Comment Archive

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    I have a TS/SCI clearance but no experience in a job to use it. Is there any cert. or ojt that I can get other than IT to open a door for me. Any job that would not need college degree to do but make average income.

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    What are your general skills? A TS/SCI is a high level clearance, and employers will pay a premium salary if you have desirable qualifications.

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    I have had two DUI’s, and now work for a government contractor that requires a secret clearance. The DUI’s were in 2005 and March of 2007. I have a pretty good credit rating and haven’t done any drugs since college (03/05). Is a secret clearance a no hope for me?

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    Hey all,

    I’ve just finished submitting my SF86 to begin the investigation for a Top Secret Clearance. I was informed that once I received the interim and I had a “favorable suitability determination” I could start working. What does that mean? They said this process would take 8-10 weeks.

    Also, does the investigation continue to go on as work? I’m confused as to how I can start working for the government and for a position that requires TSC, but I’m allowed to begin before I am actually awarded the clearance.

    Please clarify!

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    I’m retired Navy, 20-plus years service, stellar record, got out in ‘94, held a NATO Top Secret clearance. I’ve been in the private sector from ‘94 until now, but have been offered a job as a GS-13 that will require a Top Secret (non-compartmented) clearance.
    Here’s the rub.
    From 1999 to 2003 I went through what can only be called the Divorce from You-Know-Where. My ex-wife vowed to “legally destroy” me and she almost succeeded. In 2000 she accused me of molesting our daughter. I was charged with felony sxual battery. My daughter recanted the charges, but because of some verbiage that the state police investigator included in the report and that I objected to but my attorney told me not to pursue, I was still convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor. I was sentenced to a year in jail, all suspended.
    All during this time I held the same job (which I still hold today) one with high public contact, visibility and responsibility. While it’s civilian private sector and thus no clearances required, I still hold positions of high trust, such as working on a corporate Web site unsupervised. I have had no legal troubles, have no credit problems that haven’t been resolved or that I am resolving, and have remarried and am in a stable relationship. No other strikes against me.
    Will this anomalous issue keep me from getting a TS clearance? Should I just forget about this job, which I dearly want?

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    Thank you for answering these questions. I engaged in some very minor use of controlled substances in the past in college. This ended 3 to 4 years ago. I would like to apply for positions with clearance, but I am worried that there would be suitability issues, especially regarding “involvement with drug use”. I have taken serious efforts to distance myself from drug use by acts such as cut off friends who use drugs. However, recently I did happen to enter a room where people were using drugs, and upon discovering the drug use, left thereafter. Would this incident bar me from a general top secret clearance despite the measures I have taken to mitigate this issue? Thanks.

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    I want to accept a job only to get the TS SCI clearance. If I accept the job and successfully gain the clearance, then back out of the job prior to starting work, but after they got me the clearance, will it still be active??

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    For DoD security clearances there are only 5 automatic disqualifiers. None of them apply to you. With every security concern there are potentially disqualifying conditions and mitigating conditions. No one can give you a good opinion regarding your chances for a clearance without knowing all the possible mitigating conditions. The Adjudicative Guidelines list all the security concerns and possible mitigators. You should see which apply to you. They will include: alcohol, criminal conduct, drugs, and possibly personal conduct. A secondary source of good information is the Supplement Information in the Adjudicative Desk Reference, an unofficial reference guide for adjudicators.

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    See my response to David’s question on 8 Nov (above). Within DoD, the Smith Amendment and the Money Memorandum created 5 automatic disqualifiers for security clearances. Your situation is not among them. You should review Adjudicative Guidelines: E—Personal Conduct, F—Financial Considerations, and J—Criminal Conduct. I think you will find that your situation is not as bad as you may think.

    Under the possible disqualifying conditions of Guideline J is: “a single serious crime or multiple lesser offenses.” A single serious crime (regardless of whether the person was arrested or convicted for that crime) is often defined as a felony, as distinct from a misdemeanor or ordinance violation. A felony is basically any crime where the punishment can be confinement for one year or more.

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    Federal employment applicants who need a security clearance are vetted twice—once for employment purposes and once for security clearance purposes. Generally the investigative requirements for an interim TS clearance and for employment suitability purposes are the same. Consequently they can put you to work once a favorable decision has been made regarding both these matters. Your interim TS clearance will probably afford you access to as much classified information as you will need to do your job. The granting or withholding of an interim TS clearance does not interrupt the progress of the Single Scope Background Investigation for a final TS clearance, unless you are denied employment. Eight to ten weeks is possible, but a little optimistic—8 to 16 weeks is a safer guess.

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    Unintentionally and briefly being in the presence of others who were using illegal drugs should not be of any security concern. It sounds as if your past involvement with illegal drugs has been sufficiently mitigated by your actions and your intent not to use drugs in the future.

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    I have a question similar to Bill’s. If I have applied for a federal government job requiring a clearance, what happens if I do not take the job once the clearance is complete? Would I actually have a clearance at that point or would it not be in effect until I started work and signed the right forms? Would that make it easier or harder to get a clearance later to work at a private company?

    When I started the process, I really wanted the federal job but the clearance process is taking such a long time that my situation has changed.

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    OK. Thank you for taking the time to check out the references and respond; it means a lot. I feel a bit more affirmed in my decision … while I’ve spent a whole lot of time poring over former adjudications and have seen nothing similar to mine that would cause me to give up hope, it’s worthwhile to get a second opinion and I must thank you for taking the time to give me one. Thanks again. This blog is a godsend for those of us who have hard questions.

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    Thank you for your response and taking the time to answer my concern. I am very obliged.

    Also, in reference to “Eight to ten weeks is possible, but a little optimistic—8 to 16 weeks is a safer guess,” is that in regards to me receiving my interim or TS? If the first, what’s the average time of TS at the moment?

    Thanks again.

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    My comment about “8 to 16 weeks” refers to interim TS clearances. An FBI ID and technical fingerprint search must be done as part of the NAC for an interim TS clearance regardless of who does the clearance investigation. These FBI checks are usually the pacing factor in completing the NAC. In summer 2006 OPM sent about 30 personnel to FBI to help in processing these checks and the FBI added about 30 people.

    NISPPAC reported that in Mar 07 it took OPM an average of 276 days to complete an initial investigation (SSBI) for a Top Secret clearance (OPM does about 90% of all security clearance investigations). Add one to two months for adjudication.

    OPM claims they have improved significantly since the beginning of the year, but they have not published average turnaround time specifically for initial SSBIs. A lot depends on whether the SSBI was submitted to OPM as a standard or priority case. Priority cases are done in less than half the time.

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    Mr. Henderson,

    I saw in your reply to Charles you referenced a reply to me, yet I can not see any reply. Could you maybe post again as a reply to this?

    Thank You

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    Here is an edited version of what I wrote on 9 Nov in response to your question on 8 Nov.

    “For DoD security clearances there are only 5 automatic disqualifiers. None of them apply to you. With every security concern there are potentially disqualifying conditions and mitigating conditions. No one can give you a good opinion regarding your chances for a clearance without knowing all the possible mitigating conditions. The Adjudicative Guidelines list all the security concerns and possible mitigators. You should see which apply to you. The Guidelines that apply to you will include: alcohol, criminal conduct, drugs, and possibly personal conduct. A secondary source of good information is the Supplement Information in the Adjudicative Desk Reference, an unofficial reference guide for adjudicators.”

    I think the links I listed for the Adjudicative Guidelines and the Adjudicator’s Desk Reference have delayed my original response from being posted to this forum, so I did not include them in this response. You can find links to both documents at my website. Just click on my name and navigate around till you find the “Security Clearance Links” page.

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    I apologize if any of this comes as repetition. I’m new in the contracting world, so I’m a little wet behind the ears.

    I was just awarded my interim secret clearance. I was told my next step would be “the DHS suitability of trust.” Does this take place before my TS investigation, or do they coincide?

    Also, what are the odds my current employeer is contacted during the suitability process? Obviously, they are unaware of my next career move at this point in time, and I’d like to keep it that way until I give my 2 weeks.

    You are the best!

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    A friend of mine is waiting for her clearance TS/SCI. Background investigation had started the last week of August 2007, and she’s not sure if it is still in the investigation process or whether it went forward to adjudications. How or where can she get a status on this matter? My friend has already contacted her FSO in October and until this day, he has not reply to her. Who can she contact to get a real answer?

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    I am putting in for my interim security clearnace and then going for ts.

    I have no criminal history.

    My credit sucks and I have some unpaid debts and some tax liens.

    Any chance to get a Interim or TS?



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    Hi William… I posted on Nov 1st and thank you for your thoughts. As I mentioned in the previous post my work experience is in homeland security stuff and have been interviewing in that field. I also indicated that I was denied the interim and am in adjudication. Do you have any idea how this all works on the employment side? Am I wasting my time applying for these jobs that require clearances? I saw in another post that if you can’t get the interim the first time, its not going to happen on the second round either (unless a sufficient amount of time has passed; I’m assuming).

    Separation paperwork was submitted for me about 3 weeks ago and I was told that there was a very good chance that the application will be kicked out because “there is no longer a need”…then I would have to start all over. I’m of the impression that these positions requiring a clearance might as well be saying “must get interim”. Any thoughts? Essentially I have to find an employer that would permit me to do unclassified work until the clearance goes through??? And that had better be soon because I’m due to lose my sponsor any day???

    Ultimately, I’m wondering if there is any way to make this work or would I be better served by focusing on non-clearance jobs until another year or two has passed?

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    I would love to here comments from anyone else that’s had to deal with this…How did your employer handle it???

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    Hi Karen,

    I am waiting for a response to my question on ” yearlong wait” blog topic. I think this may have happened to me although who knows because no one is forthcoming with any info.

    I did not have a denial, or unsuitable and mine was for TS with poly.It was just stopped.

    I see where some agenices have had to reduce the amount of contracters so if you were one ,like I was ,that may be why.

    Until someone who really knows responds with their wisdom, we can only speculate.

    Good luck to you.I have been told that the “work” that has been remains for two years and it has to be picked up by someone else.

    Hope we both get a response soon. That’s why these boards are great.

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    Tommy – financial issues are one of the primary causes for being denied a clearance. The severity of your particular case will really determine whether the adjudicator believes a clearance should be denied. If you have the ability to submit for an interim, you should do so. Good luck

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    Karen – I’ll ask William to comment as well, but here are our thoughts. First, if you were denied the interim clearance recently, chances are you will be denied again. It is our understanding that being denied an interim would not sit well with an employer who might have the idea to submit you for a final clearance.

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    To: William Henderson
    Thank you so much for your reply.

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    For a SSBI your current employer will definitely be contacted.

