Background InvestigationsObtaining Security Clearance

Ask Your Clearance Questions – Part 16

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Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    I recently completed a TS/SSBI w/lifestyle polygraph. At my briefing, I received SCI access as well. My current employer has me listed as having a TS/ISSA w/lifestyle poly. I rarely see jobs with this specification and I wonder which TS/SCI position I can apply for. There are many positions with TS/SCI fullscope poly and TS/SCI/poly in the description. Some clarification is greatly appreciated. Thanks

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    I currently have a secret level clearance and have had it since Feb. 2005. Since my clearance approval I was arrested for a domestic but charges were dropped, divorced and lost my house to foreclosure. I lost the house because it didn’t sell and I couldn’t afford to keep it due to a very pricey custody battle. I also fell behind on several other bills. I made the mortgage company aware of my situation as soon as I was made aware of the custody costs and made every effort to sell it but lost it after 19 months of being for sale. I made my security officers aware of every situation even before some became issues and continue to do so. My clearance status has not been affected but I am a nervous wreck wondering if and when it will. I was squeaky clean leading up to this (not a drug user, perfect credit and no record) but I now fear these issues can cost me my clearance. What can I expect and what if anything can I do to ensure I don’t lose my clearance?

  3. Avatar

    Hello to all:

    Any insight you can give is greatly appreciated. I recently received an offer with a govt contractor that is contingent upon obtaining secret clearance. Mr. Henderson responded to my initial question which helped immensely, but I have a couple other questions now that I’m moving forward in this process.

    What types of questions do/can they ask your family, friends, neighbors, work associates, etc? The only reason I ask is because I’ve been trying to get out of debt without anyone knowing there is a problem. Would the investigator ask any of them about my debts?


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    I recently filled out a sf85-p and admitted to the fact that i had not registered for selective service. I am 48 and did not realize it was a requirment 30 years ago, is that a problem?

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    I have been in the military for 22 1/2 yrs and have held a secret clearance the entire time. I have had no brushes with the law apart from a speeding ticket and two minor accidents and my finances are good. I’m considering applying for a full time Air National Guard position that requires a top secret clearance but my wife’s actions concern me. She is an alcoholic and had a habit of calling the police whenever I would leave the house to get away from her. In one year alone the police were at my house about 40 times. I have never been charged with anything and she was always intoxicated. She did spend a couple nights in jail when I was out of town for a few days for work, for getting in a fight with her son. She has also spent some time in a mental facility. In the past year she has been a lot better but still drinks on occasion, though not to the extent she used to. We have been married 7 years now (nightmare situation, I know). Although I have never been in trouble I am concerned that her instability may harm my chances of getting a TS/SCI. Should I be concerned? Thank you.

  6. Avatar


    Nobody will ask any direct questions as to your debts. Also, you are getting a Secret and it is unlikely they will be interviewed.

  7. Avatar

    I have an active DISCO top secret security clearance and work overseas in the construction of US embassies.
    I would like to start working stateside in nuclear power plants as a carpenter and this work also requires a security clearance. I understand the principle of reciprocity but how do I approach my prospective employer about it? Is there a form that would transfer my DOD clearance to a DOE clearance?

  8. Avatar


    Issues like yours will likely raise questions concerning your continued eligibility, but probably not until your periodic reinvestigation. I don’t see anything fatal in your fact pattern, which means that several mitigating conditions may apply in your case. Promptly advising your FSO was really important. Working with your old creditors to settle/pay them off would also help. You should live within your means, keep your debts to a minimum and pay them timely, and consider credit counseling. Don’t forget to identify all the things you noted in your posting in your next security clearance application, even the domestic charge that was dropped. Don’t sweat it, if DoD makes an issue of these things, I think you can mitigate their concerns.

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    No one is actually granted access to SCI per se. After receiving SCI eligibility, they are granted access to one or more categories of SCI information. That’s why they call it Sensitive Compartmented Information. Each category of information is compartmented separately from other categories. I’m guessing that ISSA is a category of SCI.

    There are only 2 standard types of polygraph exams used for security clearance purposes—Counterintelligence-Scope (CS) and Full-Scope (FS). Full-scope is also known as Lifestyle or Expanded-Scope. A person with a current TS/SCI with FS polygraph is eligible for any (repeat any) level of federal security clearance. However if you are planning on moving from a contractor position to a federal employee position or from a federal employee position at one agency to a federal employee position at another agency, you will have to meet the agency’s employment suitability requirements, which may be completely separate from their clearance requirements.

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    Normally a security officer would forward a report with the information you provided to the appropriate Central Adjudication Facility (CAF) for action. Depending on the details in the report, the CAF can decide to 1) take no action, 2) initiate an investigation without suspending your clearance/access, or 3) suspend your clearance/access and initiate an investigation. If they choose 2 or 3, you will be notified usually within a month or two and required to complete a new SF86.
    The only thing you can do is to handle your financial obligations in a responsible and reasonable manner and keep your security officer informed of any major changes to your situation. If you are unable to pay your debts in a manner acceptable to your creditors, you should seek credit counseling and report it to your security officer. If you need credit counseling, I recommend “Consumer Credit Counseling Services.” They are a true “not-for-profit” corporation, have been in existence a long time, and have real offices in most major cities.

  11. Avatar

    I answered your question on 21 Nov 2008 at 2:08 pm. It’s post on the previous thread (Part 15).

  12. Avatar


    If you were born after 31 Dec 59 and lived in the U.S. anytime before your 26th birthday you were required to register. The law (5 CFR 300.701) states that anyone “Who is not so registered or knowingly and willfully did not so register before the requirement terminated or became inapplicable to the individual, shall be ineligible for appointment to a position in an executive agency of the Federal Government.”

    The law goes on to say that “The Office of Personnel Management, in consultation with the Director of the Selective Service System, shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section. Such regulations shall include provisions prescribing procedures for the adjudication within the Office of determinations of whether a failure to register was knowing and willful. Such procedures shall require that such a determination may not be made if the individual concerned shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the failure to register was neither knowing nor willful.

    So, you could be facing a debarment to federal service. Additionally, failure to register is a suitability issue covered under Guideline E: Personal Conduct of the Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information.

  13. Avatar

    Your spouse’s conduct, mental condition, or addictions, generally will not affect your security clearance eligibility, unless it makes you susceptible to blackmail, pressure, or coercion, or if there is a potential for her conduct or condition to adversely influence your actions. So, if you are able to cope with this situation without it negatively affecting your judgment, reliability or finances, you should not be denied a final TS clearance just because of her.

  14. Avatar


    ISSA/TS or ISA/TS is an SCI eligible clearance, you’ll need to find out if the contract has SCI on it first to know if you have been read in. If you know a security officer, have them check Scattered Castles. Your employer needs to be careful before openly associating you with that type of clearance. You should do so as well.

  15. Avatar

    I am currently serving as an officer in the armed forces. I am about to be interviewed for an upcoming Top Secret Clearance and currently hold a Secret Clearance. When I first did my paper work for OCS back in 2002 I failed to disclose that I had used Marijuana 4 times when I was in High School. I am now 25 and have been commissioned for almost 4 years. At the time of filling out my paper work we were told that it was unlikely we could get an OCS spot with Marijuana waver in the past. Biggest and dumbest thing I have done is to listen to that. I have done very well in my short time in having multiple deployments and command time. All in all it has been impossible for me to forget that I was dishonest in this area. If I disclose that I have used Marijuana now will this adversely affect me? Does my original SF 86 still exist since it has all gone from paper to computer and the interview includes filling out an online SF 86? I take pride in being a leader with good character and strive to always lead by example. All I wanted was to be an officer and now that I am here, I want know regrets and I have one. I am just looking for some Guidance?

  16. Avatar

    I had a recent TS/SCI clearance that is up for the 5 year review. I am going to retire from the Air Force with 22 years of service and I have applied for a Contract position that requires a TS/SCI clearance. In the last 5 months, I found out that I have a delinquent account on my credit report for $320 which I am working on to get it lifted. Also I had changed my bank account recently and totally forgot to update information for some bills that were coming directly from my old account. Of course now that shows I was a month delinquent on about 4 accounts because of it, which i haven’t had any delinquencis in years. Do you think this will be enough to not be considered for an interim SCI clearance. If so I need to go another route in my job search.

  17. Avatar

    Hello All,

    Any insight is much appreciated. I recently got married to a forign national(India) and am applied for her Green card to be processed, and the petition is pending for approval in around 2-3 weeks. Recently I got an offer from DHS requiring me to gain Security Clearance.

    Will being married to a foreign national be a problem. I am required to fill out E-quip (form 86)?


  18. Avatar

    Thank you Alec and William Henderson for your replies. My clearance level is only known to other people working on gov’t contracts, specifically managers. Thanks for the advice.

  19. Avatar

    I listed on my SF-86 a degree from a unaccredited university that I believed to be a ligitimate college, evidence being it was licensed by a state’s department of education. Turns out that the college lost its license several months after I completed my SF-86 and has been the subject of significant derogatory conversation (diploma mill alegations). The college had over 150 credit hours to consider in awarding my degree and my confidence in listing it came from the fact that school had been licensed by the state’s department of post secondary education for five years. There is NO college requirement at all for the job. My clearance was originally passed but then re-opened to investigate that issue. I resigned prior to that issue being resolved to move onto other opportunities.

    I am now seeking to return to my job. I excpect this to be examined again but my question is how do you think it will affect my TS? I have been completely honest and provided all documentation to OPM.

  20. Avatar

    I really appreciate you answering the above question. Your input is invaluable and will help me determine the best course of action I can. Thank you again you for your time.

  21. Avatar

    Also, I didn’t mention it above, but I had no idea this college had lost its license or been labled as a diploma mill when I filled out my SF-86. Agency policy on college credentials differentiates between unaccreditted degrees and diploma mill degrees. Only diploma mill degrees are prohibited from being listed on the SF-86. Like I said before, I trusted that the State of Alabama had done their job licensing the school but then they turned around and pulled the school’s license. If I had known that was going to happen, I never would have listed the school in the education block. I feel like a victim. I just don’t know if the government will see it that way.

  22. Avatar


    I have a recent conviction of a misdemeanor tresspassing on my record. I am not proud of it, but it is what it is.

    I have no priors, little to no involvement with drugs or alcohol. I also have an excellent credit history. I also have no foreign contacts.

    Will this conviction prevent me from receiving a TS?

  23. Avatar

    If thats the only negative thing you have to report and the college lost its license after you filled out the sf86 then you will be ok. You had no way of knowing that was going to happen.

  24. Avatar

    One more thing,

    They never interviewed me after I provided the documents. I resigned a couple weeks after OPM asked for them. If I am reinstated, will they interview me or just move on the documents I emailed them? They really didn’t give me a chance to explain much in response to the email they sent me. They just asked for my other college transcripts and why I claimed the school on my SF-86. Should I provide additional information voluntarily to OPM or wait on them to call me?

  25. Avatar

    I was denied interim for secret because I had a pending DUI case. The charge was amended to wreckless with no license suspension since I was below the legal limit. I updated my security officer who updated my investigator. Two weeks after the trial, my investigator came right to my job one morning out of no where and requested to speak with me for about 15 min. What concerns me is that he only asked me questions pertaining to the DUI. The investigator never discussed anything on my SF86. I had two tax liens on me for parking tickets (county) and back owed taxes (state) both summing up to around $750. It is paid in full but I am very concerned why I was never asked about anything on my SF86. I put down everything I was aware of. My investigator said that he will get back to me if more info was needed. She gave me the impression that he wasn’t sure if I mitigated security concerns. My questions are:

    Why didn’t the investigator go over the SF86?

    Does the investigator gather the info then the ajudicator takes another look at the SF86 and investigation documentation? He told me hopefully my interview will take care of any concerns. He didn’t give anymore info than that.

    During the interview, the investigator was thumbing through a list of questions. What is that book?

    What happens if a DUI charge gets amended to wreckless? The investigator just wanted a brief story of the case, why i was charged a DUI if I wasn’t the legal limit and could I be blackmaled. This happened summer 08.

  26. Avatar

    Okay, I swear I’m almost done here.

    1) I’ve seen the 4% figure cited here as total number of clearance denials. This is a very difficult question, I know, but what percentage of clearances require further investigations or official action before a decision is made? If it helps, you can try it from the reverse side. What percentage of clearances go through without a hitch, so to speak?

    2) As I understand it, a SPIN is for getting more information where it might affect adjudication. Do all denied clearances have a SPIN first? Can they just issue you a SOR/LOI without deciding you should have a SPIN first?

    3) My PSI investigator said he couldn’t imagine any reason why I’d be denied clearance. Why don’t I believe him?

  27. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson and other experts, it is time for my reinvestigation soon and I have a question about whether I need to list something for the mental and emotional health care question. A few years ago I told my general practitioner I was having a difficult time with helping provide care many weekends to one of my grandparents who moved in with my parents and was suffering from dementia and other general failing health issues. My GP gave me a prescription for an antidepressant and he said beyond the family issues I told him about he also wanted to give it to me because he read an article in a medical journal that said this particular medication could also be recommended for a chronic physical health problem I have had for many years. I reported this information to my security officer at the time and they said it was no big deal given the circumstances. I stopped taking the antidepressant about 3 years ago when my doctor and I agreed it was no longer necessary for me to take it. I have a new security officer now who recently sent an email to everyone saying now there is a change to the policies and you should answer “no” on the forms for the mental and emotional health question if it was for marriage, family, grief, or from post-combat issues, and was not related to violence or court ordered. I am asking the new security officer to double check for me since I am not sure what to do in my case and of course I will answer “no” or “yes” however my new security officer says is correct under the current policies. But it usually takes a long time for him to respond to questions from the employees so I thought I would ask here also to get a sense of what I am likely to hear from him when he finally gets back to me. Thank you for reading my post and for your help.

  28. Avatar

    Your financial problems are very minor. Current delinquencies must be 90 days or more past due before they become an issue. Although you will probably have to list the $320 delinquent debt on your SF86, there shouldn’t be a problem if you have a reasonable explanation for it and take care of it prompt.

  29. Avatar

    Marriage to a foreign national can be a security issue under the Foreign Influence criteria of the Adjudicative Guidelines. For the most part it depends on the foreign spouse’s close friend’s and relatives outside the United States. I recommend you read my article on the subject at

  30. Avatar

    Thank you very much for the response. My agency is the TSA if that helps you shed anymore light on it.

