.
    Will the findings at FBI affect me to seek job opportunities with other government agencies? I remember reading from somewhere that they are trying to change their approach toward first generation naturalized US citizens in getting clearance for them to work in the government especially for bilingual positions. Is this true? Do I have hope at all?
    Do all the other government agencies, DOJ, DOD & DHS share security information on applicants with FBI?

    Thank you very much for helping me out in advance.

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    I was favorably adjudicated in 2007. The position I applied for was no longer available b/c my investigation took 9 months. Since then, I have changed employers – not nothing else. I was just recently contacted by the same agency and offered another position. I accepted it, filled out necessary paperwork…and did an SF 86C? Question is: how long should it take to send my already favorable adjudication to my hiring agency? And will changing jobs create a major delay in processing?

    Thank you

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    Are there statistics available for how many TS/SCI clearances are granted and how many are not? I am in the process, think I am a good candidate, but of course nothing is certain. I tried asking my adjudicator and she didn’t know.