    Although there is no requirement to designate contractor positions as “Public Trust” positions, OPM recommends it and most federal agencies do so. The investigative requirements for Moderate- and High-Risk Public Trust positions are greater than the investigative requirements for a final Secret clearance, about the same as for an interim TS clearance, but less then the investigative requirements for an SSBI for a final TS clearance. It is possible that DHS could adjudicate for a Public Trust position before the SSBI is completed.

    I don’t understand why they granted you an interim Secret clearance. It ususally doesn’t work that way. It would seem that in your case an interim Secret clearance is meaningless.

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    The only person your friend can get any info from other than the FSO might be the investigator who did her Personal Subject Interview. It is rare for even a Priority SSBI to be completed in less than 5 months.

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    Unfortunately your chances of getting an interim clearance are not good. Your chances of getting a final Secret or final Top Secret clearance are better than for an interim, because the adjudication for a final clearance will take into consideration any mitigating conditions. You should be prepared to provide as much mitigation as possible during your Subject Interview.

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    Mr Henderson,

    Thank you.

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    There are two things you can do at this point: 1) Make a Privacy Act request for information about your investigation, partial adjudication and reason the adjudication was not completed and 2) since the contractor is claiming that the government customer stopped the clearance processing for no apparent reason, seek assistance from your congressman get some answers.

    There was a person who posted to this forum a few months ago who applied for a federal job at an intelligence agency. He went through a polygraph and Subject Interview then was told for months that his investigation was pending. His congressman found out that his investigation was never initiated. The apparent reason for this was his foreign connections.

    Yes, your completed investigation can be used by another government agency to determine your eligibility for a security clearance. I recommend you avoid any job that requires SCI eligibility until you get some answers about what previously happen.

    There are due process rights for people whose clearances have been denied. Stopping adjudication sounds like an attempt to circumvent those rights. Much of this depends on whether the contractor is being honest with you.

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    Mr Henderson,

    Than you for your fast and informative reply.

    At the risk of monopolizing your , and others, time and space my question is this:

    You have correctly guessed the ” client”. If they stopped my file, for whatever reason, and stopped the adjudication won’t that action and whatever data they have be a reason for anyone to deny me at any clearnce level for any employer who requires one?

    In other words, I am now ” done” for any future clearance, even secret, because it is documented that is was stopped or do they keep their reasons to themselves.

    I will contact the contracter as you have suggested ,but I honestly can not figure out what it could possible be. There are standard DQ reasons and if I met those, it seems to me that their findings would be valid.Why not just adjudicate and deny. Not that I would want that,or have any reason to DQ but if the reason is valid I wouldn’t win an appeal anyway.

    Too bad we have to get these anwsers from good people like you and not our employer/sponsor.

    While writing this e-mail I received and e-mail from the contracter . I requested date of adjudication entered and date stopped and he said he ” would see what he can do”.


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    Many contractors offer jobs contingent on receiving a security clearance. They make you a written offer of employment, but don’t hire you until you receive the clearance. They must hire you within 30 days of receiving the clearance, if the job still exists. Since your investigation for a Secret clearance is already completed, you would only have to wait for a few months for adjudication. Focus on large contractors with long term contracts or government agencies.

    Waiting one or two years may not make much of a difference, since you will always have to list the DUI on security forms and you must list the drug use for seven years.

    One of the main reasons many applicants are denied interim clearances but granted final clearances is because applicants fail to list mitigating factors applicable to their potentially disqualifying condition on their security clearance application. So, the adjudicator makes an interim clearance decision based only on the unfavorable information listed on the application. Secondly, the threshold for denying an interim clearance is much lower than for a final clearance.

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    Mr Henderson,

    Thansk so much.

    Last question…

    What constitutes an administrative vs security reason?

    I do feel much better thanks to you.

    We did live in some foreign countries due to husbands military assignment .

    What a great service you do for all us us in limbo.

    Just curious about admin vs security reason.

    Thank you sir,


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    There are different standards for granting a collateral clearance and for granting a special access authorization, such as SCI or SAP (commonly referred to as SCI eligibility). There is a lower threshold for denying SCI eligibility in two areas: 1)results of polygraph, if one is required and 2) foreign connections. It is possible to be granted a collateral Secret or Top Secret clearance and be denied SCI eligibility. The standards for granting collateral clearances at all levels are the same.

    If “they” have a valid reason for stopping the adjudication of your investigation, it seems to me it would have to be an administrative reason and not a security reason. If it was an administrative reason, it should not affect any future clearance application. If there was an unclassified security or suitability concern, it should have been fully discussed during your Personal Subject Interview and you would know about it.

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    Wondering to attempt DHS Public Trust background check.

    Has Secret clearance with DoS, had one (honest to God!) alcohol-related incident (stress-related, easily explained) which DoS medically removed me from post. This was six years ago. I went through DoS’s suggested 30 day rehab and all has been fine since. However, I did leave the Agency (I was ashamed.)

    Fast forward 6 years – I’ve been over two years with another agency that only requested the minimal of backgrounds. I am a grade 12, having outstanding performance reviews, and was offered DHS position at Grade 13.

    With DHS I start work ‘contingent’ on favorable adjudication of Public Trust background.

    Do I even try? I’m afraid to do a relocation (no, they don’t pay any relocation), give up the decent-enough job I have and take the risk that in a few months DHS says, “Sorry, didn’t pass.”

    This is one issue only on my life’s record. No other ‘bad’ or unfavorable issues in my otherwise boring life.

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    I forgot – I’m absolutely sick with worry in what to do and DHS needs an answer if I’m going to submit the 85P.

    So in advance, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for any advice. (I forgot to add this before I hit “submit!”)

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    Mr. Henderson, thanks.

    My worry is that the Embassy that held my security (DoS) noted the incident. When the sf85p picks up my past security info (section asks for it) – they may find this incident.

    So I felt, since I resigned under unfavorable (or alleged) circumstances, I should come clean about the incident. The problem questions are “Employment Record” as I “left under unfavorable circumstances”.

    I’m afraid to tick “no” under “employment record” then find out my file with DoS has some record of the incident.


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    Hi William…

    Thanks again for your comments, I’m feeling a bit more hopeful! It’s interesting that you mentioned the mitigating factors in the application issue, because I feel like I did “mitigate” in my paperwork. Funny thing is when I met with the investigator it was as though she hadn’t looked at anything…at one point I said well, I mentioned that in whatever section…she then flips through and says “oh yes” “i see” “you’re quite thorough too”. I thought the interim was some automated formulaic process…hmmm. I suppose if I get another shot at it I’ll be more verbose, and in every comment section applicable.

    Couple of questions: In your experience do you think my clearance will be processed, since its in the adjudication stage, even though my “separation” paperwork was submitted a few weeks ago? I was told that more than likely it would simply stop since there is no longer a need. Now if it is stopped and then I manage to get an offer in the next few weeks, they will basically reopen the existing (but stopped) file and use the existing investigation?? Finally, do I discuss this with the company at all, or just let them do their thing and find out as we go? Or do I sell it as “I’m already in adjudication its only a short matter of time and I’m confident it will go through”???

    Thanks again…

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    Go for it. With only one alcohol incident that was 6 years ago, you should have no problem. The two types of investigations that are done for a High Risk Public Trust position are BI and LBI. Both have a 5 year scope. Look at the SF85P. There is no question regarding alcohol. You don’t have to list anything about the alcohol incident unless it resulted in an arrest, charge or conviction. And you don’t have to list the reason you left DoS because you voluntarily quit under favorable circumstance.

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    Foreign travel as a military spouse is inconsequential.

    Some Admin reasons could include:
    1) Position was eliminated.
    2) They decided to fill the position with a federal employee rather than a contractor.
    3) Position was moved to another department staffed by a different contractor.
    4) Position description was changed.

    The contractor should have been informed of any of these reasons, but there is a possibility that notification was delayed from the agency to the contractor program office to the contractor FSO.

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    I misunderstood. I had the impression that you completed the rehab and was restored to your position before you chose to resign.

    Absent any other complicating factors, I still think your chances getting a favorable adjudication for a High-Risk Public Trust position are good.

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    Decisions regarding interim clearances are a somewhat “formulaic process” but they are made by junior adjudicators who are under great pressure to process clearances as fast as possible. They will never get in trouble for denying an interim clearance if any unfavorable information appears on the SF86, but they can get in trouble if they grant an interim clearance to someone who should not have received one. They have limited authority to take mitigating factors into consideration, and as I said before the threshold for denial is lower for an interim clearance than a final.

    Basically when your security officer updates your security file in a system like JPAS that your employment has been terminated, everything regarding your clearance stops and some at the adjudicator’s office will change your case status to show “loss of jurisdiction.” The other information in JPAS will not change. It will still show the type of investigation, who did it, when it was open and completed, and when it went to adjudication. So, basically it depends on when your security officer is notified of your termination and how long before he updates your file in JPAS. If someone at the adjudicator’s office goes to update your JPAS to show that your clearance was granted and sees that your employment was terminated, they will enter “loss of jurisdiction” instead of the clearance.

    Yes, if too much time does not elapse, your investigation can be re-adjudicated without any further investigative work. It might also take a little time just to transfer the case file from one agency to another before it can be adjudicated.

    I’m not the person to ask about job hunting strategy, because I worked for the federal government for 30 years (investigations/intelligence not HR). I have no recent experience competing for employment and have little knowledge about contractor hiring practices.

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    I’ve been looking for any kind of information about security clearance for foriegn workers.
    So far I know that US citizenship is a general requirement of security clearance but I believe that foriegn nationals can work for federal or even military employers under the right conditions.
    I am a UK citizen, I hold permanent residence status through my fathers marriage to a US citizen, since that was granted I have married a US citizen myself.
    I know I can apply for citizenship after three years and would therefore be able to apply, but what about now?
    I am an engineer and I would like to be able to seek work in defense, but I will be locked out for another 3 years unless anybody can tell me a way…?
    Please help! I’ll help defend your country if you pay me..

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    Peter – Only in rare cases like a world class scientist are security clearances granted to non-US citizens. In general, US citizenship is a strict requirement.

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    I retired from military over ten years ago. I did not use any of my security clearances (ts/sbi) and let them lapse. I am looking to start applying for jobs that request security clearances. Is there a way to have my security clearance updated before hand or must I just submit resume’s hoping someone is willing to pay for the security clearance update?

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    I worked for Westinghouse Defense Company back in the early 1980’s. I held a secret clearence, and I also worked for BAE systems in the later part of 1990’s, and I also held a secret clearance. I am currently a 5th grade teacher in the state of Florida. If I decide to go back to working for a Defense Contractor, How hard would it be for me to obtain my secret clearance?

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    You are well beyond the point of having a clearance investigation updated. In order to be considered for a new security clearance you will have to be nominated for a clearance by a government agency or a cleared contractor. To be nominated you must be hired for a position that requires a clearance or have a written offer of employment for such a position.