  31. Avatar

    My concern is that I get hired back to the TSA only to lose my clearance later. Would you see that as likely or unlikely? Thanks again.

  32. Avatar

    TSA’s policy on college education states diploma mills cannot be used on a SF-86 because it implies dishonesty. My response is that it was a state licensed school at the time of completing my SF-86 so how could I have known? Sorry to be using so much space on this page but I’m trying to make the right decision on going back.

  33. Avatar

    There is no prohibition against listing degree mills on an SF86. One important thing that you did not mention was whether you were hired by a federal agency or a federal contractor. The security investigation for a federal employment applicant is used for both employment suitability and for security clearance purposes.

    I have always felt that the quality of a college degree has no bearing on a security clearance determination. In the past OPM was much more involved in employment suitability investigations than security clearance investigations; hence their interest in degree mills to support hiring decisions. Every college degree will find it own level of importance in the employment marketplace and it’s up to human resource personnel (not security personnel) to decide their relative value. OPM takes a different view on this, but ultimately it’s up to the hiring agency to decide whether or not your claim of a college degree is a misrepresentation. If you are interested in returning to a job with a contractor, all this may be a non-issue. If and when the government wants information about your education, they will ask for it. I recommend you wait till then to provide it.

  34. Avatar

    Your response that it was a state licensed school at the time, isn’t going to convince anyone. If it becomes an issue, you will be asked questions about courses completed, tests taken, proof of work experience submitted, length of time from enrollment to degree, fees paid, etc. Degree mills are well known for granting degrees based solely on an evaluation of course work at other schools and/or life experience. There are legitimate schools that also do this but they are accredited by nationaly recognized accrediting agencies.

  35. Avatar


    1) The official denial/revocation rate at DOHA is a little less than 1% of the total number of cases processed by DISCO. But many people choose not to apply for fear of being denied, and many applicants drop out of the process before a final decision is made, so the effective denial rate is considerably higher. According to a study of 12,000 cases done by PERSEREC in 1995 about 25% of cases were clean; about 60% contained minor derogatory information; and about 15% contained major derogatory information. I believe that since 1995 there has been a significant change. Minor derogatory case probably now represent about 45 to 50% and major derogatory cases now represent about 25 to 30 %.

    2) Even minor derog cases can result in a SPIN. If everything is covered in the PRSI, which is a normal part of an SSBI, there is no need for a SPIN. I guess it is possible to issue an SOR without having done a SPIN if the adjudicator decides to use a written interrogatory in place of a SPIN. There are too many adjudicative facilities and too many investigative agencies to expect everyone to follow the same exact procedures.

  36. Avatar

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated. I am currently in Iraq as a firefighter/contactor, we do not require a clearance, I have been offered a position with another company which will require a secret clearance. I had a towing business last year that failed and I ended up losing a lot of money. I filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy and after getting my current contracting position, I changed the ch. 7 to a 13 which is a repayment plan. It actually will be settled next week. I plan on having the 13 paid off in two to three months. I really want this other job, but I am afraid to leave my current one, to only have my new one for a few months and be fired due to the investigation denying my case. I have been told that with justification, you can still receive a clearance. Should I retain a lawyer? Also I heard that a base commander can grant a temp. Clearance, if you are already on site, is that true? Any advise will be great. Thanks

  37. Avatar

    I am going through a Background Investigation (BI) for a job identified as non-critical sensitive. My understanding from various online resources is that a BI goes back 5 years for previous employment, police records, residences, etc. and 7 years on a credit check. Can anyone confirm this? Why are you required to answer all questions for the past 7 years (i.e. police records for the past 7 years), if the BI only covers the previous 5 years? If I was arrested 6 years ago and admit it on the SF-86, which requires you to list issues for the previous 7 years, will it be investigated if a BI only covers the previous 5 years?

    Background Investigators…..your input PLEASE!!!

  38. Avatar

    The 7 year requirement is for the SF-86 form itself if not for an SSBI type case then those certain questions go back 10 years. The SF-86 form is used for other types of investigations, in addition to BIs. These other types of investigations may require an investigation to go back 7 years or more. If one form was used for each type of investigation conducted there would be many different forms. It is just easier to have less forms and have different coverage requirements for each type investigation.
    You are correct in that BIs only go back 5 years but if you do list a negative contact with law enforcement incident outside of the 5 years it will be investigated. An issue is an issue no matter when it occured.

  39. Avatar


    So I’m looking over the new SF-86 for a TS position at State, and I noticed that they have an expanded information technology section. Are they now checking internet activity (e.g. web searches, email, etc) or is it the same criminal background check + credit check + reference interviews? Does the “information release” (for public records and whatnot) give them the right to conduct such searches?


  40. Avatar

    1. Does OPM and FIPC run the national and local checks prior to interviewing the applicant?

    2.When an investigator sumbits his report electronically, will the FIPC or Central Ajudicatoin Facility
    review it for the first time before sending it to the Central Adjudication Facility?

    3. Who decides if further investigation is needed after the interview with the FSO?

    4. What if the FSO and FIPC sends the case to the ajudication office, will the office send it back for further investigation if need be?

    My FSO never discussed my SF86 during the interview. Just the recent alcohol related incident so I am wondering why?

    Thank you.

  41. Avatar

    I am currently in the process of enlisting in the US Air Force. My duties will require a Secret Clearance. When I was 17 I was arrested. The charges were dropped, the case was dismissed, and the file “sealed” or “expunged.” The judge told me specifically that this case never happened and if anyone ever asks if I was arrested I am to respond “No.” Is this true? If I say no on my SF form, will this still show up and make me look like a liar and jeopardize my clearance?

    I am currently 28. I am a Paramedic. I have had numerous background checks for my employment by the FBI and DOJ and local agency level. I answered the questions on those forms the way the judge instructed me to. My background has never been an issue and I was granted my EMT-Paramedic License by the National Registry as well as State, County, and City.

    How does the DoD investigation for Secret Clearance differ from the FBI & DOJ background investigations? Should I answer the forms for the military any differently than the way I have answered them for the FBI/DOJ background checks?


  42. Avatar

    I have a DHS 6C LBI and a EOD for another DHS component. I am applying for a DHS headquarters job that requires “non-critical Secret”. How is the process and level of investigation different from 6C?


  43. Avatar

    I’m currently undergoing a S level clearance to a DOE Q level.
    OPM seems to have been fairly quick on touching base with all my contacts located on my SF86 in just the last 4 weeks.
    I’ve under gone 2 personal interviews and the investigator seems to be getting caught up in my wife whom is a Naturalized Citizen but originally born in china. She came here when she was 8 and has been in the US since, graduating from a college in Michigan and now been working for another US agency in Virginia here as a GS 13 for 5 years.
    My first question is, at what point is information sufficient not be considered an issue under foreign influence?

    Second I had recently found out I owe 600.00 in back taxes from 2006. Thing is I was never told by the IRS and only found out 1 month after OPm did a credit check for the Q clearance.
    Since then I’ve gone ahead and paid off the balance with the IRS but my investigator also seems to keep hounding me about the $600.00 in back taxes and I’m not sure what answer their looking for.
    I explained I just didn’t know till recently and when I did I paid it off. So I seem to be going into interview 3 with the same tax questions being asked.

  44. Avatar

    I have just been given a tentative offer of an ATC position. On the security clearance form that I have to fill out, it asks if I have ever been fired from a job, or if I have ever quit a job before right before being fired. I had an incident at a previous job where I was accused of doing something that I knew other people in my same position had been fired for in the past. I was called into the office by the regional manager to discuss the issue. I could tell things weren’t going well, so I opted to quit on the spot and walk out. I quit because I thought that I may have been fired, but I was never actually told that I was going to be fired. Should I put this on the security clearance form or should I just leave it be? I know that according privacy policies, my previous employer would not be able to disclose why or how I left the company anyway. If I do put this on the form, does it disqualify me from getting a security clearance? Please help, I need to finish this paperwork ASAP!

  45. Avatar


    My question is will I be denied for having seen a therapist? I went to the clinic having problems sleeping and it turned into a big ordeal where they believed that I was homicidal/suicidal. I was referred to talk to a therapist. I went only for them to give me paperwork saying that nothing was wrong with me in a diagnostic interview! I never received any medication or treatment for what original clinic thought might be wrong with me. Have I messed up my chances of ever getting a security clearance or is there a way to get those horrible things taken out of my medical record?

  46. Avatar

    I got a tentative job offer for a permanent position from DFAS in July 08, accepted and filled out the paperwork, obtained fingerprints and finally sent out everything in the same month for background investigation or maybe security clearance, I’m not sure! I have dual citizenship, US Army background, and a spouse with foreign citizenship but permanent resident to the USA. Naturally my background is related to some overseas, so is my wife’s, and especially my university education. Do you think what circumstances I could face to, and how long it could take to get granted if possible?

  47. Avatar

    Also, how can I follow up with my case if possible to track it down? I don’t have any case number or any other information for now.

  48. Avatar

    Thanks for your reply, have another ? I have #3 accounts that are close wish I disputed because they had balance and they still do, the thing is that evrytime i make a disputed they up date the account saying its meet FCRA. they dont erase it they just put that is close and is under dispute by consumer. this acounts are above 7 yrs. old and its over all my credit reports, in t-union apears two time one by collection company another by provider. and they both say are close. do you think i should make arragements to pay before they investigate me? or should i put i have a depts thats over 180 days in my spf85.

  49. Avatar

    I submited my paperwork for my Secert in Oct 07 the investigation was done in Dec 07. Currently it is at CCF for adjudication and has been since June 08. It was been over a year now, I had a DUI in 1999 while in college and one in 2002 but no UCMJ actions and have had no problems since. My credit is ok not the best. I was never interviewed which I assumed I would for the DUI. Could these be the reasons that it is taking this long to get a final decision? Would I have found out by now if I was denied if it is taking this long? Any info provided would be great thanks!

  50. Avatar

    I am currently filling out my SF86 worksheet which will be turned into a contractor for interim clearance consideration. Like many posts, I have some questions regarding my background. I have an arrest that dates back to November 1989, in which I had multiple charges. One charge was for assault in the third degree on a police or probation officer, which never happened and was merged (or dropped) prior to court proceedings. The other charges were: Alcohol intoxication, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.

    Oddly enough, this happened while I was serving in the military. My command did not follow up with any UCMJ action, as the police officers involved were known to arrest servicemen.

    My police record has been clean since, without any other infractions including traffic tickets. The other possible flag I have is an employment issue that is over nine years old, where I quit a job after being told I was to be fired.

    So on my SF86 I plan to answer yes to modules 21,24 and 20. Should I include an explanation of the offense or will the 19 plus years of good conduct be enough? Plus, would an explanation help in the employment record?

    Do you think my interim has a chance of being approved?

    What is the policy for registering for selective service? I was in the DEP when I turned 18, and I actively served in the Army four years, then finished the rest of my time inactive. My DD214 is honorable, will that suffice for selective service?

  51. Avatar

    Does OPM share results from a previous security clearance background investigation (TSA) with a different federal agency (VA) that I have I applied for a position with? The new position does not require a security clearance.

  52. Avatar

    Would it do any good to complete an SF-86c correction asking to recind the degree on my SF-86 now that I have lost confidence in the college?

  53. Avatar

    I’ve located the information regarding the Selective Service.

    Thank you.

  54. Avatar

    Investigator need some input please.

    I applied for a job with the DOE back in 06, i listed i expiermented with a drug once back in 03, while on terminal leave fromt he military, after a long 1.5 years and a DOHA hearing, i was finally granted acsess authorization (q) clearance. Unfortinately i was not able to get the job. Not for security reasons. Anyways i was told to re apply in 2 years, which would be beyond 7 years. Now when i re apply and fill out the sf-86 will i have to put down my expierment even though it will be beyond 7 years?. Also when i do my interview with a investigator, if i give them my previous investigation report will the time it takes to get my clearance be shorter becouse i provided this information, or will they look into my previous investigation anyway.?

    I would appreciate any info you might have for me.

  55. Avatar

    What was your clearance status when you were on terminal leave with the military? Did you still have a clearance at the time?
    Do not worry about giving your investigator a copy of your previous investigation. It will not speed up the process. As a part of the entire background investigation process there will be a search to see if you had any previous investigations no matter how long ago you had them.

  56. Avatar

    I just recieved a “deny” on an interim clearance. It took one business day.

    I recieved an interim 3 years ago that never went to Secret before the contract ended. Due to the time, my clearance process started over again at square one.

    On my original SF-86, I had some credit delinquencies that had just been paid. The interim went through with no issues.

    The only new thing is the addition of a 13k tax debt that came from not being overseas long enough to get the full tax benefit. I also didn’t file for several years but have filed everything up to date. I’ve attempted to mitigate these problems by A: setting up an automatic draft payment plan with the IRS B: filing on time last year C: retaining a CPA to keep me out of trouble from here on out. I plan to have the debt completely cleared by late January. I think I may have messed up by not including the non filed years. eQip didn’t ask, but I’m not trying to obfuscate or lie.

    My employer wants to hold the clearance open for me so that we can go through adjudication.

    Is there any way to update the eQip once my debt is paid? Am I totally hosed forever? Can one of these Security Clearance attorneys help?


  57. Avatar

    I think you should be more concerned with your chances of being determined suitable for federal employment, than with a security clearance determination. Hopefully one of the adjudicators will give you their perspective. I don’t believe you can submit an SF86C on your own.

  58. Avatar

    If you owe the money, pay it. If you don’t, don’t pay. List the claims on your SF85P in the comment section, not as delinquent debts. Be prepared to disprove the claims against you. You say you dispute the claims. What is the basis for your dispute? Have you contacted the creditors to obtain the information they have on which they are basing their claims?

  59. Avatar

    What is a TS/ISSA clearance? I always thought ISSA was an organization associated with information security, but it also stands for Industrial Security Staff Approval. Is this a basic TS? Any ideas?

  60. Avatar

    Is it going to be a problem for my reinvestigation that I hardly know any of my neighbors? One of my coworkers says it doesn’t matter at all because the investigators would not even interview any neighbors in my case because it is a periodic reinvestigation and I did not have to list any issues on the SF-86. We are DOD civilian (Deparment of the Navy) employees. Is that true that they will not even interview neighbors anymore? If they do and I hardly know any of them is that ok?