    The government pays for the clearance investigations of all federal job applicants and most contractor personnel. It is not the cost of the investigation that makes people with clearances so desireable to contractors; it is the ability to put them to work immediately rather than have to wait for months (sometimes years) for them to receive a clearance.

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    Unfortunately, your prior Secret clearances will not have any effect on a future security clearance or clearance investigation.

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    I just received a denial for an intern. I was told that a full background must be done. I have several delinquent accounts due to a recent divorce. Any advise will be appreciated. My new job will allow me to be debt free in 6 months. But what i can do about the info on my credit report

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    thanks for the reply. so I guess I should go ahead and start looking for another job?

    Some of the other guys here had some credit issues and got their interim then secret.

    I am an electrician for a missile defense complex.

    I have been working on getting this cleared up, will that help?

    I hate to pass up some good jobs that dont require a clearance. I am only making $110K here.

    I have offers ofr $130K and tickets home every three weeks.

    Any advice?


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    William or admin,

    So I’m very confused as to how others in my position have handeled this situion in the past? Currently working for a non-government organization, making the move to contract work as I await my clearance.

    If I tell my employeer now they’ll most certainly let me go, as a business not personal decision. However if I don’t give them a heads up, and the “investigator” calls my current employeer without me advising them first, I’m screwed as well.


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    Hey all,

    I’m going to piggyback off of Confused’s comments since we appear to be in very similiar situations.

    1) I’m currently awaiting the “suitability of Trust” for DHS. I was told that this would take 3-6 weeks, and then I could begin working as I await my TS. Is this factual or fictional?

    2) Will my references/employeers be contacted for both the TS and suitabiliity, or just once?

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    I am filing chapter 13 and working to pay down my debt. Will this improve my chances for an interim?

    My total debt is not over $40K

    I have no reposessions, bankruptcies but I do have some old debt that range from $100 to $3000.

    Some of the guys I work with did not have great credit when they got the interim and did not think they would get the secret but they ended up getting it.

    Does it matter if you work for a big defense contractor in a location where they can not find any help?

    I am almost ready to jump ship becasue i hate to pass on other good jobs while standing on the fence for this gig.

    Does anyone know of anyone with an interim that had some finacial problems.

    Mine do not equal enough to consider treason.



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    The threshold for denying an interim clearance is lower than the threshold for denying a final clearance. If your investigation is an SSBI, you will be interviewed (PRSI) as part of the investigation. If your investigation is an ANACI or NACLC being done by OPM, the credit problem must exceed the following limits before a Special Interview (SPIN) will be required to have you explain your financial situation:

    1) Credit report reflects current delinquencies (120 days or more) on combined delinquent debt totaling $3,500 and any single account is $1,000 or more delinquent (including judgments and liens) or

    2) Bankruptcy within the past 2 years or

    3) Bankruptcy within the past 3 to 5 years with evidence of current credit problems.

    If your investigation involves a PRSI or SPIN, be prepared to show that you have acted reasonably and responsibly in repaying your debts. As long as the adjudicator can see that you have been taking positive steps to pay off your delinquent debts and there exists a good probability that you will continue to do so, you have a reasonable chance of getting a final clearance. Divorce is specifically mentioned in the Adjudicative Guidelines as a mitigating condition for having experienced financial problems.

    If you haven’t done so already, you still have time to begin correcting your financial problems. The fact that security clearance investigations take months to complete will work in your favor. If you don’t feel confident contacting your creditors yourself to negotiate the best possible terms for debt repayment, seek the assistance of a reputable credit counseling service, preferably one that is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, such as CCCS.

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    Filing for Chapter 13 will not improve your chances of getting an interim. It does not matter who you work for or whether they have problems filing job vacancies.

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    For contractors the minimum investigation for a Public Trust position is a NAC plus Credit. For federal employees the minimum is an MBI. Depending on the sensitivity level of the Public Trust position, an LBI or a BI can be required. None of these investigations are as comprehensive as an SSBI required for a TS clearance, but the MBI, LBI, and BI exceed the investigative requirements for an interim TS clearance. Critical Sensitive positions are positions requiring a TS clearance. Only one investigation should be conducted for a position that is both a Public Trust position and a Critical Sensitive position.

    All agencies have the discretionary authority to place applicants in a Public Trust position before the suitability investigation is completed. Likewise, agencies have the authority to place people who have received interim TS clearances in Critical-Sensitive positions before the SSBI is completed. It seems that DHS has decided to allow people to start working in a Critical-Sensitive/Public Trust position based on an interim TS clearance. Under these circumstance the adjudication of the interim TS clearance and a preliminary suitability determination for the Public Trust position would be based on a review of the SF86 and credit report, plus a favorably completed NAC. A final adjudication for both the TS clearance and Public Trust position would be made after the SSBI was completed.

    Since the demise of the Federal Personnel Manual (FPM) in 1993, there has been a regulatory vacuum. Each agency is authorized to establish their own policies regarding Public Trust positions as long as they conform to the rather scant requirements Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Furthermore the FPM and CFR never applied to contractor personnel. OPM only recommends that contractor positions be designated Public Trust positions under the same guidelines used for career civil service personnel.

    So, the short answers to your questions are: 1) Yes, you will probably be allowed to work after receiving your interim TS but before you receive your final TS; however, it may take more than 6 weeks. 2) Your references will only be interviewed once.

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    can anyone explain the iterim process? What do they review to decide? If I have bad credit will they give me a chance to explain or just deny it?

    My credit is very poor.



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    I just turned in my paperwork for a interim for a Secret.

    I am not sure about the different types of interims. Is there a diff between the OPM and the doss (defense department)?

    is a SSBI easier to get or more difficult?

    I am worried about my finances too.

    Why would the company figure out what the criteria is and skip the process if a candidate/employee who needs a clearance has some issues with finances?

    Thank you


  60. Avatar

    An interim Secret clearance can be granted by the government agency requesting your investigation based on a favorable review for your security clearance application form (eQIP or SF86). For an interim Top Secret clearance there must be a favorable review of your application and credit report plus a favorably completed National Agency Check.

    For an interim clearance the only opportunity you have to explain why you have or have had delinquent debts is through the use of the comment sections of the application form.

  61. Avatar

    You said:

    “An interim Secret clearance can be granted by the government agency requesting your investigation based on a favorable review for your security clearance application form (eQIP or SF86).”

    I was truthful in my responses to my credit issues and explained that I would like to explain what I am doing to correct those issues.

    I have no criminal record.

    Any chance I could get an interim with a 500 credit score?

    It sounds like the secret interim is hard to get.

    Thank you,


  62. Avatar

    My husband works for a contractor for the DOD. We are being investigated (just received a statement of reasons) for financial situation. We were making over $100,000 plus a year and after 16 years he was laid off. Our income dropped to less than $26,000 a year.We had to stop making payments on credit cards to keep from losing our home. He was out of work for a year and 9 months. Now the DOD is saying that he is a risk since we have not paid on the credit cards. We picked up on one of them and have been paying on it since 2005. My husband has been working for 2 years now, but we are slowly getting things paid off. Our income is still low, but we are gradually getting things paid off. My question is what else can I do besides explain the situation. We have requested a hearing before an Administrative Judge. We can not afford an attorney. Do you think that we need to get one regardless?

  63. Avatar

    A credit (FICO) score is not relevant to a security clearance decision. In fact the credit report that becomes part of your security clearance investigation does not have a FICO score. What is important is the number and amounts of your current and prior delinquent debts, how long they were/have been delinquent and what action you took to satisfy the debts and when. Equally important is why you have or had delinquent debts.

    For an interim Secret clearance they can only take into consideration the information in your SF86. In order to take into consideration information you might tell an investigator, they would have to receive the completed investigation. At which point they are in a position to make a final clearance adjudication and the interim clearance becomes a moot issue.

  64. Avatar


    If you have already requested a hearing, it should mean that you have already submitted a rebuttal to the SOR. Hopefully you addressed all applicable mitigating conditions under Guideline F of the Adjudicative Guidelines during your Subject Interview and in the rebuttal to the SOR. If you make any progress toward repaying your delinquent debts between the time of your rebuttal to the SOR and the time of your hearing, you should emphasize that at the hearing. Remember you have had two opportunities to explain and mitigate the financial problems during your Subject Interview and your rebuttal to the SOR. The hearing is your last opportunity to present any new information. You will not have the opportunity to submit any new information when appealing an adverse decision by the DOHA administrative judge.

    There is still a possibility that a clearance can be granted without having to go to hearing. If a clearance is not grant at this stage, the case will be forwarded to a DOHA Administrative Judge with your rebuttal and a hearing will be scheduled. At this point I would at least consult an attorney who specializes in security clearance hearings and appeals, if my job was worth saving.

  65. Avatar

    Hello. Can someone tell me if quitting a job without giving two weeks notice would be considered an unfavorable circumstance? I received an employment offer from a government contractor and quit my job without giving notice due to the work environment being what I consider hostile. I don’t need a clearance at this time but I found out I may need a top secret clearance in the future should the contract change. So, I am going to start the process for a clearance. I don’t have credit issues, no criminal background, no foreign family members, no prior drug usage or mental health issues. My only concern is with quitting my previous job without notice. I don’t know how to answer the question regarding unfavorable circumstances. I hope this doesn’t hinder me from obtaining a clearance.


  66. Avatar

    I was unable to find this answer in the previous threads. I am expecting an offer for a job that will require me to go through the secret clearance process. While in college for the past 7 years, I smoked weed 5 times and did X one time. The last time I used was March of this year, when I got my priorities in line, distanced myself from the users, and never wanted to do anything again because starting a career is more important, as well as my health. I was wondering what my chances are of being granted the interm clearance to start working, because my offer is contingent on whether I pass it or not. Please let me know when you can. Thank you!

  67. Avatar

    I meant to say also, I plan to have something in the comments area on the sf-86 pertaining to my mitigating factors. I’m just looking to put my mind at ease with this.

  68. Avatar

    I just applied to a Gov’t agency and was denied a clearance. I just turned 22 and I know that being young can be negative especially when I have done things that may not have been the best. Do you think I will never get a clearance? How long do I have to wait to apply again? Will I ever get a job with the government?

  69. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    I have someone who getting ready to retire from the military with 21 yrs of service. They currently have a TS clnc base on an SSBI investigation, Their clnc will until two year later. However, they recently filed chapter 13 about a year ago. They want to work for homeland security, do you think this will be a deal breaker for employment. Their military record is outstanding. This individual was in a bad marriage and was often deployed and spouse ran up all kind of bills bill while the member was on deployment. Thanks.

  70. Avatar

    My TS clearance has been in adjudication for 6 months now. I’m switching companies. I can’t go to my new company until my clearance has been completed. Talking to my new company, they say my clearance is complete but hasn’t been released. Talking to my current company, they say that the clearance is still in adjudication. What can I do to find out what is really going on?