  61. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson, I found an answer to my question from December 4th in one of the previous “Ask Your Clearance Question” threads that was posted a few months ago where you answered a similar question. So no need to tackle it again. Thanks.

  62. Avatar

    So what can I do to clear it up?

  63. Avatar

    I just heard from my old agency. They said that I am good but not use that degree again in my education background if I decide to come back. What a relief!

  64. Avatar

    Normally some military commanding officers can grant interim clearances, but only for people under their jurisdiction—DoD civilians and military personnel. DISCO is the clearance granting authority for DoD contractors. There are provisions for combat conditions or other military exigencies where exceptions to regulations can be made, but I don’t know it this is being done in Iraq or not.

    With a recent bankruptcy obtaining an interim clearance from DISCO is doubtful. This is particularly true in your case, because adjudicators like to see at least a few months of timely payments to a bankruptcy trustee. It sounds like you are doing the right thing regarding the bankruptcy and it the cause of the bankruptcy was entirely due to a business failure, your chances of getting a final clearance is reasonably good. There are lawyers that do pre-clearance counseling and assist applicants in preparing their SF86, but getting an interim clearance even with the help of a lawyer may not be possible. I recommend you read my three part article on Personal Finances and Security Clearances at

    If the job you want is in Iraq, your problem becomes even more complicated, because of the lack of investigative reasources there.

  65. Avatar


    I was not awarethat i might have held a clearance at the time i was on termenal leave. My investigator was not able to find anything on me as far as a clearance.

  66. Avatar

    The investigative standards have not changed yet. However, each of the investigative standards include a provision for expansion of the investigation beyond the normal components and period of coverage. Signing the general release on an SF86 does not waive your protection against unreasonable searches as covered by the 4th Amendment. I seems to me that web searches would be okay, because you would have no reasonable expectation to privacy there; however, using technology to pry into your email would not be okay. The info technology questions on the new SF86 merely echo the security concerns that have been present in the Adjudicative Guidelines for over 10 years.

  67. Avatar

    1. The normal components of a security investigation are tasked to the responsible office when the case is opened. Each component gets done according to the workload/backlog at the respective offices.
    2. After all investigative reports have been submitted to FIPC, FIPC reviews the case for completeness then sends the report to the CAF. FIPC is a part of OPM.
    3. The FSO’s job is to review and submit your application to DISCO. DISCO in turn submits it to OPM for investigation.
    4. If a CAF determines that an investigation has not been completed properly or simply needs more information, it can return the investigation to OPM/FIPC for further investigation.

    Your FSO is not responsible for conducting an interview with you. Your FSO is responsible for insuring that your SF86 will not get kicked back due to some deficiency. Your FSO probably reviewed your SF86 and found everything to appear complete, but wanted to insure you had provided all necessary information about your alcohol-related incident.

  68. Avatar

    USAF Hopeful:
    If the charge involved alcohol, drugs, firearms, explosives, or a felony offense, you have to list it on your SF86 regardless of whether it was expunged or sealed. You don’t have to list any other type of offense on the SF86, if it occurred more than 7 years ago (10 years for a Top Secret clearance). I don’t know what the scope of the investigation is for paramedics in your state or any other state.

  69. Avatar

    Secret versus 6C:
    An LBI is an LBI–it doesn’t matter what sensitivity level it is used for. An LBI consists of the same investigative components as an NACLC plus a Personal Subject Interview,interviews at places of employment, schools, and residences covering the past 3 years and a review of any court actions covering the past 3 years. An NACLC based on an SF86 is sufficient for a Secret clearance, but an LBI based on an SF85P is not sufficient. An SF86 will have to be submitted. It’s up to the agency concerned to decide whether to use the results of the LBI plus a review of the SF86 to grant a Secret clearance or require a new NACLC.

  70. Avatar

    You left the job “under unfavorable circumstances,” so you must list the information about your job termination on the clearance application form. When you apply for a clearance you sign a general release authorizing former employers to release information about you. Most employers have policies to keep employee information private, but that rarely interferes with the government collecting information during a security clearance investigation. No one can tell you whether your conduct could result in a clearance denial without knowing what the conduct was.

  71. Avatar

    If you received a diagnosis from a qualified medical practitioner that there is nothing wrong with you other than a sleep disorder, you have nothing to worry about. You might have a problem with an interim clearance (if one is needed), but you shouldn’t have any problem obtaining a final clearance. “Psychological Conditions” is the least frequent reason for final clearance denial.

  72. Avatar

    What happened to your case between Dec 07 and Jun 08? Most DoD adjudicative facilities are backlogged, but still 6 months is a long time. What does your security manager say about current adjudicative time at CCF? Two DUIs over 6 years ago is borderline for a Special Interview (SPIN). Any time there are significant issues in a case, the adjudication takes longer regardless of whether the final decision is positive or negative.

  73. Avatar

    Kevin Goodwin:
    If you sign a release for any government agency authorizing them conduct an investigation on you for security or employment purposes, they can get a copy of your prior investigative file from OPM.

  74. Avatar

    Bryan: See alex’s post on 03 Dec 2008 at 7:18 pm and my post on on 03 Dec 2008 at 1:48 pm

  75. Avatar

    Depending on which version of the SF86 (Jul 08 or Sep 95) you may not have to list anything about your termination of employment. If you have to list it, include details in the comment section. I would list the drunk in public on the SF86 and add information in the comment section about the other charges from the 1989 incident along with the disposition of the case (i.e. dismissal, fine, community service, jail time, etc.). If the third degree assault on a peace officer was charged at the time of your arraingment and if it was a felony, list it separately on the SF86, but in the comment section explain that it was part of the same 1989 incident. If you were not charged with assault at your arraingment, you don’t have to list it at all on your SF86. I think your chances of getting an interim clearance are fair to good, depending on the reason your employer wanted to fire you.

  76. Avatar

    If you had a tax debt from the years that you did not file, then you were required to list them as current or past delinquent debts on the Sep 95 version SF86 at question #28. The Jul 08 version of the SF86 asks specifically about failure to file a tax return as required at question #26 plus about delinquent debts. Submit something in writing to your FSO about your omission and get your FSO to sign your copy of the document to acknowledge receipt. It up to your FSO to figure out how to forward the information to the appropriate agency. You will be interviewed by an investigator. If you have paid off the debts by them, you can show proof of payment to the investigator. If you have a reasonable excuse for not having filed tax returns (don’t forget about state income tax) and for not paying your taxes on time, a lawyer might be able to help you.

  77. Avatar

    Thanks for the info. The time from Dec 07 – Jun 08 only thing was known that it was still “pending.” My security manger says that if it is taking this long then I am good, and it is at CCF but has not been reviewed yet. I think it is more to it than that myself, a memo was sent to expedite it due to the nature of my current duty position, but it just seems longer than normal just for a secret. Thanks again for the info.

  78. Avatar

    The eQip I filled out didn’t ask anything about filing taxes.

    Honestly, it was pure ignorance that can be attributed to me not filing on time. Lesson learned. Will that be enough to satisfy them? I’m afraid it won’t be.

    The debt will be paid off pretty quickly, but it may be too late.

    I spoke with an attorney today in a bit more detail about this situation, and she thinks I can square it with the adjudicator. We’ll see…


  79. Avatar

    Three interviews with a SUBJECT under investigation seems to be extensive to me. I have never contacted a SUBJECT more than two times.
    The concern regarding your wife might not be the fact that she is a Natuarlized U.S. Citizen from China it may be regarding if she has any relatives who still live in China that you may have contact with. Although we buy many of our products from China they are still one of the top countries who spy on us.
    As for your backed taxes in 2006, if you did not know about them you did not know about them. Did you sign a
    4506-T form any of the times you met with your investigator?

  80. Avatar


    I recently accepted a job with a DoD contractor and am waiting on an interim security clearance. On my e-Quip I listed three things that worry me:

    1. International Relations: When I was in high school I was a part of the Model United Nations team where we traveled to NYC to the UN building. I was representing the Republic of Benin and a representative met with my model un group at their embassy. We only met with the rep. for an hour, but nonetheless I met with an international government representative.

    2. I left a job under “unfavorable circumstances” when my school schedule conflicted with my work schedule.My employer and I realized that I should no longer be employed as school is my #1 priority.

    3. Similar to #2, I left a job under “unfavorable circumstances” when I left a job at a hair salon to work for a hair stylist who left the aforementioned haor salon to start her own. It was unfavorable because the said hair stylist left the salon with only a one-day notice.

    I have absolutely no criminal, drug, alcohol, mental, or poor credit history. I just want to know if I am likely to receive an interim secret clearance because I am relocating for my job. My tentative start date is less than 30 days away and I am supposed to put down a deposit for the moving company… yesterday. If I don’t get the interim, then I won’t need to waste a $1,000 on a deposit.

    Thank you and I would really appreciate a response.

  81. Avatar


    Thank you for the information. I’m a little unclear on your direction as far as the Felony Assault and the Public intoxication charges go. On my arrest file it appears both were charges. I was released that morning to my sergeant, and was not part of any arraignment hearing. However, on my court date my lawyer and one of my arresting officers dismissed everything, but a misdemeanor “Resisting Arrest” charge.

    From what you are telling me, I take it that I am not formally charged until my arraignment. My court date was approximately two weeks after the charged offense. So I’m a bit confused as to what the term “Charged with” on the SF86 Worksheet constitutes.

    Would this mean that I should not list either charge on my SF86? I don’t want to appear to be concealing anything to an investigator, and this is 19 plus year in my history…..

    My SF86 is currently being input into the system, it’ll likely be awaiting my approval later today. I appreciate you clarifying the situation for me.

    As an aside, I was never part of any UCMJ action in this arrest. Apparently, my command was familiar with the officers and considered them to be harassers of servicemen.

  82. Avatar

    Hello —

    I’m new to all of this; please bear with me if this is a real rookie question:

    I’m recently engaged; fiancee has ts/sci clearance. I have some credit issues and have taken antidepressants in the past. How will any of my history impact his clearance?

    Thanks in advance?

  83. Avatar


    One more question.

    Back in 86-88 what was the process for getting a clearance while in the military? I believe I needed one for my job, but I can’t remember if I filled out paperwork or not.

    At that time would my unit had sent it in a request on my behalf, or would I have filled something out similar to the SF86? Not that it necessarily matters, but I was in Germany at the time.

  84. Avatar

    The foreign travel question on the old version of the SF-86 I filled out last time said do not list foreign travel on official US government business but you must list travel as a dependent or contractor. The new version does not say that part about contractors. It just says do not list foreign travel on official US government business. Does this mean I should be listing travel on official US government business as an employee of a non-profit federally funded research and development center (better known as an FFRDC) or not listing it? I am confused because of the change in the wording and would appreciate anyone letting me know the answer or where to find some official guidance.

  85. Avatar


    It’s often difficult to answer questions about criminal offenses with precision, because people use terminology and acronyms that are commonly understood in their own state but can be meaningless in other states. Every state has its own penal code and the words that are used to describe the same offense can be significantly different. For instance there is no way for me to know whether “assault in the third degree” is a misdemeanor or a felony in your state unless you tell me. The distinction between felony and misdemeanor is very important on an SF86 and for security clearance adjudication, as is the distinction between an arrest and a criminal charge. For SF86 purposes, a felony is any offense for which the maximum penalty is one year or more in prison.

    It doesn’t really matter what charges/offenses are listed on the arrest report. When a person is arrested for misdemeanor and/or felony offenses, the police send an arrest report to the public prosecutor’s office. The report usually states the name of the alleged offenses and a detailed description of what happened. The prosecutor then decides which offenses, if any, will be included in the “information” or “complaint” that is submitted to the court. In California the arraignment is the defendant’s initial appearance in court, the first official reading of the charges, and the first opportunity for the defendant to enter a plea. Charges that are dropped before the arraignment don’t have to be listed on the SF86. The charges read at the arraignment are the relevant charges for SF86 purposes. If a charge is dismissed anytime after it is first pronounced at the arraignment, it is still a charge for SF86 purposes. There may be jurisdictions that still have preliminary hearings in front of magistrate that occur before the arraignment. In those situations perhaps the best definition of a “charge” for SF86 purposes is any accusation of criminal conduct presented by a court. I doubt that in any jurisdiction a police officer can appear in court in place of a public prosecutor, represent the state and make a deal with the defense attorney to amend the complaint or information. I can’t tell you what the formal (court) charges against you were because you don’t know exactly what happened at court—whether the charges were changed before or after they were read in court. The only way to find out is to go to the courthouse and look at the case file (if it still exists) and see what the charges against you were. This probably isn’t even an option for you at this point.

    My advice is to list the assault charge separately on the SF86 if it was a felony. If it was not a felony, then the only offense you must list is the drunk in public offense. In the comment section explain all the other offenses that the police alleged, including the assault. Also in the comment section give information about the disposition (i.e. dropped, dismissed, found guilty, not guilty) of each charge and the sentence you received, if any.

    In 86-88 after being officially told that a person needed a security clearance, they went to their security manager and filled out and signed a DD396 (Personal Security Questionnaire—PSQ) including a general release form and had their fingerprints taken. The DD398, release, and fingerprint cards were mailed to the Defense Investigative Service with a Request for Investigation. The results of the investigation were sent from DIS to the Army, Navy, or Air Force central adjudication facility (CAF), who granted or denied the clearance. Local commanding officers (at a certain levels of command) had the authority to grant interim clearances until the CAF issued or denied the final clearance. Only the applicant could provide the information necessary on a DD398 and the applicant had to sign the form, the release and the fingerprint card. Someone at the security manager’s office could have made a typewritten copy of the form for the applicant’s signature. Except for the use of typewriters and snail mail, it isn’t much different than today’s procedures.

  86. Avatar

    You said your investigation was completed in Dec 07, but that adjudication didn’t start until Jun 08. Cases are sent from OPM to the adjudicative facility as soon as the investigations are completed. It only takes a couple days to make an image file of the case materials and send it from OPM to CCF. I think you need to find out what was going on for the 6 months between Dec 07 and Jun 08. To say that a case was “Pending” is not an answer I would accept. Either the investigation was pending or the adjudication was pending or someone lost your case for 6 months.

  87. Avatar

    Could it be that there was an issue that was not properly covered/resolved by OPM’s investigation; CCF had to send the case back to OPM in Jan 08 for additional investigation; then OPM did whatever they failed to do the first time around and resubmitted the case to CCF in Jun 08?