  71. Avatar

    I applied for my Interim secret last friday and just got notified yesterday that it was approved. Great! I was almost convinced I would not get it due to financuial concerns. I did not list all my debt just a few and then commented that I had more and wanted a chance to explain.

    Now what happens? Do they review my documents before submitting them for further processing to determine if it is even worth it? Or do I go ahead and get in line and wait XX months or so to find out?

    I am planning on filing chapter 13 and getting my stuff cleared up.

    Will this help?

    How long are clearances taking now a days?



  72. Avatar

    Is there any way to check the status of your clearance if it has already been investigated?

    What is usually the process of it?…after your investigation?

  73. Avatar


    A “a voluntary no notice quit” is not considered terminating employment under unfavorable circumstances, unless it occurred immediately after some disciplinary action or was suggested by a supervisor due to some work problem. In any event if you are at all uncertain about this, list it on the SF86 and explain what happened in the comment section stressing that you quit voluntarily without any pressure from your employer/supervisor.

  74. Avatar

    According to the Adjudicators Desk Reference (ADR), use of an illegal drug six times or less is considered “experimental” use. For marijuana the minimum period of abstinence following experimental use is six months and for other drugs it is one year, absent any aggravating circumstances. The ADR is an unofficial guide used by adjudicators to help them make clearance decisions. It is not intended to be used as a formula for granting clearances. Adjudicators must evaluate the totality of the circumstances surrounding any unfavorable information and make a common sense judgment about the possibility that the behavior will occur again in the future or if the situation will make the person susceptible to blackmail.

  75. Avatar

    If you were denied a security clearance, such as Secret, Top Secret, “L” or “Q”, being young actually works in your favor. “Passage of time” is the most common mitigating factor for any misconduct and the length of time necessary to mitigate a problem is less for young people than it is for older people.

    Federal security clearances are not administered under a single monolithic structure, so some policies vary from agency to agency. Generally you can re-apply for a security one year after being denied, but you have to be sponored again by a federal agency or federal contractor.

    Some people who have asked questions on this blog have used the term clearance when they meant something else, like a Public Trust position or just employment with the federal government. There is certain conduct that can result in “debarrment” federal employment. This is a completely separate determination from a security clearance adjudication.

  76. Avatar


    Was the bankruptcy report to the person’s security manager, as required, and if so, did it result in a security investigation? What did you mean by “Their clnc will until two year later.”?

  77. Avatar

    I’m not aware of any data field in JPAS that would indicate that a clearance has been adjudicated but not yet released (i.e. granted/denied). I think both companies are telling you the same thing, using different words–your investigation has been completed and is pending adjudication.

  78. Avatar


    You are fortunate to have received an interim Secret clearance. Your case has probably already been forwarded to the appropriate investigative agency. Most investigations for Secret clearances take about six months, but your may take a little longer because of the financial issue. The word “bankruptcy” does not appear in the Adjudicative Guidelines. It is a trigger for certain investigative requirements. Cases involving bankruptcies are adjudicated based on the undelying financial situation and payment history, as well as conduct following the bankruptcy.

  79. Avatar


    All security clearances are recorded in computer databases. The most common one is known as JPAS (and a new one called CVS), and most government security managers and contractor FSO have access to these databases. There is a record of your clearance action in one of these databases, and your record will show the dates when certain actions occurred, such as the dates your investigation was open, closed and transfered/received at the adjudicative facility. Generally it is not possible to obtain any detailed information about your case’s current status, except what phase of the processing it is in and when it entered that phase.

  80. Avatar

    yeah, I am fortunate..I was just wondering is there a que that my paperwork will sit in or does it go for a review for further processing?

    Is there a point where they could decide they have enough stuff to stop the process or do they wait till the whole thing is done?



  81. Avatar

    Thanks William for the quick response. To my knowledge it was never reported to their security manager, they still have a vaild secret clearance. No investigation was ever done,besides the one did for the current clearance that they have now. What I meant to say was that there clearance will not expire until two year after they retire from the military. As of right now I think the only way a company will find out about the bankruptcy will be if they run their credit report. But will a company need to run the credit report if the person’s clearance is still current?

  82. Avatar

    Your investigation should start very soon. There is no que. Your SF86 only has to be reviewed to insure that is it complete, before your investigation is started. It will continue until it is completed or until you are no longer in a position that requires a clearance. Once your investigation is completed, it will be sent to the appropriate adjudication facility for a clearance decision.

  83. Avatar

    Dear Admin,
    I have a concern, I was terminated from my job about a year ago. They said it was a misconduct but there is nothing in the code of conduct to reflect the misconduct. However, I am fighting this termination through the local union and EEOC. Will this affect me negatively for obtaining a secret clearance?

    Thank You
    New Yorker

  84. Avatar

    Thanks, Mr.Henderson for you quick response.

  85. Avatar

    Guys I need some advice, I was prior Army and after doing a tour in Iraq I left the Army. After beeing in the civilian world I was sick and I acquired some credit problems, mainly a 20,000 dollar charge off and a auto repossesion. I just rejoined the Navy and I don’t require security clearnce working in a crappy job rating. I am wanting to do some else in the Navy but most jobs require a TS / SCI. Can I apply for a security clearance after 7 years for my credit information to become clean again. Anybody have any advice for me ? Thanks

  86. Avatar


    The auto repossession isn’t a big problem unless you still owe money as a result of the repossession. Why would you want to suffer 7 years in a job you don’t like and 7 years of being refused credit or charged exorbitant interest rates? If you work out a plan to repay your debt(s) and make regular monthly payments for a few months before applying for a job that requires a security, and continue making the payments, you have a reasonable chance of getting a TS/SCI clearance.

    Another thing to consider. Now that you have a secure job with a large firm, don’t be surprised if your creditor or a collection agency gets a judgement against you, then garnishees your paycheck.

  87. Avatar

    I recently interviewed with a defense contractor and I received an email a few weeks later saying they wanted to move forward in the clearance process (TS/SCI) with me. There was no official offer of employment, job title, or any other details about the job and I haven’t signed anything committing me to the contractor. They set me up on E-quip and I completed everything on the site. Is it unusual that they would just sponsor me without any commitment in writing? Do I owe them a certain time period of employment?

    Thanks for your help.

  88. Avatar

    I currently hold a DOE-Q/SCI Clearance. How likely is it that another employer seeking a TS/SCI (or just a TS) would be able to transfer the DOE-Q without the need of a full investigation? Are there guidelines available on how/when/why a clearance can be transfered from another granting agency?

    I know that we have been able to transfer TS and TS/SCI into Q-Clearances with only a couple weeks of time… not sure if it’s the same going the other way.

  89. Avatar

    Here’s what the NISPOM says about it:

    2-205. Pre-employment Clearance Action. If access to classified information is required by a potential employee immediately upon commencement of their employment, a PCL application may be submitted to the CSA by the contractor prior to the date of employment provided a written commitment for employment has been made by the contractor, and the candidate has accepted the offer in writing. The commitment for employment will indicate that employment shall commence within 30 days of the granting of eligibility for a PCL.

    PCL means Personnel (security) clearance.
    CSA means Cognizant Security Agency.

    There are government agencies that do not subscribe to all NISPOM (National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual) requirements, so anything is possible with their contractors.

    You have no obligation to the contractor.

  90. Avatar

    Thank you William – I really appreciate your quick response.

  91. Avatar

    I have two misdemeanor indecent exposure arrests. The first one was in 1989 which was dismissed. The second was in 2005 for which I was under probation for 1 year. I was required to undergo counseling. Upon successful completion of treatment the charges were dismissed. Can I still get a Secret level of clearance?


  92. Avatar

    After college I went to work for a DOE contractor that required me to get an L clearance. I did this, and a few months later due to new security regulations I was asked to get a Q. After a slightly bumpy process (I was interviewed a second time, due to a vengeful but not very credible ex-girlfriend), I was given my new badge. Three years later (2004) I left this employer and went to work for a DoD contractor, with a job requiring a secret clearance. This new employer claimed that my clearance was transfered over, and this was reflected on my badge.

    So…two months ago, I got a call saying that I needed to go through the clearance process again. Apparently they found something in JPAS saying my clearance was “never adjudicated” and “cannot be verified”. So I filled out the forms and am now waiting on the NACLC to complete. I was granted an interim secret and permitted to continue working without an interruption. In my calls to the security office, they have assured me that there is nothing derogatory in JPAS (or else I wouldn’t have received the interim). My criminal record, financial record, and foreign connections are pretty much nonexistent (I’m under the impression that for a NACLC that’s mostly what they’re looking for)

    So what the hell happened here? Is it possible that I may have something to worry about?

  93. Avatar

    My husband currently works for DHS and holds a TS/SCI clearance. Because of my health my income has substantially declined leaving us struggling to make ends meet financially. We do have significant unsecured debt and my husband and I had a home built two years ago that ended up costing more than what we can afford in our current financial situation. Unfortunately with the real estate market what it is we have not been able to sell the home. At this point a Chapter 7 bankruptcy would be the answer to our problems but we cannot do it if there is a risk that my husband might lose his clearance which would ultimately cost him his job. Any information you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  94. Avatar


    I have been given a job offer with BAH that requires a security clearance. I am very confused now because I am not a US citizen and clearly stated it on my application. Now the gave me the offer and never discussed the fact that I am not a citizen ( I am actually on work permit for OPT which will require a H1B visa sponsorship). Should I ask to be clarified before accepting this offer as I am currently working for another company for a contract of 6 months and do not want to waste that chance.
    Is citizenship really a requirement for a sec clearance?

  95. Avatar

    Just curious – I just found out that a relative of mine works at the Naval Undersea Warfare Ctr in RI. She has access to JPAS, but I don’t know how much access she has to the database. I live here in Va. Is she able to check clearance status of someone who lives out here in VA?

    Also, my friend already received his TS, 9 Nov 07. Would his FSO would be able to provide him status (if he asked his FSO) when his case was sent to adjudiation and when the office received it?

  96. Avatar

    What I always tell individuals during their Personal Subject Interview is to be totally upfront with everything. If they are going through tough times financially completely explain the reason(s) why. From my experience most agencies understand if there are medical issues that cause the financial hardships. What an agency will not understand or accept is if the Subject under investigation went out and bought a number of toys like a boat, a jet ski, a brand new expensive car or numerous expensive electronic equipment on credit and then can not pay the credit cards used which in turn causes the financial hardship. That is irresponsible. If you end up not filing for bankruptcy make sure your husband can explain what you two are doing to correct your financial hardship and that you plan on never letting it happen again. Again being upfront with everything is the best thing he can do.

  97. Avatar

    if someone lists past illegal drug usage on an SF86 will the investigator ask any specifics- like names of those involved, where it was obtained, etc..

  98. Avatar


    DOE clearance can transfer to DOD and other federal agencies. “Q” = TS and “L” = Secret. Reciprocity of SCI/SAP is more complicated. For complete information on reciprocity see attachment to Memorandum for Deputies of Executive Departments and Agencies, from OMB Deputy Director for Management, Subject: Reciprocal Recognition of Existing Personnel Security Clearances, dated: 17 July 2006. You can find this and related memoranda with the same subject (12 Dec 05 and 14 Nov 07) at the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) webpage at the National Archives website. Just Google “ISOO”

  99. Avatar

    I don’t think you have anything to worry about. JPAS is in bad shape. The Director of DSS said last summer that if they patch it one more time, it could crash. Your original investigation and clearance with DOE was recorded in OPM’s SII (Security and Investigations Index). JPAS has links to SII and DCII (Defense Clearance and Investigative Index) and most but not all of the cases in SII and DCII have migrated into JPAS. The NACLC for most people is painless, so just let it run. At this point the investigation for your “Q” is out of date and therefore worthless.

  100. Avatar

    If you and your husband choose to petition for bankruptcy, it is something that he is obligated to report to his security officer. Why not discuss the matter in advance with the security officer and find out how it might immediately affect your husband’s employment? Because of the reasons for the potential bankruptcy, your husband will probably be able to later show that the bankruptcy was a reasonable, responsible course of action under the circumstances and therefore ultimately be able to keep his clearance. But there may be immediate consequences. Different agencies react differently to bankruptcies. There is a possibility his clearance could be suspended pending an investigation. You don’t want any surprises. I recommend discussing this matter frankly and openly with his security officer before you petition for bankruptcy.

  101. Avatar

    Yes, ask for clarification. Some people use the word “clearance” to include Public Trust positions and Security Clearances. Non-U.S. citizen can hold a Public Trust position but not a Security Clearance. The requirement to be a U.S. citizen for a Security Clearance has existed for a long time, but the most recent restatement of this policy can be found in Executive Order 12968, section 3.1(b).

  102. Avatar

    Anyone who has JPAS access has the ability to look at any record in JPAS, but their use of JPAS is governed by regulations that limit their access to authorized uses only. If your friend is in JPAS, his JPAS record will show the date associated with each major change in status. There is a date for when the investigation was completed (Closed Completed) and forwarded to adjudication and a date the case was assigned to an adjudicator (Adjudication Pending). His FSO would be able to see these dates and dates of other major events.

  103. Avatar

    Hi William:

    Thanks for the response, that was what I was looking for. You’re doing a valuable service in this blog.

  104. Avatar

    Thanks William for the quick response. To my knowledge it was never reported to their security manager, they still have a vaild secret clearance. No investigation was ever done,besides the one did for the current clearance that they have now. What I meant to say was that there clearance will not expire until two year after they retire from the military. As of right now I think the only way a company will find out about the bankruptcy will be if they run their credit report. But will a company need to run the credit report if the person’s clearance is still current?

  105. Avatar

    Thank you again for your quick response!!!!

  106. Avatar

    Sorry, but I don’t answer questions about gaming or circumventing the security clearance system.

  107. Avatar

    I have been going thru a security clearance for over 8 years. I an tired and I would like to know how to get out of this. I currently lease space to dod contractors and Im afread I will lose everything I owe either way. Please Help!

  108. Avatar

    What level of clearance is involved; who is the sponsor; what is the current status of your case; and what’s been going on for the past 8 years?

  109. Avatar

    I restored an old building and was try to market it to the marin corp. When my father who was retired military and then working for the gov. asked if I wanted his help. I said yes. I have never applied directly for any Gov job but I was told by dad I would have to go thru a clearance. Not knowing what was involved I said ok. I’m a small remodling contractor. I have work in the homes Generals and some very high ups in our Gov. I am also try to build additional space to lease within 1000 ft of a major military base. Maybe my father was my sponsor. Im not sure he is dead now. All I can say is I have been told by some trust worthy people I am being stoped at everthing I try to do becouse of this. I have nowhere to turn and do not know how to move on Please help!

  110. Avatar

    Hi there,
    I was adjudicated for a TS/SSBI clearance in Jan 2007 and left that job in November (yes, very recently). My new job does not require clearance, nor do they “transfer” clearance because they do not do secure government work. If I choose to seek a new job in the government arena again, is my clearance still considered active (and for how long), inactive, or have I relinquished it altogether? How would I indicate this on a resume? Thanks in advance for your help!

  111. Avatar

    Jennifer – Most defense contractors will tell you that they can reinstate a clearance that hasn’t been out of use for two years or sooner. Once the two year window passes, your cleared job opportunities will pass as well. Your clearance could now be considered as “current” rather than “active”.

  112. Avatar

    I don’t think you are being considered for a security clearance by any government agency. I’m not sure why you have this belief, but nothing you said suggests otherwise. You would not have been considered for a security clearance unless you were sponsored by a government agency or a cleared contractor. Additionally, you would have had to complete a security clearance application form and submit fingerprint cards at a government office or office of a cleared contractor. It’s a very formal application process. If you did all this 8 years ago, your clearance processing was probably terminated a long time ago before it was ever completed.

  113. Avatar

    I am an officer in the Army with a secret clearance. I was fired from a job working for a defense contractor back in 2003. The firing was due to my using the company tuition reimbursement program while using the GI Bill at the same time. The policy at the time was unclear whether we could use both or not. I along with 6 coworkers was fired and not given a copy of the policy at the time of firing.

    In Feb 2004 I joined the National Guard and listed this on my SF-86. I was granted a secret clearance in Sept 2004.

    In 2005 I left the guard and joined the active Army. At this time my recruiter gave me a questionaire (not an SF-86) that was very basic, where have you lived, who did you know, etc. It did not ask about being fired, drug use, financial issues or any of the last 7 or 8 sections of the SF-86. I filled this our correctly. The recruiter took this info and plugged it into an SF-86, which had many errors. I already had a current secret clearance and they checked JPAS and got a reply of “No investigation required, current investigation exists”, or something simlar to that wording.

    The issue I have is now I am being told I have to apply for a TS clearance, but looking back at the SF-86 that the recruiter filled out and I signed (yes I am stupid for signing it) in 2005, it is full of mistakes, it doesn’t list ths firing, it gives wrong information about my wife’s country of origin (phillipines) and her family members origin and citizenship, and several other minor mistakes. But this faulty SF-86 is now in my permanent service record as part of my enlistment contract (I enlisted to go to OCS).

    I realize this is my fault for signing this and not making sure it was correct. I am sure though, that I was not investigated when I joined the Army, just the JPAS and NACLC check. My SF-86 from the National guard in 2004 was correct, I printed it off and myself and checked it very good.

    I am worried that the Sf-86 with mistakes could hurt me on the next investigation. Any advice?

  114. Avatar

    Good morning! I am prior-service Air Force and seperated with an honorable discharge in February 2003. While enlisted, I held an TS/SSI clearance (as well as secret, but I think that’s just assumed once you go to top secret?). Since seperating, I have not had the opportunity to work with another company who required a clearance, so it’s been “out of use”. Where would I be at this point? Is my clearance considered inactive, expired, or just gone now? I believe my TS clearance was completed in 2000. If my secret clearance is inactive, what does that mean exactly when applying for positions that require it? Do I have a clearance or not? Boy, what a confusing subject! Thanks a bunch for your time and dedication 🙂
    – Melanie

  115. Avatar

    Oh, forgot to add: I haven’t had any negative situations since obtaining my clearance and my credit is excellent. I am divorced though? Thanks again!

  116. Avatar

    Melanie – others may comment here, but from a defense contractor’s point of view, your clearance would have been useful through Feb 2005. After that, contractors lost the ability to employ you for cleared positions. The two year window seems to be industry standard for a contractors ability to reinstate a current clearance.

  117. Avatar


    After a two-year break in service everyone (contractor, military, and federal employee) must start from scratch regardless of clearance level.

  118. Avatar

    As part of the Department of State hiring Foreign Service hiring process I was recently granted TS clearance. It is currently inactive as I have not yet been hired. I am interviewing for a position with a contractor that requires TS (or above) clearance with the DOD and/or other agency. Is it possible that my DS clearance can be transferred and activated w/o another SSBI?

  119. Avatar

    I should also add the the contractor I may work for says that not having a DOD TS clearance means I’ll have to go through the entire process again. As if the DS clearance means nothing. I suspect that they are doing this so as to low ball me on the salaray, as if its a benefit to me that that are submitting me for clearance.

  120. Avatar

    According to the current OMB policy your collateral TS clearance with DoS should be readily transferrable to DoD. But… you must actually have been granted a TS clearance by DoS and the granting of that clearance must be recorded somewhere, hopefully in OPM’s new Clearance Verification System (CVS). See the OMB reciprocity memos posted at

  121. Avatar

    I was recently offered a position with a DoD contractor, contingent upon me receiving an interim secret clearance. I was notified today that I was denied an interim for unknown reasons. Prior to the denial, I was told that I needed to go back to make changes to my SF86, to include detailed information regarding the creditors included in Bankruptcy and the amounts.

    The denied interim didn’t put a nail in the coffin as I thought it would, the Contractor asked for my guidance as far as proceeding, because they are willing to uphold the offer of employment until the final decision is made. He asked if I wanted to continue the investigation and be assigned once the final is approved or if I wanted to end the process. This group really wants me on their team, as much as I want to be a part of it, so I will wait out the process.

    This is my dilemma:

    I am from New Orleans, following Hurricane Katrina I filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, prior to the October deadline when Bankruptcy Laws were set to change. I did not file because I was over-extend financially (per se), I did so because of the uncertainty of my financial future and the fact that prior to Katrina I was teetering between financially stable and unstable due to being on sick-leave (w/o pay) for four months prior to Katrina.

    In addition, I have a brother that is incarcerated in a USP facility in Coleman, Florida. He is my younger sibling, with whom I do not have contact.

    I was very detailed in every comment section regarding any adverse information. Any input???

  122. Avatar

    If you are estranged from your brother and can not be influenced by him, he will not have a significant impact on your clearance.

    If an applicant’s financial problems were largely beyond his control and he handled them in a reasonable manner, including bankruptcy, the significance of the security issue is substantially reduced. Causes of debt beyond an applicant’s control include: loss of job, divorce, medical problems, bad investments, victim of crime, and natural disasters.

  123. Avatar

    my wife that I am seperated from was recently charged with commiting misdemeanor phone threats-she holds a TS security clearance at a high level federal government agency-she has not gone to trial as of yet-what is going to happen to her?

  124. Avatar

    I retired from the Air Force July 1, 2007 with a TS/SCI (2005 updated), then went to work for a contractor which required a clearance also. Completed full scope polygraph, passed.

    I was offered a job as a government contractor, working for SAIC in November 2007. I’ve since been told it will be 3-6 months. I was unexpectedly called in for a psychological evaluation.