  88. Avatar

    Dear Mr. Henderson,

    Thanks for your reply to my earlier query. The information on your blog certainly helped a loads. I have another question, regarding my family and eligibility for the SC.

    My siblings reside in India and in the UK, all of them are doctors and have no affiliation with any government affairs. Secondly does having a bank account overseas poses any kind of an issue, as that account does not have a lot of money, its mainly used for my parents to get any medical treatment and for their general expenses.

    Any info and insight is much appreciated.

  89. Avatar

    I forgot to ask another question, regarding ‘name of people who can accoount for your activity outside work’ on SF-86. I have never had any static work friends or social circle. My work required my to change projects and social circle changed with it. Then whose name do I put in that column?

  90. Avatar

    I have a question.
    I have a TS security clearance, and a position that requires I keep it. I’ve had the TS clearance for 8 years. I’m about to file bankruptcy, am in foreclosure, and engaged to marry someone that has spent 9 years in prison. In fact, we were supposed to get married the same month he is released (May, 2009). Will any/all of this affect my ability to retain my clearance? I’m up for renewal in two years.

  91. Avatar

    I have a question for Mr. Henderson if he could address: Will doing a FOIA request — prompt an agency to render a decision on background and suitability. I have taken two drug tests for this agency as the renewel keeps coming up. For some reason, they have not made a decision. The agency is DHS. I have been told that “if you just wait long enough”. How long? it has been three long years going thru their processes. Thank You.

  92. Avatar

    Thank you. After reading your response (On 08 Dec 2008 at 5:03 pm # William Henderson) I realize that it was not the FSO that came and spoke to me, it was an investigator that represented OPM. I was wondering why the investigator didn’t go over the SF86, just the alcohol-related incident.

    1. Does that mean that was the only security concern they saw on the SF86?

    2. Will the investigator give me a chance to mitigate any concern if he finds another security concern?

    My checked was garnished this year and he never even mentioned it or anything else on my SF86.

    Sorry for confussing you earlier.

  93. Avatar

    I’ve been offered a DHS sub-agency position that requires a TS/SCI. The regional office requested an interim clearance which would allow me to go ahead and start the job; however I just learned from the personnel office in VA that the security office said I was ineligible. No explanation was given, but I imagine it is due to derogatory info on my credit report. On my eQip, I listed the one unpaid debt I have from 5 years ago, with the explaination in the comments section. I didn’t list anything else, because that is the only unpaid charge-off, etc. For my full clearance, I was interviewed just a few days ago, before I found out about the interim denial. I talked to the investigator about the circumstances of the debt, and she seemed satisfied. I also explained that there are other entries on my credit report that have been disputed or were inaccurate, and that I had paid off all of them – I have even received letters from the creditor or agency stating they would delete or correct the item. I offered these to the investigator, but she said she didn’t include attachments in her report. When I called to inform her of the interim denial, she said she would note it, but still didn’t want or need the letters. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. My concern is that DHS (?) or whomever will make a final decision based on the multiple derogatory entries that were on my credit report when they ran it last month, and not take into account the corrections and removals that the reporting agencies.
    If by chance I am denied a clearance, can I appeal? Can you also tell me if somewhere in the regular clearance process I will be contacted again, or have the opportunity to show that the items in my credit report were disputed, removed or corrected? The various federal agencies really don’t do anything to explain the whole clearance process, and with the interim denial- leave you feeling like they consider you a bad person.

  94. Avatar

    If you were interviewed only about your your alcohol related incident it most likely means you just had a SPIN conducted. Your alcohol related incident most likely fell within the SPIN criteria so an investigator needed to speak to you about it.
    If another issue is developed that falls with in the SPIN criteria you will be contacted again regarding that issue. If you are not contacted again then there were no other issues on your SF-86 that fell into the SPIN criteria.

  95. Avatar

    Recent College Grad,
    Question #1: This should not be a problem as long as you have had no close personal continuing contact with the representative. Just explain exactly what you did during your UN visit.
    Question #2: I don’t see how this is unfavorable. You and your employer mutually agreed that school was more important than your work so you left your job. Is there something else you are not stating that makes you think this was unfavorable.
    Question #3: Did you leave the hair salon with only one days notice because I read this question a few times and it does not make sense to me.

  96. Avatar

    Don’t know the neighbors,
    Are you having a Periodic Reinvestigation (PR) done or a Phased Periodic Reinvestigation (PPR) done? If you are having a PPR then your co-worker is correct your neighbors will not be contacted. If you are having a PR done then yes your neighbors will be contacted. It is ok that you do not know them. An investigator will go out to your neighborhood no matter what and attempt to interview them. If he/she can not interview a neighbor then your spouse will be interviewed. If you are not married then he/she should try to find a friend who has visited you at your house a few times. If that is not possible then no neighborhood coverage will happen which is not the end of the world. I have interviewed many neighbors who have never met the SUBJECT under investigation. I attempt what I like to call an observation type interview. Even though the neighbor has never met the SUBJECT have they ever seen anything strange or suspicious going on at the SUBJECT’s house. Have they ever seen the police there. Are there wild parties every weekend or every other weekend at the SUBJECT’s house. You need to remember your neighborhood is just a part of the investigation which helps get a whole person concept.
    Keep in mind there are certain issues that will automatically trigger a PR instead of PPR.

  97. Avatar

    Just list all of your foreign travel. We have been advised to briefly discuss all foreign travel to include foreign travel related to goverment reasons unless that travel is classified. List it and be prepared to discuss it. I am not sure why the new SF-86 does not indicate to list government related foriegn travel since we talk about it during the interview.

  98. Avatar

    My husband had good enough credit and passed “secret security clearance” this past year. (*During his senior year of college, we had our first baby & we had to live off of my credit cards under my name.) Up until five months ago, my credit was very good. Now, I can’t get caught up on paying (my) credit debt; because we owe so much, it has grown out of control.Since my husband took this job, his credit has climbed, improving significantly. All purchases,that are in his name, since he took his job–are up to date and in excellent standing… None of the bad debt is in his name. I went to a credit counselor, they calculated the debt is more than we can afford to pay. They recommended bankruptcy in my name only… Recently, my husband’s job is going to TS Clearance. We are afraid of (My) recent tarnished credit and regarding (Me)– possibly filing bankruptcy will affect his TS Clearance approval. ???

  99. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    I’m in the process of receiving a Top Secret Clearance with SCI on the Agency side. This process was started in December of 2006, when I submitted the SF86. I’ve taken my Polygraph in April of 2007, which I had a ‘reaction’ to 2 questions, however to this date I have yet to hear of a status. I’ve been in contact the security office which submitted my paperwork (SF86) and each time they try and get a status all they are told is that the Clearance was active and in adjudication, since 11/2007. Yesterday the contractor was “advised” to withdraw my application. I’m not sure what this means and is there any course which I can follow to see if I can correct what ever issue the Agency is having with my Clearance? Thank you for your time!!


  100. Avatar

    Recent College Grad,
    I am an industrial clearance adjudicator. You should be fine, based on what you have listed. I deal with the worst cases and yours would not make it down to my office (DOHA).

  101. Avatar

    This is really just for my curiosity, but if any of the investigators are willing to give a quick response, I’d appreciate it. I’m interested in how the investigative process works as far as farming out work to people in different locations, and what kind of delays that introduces.

    – I live and work in a big city, so presumably the person primarily responsible for my investigation lives here and will do my PRSI, interview neighbors and coworkers, and all that.

    – But I last went to school at one of those Midwestern land grant universities in the middle of nowhere. So will someone have to drive from , or are there people contracted to work over a given region outside a big city?

    – And what about overseas? I spent three months working with a research group at a university in another country a couple of years ago. Because of the duration and what I was doing there my SSO told me to list it as both (educational) travel and residence; will they send someone to verify/interview at that residence, and if so, who handles this? Is it a contractor in that country, or someone from a US embassy/consulate?

    No big deal if no one has the time to answer, but thanks if you do.

  102. Avatar

    I have been out on disabilty since April 16, 2008 and my husband got laid off from his job. He found another one and I am now back at work. My questions is. We fell behind on our mortage and have made arrangements with the company to fix the issue. Will this affect our 5 year update for our poly. Basically are we in jeopady in of loosing our clearance?

  103. Avatar

    I am in the final stages of the hiring process with the GAO, and though they haven’t mentioned getting a security clearance yet, I know it’s coming. While I’m not certain, I believe they will want me to apply for a Top Secret clearance.

    My record is clean, except for drugs, which I know will be a big issue. At the beginning of college (’99), I started smoking marijuana (anywhere from 1x/month to 1-2x a week, depending on the period) and I used LSD around 10 times in my freshman year. I also tried a few prescription drugs illegally about 3 times.

    Drawing back a seven-year timeline, I’d have to report marijuana use about 8 times total, and one time taking a prescription that wasn’t mine.

    I haven’t engaged in any drug activity for the last 2 1/2 years and I won’t ever again. In fact, I interned with a local prosecutor and now realize that my desired careers are absolutely incompatible with drug use.

    My question: Considering I would have to report all of my drug use on a SSBI (all of it falls w/in 10 year period), is there a reasonable chance that my 2 1/2 year abstinence would mitigate my prior use, or might it be better for me to withdraw myself from consideration before I get denied a clearance?

    I know there’s no clear answer to this, but I figure the objectivity of an outsider might help me make a decision.

  104. Avatar

    OPM along with its various contractors have investigators in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. OPM also has its own agents at various overseas locations. No matter where you lived at, worked at, or went school at in the U.S. it will be covered. As for your overseas ventures, most likely your PRSI investigator will ask you if there are any stateside leads that can verify your time overseas.

  105. Avatar

    Keep Looking,
    I think you have misread the drug question on the SF-86. Question 23a on the new SF-86 relates to drug use and the question specifically states in the last 7 years not 10 even for a SSBI. So the marijuana use and the one prescription drug use that you have done in the past 7 years will have to be listed. The other drug use that is outside the 7 year period therefore you will not have to list.

    If you were charged with any drug offense then you will have to list it no matter how long ago it happened. I did not read in your post that you were ever charged with any drug offense.

    Now keep in mind if you are interviewed any issue that is brought up during the interview needs to be discussed no matter how long ago it happened.

    I can not say if the 2 and 1/2 year time frame since your last drug use will be a mitigating factor. Maybe an adjudicator will be able to answer that. I can tell you that be prepared to answer a lot of specific questions regarding your MJ use and one time illegal prescription drug use. Specifics and details will be needed.

  106. Avatar

    Thanks for the informative post. My questions are regarding receiving a Top Secret Clearance during FBI processing for SA position.

    I currently live in Japan on a Military base. I’m the dependent on a SOFA visa. I’ve been here for 4 years and during that time:

    1. I worked in Tokyo. First year, I worked for a Japanese company (Owned by Americans). My clients were American subsidiaries operating in Japan. I was fired from this company when my employer believed I was planning on leaving soon and starting my own business (which I was). They said I was keeping my business cards, which is the technical reason they used for the termination. Even though I was terminated, my employer still knew they were wrong for the termination. So I continued to work on my cases for the next 2 months from my house. And I was paid my commissions from this employer for the next 6 months. The employer also has a bad reputation for losing half their employees each year for similar reasons.

    2. After I left this company, I started a similar business in Japan. I registered the company as a corporation and paid Japanese taxes. I had approval from the Base Commander to do this. My clients were still American subsidiaries operating in Japan. To work in Japan and to run a business, I held two bank accounts (personal and business). Both accounts have been closed already since I no longer work in Japan.

    3. While running my own business, I gained credit card debt in the range of $30,000. The business didn’t go so well. I’ve never filed for bankruptcy, I’ve never had a debt go to collections, I’ve never been 180 days past due. Basically, I pay my bills on time, but I’m sure $30k credit card debt is hurting my credit score.

    4. Lastly, since I’ve moved to Japan, my spouse and I have done a lot of traveling. All for vacation and always tourist areas. But some of the places may be of concern including, Ho Chi Minh, Shanghai, Bali, and Bangkok.

    I’ve never used drugs, no criminal history, had a secret clearance before as a military officer
    Anyways, do you believe I will have a hard time obtaining a top secret clearance with the FBI due to #1, #2, #3, or #4?

  107. Avatar

    Recently out on disability,

    Sorry to hear the difficulties you ran into. From what you told us, it is unlikely you would lose a clearance. Unfortunately, these bad things could happen to all of us at any time. Sounds like a one time deal and you have taken corrective action. Stay optimistic and I’m sure you guys will be fine. Best of luck.

  108. Avatar

    Those listening….my wife TS/SCI cleared (Full Scope Poly) and has been for many years however, she recently got layted off due to a “company reorg”. How long is her clearance good for? If it takes 3,6,9 months to find a new job, will she still be good to go?


  109. Avatar

    Your credit problems and mental health treatment will have no effect on on your fiance’s security clearance, unless your problems are so severe that they could potentially influence your fiance to do something that would be detrimental to national security. The same will be true after you are married.

  110. Avatar

    Your second question indicates that your situation is much more complicated that you initially stated. Not only does your spouse have relatives in India, but you have relatives there too. Was your spouse living in the U.S when you met or was she living in India? When a person returns to their native country to meet and marry someone, it suggests a much closer connection to their native country than someone who meets and marries their spouse in the US. Maintaining a bank account in India for the purpose of transferring funds for the benefit of your parents also suggests a strong obligation to them. If the account does not have a large balance and the amount that you send each year isn’t large, the account will only be viewed as slightly more significant than sending money or other things of value by other means.

    The 2 most important factors in your case are: 1) the presence or absence of a “heightened risk” of foreign exploitation (this is based on the US government’s assessment of the foreign country involved) and 2) the extent to which you have assimulated US culture and values. I can’t tell you how either of these 2 factors will be judged in your case.

    Unfortunately question #16 on the new SF86 is poorly worded. For many (perhaps most) people, life revolves around work, school, and home, so there may not be any other venues where the applicant regularly interacts with people. The wording of this question on the old SF86 was better; it did not use the words, “your activities outside of the workplace, school, or neighborhoods.” I think you can safely ignore these words and simply list the people you know the best—coworkers or classmates with who you often have lunch and people you repeatedly meet at clubs, restaurants, religious gatherings, sports activities, your home, their home, etc (including neighbors).

  111. Avatar

    The causes of your bankruptcy and forclosure will be judged under Guideline F: Financial Considerations of the Adjudicative Guidelines. The significance of marriage to a felon who recently completed his sentence is not covered in the Adjudicative Guidelines. The Guidelines only address “association with persons involved in criminal activity.” If criminal conduct does not resume and his past is not something that can be used to pressure or blackmail you because of your desire to keep it a secret, it should not be an issue.

  112. Avatar

    You didn’t say it, but I’m assuming that the position you want requires a security clearance. I don’t think that doing a FOIA (actually a Privacy Act ) request will prompt DHS to process your case any faster. The fact that they have had you take a second drug test indicates that they haven’t lost your file. There are two decisions that DHS will make on your case: 1) employment suitability and 2) clearance eligibility. You have to get a favorable employment suitability decision, then you are considered for a clearance. Sometimes these decisions are made concurrently, but they use two different sets of criteria. If you are applying for a “competitive service” position, you have more rights than for an “excepted service” position. I think that 3 years is way too long to wait for any decision. You may want to consider getting your congressman’s help. There have been a very small number of cases in some agencies where they don’t want to hire someone, but they can not justify an unfavorable decision for a competitive service appointment, so they delay making a decision and hope that the applicant will give up and abandon their application.

  113. Avatar

    The exact procedures used by DHS and its sub-agencies is a mystery to most people (including me). There are certain rules they must follow for security clearances, because they are required by Executive Order. If you are applying for federal employment (not a contractor position) you will be judged under two sets of criteria—one for employment suitability and one for security clearance eligibility. If you are applying for an “excepted service” position, they don’t have to give you a reason for not hiring you. If you are applying for a competitive service position, you will have the right to appeal an adverse hiring decision. In either case if you are found not suitable for employment, they don’t have made a clearance eligibility decision. If you are tentitively denied a security clearance, you will have a right to rebut their reasons and later, if necessary, you will have the right to appeal an adverse clearance decision. I recommend you read my article on “Rebutting and Appealing Security Clearance Denials” at

  114. Avatar

    Yours is a very complicated question. Fortunately a question very similar to yours and a series of responses was posted at the “Ask Your Clearance Questions – Part 10” between 9 July and 17 July. “AimHigh” asked the original question and a series of replies were posted by BW An Investigator, Adjudicator 101, and me. There are only two things that I would add: 1) bankruptcy is far better than living with insurmountable debt and the possibility of your debt increasing and 2) bankruptcy law changed a year or so ago and I don’t believe that the IRS can now claim that debt absolved through bankruptcy is taxable. I also recommend your read my three-part article on “Personal Finances and Security Clearances” at

  115. Avatar

    You didn’t say, but I assume that you are already a contractor employee and your employer submitted you for a TS/SCI but made it clear to DISCO that you need a collateral TS clearance if the SCI is not granted. In this situation if the request for your SCI is withdrawn or your SCI denied, the case will be transferred to DISCO for adjudication of your collateral TS clearance. You can’t really correct an issue, you can only mitigate it. But to do that the agency must give you the opportunity to mitigate it by fully adjudicating your case and telling you their concerns. See the bottom of my response to RC0313, above.

    If you want to force them to make a decision on your SCI eligibility, the only thing you can do is hire a lawyer, preferrably one in the Washington, DC area that specializes in security clearance matters and has experience with the agency involved.

  116. Avatar

    regarding question 21…I went through a divorce four years ago. At that time I had my doctor prescribe an antidepressant for me to help deal with the axiety etc.. I only took a few doses, didn’t like the way it felt, and discontinued it. Does this qualify as an exception to the reporting requirement under the marital or family issues portion?

  117. Avatar

    I had two one night stands about three to four years ago when my wife and I were having problems and we were separated for a while. I told my wife about what happened when we were deciding about staying together or splitting up and we worked things out with marriage counseling. Should I expect this to be something where I will be asked lots of detailed questions about the situation, or the people involved (both were American citizens and I never got together with either of them again nor would I even know how to contact them now), or whatever during my investigation or would it be viewed as not such a big deal since it was a while back and it is not like I desire to keep it a big secret or anything?

  118. Avatar

    Can an investigator figure out if a TS applicant has ever applied for employment with a local police department? Here are the details.

    The Police application and denial for employment took place in 2002/2003
    I was dropped due to bad credit at the time, I was fresh out of the USMC and had mis managed my money at that young age.
    The department never conducted a background investigation at any level.

    Now that my credit is in good condition,I would prefer to answer “no” to having ever applied with a police department. I’d like to go into this federal process as clean as possible without worying about a police dpartments past decision…would this be a safe thing to do?

  119. Avatar


    I posted quite a while ago regarding my unsuitability denials from two agencies to which I applied for employment (the most “recent”, aka Sept. 07) being the FBI. I subsequently took a job as a Federal consultant in the DC-area, and was just notified that I received my DoD SECRET after an initial interim denial from DISCO. The clearance is dated as of August 8, 2008 (but there was a delay in notification on my firm’s end…they have LOTS of people to process). I’m updating my resume to reflect the new clearance, and I’m wondering whether I should put “Active” before the clearance type? Or is that a bit of a misnomer, as I have not yet worked on any classified material/projects? Also, how much time must pass without viewing classified material before the clearance becomes inactive? If I ever chose to reapply to the FBI or another IC agency, would this clearance benefit me in the suitability adjudication phase (realizing that each agency’s suitability standards are different, and at times more stringent than classified access standards, and that I have not repeated any of the conduct issues which were probably of concern during those applications)?

  120. Avatar


    My question pertains to possible derogatory information that may come up from a past employer 6 months ago. During this employment (overseas security contractor) I held an interim DoD Secret clearance. I filed a complaint against my immediate supervisor for physical abuse towards our subordinate security employees from Uganda. Less than two weeks after filing this complaint (through a third party which the company used for whistleblowing) I was terminated from employment.

    I was verbally told that it was an (at-will) termination and that it was non-derogatory from the Country Manager who oversaw all operations in the country we were in. Three weeks later I recieved an EOE letter from the company HR representative stating that I had been terminated due to a company policy violation. When I tried to contact the company to clarify exactly what this policy violation was the legal representative e-mailed me saying it was innapropriate for company employees to communicate with me.

    My question is if I’m completely honest (which I will be) on a new SF-86 about what I believe to be true in this in this case will derogatory information from the employer cause a Secret clearance to be denied? I have alot of documentation which favors my position, but I’m unsure what the employer will say about me after they already retaliated for my whistleblowing.

  121. Avatar

    RE-ASK 🙂 : To Those listening.My wife TS/SCI cleared (Full Scope Poly) and has been for many years however, she recently got layted off due to a “company re-org”. How long is her clearance good for? If it takes 3,6,9 months to find a new job, will she still be good to go?


  122. Avatar

    Help me figure out my future!?

    What am I worth and what type jobs/employers would be interested in hiring me?

    4 years Signals Intelligence Analysis with Air Force (active TS/SCI), I have Master of Public Administration degree with BA in Communications, prior work as Realtor.

    Which is better GS job or defense contractor? What are pro’s and con’s?

  123. Avatar


    I was just wondering if anyone knew why my backgrund check was so swift. I am applying for a Navy Intel officer slot and the Background check only took maybe two weeks or a little less. The job requires TS/SCI.

    I did previously work for an Intel organization, and had said clearances but did not expect it to only take 2 wks to complete background check.
    Invest said that the Rep. in d.c said he spoke to ppl he needed to spk to, but my contacts were not contacted. Could it be that they only went to my former intel agency and just checked if i worked there or not and thats all they needed to do?
    I have no sec violations, finan probs, etc.. just surprised at the speed..


  124. Avatar

    I was recently denied an interim Secret clearance. The JPAS printout shows under “Investigation Summary” that I was denied Interim Clearance with the rationale “S had bankruptcy filed 10/25.”

    My e-Qip printout shows the notation on the bankruptcy as action 10/2005, and under additional comments shows “Chapter 7 Case Number XXXXXXX, discharge relief granted 10/10/05.”

    The rationale appears to show that I had an active bankruptcy filing 10/25, rather than a discharged and completed bankruptcy in 10/2005, three years prior to the filing of the e-Qip form.

    The employer dropped my case like a hot potato and discharged me without even written notice, but more importantly terminated my clearance request since I was no longer employed (and therefore would not have to bear any charges for an investigation). Therefore, the file is technically closed.

    What recourse do I have for correcting this error in dates? If this error is not correctable, do I need to tell future employers I am applying to that I was denied due to a clerical error?

  125. Avatar

    For the next 10 years (or until clearance policy changes) as long as you remain employed in the position for which the clearance was granted, your clearance will be “active,” unless your employer chooses to initiate action to administrative terminate your clearance because you don’t need it. I recommend you see your FSO, get a security briefing, and sign your non-disclosure statement as soon as possible to consummate the clearance process.

  126. Avatar


    See to help answer whether you’d be better off as a gov employee or gov contractor.

    Quality intel folks are hard to find, so I’d push you in that direction if you still had interest. However, most intel jobs are situation in certain geographic areas.


    Hope this helps answer a few questions.

  127. Avatar

    Hello Security Team,

    I am going to be enlisting in the Navy and I have some debt, not to much that I cant pay it off within the next 12-18 months. My job rating requires me to have a SECERT clearance. My recruiters told me that my credit history wont be a problem, but I have done research and it can have some adverse affects on your clearance. Now I have already turned in my SF-86 form and did not mention these factors. 1. If I ask to change things on my forms will this delay my clearance?
    2. My recruiters are not helping me chage the forms, Before I go to boot camp should I handle this at MEPS?
    3. Is there any other way I can handle this and get the information changed without going thru my recruiters?

    Thanks in advance.

  128. Avatar

    I’ve had a TS/SCI on and off since ~1998. I say on and off because during OIF, I went out of range for the SCI. I worked in an uncleared area until the investigation was rolling and nothing was initially found against me. I worked in a SCIF from 2005 to spring 2008 waiting for the investigation to finish. In Dec 07 I was getting nervous because of the time involved, I emailed the guy that interviewed me and provided additional information to some of the questions he had asked. Then, in February 08, I was informed by our security office the TS/SCI went through, finally.

    In the meantime, I had found a new contract position, gave the company 2 weeks notice and moved on. I arrived at my new location and have been here for over six months now, waiting for the clearance to come through. No one is really concerned (but me), I am working outside of a SCIF. The issue only came up once and the gvt boss didn’t really seem to be concerned. I asked my company about it, they mentioned my previous company did “something” with my clearance.

    So, I am wondering, did my previous employer somehow mess up the transfer of my clearance or did my letter sent in Dec 07 cause more issues that clarify? I had assumed not as my clearance was finally finished in Feb 08. I was told by an investigator; if there was an issue with your clearance, you’d know it right away.

  129. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    Thanks! And as for the security briefing/NDA, that was the first thing I did after getting off the phone with the FSO…done and done! As far as potential employment down the line w/in the IC, might a clearance act as a mitigating factor when it comes to suitability? I can only imagine that several years of employment with a WELL-known Fed. consulting firm plus the clearance might improve my chances…? Or is that looking into a classified crystal ball, aka, damn near impossible to answer on your end?

    Thanks for the quick response,


  130. Avatar


    Been waitng (5) months for an adjudication (Secret/PT) Fed employee position.

    Investigation, (60) days… no problems.

    HR Contact won’t help, didn’t even know investigation was complete… told me I was “still being investigated.”

    I had to go to another source and have JPAS checked to find out investigation was indeed “closed completed by DHS, 07/2008; pending adjudication.”

    Is there anywhere to turn, other than a Congressman, to get a straight answer? (Don’t want to peeve people off where I’m trying to get a job)

  131. Avatar

    Sorry I can’t help you. I’ve never had any experience with employment suitability determinations. I’ve read the basic OPM policy but it’s very broad and lacks specificity. There’s nothing in the OPM policy about any positive inferences because the applicant has a security clearance. Additionally many agencies have their own internal implementing policies that vary widely from agency to agency and for different positions within the same agency (i.e. zero drug tolerance for DEA special agents).

  132. Avatar

    You have no recourse except to be sponsored for a clearance by another employer. It is possible that the next time around (with a little mitigating information in your eQIP) you might be granted an interim clearance. Chances are your interim was declined based on the info in your eQIP and the typographical error in your JPAS record was made after the fact.

  133. Avatar

    No one on this blog is going to advise you to lie. On an SSBI an investigator can theoretically find out about anything. Don’t intentionally omit or falsify any information on a government form. The fact that you were non-selected for a police officer position (or any job) 5 or 6 years ago due to bad credit, will probably be completely irrelevant to a security clearance or employment suitability determination today. Falsifying a government form is the most certain way of being denied a clearance. BTW there is no question on the security clearance application form (SF86) that asks about applying for employment at a law enforcement agency.

  134. Avatar

    If your investigation is an SSBI (TS clearance) and your investigator asks all the questions properly, this topic can be covered in 5 to 10 questions without being overly intrusive. I can’t tell you the specific questions that will be asked because your answer to the earlier questions determine the wording of the follow up questions. The wording of some questions and whether you are asked to provide names may be influenced by information gathered by the investigator from other sources. For instance if the investigator learns from someone else that you had an affair with Alice. It would be natural to ask you at least the first names of the two women to determine if one of them was Alice. The whole matter shouldn’t be a big deal since your wife knows and there is little possibility of being vulnerability to blackmail, either directly or through one of the women.

  135. Avatar

    She’s good for 2 years from termination of employment or 5 years since her last Periodic Reinvestigation (whichever occurs first). However after 2 months a new SF86 or SF86C can be required.

  136. Avatar

    Mike S:
    No, not the way I interpret the new question #21. The operative word is “strictly.” You’re saying that you were treated for anxiety. The purpose of marital and family counseling is to resolve problems between family members, not to help a person cope with the anxiety and stress related to a divorce.

  137. Avatar

    No one can answer your question without knowing the details of the alleged company policy violation, the evidence on which the company based their allegation, and the evidence that you have to refute it. If you applied for and were awarded unemployment benefits after you were terminated, that will help, because employees who are terminated for cause are not entitled to unemployment benefits. If an employer fails to challenge a former employee’s claim for unemployment benefits, that’s usually a pretty good indicator that they didn’t have grounds to fire you for cause.