    The psychologis said the Agency was concerned about my alcoholism (been sober for 7 years) and my past issues with depression. I took some tests and did fine. But, the interviewer then asked me about relationships in the past; we talked about my last boyfriend who borrowed a large sum of money from me, and refuses to pay me back. My credit is good, but, the interviewer said he would rate my risk “low-moderate” primarily because of my having so much debt. This didn’t sound good, but, he assured me that it wasn’t necessarily bad, that many people obtain clearances with that risk level.

    I was a bit puzzled. I would like to know if you have any thoughts here. I pay my bills, and my credit is still good. I just have a large amount of debt at the present time.


  125. Avatar

    I filled out the eQIP form for a Secret Clearance about a month ago and checked the box stating that I have not had a delinquent debt in the last 7 years. Last week, I happened to check my credit report, and realized that I actually had a couple of debts that originated more than 7 years ago, but were paid and cleaned up between 3 and 6 years ago. When filling out the form, I assumed it meant debts originating within the last 7 years. Now I’m thinking I should have listed these debts. Will there be an interview where I can bring this up, should I contact someone right away, or will it matter? I didn’t purposely leave these off the form and I don’t want to appear to be lying. My job depends on the clearance, and I’m starting to lose sleep over it… Please advise.

  126. Avatar

    Yes, you should have listed the debts, but you have a reasonable explanation for not having listed them. Your situation does not meet the OPM criteria for automatic expansion of an investigation due to financial issues. Unless there is some other issue that requires an interview, your investigation will probably be completed without an interview. After the investigation is sent to the appropriate government agency for adjudication, it is possible (but not likely) that they may send the case back to OPM to further investigate your finances. Normally this further investigation would involve an interview with you. Unfortunately there is no mechanism for you to request an interview. It is doubtful, absent any aggrevating circumstances, that delinquent accounts that were paid off 3 to 6 years ago will result in a clearance denial. You can submit a written explanation regarding these debts (including the reason you failed to list them) to the security office that handled your application. If it later becomes an issue, you can show that you volunteered the information before being confronted about it.

  127. Avatar

    Thank you very much. I just wrote a letter to the security office and will drop it off tomorrow.

  128. Avatar

    So I guess the readjudication shouldn’t be too surprising then. I actually am working in the education field right now. And, although I wasn’t terribly surprised about being called for a psychological evaluation, I was surprised about the psychologists concern for my large debt. Seemed a bit weird. Thanks for the information! I am going to check out the information on reciprocity. now.

    All the best to you!

  129. Avatar

    OMB and DNI policy to the contrary, anything is possible in the arcane world of SCI and SAPs. If I understand you correctly, you are currently working at a contractor where a TS/SCI (with full-scope) polygraph is require and then you applied to SAIC in Nov 07 for a position where a different govt agency had you psychologically evaluated. The polygraph requirement at the first contractor opened the door for further adjudicative review of your USAF clearance. If you received any counseling for depression or any financial problems continued after your last PR, the govt agency may require a new investigation. Also if your USAF SCI was granted with a waiver or deviation, this also opens the door to further investigation and readjudication. If SCI eligibility was granted for your job at the first contractor without waiver or deviation, I don’t think current policy would allow any further inquiry into your SCI eligibility. It also sounds strange to me that a psychologist would evaluate risks associated with your financial situation. You can read the policy on reciprocity yourself at my website. Click on my name above and navigate to the “resources” page under “about security clearances.” Look at the DNI ICPM 2006-700-5 and the three OMB Memos on reciprocity. Good luck.

  130. Avatar


    I plan on applying for a job in which I will be required to get a DoD security clearance. Four years ago, I traveled to cuba. Will this inhibit me from getting a clearance?

    Thanks a lot.


  131. Avatar

    RK – No, the trip to Cuba should not be an issue. Make sure you list the trip and the purpose of the visit when applying for the clearance.

  132. Avatar

    Because of U.S. imposed travel restrictions to Cuba, I believe a “license” from the U.S. Dept. of Treasury for your travel was required, otherwise there may be a problem. Expect to be questioned at length about the trip.

  133. Avatar

    I currently have a Secret Clearance, and I am looking at a job that is requiring a “Public Trust”. Can someone please tell me what this is, do I need it if I already have a secret clearance?


  134. Avatar

    Many government and contractor positions are designated Moderate- or High Risk Public Trust (PT) positions because of access to “sensitive but unclassified” information, fiduciary responsibility, public safety duties, or computer system responsibility. Some of these positions may also involve access to classified defense information, in which case the positions are designated both “PT” and “National Security.” The investigative requirements for Moderate- and High Risk PT positions are usually greater than for a National Security position requiring only a Secret clearance.

  135. Avatar

    Thanks to this site for sharing knowledge of this process. I am trying to figure out where I might stand in a vague situation and really appreciate your help re: what your sense is of my viability for a Sensitive Non-Critical Clearance.

    Until, 10/06, I was federally employed with a (not sure) Confidential clearance. Toward the end of my Term job, while in the field, I was informally accused of a security violation for requesting a single file I did not have the official right to see (I had Sup approval, but she denies the conversation) and sent back to the home office. When I arrived back, my job duties were changed to have no systems access, but I was not issued any paperwork, at any time, with allegations or an intent to deny my clearance. I did meet with an investigator and explained why I thought the accusation was made, where I could take responsibility, etc, and that was it.

    Pt 2 in another post..

  136. Avatar


    At the end of my term, I was shown a letter saying my term was not being renewed. There are no derog. codes on my SF-50 – just ‘End of Term.’ I was only shown a ‘summary’ from the investigator stating I was charged with one security violation and making inconsistent
    statements. (I was quite upset during the process and may have.) I asked how I could contest the allegations since I was never in any sort of due process and I was told I could talk to a labor attorney if I wanted to, but that nothing was bad going in my records. I was told, by the head of HR, in that meeting, that there was nothing negative in my formal record whatsoever and that I need not say anything to anyone about it unless
    I wanted to.

    I actually feel like it was all bungled and no one wants me to. As, in reading on-line it seems there is a series of paperwork I would have been given had there been formal charges and revocation. Instead, it went exactly as I described.

    I wish to be candid and as clear as possible about what happened in my Current SF-86, in obtaining my next clearance for a job I was offered with the same Dept. I am just not sure if this was an investigation,
    revocation or what? Was it a formal allegation of misconduct — there are no pro-forma pieces of paper to suggest its formality?

    Is it a yes to ‘leaving a job under unfavorable circumstances?’ The allegation occurred once, under highly unusual circumstances (at new duty post in a notoriously difficult place) and will not recur!

    I simply don’t know how to characterize this on the form and I wonder if, in describing here you think we can characterize it for the form. Why did HR tell me I didn’t need to mention it – it seems candor dictates it be mentioned on the SF-86?
    OR, do you think I should even bother applying for another clearance given the security violation accusation?

    Pt 3 in another post…

  137. Avatar

    Finally, in the interest of the whole person concept : I am currently being sued by a man who assaulted me six years ago. His lawsuit was served on me while I held my previous clearance. The crime itself was adjudicated during my initial clearance process, but his lawsuit is “new” for this round. His lawyer appears to have abandoned the case.

    I have good credit with 3 old (2004) charge-offs under $400 total that I have PAID OFF. I am repaying a medical bill from 2006 that was more than 180 days and have documentation on my insurance creating the
    problem in the first place. No debt whatsoever.

    Lastly, I have two tickets of $200 (HOV) and $40 in the past year. As a whole person, I have done a number of things to show my solidity and development over these past two years, including taking another post-grad degree, that I can confidently present. This is the extent of my derog. issues.

    How does this look as being likely for a Sensitive Non-Critical? THANK YOU for any clue or perspective! Thank you for reading the details.

  138. Avatar

    If you previously held a security clearance, you should verify through the Dept’s security office that you really even need to submit a new SF86. They can check the appropriate database (probably JPAS) and look up your record. Investigations for Secret clearance are good for 10 years and 15 years for Confidential. You have until Sep 08 to have your clearance reinstated, if you had one. If the database shows any unfavorable information, then you will be require to do a new SF86. But you will also know if and how this incident is listed in your security record. There’s no point in advising you on how to deal with these issues on an SF86, unless you are absolutely certain you need to do a new one.

  139. Avatar

    Thank you! I have put inquiry in to them.

    I appreciate your clarity here re: advisement and will check back if they do need me to send in the SF-86 I have completed this week. Again, thanks.

    Any sense if the other issue is a big problem – re: my being sued and case not moving since filing two years ago? Is this a stopper – like they will want the case to be resolved before granting the clearance?

  140. Avatar

    If you disclosed the criminal charge during you prior investigation, the civil lawsuit probably won’t cause any problem since it will be viewed as a financial matter. Since resolution of the civil lawsuit is beyond your control, they probably won’t up your clearance because of it.

  141. Avatar

    I currently have a Secret clearance and my company is updating it to a Top Secret clearance. In the process they were trying to give me a Interim Top Secret clearance. I was told was not granted it and that they will move on with a initial Top Secret clearance. I was charged with DUI two years ago but the case was dismissed and the arrest record has been expunged/ sealed and all was mentioned on my SF-86. I was wondering if this would be why I did not get the Interim TSC and if it will keep me from holdingg a TSC? Also would I be able to appeal this if I have all the papers showing dismissal?

  142. Avatar

    Yes, a DUI arrest (even though dismissed) can result in not being granted an interim TSC. Interim clearances are not actually denied, they are just not granted. The “not granting” of an interim clearance can not be rebutted or appealed. Whether or not you are granted a final TSC will depend on whether there are any complicating or aggravating factors surrounding your DUI arrest and on any other negative aspects of your past conduct. Generally a single DUI arrest without any history of excessive alcohol use or other misconduct will not result in a clearance denial.

    Before an agency issues a “Letter of Denial” the applicant has at least two opportunities to present information on his own behalf–once during a Subject Interview (part of the investigation) and once as a response to a “Letter of Intent” or “Statement of Reasons” to deny a clearance (contractor personnel are also afforded the right to a hearing). Beyond that there is an appeal process.

    Adjudicators are more interested in conduct than outcomes. So, they will focus more on “drinking and driving” (the conduct) rather than conviction and sentence (outcome).

  143. Avatar

    It turns out they wanted the whole new package for a clearance anyway. The Security Office said they couldn’t look me up without all the paperwork in hand at once.

    So, I filled out a new SF-86, explaining the situation as I did to you. I turned it in and am awaiting word on my status overall.

    In light of your response to Brandon re: the emphasis being on conduct rather than outcome (in my case SF-50 being clear), may I ask again what your sense of my viability is here given the messy old allegation that resolved fine?


  144. Avatar

    All they need is your SSN to check you clearance status. Sounds like they already did and now they want to see if you list anything on your SF86.