  138. Avatar

    Your investigation for an FBI SA position is significantly different than a normal SSBI because it is used for both employment suitability and security clearance purposes. You have to have a favorable employment suitability determination at the FBI before your investigation is adjudicated for a security clearance. Employment suitability standards for FBI SA positions are more stringent than the standards for a TS/SCI clearance, and I don’t believe those standards are publicly available. For security clearance purposes, your investigation will be problematic because of your location and the nature of your activities for the past 4 years. It’s not going to be a “hard time” for you; it’s going to be a “hard time” for the investigators and adjudicators. For you it will just be a matter of time, provided your conduct in Japan was without fault. Your foreign travel and financial situation are non-issues, but they will be examined closely.

  139. Avatar

    Strange. I didn’t know that investigations conducted by DHS contract investigators were posted to JPAS (a DoD system with a bridge to an OPM database). It might be a little premature to seek the intervention of a congressman. Most adjudicative facilities have had substantial backlogs for several months (I don’t know specifically about DHS).

  140. Avatar


    Maybe it’s because of your name 🙂

    Seriously, probably an easy case to cover. I can have a PR done in 1 day on the investigation side if the case is “just right.”

  141. Avatar

    William Henderson,

    I was only verbally told by the Country Manager that I was terminted for at-will and that it was non-derogatory.

    It was a contract that had a clause that unemployment wasn’t possible. The contract also stated that the contract could be terminated at any time by any party for ANY or NO reason.

    I dont want to make problems for myself if I dont have to. But can I honestly say that since the verbal I recieved from the Country Manager and the lack of further information clarifying the company policy violation, that I was in good standing and finished my contract according to the Country Manager and to the best of my knowledge? Therefore termination for grounds was never established and I never recieved a counseling statement or other derogatory action and hence I dont have to admit to being fired on an SF-86? I honestly could chalk it up to an end of contract per the company and nothing more?

    If derog info does float to the surface could I then present my irrefutable evidence to the contrary. EI; a letter from the client (U.S Army) stating a job well done etc.?

    BTW thankyou for your help. I really need this new job and feel that this approach is the best, most truthfull, and least damaging considering the circumstances and positive accolades I have on record(Official U.S Army memo) for this employment.

    Thank you

  142. Avatar

    Hi, i’m applying for a job that requires a secret clearance, I was in the airforce in 2003 and had a secret clearance then but since then have been living in Thailand and have gotten married to a Thai citizen. Will my marriage effect me getting a clearance.

    Also im going on vacation to Loas for 2 weeks,since Loas is technically a communist country would that hurt my clearance as well


  143. Avatar

    William Henderson:
    I’m a little curious about your advice to JB, because I was under the impression that he could still say he had a ‘current’ clearance even if he hadn’t had the security briefing and NDA.

    This is because of advice here to people who are in the situation where the job was no longer available by the time the clearance came through – that they could still say they have the clearance (for 2 years).

    Can you clarify, because I believe I will be in that situation – my sponsor couldn’t wait for the final after interim was denied and re-advertized the job, but they left the clearance application in. Meanwhile I have had the investigation (friends and neighbors also) and I’m going to be working for a non-clearance company for a while. I had hoped that when it eventually comes through I can apply for clearance jobs elsewhere for up to two years even though I didn’t get the briefing and NDA from the original sponsor. Am I right?

  144. Avatar

    I have been working with a variety of low level clearances for about 10 years. About 20 years ago, I had two DWI charges, that were both reduced to DWAI, a violation. At that time, an attorney told me that because they were reduced, I could treat them “like traffic tickets” and would not have to report them on a job application.

    So on various clearances, I have failed to report these two offenses. Now, while applying for a clearance at a non-DOD facility, I received a letter asking to provide details on these items.

    Am I likely to lose any or all of my existing clearances because of this? Is there anything I can do to aid my case that this was an honest mistake, and not deliberate?

  145. Avatar

    I am applying for a job that will likely require a Secret or TS clearance. My credit score is great, in the 700s, but I have about 46,000.00 of credit card debt, due to being unemployed for the past 3 1/2 years as I tried to start a business, which probably failed due to the economy. I have almost triple that in equity in my home. I have had no late payments on my credit record except one that is about 15 years old, which was recorded as 30 days late. I previously held a TS, before the unemployment and debt accumulation. Will the debt amount even with good credit cause me to have a problem obtaining a clearance?

  146. Avatar

    I didn’t say that a clearance was invalid without a briefing and NDA. I just recommended completing the briefing and NDA to make things tidy.

  147. Avatar

    Your original question was, “…if I’m completely honest (which I will be) on a new SF-86 about what I believe to be true in this in this case will derogatory information from the employer cause a Secret clearance to be denied? I have alot of documentation which favors my position, but I’m unsure what the employer will say about me after they already retaliated for my whistleblowing.” I answered this question.

    Now you are asking what to put in your SF86. I can’t answer this question for you. You should put down whatever you believe to be the truth.

  148. Avatar

    My husband has been offered a federal job that requires a top secret clearance. Can character issues prevent him from getting the clearance. Can adultery prevent him from obtaining one?

  149. Avatar


    I applied for a job and am in the process of filling out my SF 86. I have a couple of questions:

    1. My parents are not American citizens, and they live in my country. (I am a naturalized citizen), however they have green cards and visit occasionally. The only option for the form where I can include their green card number is if they are aliens who reside in America, and in this case they reside in my country. How do you think I should answer this question?

    2. I had some old items on my credit report all totalling less than $1,000. I recently paid off 2 of the creditors and I have 2 that I plan to start working on soon, will this have an adverse effect on my eligibility?

    3. I have worked and moved a LOT in my 7 yrs of being in this country; 7 residences and 16 jobs to be specific. The jobs were all retail/mall jobs dating back to 2001. Will this delay my clearance? I doubt many of the managers still work there so how can they verify that I actually worked there?

    I have no criminal/negative history. My main concerns are my alliances with a foreign country (Ghana); my place of birth..although I am now a naturalized citizen and the old items on the report.

    Thanks a lot for your anticipated response.

  150. Avatar

    How long are SBPR’s generally taking lately? My last one took a while.

  151. Avatar

    Actually, I should have asked how long it is taking OPM to complete SBPRs lately?

  152. Avatar

    Regarding the selective service question, I forgot to mention that I am a contractor. Does that help?

  153. Avatar

    I am completing an SF86 for TS clearance. I was diagnosed as bipolar in 1997, and have been successfully managing my illness with medication ever since. My doctor said he is confident that my judgment is sound and I am managing the illness well.

    I’ve checked “yes” on the SF86, and have listed the names of my doctors and the dates of treatment on my SF86. Is it better for me to describe my condition and treatment progress in the comment field of the SF86, or should I leave that area blank and let the investigator speak with my doctor and me about it?

    Thank you for your recommendations.

  154. Avatar

    Mr Henderson,

    Thanks for the info 🙂


  155. Avatar

    I have received a copy of my BI through a FOIA request. Included is a “Case Closing Transmittal” (CCT). The CCT lists “Extra Coverage: L7.”
    What is L7?


  156. Avatar


    I filled out and submitted all my paperwork in early September for a position at USAID. The only two issues that may hinder me are 1) Bad credit, there are a lot of reason for that but its still there 2) I’m a first generation American. I was born here but my parents were not. They are Nigerian. They are citizens now, but besides my immediate family everyone else is over there. Its been 4 months and I’m still waiting for temp security clearance.

    The problem is that NO ONE is calling me, or responding to my phone calls or emails. There have been issues already where the HR people didn’t submit my paperwork until mid October, and they lost my finger print cards. Now no one is keeping me informed. I do know that something is happening because my friends told me they got reference letters in mid November.

    What is the process here? Should I be getting calls from an investigator? What does it take to get a temp clearance?

  157. Avatar

    I forgot to mention that this is for a secret level clearance.

  158. Avatar

    I didn’t realize the SF86 did not have a question of prior applications to police departments. However, the application for employment for this particular agency does…not sure why. This being my first federal application I am a bit paranoid and would like to get a good start on it. Do you have any idea why they would be interested in knowing where else I have applied for a law enforcement position?

    Thank you,

  159. Avatar

    My question is on misconduct. I have been recently terminated for misconduct related to misuse of computer usage. Although I had not done it in some time – and came forward with the info, the company decided to terminate me. I have had a security Q clearance with SCI since 1992. My question is, can my clearance be reinstated if I go to work for another company? Or just how long would the punishment be for misconduct that did not involve any criminal intent? Otherwise, my record is spotless and was a lack of judgement on my part. I have already lost my job over this, but have received many offers but I am unsure what to tell the next company what would happen if I filled to reinstate my clearance. Is there some weighing criteria or is it just the 7 years with no missteps?

  160. Avatar

    Hi all,
    I visit this website every so often and find it to be a great resource. Please keep up the good work! Ok, here is my predicament… I work at a contractor and have a current/full DoD TS clearance. Within the last few months, I took a life-style poly at an agency based in Virginia. I was truthful and upfront about a lot of non-criminal but nonetheless potentially embarrassing things I’ve done in my adult life. Despite my candor (and perhaps because the blood pressure cuff was excrutiatingly tight–tight enough to leave for several days some red marks where it had been) my blood pressure was apparently outside of acceptable parameters. My results were thus inconclusive, as I was told, but not necessarily indicative of deception. Anyway, that is only the background for the two things I would like to ask about…

    1) For my current position, I may need to get SCI with DoD but without having to take any poly. The application form I’ve seen nevertheless asks if I’ve ever taken a poly. How will DoD look upon my inconclusive results on a previous life-style poly with the other place? Will they crack open my file, read all about my less-than-glorious moments, and take those things into consideration?

    2) I’m also being considered for a State Dept job requiring either TS or TS/SCI, but no poly testing is needed. Again, more or less the same questions… Will DoS factor in my botched life-style poly? Will they have access to what I had to say?

    Honestly, I don’t care so much about working at the place that administered the poly, but am nonetheless a little wary that the whole experience may come back to haunt me when it comes to future clearances. Thanks so much!!!

  161. Avatar

    How long does a investigation for a secret clearance go back, also do i have to fill out a sf-86 or is there another form for this type of clearance?.

  162. Avatar

    Hello, I am filling out the SF 85 for for public trust and have a question about section 12 employment record 5. Left a job for other reasons under unfavorable circumstances. I made some data entry errors and this was brought to my attention at work I was written up because of this. I did not appreciate the tone of the meeting and after I got home I decided to quit the next day. Would this be considered number five.


  163. Avatar

    Who are you going to be working for?

    You will most likley fill out a SF-86 for a secret clearance and a NACLC will be the type of investigation which will be conducted. Follow what the instructions say on the SF-86. Unless you have an issue that falls with in the Special Interview (SPIN) guidelines then don’t be surprised if an investigator does not speak with you.

  164. Avatar

    I have a Secret clearance through the Air National Guard. I recently applied for an officer position and was accepted. When doing the paperwork I was asked “have you ever done illegal drugs”. I answered yes and had to complete a waver form. I stated that I smoked marijuana once when I was 16. This is not the complete truth. I feel compelled to tell the whole truth but I fear it would be the end of my career. The truth is I made a lot of poor choices when I was younger and experimented with harder drugs such as cocaine, shrooms, and even LSD once. It is my understanding that these are immediate disqualifiers even though it was a long time ago. I also may need to get a TS clearance for my civilian job. This involves a polygraph and the truth will obviously come out. If I tell the whole truth will I lose both clearances? I am between a rock and a hard place.


  165. Avatar

    Hi I have a question regarding my clearance. I currently have an active TS/SCI. My last re-investgation was in August 2006. However, in November of 2006 I made a stupid error and recieved a DUI. The following Monday I reported it to my SSO and gave him statements, paperwork, and told him everything.

    I then had another incident where I got charged with driving on a suspended license. Now, that was not entirely my fault the lawyer gave me some wrong info about my license. I was under the impression it was suspended for only 6 months. In fact the DMV even issued my license when they should not have. This happened in August of 07 when I was looking for an apartment because I was transferring jobs. Again, I told the SSO at my new location right after this happened and gave him all required documentation. I also told the new SSO about my prior DUI just in case.

    I also traveled to Israel over the summer and reported that to my SSO along with the foreign contact forms.

    I know that my next re-investigation does not occur until ~August 2011, but needless to say I am still a little worried about this. Other than those incidents I have no infractions other than a few speeding tickets. I have had a clearance since 1999 when I joined the Air Force and SCI access since 02.

    I guess I am just wondering from an investigator’s point of view…if you saw my record and story would I still be renewed my clearance?

  166. Avatar


    Depends on what work you are applying for. Just answer “Yes” and not selected during the process. There is no shame or trouble with that. Not everyone gets selected, besides you did not commit a crime, you just had a set-back. You will be fine. Good luck and thanks for your service to the country.

  167. Avatar


    Having relatives overseas will make it tough for you to get an interim clearance. You are getting a Secret clearance and odds are, no investigator will call you unless info is needed on your relationship with family overseas. Be patient and things will happen. Good luck. In the mean time, collect what info you can on the relatives overseas and have them ready for an investigator if needed–will help move things along if contacted.

  168. Avatar


    Way too vague with the questions!!!! Try to explain what issues of character.

  169. Avatar


    First, never take advice from lawyers 🙂 Kidding if any are here. I understand what you are saying and it is very common to us investigators. Most people think if charges were reduced or dismissed it is not required to answer–when in fact it is. Always remember, the initial arrest was for DWI or DUI and then changed. The arrest record will normally show this and the remaining parts can be explained. Supply the info and if confronted about anything, explain the reasons why. Hope this makes sense!

  170. Avatar

    BW –Thanks! Esp. the part about this being very common.
    Kindest Regards.

  171. Avatar

    The question on the Sf85p asks to list education beyond junion high school if not within 7 years. I have been out of high school 30 years now and listed no formal education beyond high school. Will they still require high school verification?

  172. Avatar

    I’ve had a TS/SCI on and off since ~1998. I say on and off because during OIF, I went out of range for the SCI. I worked in an uncleared area until the investigation was rolling and nothing was initially found against me. I worked in a SCIF from 2005 to spring 2008 waiting for the investigation to finish. In Dec 07 I was getting nervous because of the time involved, I emailed the guy that interviewed me and provided additional information to some of the questions he had asked. Then, in February 08, I was informed by our security office the TS/SCI went through, finally.