    What you didn’t say about the incident was whether you were given the file and whether it was classifed at a level higher than your clearance. If you weren’t given the file, there was no security violation. If you were given a file that was classified at a higher level than your clearance or given a classified file that you did not have the requisite need-to-know, the primary responsibility rests with the person who gave you the file. It seems to me that if there was a security violation and you were found to have been culpable in any way, you would have been issued a letter of reprimand or at least a letter of caution.

    If you had a security clearance during your prior period of employment, you would have signed a non-disclosure statement soon after being granted a clearance and you should have been given a security briefing. When you left the job you should have signed a debriefing statement.

    I can’t imagine a situation where a person has been granted a clearance but doesn’t know at what level. I suppose anything is possible, but I can only give you my opinion on what might happen, if you are dealing with an agency that operates in accordance with established regulations.

  145. Avatar

    I got an interm TS and currently waiting for my TS. Am thinking of going overseas in Asia countries. Are there any countries I should be aware of and shouldn’t be visit??

  146. Avatar

    I am currently looking for information that involves a few of my coworkers. One has recently been divorced since he was granted his security clearance. I was looking to find some information in regards to his clearance. So far I have been unable to find any information that directly states the course of action he should be taking. Does he need to submit a new application into the government to reflect the changes in his life? Also, I was looking to find information if someone has already obtained their clearance, but then got married would they have to resubmit for the security clearance. If anyone could give me any guidance as to what should be done or where to find information that would direct me towards an answer. Thank you for help in this matter.

  147. Avatar

    I have a question about the public trust clearance. I have been accepted for a new position that requires a public trust clearance. I live in Northern Virginia, and I had a Top Secret with Poly clearance in 2002 for 3 weeks then I lost the Top Secret clearance after a dumb mistake I made with getting caught up on CIA property with a suspended drivers license. In 2004, after coming back from an overseas position, I was denied for a secret clearance. I never found out why I was denied. I have been non-DOD related work since. I also have a low FICO score – around low 500’s and came close to losing my house because of nonpayment of which I cleared up just a month ago. Does anyone know will this history prevent me from obtaining this lower level clearance?


    Patrick Q

  148. Avatar


    I currently hold a Secret Clearance working for the DoD. In Nov. I was charged with DUI/DWI (even though I was below the legal limit) but am awaiting a trial date. I have no other criminal / civil record or traffic tickets other than those stemming from this one incident. Do I have to report this to a security person immediately or just make note of it on my SF-86 when my clearance is up for renewal in a couple of years?

    Assuming I have no other history of alcohol / drug abuse and this is an isolated incident, will this jeapordize my clearance? (Judging by your response on 30 Jan to Brandon, I’m guessing I would be OK).

    Thanks for your help.

  149. Avatar


    Final installment here on my mysterious process here (and thanks!) — here’s the scoop :

    I received this reply from the Security Office when I asked about my status — and I am not sure how to make sense of this twist (perhaps I never had a clearance just ‘suitability’) :

    “There is no record of a prior clearance being granted for you. You do have the adequate level of investigation, so a new one won’t be necessary if your position requires a Secret clearance.”

    The question I have is — what does the process look like now : 1) what is left to do to grant a clearance if my prior investigation was “adequate?” 2) Will they simply do a small investigation to look into the year since I left Federal employment until now? 3) Will they go through my e-QUIP stuff, including contacting my current employer sooner than later then – before I would ordinarily hear from an investigator? Perhaps it is all hard to say.

    Thanks so much!! I really appreciate your expertise.


  150. Avatar

    It depends on their interpretation of “substantial information indicating that the standards of E.O. 12968 may not be satisfied.” They can require a new investigation because of the information about the incident. But it doesn’t sound like they are going to do that. In which case, if they follow policy, they will adjudicate your prior investigation–that’s all.

    For a public trust position for a federal employee the investigation is an MBI, LBI, or BI. All of which meet the investigative requirements for a Secret clearance. However, for a security clearance the investigation must be based on an SF86. Investigations for public trust positions are based on an SF85P. I don’t think it is possible to accept an SF86 from you now and combine it with a public trust investigation that previously conducted. This is because the questioning during the Subject Interview part of the investigation is different for a security clearance investigation and public trust investigation. It is possible that your prior investigation was based on an SF86 for both a secret clearance and a public trust position, but they never adjudicated it for a security clearance.

    BTW you never mentioned the name of the agency. If I were you, I’d want to know more. You can request a copy of your prior investigation (which will include your application form) under the Privacy Act. Check the agency’s website. Almost all of them provide info on how to make a Freedom of Information/Privacy Act request.

  151. Avatar

    Mai Lynn,
    Check with you security manager for the most recent information about travel restictions. Generally for collateral clearances including TS, there are no travel restictions. There are restrictions that apply to all US citizens regarding travel to Cuba and North Korea. Your security manager needs to know about your travel plans so he can provide you a defensive security briefing prior to your travel. A supplemental source for information about foreign travel is the State Department website.

  152. Avatar


    For people with TS clearances (and designed Secret SAPs)it is necessary to report new marriages or cohabitation, plus any new immediate family members who are not US citizens (i.e. step-daughter) or who are residing outside the US. A “NAC” will be conducted on the new spouse or cohabitant. For people with Secret clearances it is necessary to report marriage or cohabitation with someone who is not a US citizen and/or acquiring new immediate family members who are not US citizens or are residing outside the US. Changes should be reported their security officer. It is not necessary to report a divorce for any level of security clearance.

  153. Avatar

    I have a question regarding secret clearance. I gotten a job with army and got my interim clearance on NOV 2007 and currently waiting for my full clearance. I have an investment property with my other family member. My partner is experience financial difficulty and we might have to foreclosure on our investment. Right now my credit score is about 800 with no blemish. This foreclosure will affect my credit. What do you recommend? Should i talk to my security officer? Should I wait till they give me the clearance?

  154. Avatar

    One other thing. Although not required, it would probably be beneficial to report a divorce if you were married to a foreign national and you have SCI access based on a foreign national waiver.

  155. Avatar

    I will request a copy – thanks!

    Right…So, I have already submitted the new SF-86 as the initial requirements dictated – addressing the incident that may or may not be an issue. Since they have it in front of them, will they use it anyway? Or, will they stay with guidelines just to readjudicate my old investigation alone (it was all done on paper in 2001, not electronic version of SF-86).

    As well, I noticed on my Security Data Verification Sheet that under ‘Position Clearance/Access Level’ the box for ‘None’ was checked, other unchecked choices were Conf. / S / TS / SCI. Does that mean they might not adjudicate for a clearance after all – I was told the position requires a Secret…?

    You are making daylight of this fog!

  156. Avatar

    Hi William,

    I am currently waiting for a dod secret clearance. I submitted my sf86 in Jan. 2007. I was given given an interim clearance. At that time, two of my family members were green card holders. By August, thet both became us citizens. I gave their citizenship information to the investigator that interviewed me in August. The investigator told me that my application is going to go into adjudication phase. My fso checked my status and told me it is still in adjudication. Once they became citizens, there is nothing in background that would be of concern. Is it not unusual for the adjudication to take six months? Is it possible that the investigator screwed up and forgot to give their citizenship information to the adjudication office? How can I check to see if they have received the updated information? Thanks,

  157. Avatar

    As I mentioned before, “It depends on their interpretation of “substantial information indicating that the standards of E.O. 12968 may not be satisfied.” If they consider the incident as meeting this definition, they can have a new investigation initiated. If not, your prior investigation may be adjudicated for the clearance, depending on what agency you are dealing with.

    Your situation is different than most people who can seek a clearance based on a previous investigation. Most people who previously had an investigation were granted a clearance that they now seek to have reinstated. You did not previously have a clearance, so we are not talking about reinstatement. There is no overarching federal policy on your situation, but here is what DoD says about adjudicating previous investigations (DoD 5200.2R, para: C4.1.2) “Prior Personnel Security Investigations. As long as there is no break in Military Service and/or Federal employment greater than 24 months, any previous personnel security investigation that essentially is equivalent in scope to an investigation required by this Regulation will be accepted without requesting additional investigation.”

    I suspect that the “Security Data Verification Sheet” is an agency specific form, so I don’t know if it reflects information about the past or the future.

  158. Avatar

    You don’t have to report a foreclosure before it happens. If you have PMI, a foreclosure should not become a significant security issue because you will not owe any money after the foreclosure.

  159. Avatar

    At this stage there isn’t any way to find out if the investigator included the citizenship information about you relatives in his report. I think it would be highly unlikely that the information was not included, because the primary reason for the interview was probably to ask you about your relatives. If he did not address this issue, the report should have been kicked back during the review process before it went to adjudication. If the adjudicative agency is DISCO and it’s been 6 months since the case was closed, your FSO can request a status check. Since you have an interim Secret clearance, unless the lack of a final clearance is limiting your ability to do your job, I wouldn’t be too concerned about.

  160. Avatar


    Thanks alot for the info. What if I dont have PMI on my mortgage. What do you think the lender might do?

  161. Avatar

    The lender will attempt to collect the balance remaining on the mortgage after the property is sold.

  162. Avatar

    I just completed an employment application online which required me to state if I ever filed bankruptcy. I believe that I might have not knowing that this happened about 20 years ago. Too long to remember if it was chapter 7. Is that something that will deni me of a security clearance? I understand any misdemeanor charges is a record. that the other thing stopping me. How can I explain this to the company that it happened 15 years ago?
    I just had an interview and I am very worried. How can I fix my situation in continuing the employment process to their HR?

    Please advise.

  163. Avatar

    I’m nearly 2.5 years into a contractor clearance, TS-SCI level. In addition to my initial security interview at my office I’ve had three interviews on site [the first two I had polys…].

    Just before Christmas I spoke with my FSO and she said that my file had moved beyond polys [was there forever!] and went to adjudications. Furthermore, she said it had moved from a junior adjudicator to a senior adjudicator.

    I just have one question: Can a junior adjudicator issue a denial or does the mere fact that it’s gone on to the senior person mean that there is a greater likelihood of a favorable outcome? Obviously, you cannot have a crystal ball here but I would hate to wait all this time just to hear “Sorry, no.”

  164. Avatar

    I have some credit problem, and some debts that have been turned over to collectors. I am making current payments on them. Will I be able to get a Secret Clearance?

  165. Avatar

    There is no federal security clearance application that asks for information about bankruptcies that occurred more than 7 years ago, or about a misdemeanor offense (not involving alcohol, drugs, explosives or firearms) that occurred more than 10 years ago. If what you filled out was a company employment application form, I am unable to comment on your situation.

  166. Avatar

    At most agencies “junior” adjudicators can grant clearances but not deny them, so they grant clearances in cases that are totally clean or have very minor derogatory information. This encompasses about 20% to 30% of all cases. After an initial review by a junior adjudicator, more difficult cases are passed to a senior adjudicator. So, your case probably contains at least some derogatory or questionable information.