    In the meantime, I had found a new contract position, gave the company 2 weeks notice and moved on. I arrived at my new location and have been here for over six months now, waiting for the clearance to come through. No one is really concerned (but me), I am working outside of a SCIF. The issue only came up once and the gvt boss didn’t really seem to be concerned. I asked my company about it, they mentioned my previous company did “something” with my clearance.

    So, I am wondering, did my previous employer somehow mess up the transfer of my clearance or did my letter sent in Dec 07 cause more issues that clarify? I had assumed not as my clearance was finally finished in Feb 08. I was told by an investigator; if there was an issue with your clearance, you’d know it right away.

  173. Avatar

    I failed to include these in my SF-86 and now I need to correct them:
    1. I worked for a company that went out of business, and was fired due to a $300 cash register shortage.
    2. I experimented with Marijuana 1 or 2x with my college roommates about 3-4 years ago. I didn’t consider this as illegal drug use but I still don’t want to seem like I am concealing things.
    3. There is a collection item of mine that I didn’t report. It’s a 4 yr old hospital bill that isn’t on my credit report hence I forgot about it, however I just remembered it.
    Are these factors going to disqualify me? Keep in mind that I’m a naturalized citizen with ties to foreign nationals (My immediate family, some friends) so I’m thinking all these things will X me out of consideration for clearance. Your answers would be much appreciated.

  174. Avatar

    Oh, might I add that I have no idea what happened to that $300. I had counted my drawer the day before and it was accurate, the next day I got called into the security office. I didn’t sign anything of course and I totally denied it because I didn’t take it.

  175. Avatar

    Thanks for answering my question Mr. Henderson. So if a subject said something like “I had two one night stands about three years ago with Alice and Gladys, who I met at a conference in Chicago during the summer internship for my MBA program. It was when my wife and I were separated, and I told her about it when we talked about getting back together,” would there still be much left for the investigator to ask about? I don’t mind being asked if I would do it again (definitely not), and things like that, but I feel it would be embarassing to have to discuss the more intimate details with a stranger. I doubt the investigator would want to go there anyway, but I was just wondering. Thanks again.

  176. Avatar


    Loose lips sink ships…you mention anything else and you’re done. They only know what you tell them unless there are written records else where. With the Poly…you better have good bearing.

    But I’m not an investigator so don’t take my word for it. I look forward to a subject matter expert answer to your question.

    Good luck.

    PS, It’s a shame that having a few bad decisions at an age when we don’t even think about our future can be a reason to disqualify. Never mind all the degrees and service to our country.

  177. Avatar

    When investigators get only some minor criticisms from sources they interview about someone is it usual for them to have to interview the person who applied for the clearance again or do more investigating about it or can they just let that go if it doesn’t seem to be too big a deal? We are talking nothing worse than one person I used to work with saying there were some minor marital issues or some financial difficulties in the past. Everything is fine now at home and our credit scores are good too. My own interview with the investgator was fine and he was very nice but it has been so long for my investigation to be going on already I am worried that the one person’s comments may slow it down again now that it finally almost seems to be done.

  178. Avatar

    Hello Everyone, I have a question regarding a pending security clearance background check that will be conducted on me shortly. I was employed as an investigator for over five years with a contractor of OPM. I was later terminated over a year ago due to falsification. I have denied the reason for termination and will be pursuing the matter down the road within the court system. I felt that the matter was handled in a manner which was unprofessional by my former employer. I enjoyed and took a passion to my work everyday. I am currently seeking to become a contract investigator and would like to know if this termination will ultimately lead me to being disqualified for the security clearance needed for the position? I have had no prior issues with this employer and no other issues financially or criminal. Again, I am really hoping to resume my career as an investigator. Thanks in advance for any input and good luck to all!

  179. Avatar

    Numerous sources are interviewed so a “whole picture” of the SUBJECT under investigation can be obtained. If one source has minor derogatory info they provide during an interview and every other source interviewed has nothing derogatory to say then it is understood that that source may have something against the SUBJECT.
    There could be a chance that the SUBJECT is interviewed again about derogatory info obtained from a source but that only usually happens if the agency requests it. I have had to do this a few times but the derogatory information obtained from the source was very significant. I have had to follow up at a college because two sources interviewed advised SUBJECT attended this college yet the SUBJECT did not list the fact they attended this college on their SF-86. Turns out the SUBJECT did attend this college but it was outside the required time frame of them having to list this education on their case papers.

  180. Avatar

    What type of clearance are you going for? If you are having a PRSI completed you will have a chance to explain everything to your investigator during your PRSI. You might want to let your security manager know about these issues and that you forgot about them and let hi/her know you will tell your investigator all about them.

  181. Avatar

    Montana Sam,
    Be prepared to let your investigator know that you have had no formal education since graduating high school. If I was your investigator I would ask you the name of your high school, the city/state it is in and the date you graduated. Depending on your investigation type an inquiry maybe sent to the high school to verify that you graduated. There are different type of investigations which use the SF-85P form.

  182. Avatar

    We as investigators do not make the recommendation if someone should maintain their clearance. Adjudicators and SSO make that decision. We just obtain the facts. You should be more concerned what your SSO thinks about your various incidents. He/she is most likely the one who who may suspend your clearance.

  183. Avatar

    I asked this question already but was skiped and no one answered me yet so ill post it again.

    Hi, i’m applying for a job that requires a secret clearance, I was in the airforce in 2003 and had a secret clearance then but since then have been living in Thailand and have gotten married to a Thai citizen. Will my marriage effect me getting an interim clearance?.

    Also im going on vacation to Loas for 2 weeks,since Loas is technically a communist country would that hurt my clearance as well.


  184. Avatar

    OK, I have done the personal interview, the polygraph and past. Last I heard my SF86 has been turn in. In regards to illegal drugs is my concern. I did mention that I did it once in 97 and once in 06 on my SF86. However, during my polygraph, it showed I had something on my mind…. I guess! The fact is I did it in 97, 2005,2006, and early June of 2007. Once or twice each period. I have nothing else in my background. Can this hender my TS/SCI or slow the process down. Also, if not how long will this usually take. I notice by other story it takes along time. However, my paperwork was started in Nov, my Poly was dec, and my paperwork (SF86) has been submitted already 4 review. I have a letter offering as a contractor pending my clearance. I am currently unemployed and can’t wait to work. Also, should I get another job while waiting. What if its with the government. Even if it’s not where I want to be. Could this look bad it I leave the government for this other position and maybe down the road in my future apply for the gov’t again.

  185. Avatar


    We don’t need all the vivd details. Simply tell the investigator about the affair and your wife knows and you worked it out. That should suffice.

  186. Avatar


    Tell your security manager now. You will be had during the poly. Again, I will say, better to beg forgiveness than to be caught in a lie. As far as the Guard goes, it is highly unlikely they will do anything except maybe change your MOS if you cannot be cleared SCI. Now, with that said, if you are caught in the future not telling the truth on a federal background form, you could be held criminally responsible. Tough spot to be in, but doing the right thing now is best before the poly. Good luck and thanks for your service.

  187. Avatar

    My Army recruiter says that I cannot get a job as an intelligence analyst because I have 2 DUI’s in the last three years (2007 and 2004) and that I’m still on probation (probation ends 2010). Is this true, even though I’ve already completed a court ordered alcohol treatment for 6 months, I haven’t drank alcohol for 11 months and going to AA for 6 months? Will another branch in the military accept me?

  188. Avatar

    I started taking an antidepressant about 3 months ago for depression. Recently I’ve been asked to go for a TS-SCI, to include a poly. I’ve held a Secret about 10 years ago while in the military and I have nothing, other than the antidepressants, that would affect my clearance. I’m sure my Dr. would agree that my treatment is going great and the medication is working. Does this situation disqualify me, and can it result in a psychological disqualification? I’d really like to get this clearance but wonder if I have any shot if I have to put down that I’m on antidepressants. Any advice would be greatly appreciated….Thanks.

  189. Avatar

    Today I missed a call from my “case manager”. I’d never heard this term before. Apparently she handles all aspects of my investigation, including adjudication. I was extremely concerned.

    “Is there a problem?” I asked the poor hassled secretary on the phone.

    “She’s not your investigator, she’s your case manager. So if she’s calling you directly, I doubt there’s a problem.”

    Do you know what this means? What’s the difference between a case manager and an adjudicator? Why would a case manager call an applicant for a security clearance? Is this the same as a SPIN? If so, why wasn’t it referred back to an investigator? Or am I being called upon to explain some contradiction? I thought I told the whole truth in my application, so my head is racing overtime with things that could’ve gone wrong…

    Any help from any investigators/adjudicators is appreciated.

  190. Avatar

    William Henderson-
    When an adjudicator reviews and gives the ok on a clearance does his or her supervisor have to sign off them as well like a chain of command or is it just the adjudicator and thats it? Thanks

  191. Avatar

    I need copy of my sf85p, haveing a re-investigation. where can i get it. thanks in advance.

  192. Avatar

    Hi, I currently hold a secret security clearance. I was arrested recently for soliciting prostitution and I am gonna see the judge in a few weeks. My question is what could possibly happen if found guilty? My lawyer says everything should be fine and he’ll knock off the charges. If found guilty, will I lose my security clearance? if I have a chance, what is the procedure to follow?

  193. Avatar


    Check with your FSO, but I’m guessing you are SOL on finding a copy.

  194. Avatar


    No sup will sign anything. If you are military, your CC is approval authority for access, not the clearance.

  195. Avatar

    I’m a AF Reservist (12 years) and a AF Contractor (5 years). Have a S clearance all 12 years and it was a requirement for my AF Contractor job. AF contractor job catagory now requires TS. I did the paperwork and I foresee no problems.

    Not having a ‘higher’ clearance has hindered me on the civilian side so I’m excited/grateful for the opportunity.

    My actual position might not get funded ‘in a year’ because of command directed resource consolidation. I dont know if I want to ‘wait’ to see what happens. You know.. I gotta eat, I gotta pay the mortgage.

    1. What happens if I’m not working there before the clearance is granted?

    2. What happens if I’m not working there after the clearance is granted?

    3. Does it matter in either case if I leave voluntarily or involuntarily (position not funded)?

    4. Can I ask my AF Reserve command to “take ownership” of this clearance or it’s investigation (if not finished) if I must leave the company?

  196. Avatar

    I have a question about the interface between JPAS, OPM,
    and DCPDS (Defense Civilian Personnel Data System). JPAS (system of record) says I have a Secret clearance as of Feb 00. DCPDS says I have a TS SCI as of Jan 05. It’s my understanding there is a weekly interface between DCPDS and JPAS…but I’m not sure how this works or if there are other interfaces involved between the data systems. I’ve read on the net DCPDS sends personnel info on all DoD employees to JPAS; then JPAS sends security info back to DCPDS on each employee. If that’s the case, there should not be any disconnects. My FSO thinks maybe a TS investigation was initiated on me by OPM back in 04 when I changed jobs and the data was not entered into JPAS…have you heard of disconnects between OPM and JPAS? Can my FSO see all data on me? What’s everyones take on this? Other people in my office have shared the same concerns…

  197. Avatar

    You can get your prior SF85P from the agency that did your last investigation, but you will have to submit a Privacy Act request for the entire investigative file and it will take about a month or so to get it.

  198. Avatar

    If your SSO properly reported the information you gave him, you probably have nothing to worry about. The information was reviewed by an adjudicator and it apparently wasn’t serious enough to initiate an investigation and/or suspend your clearance. Unless other issues arise before your next reinvestigation the things that you mentioned should not result in a clearance revocation.

  199. Avatar

    Clearance transfers are the responsibility of the gaining employer. There are three basic problems that can arise when attempting to transfer an active SCI clearance: 1) you only had an interim clearance at the time you left your previous employer, 2) you were granted a final clearance with an exception (waiver, deviation, or condition); or 3) you SCI was at a lower sensitivity level than the one currently required.

  200. Avatar

    Yes. Even though it was strictly your decision to quit, you did so immediatley after being being counseled for a performance problem. Also if you quit without telling your employer, that would be considered job abandonment and would probably be recorded as such in your personnel file.

  201. Avatar

    A single instance of marital infidelity that does not involve any criminal act is only a security/suitability concern if the applicant can be blackmailed because of it.

  202. Avatar

    Having a foreign spouse as well foreign in-laws is a security concern. Depending on the exact circumstances it could be a potentially disqualifying condition (see Guideline B of the Adjudicative Guidelines). Just as important is the reason you have been living in Thailand for the past five years. Vacation travel to a communist country is not an issue.

  203. Avatar

    Having a lot of non-delinquent debt, even credit card debt, does not become a potentially disqualifying condition for a security clearance, unless the debt accumulated due to “consistently spending beyond one’s means.” As a practical matter a large amount of non-delinquent debt does not become a security issue until some event triggers a closer examination of the applicant’s financial situation. The triggering events can be found at questions 27 and 28 of the SF86 (Sep 95 version).

  204. Avatar


    On the paper version of both the Sep 95 and the Jul 08 SF86 there is space to enter the Alien Registration number of your parents. I don’t recall the exact wording of the relevant question on the eQIP version of the SF86, but the eQIP version has fields for comments. Never allow a form to prevent you from entering the information that you think is important.

    Based on the information you provided, Foreign Influence and Financial Considerations will be security/suitability concerns in your case. You used the phrase “they live in my country” to explain that your parents live in Ghana, so I would have to suspect that Foreign Preference may also be an issue in your case. Your investigation will probably take longer because of all your different employment and residences. It has been my experience that when someone has 16 jobs and 7 residences in 7 years, they rarely leave all their jobs on good terms and occasionally have some problems with landlords or utility companies. If there is any unfavorable information related to your past employments and residences, they will also be security concerns.

  205. Avatar

    The status of PRs at OPM has changed a lot since fall 2007. There are no recent figures specifically for SBPRs at OPM but a good SWAG would probably be 90 days or less for the top 80%..

  206. Avatar

    Well, as a contractor you don’t have to deal with debarrment from federal service, but the Adjudicative Guidelines apply to everyone, including contractors.

  207. Avatar

    Regardless of what you put in the SF86, you will be interviewed and one or more of your doctors will have to be interviewed. In your situation I recommend you don’t explain your condition or treatment in the comment section. The only reason for explaining such things is to maximize the chance of getting an interim clearance. Since you are managing your condition with medication, an interim clearance is not possible. An adjudicator will want to see an interview of your doctor(s) before any clearance can be granted. I recommend you check with your doctors and determine if they will accept the SF86 medical release and the OFI-16A. If not, get a copy of a medical release that they find acceptable and take it with you to your security interview. Doing this will save a week or two if your doctors don’t accept the government releases. A copy of the OFI-16A and both versions of the SF86 are posted at my website.

  208. Avatar

    OPM allows their customers (govt agencies) to specify additional things they want covered during an investigation that is used for primarily for employment purposes (although it can be a combination employment and security clearance investigation). They are referred to as Special Factors. There are 4 standard Special Factors that can be requested: Overseas Attributes = #1, Managerial and Supervisory Attributes = #4, Public Contact Attributes = #5, and Law Enforcement Attributes = #6. There are also non-standard Special Factors designed for specific occupations and other requirements. Special Factors get translated into Extra Coverage codes that are defined in the investigation manual so the investigator will know exactly what is required. The investigation manual and therefore the definition of the extra coverage codes are not available to the public.

  209. Avatar

    In all likelihood your previous employer submitted a report to the appropriate DOE security office regarding your misconduct and termination of employment. Because you were terminated, DOE lost jurisdiction over your security clearance and can not take any action to resolve/adjudicate this unfavorable information. Therefore your clearance can not be readily reinstated, nor can it be used as the basis for a reciprocal clearance from another agency until the issue is investigated and adjudicated. You will have to find a company or agency willing to sponsor you for a clearance and be willing to wait for this to be completed.

  210. Avatar

    Any federal agency sponsoring your security clearance will have access to information about you held by any other federal agency. You have to operate on the premise that they will request and review the report of your polygraph interview and polygraph exam. Any information in these reports relevant to the Adjudicative Guidelines will be taken into consideration.

    I’m curious about these forms that you mention. Are they OMB approved forms? What are their names and numbers? Do they just ask if you have ever taken a poly or do they ask for specifics.

  211. Avatar

    I had a police employment background interview 6 years ago. My wife was preassuring me in becoming a police officer and in an effort to not disappoint her I told her I would try it. At the time all I wanted was to go to school, collect my GI bill and work my regular job and then start my own business. I had a real good shot at becoming a cop so I fabricated a sotry in order to get dropped from the process on purpose and show my wife prove that I was not accepted into the department. The story consisted of me tasting cocaine (not snorting) and experimenting with marijuana at 14. I knew the department would drop me just for that.

    Now that I have my degrees and tried business I’ve grown an interest in becoming part of the federal law enforcement system but I’m hesitating because of such story I produced 6 years ago. Should I even mentioned that I applied at that department? I would prefer not to mention on the application that I applied with them. I know that on the SF86 there is no such question (per the response to DGhost’s question) Is there a way they can track that I’ve applied and find out why I got dropped from that process?

    What a bind.

  212. Avatar

    Is there such thing as an Interim SCI clearance? I currently have a TS/SCI through the DoD until October 2008. I signed an offer letter that states that I start my job “pending the adjudication” of my clearance by the DIA. That’s why I ask if there’s such thing as an interim SCI because I might have to open it up with my employer. I signed the offer letter 1 Nov 08, but hadn’t heard anything yet…how long does the adjudication usually take? Please advise…

  213. Avatar

    I am graduating college and received a conditional offer that requires a Top Secret/SCI and full poly. I have smoked marijuana under 15 times and not since March 2007. I also received a minor in possession of alcohol in January 2007 but it was dismissed. I’ve had two security clearances before, a Confidential granted in June 2007 and a Secret granted in November 2008. On my SF-85 for the Confidential, I did not disclose that I had smoked marijuana. However, on the SF-86 for the Secret clearance, I did disclose and still received my clearance. The thing is that no one ever asked me about the discrepancy in adjudicating my Secret clearance. Now that I am up for the TS/SCI, am I totally sunk for not disclosing this on my first security clearance application when I was 20 even though I disclosed it on the next two? I am disclosing again to my investigator when the Subject Interview comes up but is this too late/too little?

  214. Avatar

    My 38 year old son was convicted in federal court in 2003 for firearms possession of several antique automatic guns. He has served his time and is currently in the last year of his probation. If he had obtained a federal license for these guns before he got them they would have been legal. He did not have the license so they were determined to be illegal.
    He previously held a secret security clearance while working for a DoD contractor. My question: is he eligible for a security clearance in his current situation? Almost all of the available jobs in his field in this area are either government or contractor to the government jobs.

  215. Avatar

    what SOL stands for BW an INVESTIGATOR

  216. Avatar

    Larry: SOL means Out of Luck. You can provide your own interpretation for what the S stands for but you might have heard the expression tough s***.

  217. Avatar

    william anderson show me how and ware i can make that request to under the Privacy ACT, obtain the entire investigative file. thank you so much.

  218. Avatar

    Anthony S

    Tough spot, but if they ask you if you have ever applied to an LE Dept, I recommend you tell the truth. Remember, you are trying to become a Fed LE person and your integrity is of utmost importance. If you are required by their application and they discover it and you did not disclose, you can almost bet your chances will be “Zero” of getting hired plus lieing on a Fed process is a crime–be careful and thoughtful. Best of luck.

  219. Avatar

    I guess I shouldn’t have been so nervous about it. They were asking some questions about my work at an embassy.

    Details: As a high school student, almost 5 years ago now, I was part of a political science program that placed us in different spots on Capitol Hill. My teacher knew I spoke Arabic, so he selected a Middle Eastern embassy. The country is on good terms with the US and has been one of our best allies over there.

    Anyway, I was an unpaid intern, working about 10 hours a week. I sorted mail, books and news articles. I did general clerical stuff. The internship lasted about six months, during the school year. When it was over I wasn’t offered a job there as they didn’t have money for another paid intern anyhow.

    I’m not a citizen of the country, I have no relations there, I haven’t ever been there (haven’t traveled overseas in 6 years), have no contacts with the embassy now and never did besides my supervisor. But is this enough to get me denied for Foreign Influence?

  220. Avatar

    Go to the website of the agency that did your investigation and find their instructions for making a Privacy Act request. If they don’t have instructions posted at their website, telephone them as ask.

  221. Avatar

    Is there such thing as an Interim SCI clearance? I currently have a TS/SCI through the DoD until October 2008. I signed an offer letter that states that I start my job “pending the adjudication” of my clearance by the DIA. That’s why I ask if there’s such thing as an interim SCI because I might have to open it up with my employer. I signed the offer letter 1 Nov 08, but hadn’t heard anything yet…how long does the adjudication usually take? Please advise…

  222. Avatar

    Thank you Mr. Henderson. I have one more question. Is it possible to be denied security clearance without a chance to explain yourself? I.E. if there are issues with your application, can the adjudicators decide there’s an obvious problem and deny you without giving you a special interview or an opportunity to clarify the issue?

  223. Avatar


    Even if it was an embassy of a high risk country, because your internship at the embassy occurred when you were young, it probably won’t be a problem for you.

  224. Avatar

    Tony P:

    Yes there is such a thing as interim SCI eligibility, but it is not very common and strictly at the discretion of the issuing authority if certain requirements are meet.

    I don’t understand your situation. Why did your TS/SCI terminate in Oct 08? What is DIA going to adjudicate–your prior investigation or a new one. For reciprocity all components of DoD (including DIA) are considered one agency.

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    Mr. Henderson,

    Thank you for the reply. Yes, he served almost three years. His probation will be finished in 2009. There are those that might be willing to sponser him. Would there be less risk if he waits until his probation is complete before trying to get a clearance?

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    If he served 366 days or more in prison, he will need a waiver to get a security clearance. Waivers can be granted in meritorious cases.

    Still being on probation is also problematic. Rehabilitation is the primary mitigation for criminal conduct. Anyone who is still on probation or parole, will have difficulty showing rehabilitation because so little time has pasted since the crime, and the person has not yet finished their entire sentence.

    In either event, if someone sponsors him for a clearance, he will be investigated and his completed investigation will be adjudicated like any other.

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    Hello Mr. Henderson. Actually, I’m already working for a contractor on unclassified work. I was put in for a TS/SCI. Does this change things?

    I am very scared because of the foreign influence thing above, and also misstatements on a previous application with another employer. I have the memory of stewed squash. There were several minor errors on my SF-86 or things in the wrong place. The first time I turned it in I forgot to list two of my immediate relatives.

    Anyway, I think I may have some minor inconsistencies from application to application, like dates and things. I was never deliberately untruthful, but I admit I didn’t make a serious effort to list Absolutely Everything until I filled out the SF-86 for my current job, which I love. I tried to be as absolutely accurate as possible. When the investigators called I told them everything I could remember and then some, and told them to call me back if they had any questions at all. I gave them something like 15 different references.

    Nobody has called me so far to address any inconsistencies with other applications. My fear is, would they look at those inconsistencies, assume I’m lying, and deny me without giving me a chance to explain? Or would they call me? Or would they assume that I’m obviously just stupid and not deliberately trying to lie? They called about the foreign work issue, but that was it.

    Thank you for your time.

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    I have the impression that you are applying for federal employment. There is a lot of confusion about employment suitability and security clearance determinations. For federal employment these are separate actions and many people never have their investigation adjudicated for a security clearance, because they were found unsuitable for the federal job they are seeking.

    If your investigation makes it to a security clearance adjudicator, you will have certain due process rights that may or may not have been available for the employment suitability determination. Usually adjudicators want to hear what the applicant has to say about an issue, so they either send you a written interrogator and have an investigator interview you. Beyond that you should read my article on “Rebutting and Appealing Security Clearance Denials” posted at

  229. Avatar

    I looked over the ADR in your link. My omissions were not deliberate and as far as I can tell not adjudicatively significant. I just hope if they think it is significant, I am given a chance to explain first. Would I get that opportunity? Thanks again.

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    I don’t know what clearance if any you received in Jun 07 by filling out an SF85. All security clearances must be based on an SF86. Nevertheless falsifying any government form is a felony and your action will be judged under the “Personal Conduct” and/or “Criminal Conduct” criteria of the Adjudicative Guidelines. If you are being considered for employment by a federal agency, you may be screened out at the employment suitability stage of your processing and never make it the security clearance adjudication stage. I suggest you carefully review the mitigating conditions listed in the Adjudicative Guidelines to see if any of them apply to you, so you can emphasize them during any future security interview.

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    Dear Mr. Henderson,

    Since I was granted the Secret Clearance in November does that mean I successfully mitigated my original omission of drug use from the SF-85 I filled out in June 2007? My SF-86 for the Secret Clearance was entirely truthful and I’m assuming they looked at my SF-85 for my previous internship.

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    Since you are a contractor employee, you can disregard the first paragraph of my previous post. I guess what threw me off was your statement that you had missed a phone call from the case manager/adjudicator. Case managers at private companies that conduct investigations for the government are not adjudicators and they shouldn’t be contacting you at all. Their job is to coordinate the activities of the various investigators involve in your case and review the case for completeness before it is sent to the government requestor. Case managers at a government agency can also be adjudicators, but they should be contacting you by telephone either. When adjudicators contact applicants, it is done in writing. Why are two investigators contacting you? You should only have to deal with one investigator—the one who does your Personal Subject Interview (PRSI). It’s bad form for another investigator to contact you. Did the investigators ask substantive questions on the telephone? One of several problems with telephone interviews is that the investigator can never be completely positive he/she is talking to the applicant and the applicant can never be completely positive he/she is talking to a real investigator, unless there was a face to face interview first. In fact telephone interviews of references are rare and must be justified in writing. Telephone interviews of applicants are almost completely forbidden.

    Don’t worry about unintentional or inadvertent errors/omissions on your current or prior SF86s. Investigators are accustomed to discovering a lot of inaccuracies on SF86s during the PRSI. If the inconsistencies on your SF86s become a security concern, you will be given the opportunity to explain them before a final clearance decision is made.

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    There should be a “not” in the sentence, “Case managers at a government agency can also be adjudicators, but they should *not* be contacting you by telephone either.”

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    They should have reviewed the SF85 and the investigation that was adjudicated in Jun 07, but who knows if they did or not. The only way to find out is to get a copy of the adjudicative record from Nov 08. If I were you, I’d be prepared to address the falsification issue and not assume anything.

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    Thank you for your response. I got my TS/SCI clearance (2003) from when I was in the USAF. I separated(honorable) the service Sept 07. I was a contractor working with the CIA from April to Oct 08, that required me to be cleared. I applied as a contractor that will be working for the DIA before I resigned my job. According to the company that’s trying to hire me now, DIA does their own adjudication so they can’t hire me yet until DIA comes back with the “green light.” That’s the reason why I asked if there is such thing as Interim SCI clearance…maybe I can talk to my hiring official to put me in for it?
    Enjoy the holidays!

    Tony P

    Yes there is such a thing as interim SCI eligibility, but it is not very common and strictly at the discretion of the issuing authority if certain requirements are meet.

    I don’t understand your situation. Why did your TS/SCI terminate in Oct 08? What is DIA going to adjudicate–your prior investigation or a new one. For reciprocity all components of DoD (including DIA) are considered one agency.

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    Tony P:
    It appears that you are past due for a periodic reinvestigation.

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    I am transitioning from active duty military into a federal service job but it is contingent on receiving a clearance. I currently hold a Secret and will need a TS/SCI for the job. I am a US citizen, my wife is naturalized for over 20 years and my daughter has dual citizenship until 18 yrs old because a birth abroad. I’m not worried about my immediate family; it’s my in-laws that give me concern. My father-in is a US citizen and my mother-in is naturalized and they are missionaries living overseas. We have no affiliation with any other person living there other than my in-laws but by the nature of there work they do. Will their living in another country hurt my chances of receiving a TS/SCI clearance?

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    Dear William Henderson,

    I currently hold a secret security clearance. I was arrested recently for soliciting prostitution and I am gonna see the judge in a few weeks. I got a lawyer and he assures me nothing will happen and will get rid of the charges and it will look like it never happened. However, I am probably going to have to report that I was arrested. In the worst case, my question is what could possibly happen if found guilty? My lawyer says everything should be fine and he’ll knock off the charges. If found guilty, will I lose my security clearance? if I have a chance, what is the procedure to follow?

  239. Avatar

    But, if there was a problem with the clearance, wouldn’t I be informed? Could my email to the investigator caused more problems than it solved? (He asked questions I didn’t remember, I looked up information and provided more depth to answers).