  167. Avatar

    Gordon – there are other mitigating factors that could affect your chances of getting the Secret clearance. However, concerning your debt, showing a consistent track record of paying off the debt is what seems to be most important. Keep up the payments, make them on-time, and try to pay off more than the minimum amount each month. Doing this will reflect positively in the eyes of an adjudicator.

  168. Avatar

    My mortgage is about to adjust to well over $3k a month. I am not sure what my options are since we are not making near enough to keep up now with things. IF I unfortunately cannot and my house forecloses am I kissing my clearance goodbye?

  169. Avatar

    Thanks Will

    I will let you know If I have issue getting the secret clearance. I will let my security officer know when my mortgage get behind. I hope that I will get the clearance before then. I have the interim and been working for 5 month already.

  170. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    I was initially denied the interim secret clearance (figured I would be) because I filed chapter 7 bankrupt shortly after Hurricane Katrina. Since then I have made all of my payments on time.

    I was contacted today by an investigator to setup a meeting to discuss my bankrupcy case. She asked that I bring a copy of my discharge letter and a listing of all the creditors involved in the bankruptcy.

    Can you give me any insight as to what I should expect? My reason is simply because I lost everything, I no longer had a job and there was not another instance in history that I could use to guide me through what was going to happen next.

  171. Avatar


    What happens after the interview, which I’m going to assume is called a ‘SPIN’? To my knowledge none of my references have been contacted.

  172. Avatar

    Yes, it’s called a SPIN, which is short for Special Interview. During the SPIN your list of absolved debts will be reconciled against your credit report. Of significance will be any bad debts listed on the credit report that do not appear as being absolved in your bankruptcy. You will be questioned about the reason for your bankruptcy and possibly your activities (as they relate to personal finances) before, during and after the backruptcy. Records of unresolved/unacknowledged delinquent debts may be tracked down and reviewed, and if necessary a second SPIN may be conducted. After that the case is reviewed for completeness, then sent to the adjudicator.

  173. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson:

    Thanks again for your counsel, its nice to have this outlet.
    I understand clearances come with baggage, but I will not stop being a Democrat; in the long term. –Thanks Again.

  174. Avatar

    Sorry I somehow missed your question earlier. Yes, under DoD regulation you must report to your security manager any potentially disqualifying condition (as listed in the Adjudicative Guidelines). This includes an arrest for DUI.

    A single DUI without complicating or aggravating circumstances rarely results in a clearance denial or revocation, provided the individual complies with all court directed requirements.

  175. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    You said: “After that the case is reviewed for completeness, then sent to the adjudicator.”

    So does that mean the process is nearing the end as in a determination will be the next step? The reason I’m asking is because I only submitted the original SF86 in mid-December 2007 and about two weeks ago had to re-submit finger prints.

    If this is the case, I’m very happy!!! The position is I was offered is contingent upon me receiving a Secret Clearance.

    Thank You!!!

  176. Avatar

    If your SPIN does not result in the need to track down any credit records, the field portion of your investigation could be completed as soon as the investigator sends in his/her report on the SPIN. The other field work in your type of case are police records checks (LACs). If during the past 5 years you have lived, worked, and gone to school in the same general area, all of the field investigation was assigned to one office. The LACs will probably be done about the same time the SPIN is complete. In all likelihood, the NAC portion of your case will be the pacing factor. It takes about one month after the submission of fingerprint cards for the NAC to be completed. After that, another month or two for adjudicaton. You were lucky. I’m sure that OPM put pressure on field investigators to work on cases opened between 1 Oct 07 and 31 Dec 07 ahead of all others, so OPM could use the stats for these cases in their Feb 08 report to congress.

  177. Avatar

    GREAT!!! I was expecting an 18 month wait – but this is very encouraging news. Best of luck to all!


  178. Avatar


    The SPIN went well! It lasted approx. 2 hours and was very thorough. I went prepared – I brought along an additional copy of my credit report which enabled me to read along and give as much information as possible when a specific question was asked. There were a few dates that I didn’t remember – but it wasn’t held against me as long as I could provide an approximate. I figured my investigator would be sharp so I took time out to tab, highlight and make notes to avoid looking unprepared. I brought a FULL copy of my bankruptcy case to include the petition, attorney information, Schedule F which is the disclosure of all debts included in bankruptcy, my credit report at the time I filed bankrupt and my current report. The interview went rather efficiently – because I took time out to organize my documents and thoughts. I was given the opportunity to tell what I have done since filing to better my financial standing. Overall – in my case the SPIN allowed me the platform to say what sometimes is difficult to convey on the SF-86. After three sleepless nights – I can breathe a sigh of relief because it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

  179. Avatar

    I have a TC/SCI, my PR was recently finished. I’m one of the unfortunate people in Southern California who are being screwed by high interest rates for homes. Although I can barely afford it now, I fear that when they raise my rates again that I will have to foreclose. If this happens, should I inform my security officer or just deal with it on my own? Will this affect my SCI? My job depends on keeping my SCI so I’m worried. Any information is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  180. Avatar

    Foreclosure in and of itself is not a big concern. It’s the reason for the foreclosure and more importantly the results of the foreclosure that could cause a serious suitability/security concern. Obviously if you don’t owe any money after the foreclosure, the adjudicative significance of the situation is minimal and probably will not have to be reported to your security officer. DCID 6/4, which governs SCI eligibilty (including reporting requirements), requires any condition listed in the Adjudicative Guidelines to be reported. If you owe money after the foreclosure and pay the debt in a manner acceptable to the creditor, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

  181. Avatar

    I have a quick question. I did my PRSI in February and I know its too early to know anything but I’m hoping you can give me your advice. I had various issues/discrepancies.

    First, I forgot to list my step-sister because she completely slipped my mind as I know nothing about her and don’t refer to her (discrepant). Second, I didn’t realize I had to list my grandfather and uncle, whom I haven’t seen or heard from in over 10 years, simply because they live on a British Island. I wasn’t asked why I didnt’ list them but I did state that I have no contact and/or affliation with them (oversight, discrepant, issue?).

    Next, I had a final warning at work due to a scheduling conflict and/or personality conflict. I know this was not mentioned when she interviewed my supervisor, but I was asked and thus answered honestly. I was never fired and in fact was promoted after the fact with no further problems; this took place in about 2005/2006. Next, I guessed my dates of employment on a few of my jobs and didn’t pay attention to my dates so I noted that I had never been fired within the past 7 years. I clarified that I was fired due to a scheduling conflict with school and work at this one employment. I worked here for no more than 6 months and had no other problems; this employment was over five years ago when I was 20-21 years old.

    Finally, this other employment was estimated to be outside the 7 years but I was unsure so stated the reason why I was fired anyway. I stated that I was fired because I basically sold retail merchandise much cheaper than I should have; about a 90% discount. I explained the entire situation to the investigator and did not leave anything out, though I had to guess the amount I had to repay; this employment was 6-7 years ago when I was 19-20 years old. I never left anything out during my PRSI and answered everything honestly. I know this is a lot but do you think that any of this will prevent me from getting my security clearance? Do you know what issue codes these are and whether or not they would be considered a pattern?

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    You did not have to list your uncle and grandfather on your SF86, but the investigator is required to ask about all foreign relatives. Forgetting to list a step-sister is not an issue.

    You were not required to list the “final warning at work due to a scheduling conflict and/or personality conflict” on your SF86, but again this is the type of information an investigator normal asks about during an interview. It is also not an issue.

    Being fired from two jobs over five years ago is not a pattern of activity. You mitigated the falsification concern by telling the investigator about them. All in all, I don’t think you will have a problem getting a clearance.

    The issue codes are not public information and really aren’t very important except to OPM for accounting and statistical purposes.

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    I am filling out an SF-86 and I have a few questions. I was a flight attendant for the past 10 years and have flown internationally and have even done some DOD contracts to various military bases including the Middle East. How do I list all of this? Also, I filed Chapter 7 paperwork 5 years ago but never showed up for my court date to actually go through with it. So now on my credit report it says “dismissed”. I have been over 180 days delinquent on my credit cards many a times due to financial hardships. Some of them have already been “erased” from my credit report after 7 years and I can’t recall all of them. Is all of the above red flags for a denial for a secret security clearance?


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    somewhat concerned about my soon to be ex-husband losing his security clearance because of his adultery and abandoning/deserting our family. Though he deserves it, I hate the thought of him being unemplyed and unable to cover child support. Will he automatically lose this clearance and his position once our divorce is file with the court? Please help.

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    For foreign travel you only need to be concern with the countries you actually entered. You can summarize work-related travel in the following manner in the comment section: “Work-related travel to Germany, Italy, France, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait as a flight attendant for XYZ airlines from Sep 01 to Jan 08. Visited each country about 10 times a year. Stayed in hotels near airports in these countries for one to three days on each trip.”

    You need to answer “yes” to the bankruptcy petition question and explain in the comment section that you abandoned the petition. This is correctly shown on your credit report as “dismissed.” Had the bankruptcy gone through, it would be characterized as “discharged.”

    The abandoned bankruptcy petition and the foreign travel are not security concerns, unless you were involved in misconduct in a foreign country. The reason you submitted the bankruptcy petition and the delinquent debt are significant security concerns. The only disqualifying conditions for a collateral security clearance that can not be mitigated are insanity and current illegal drug use. Potentially everything else can be mitigated.

  186. Avatar

    T&B Hearted:
    Where security clearances are concerned, nothing happens automatically. Even a convicted spy who applies for a security clearance after being released from prison would be investigated and his case would go through the same adjudicative process as everyone else.

  187. Avatar

    I am applying for a security clearance and I have had two credit cards charged off or in collection. One of them I have paid off completely and the other I am actively paying on. I have had some debt to be 150 days late, but are satisfied now. I have no criminal history or anything. I have a clean record except for those bill that are now being paid and paid off. I have a cell phone bill that went into collection, but they settled with me and I paid a smaller amount. Will this all keep me from getting a security clearance?

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    You have significantly improved your chances of getting a clearance because of your actions. Without knowing why and how long these debts were delinquent, I can’t give you an informed answer. If the delinquencies were caused in part by things beyond your control and you began repaying them as soon as you were able, you should have no problem getting a clearance.

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    I am working for a company that is putting me in for a DHS Public trust. I have 3 issues that I am wondering on.
    1. I currently have past due accounts, I did list them, this is due to me being in school with little or no money during the time I was in school. I ensured that I mentioned this on the e-QIP form.
    2. I am current estranged from my family, though my parents are deceased, could this cause any issues?
    3. I currently rent a room from a Chinese citizen who is married to a US Citizen and is working toward her citizenship, I did put down that I have regular contact with her.
    I ensured that anything I thought was questionable for me was put onto the form and I did not shy away or try to hide anything.

    Do I have any need for serious concern?

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    Your only reason for concern is your financial history.

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    I have been offered a job by a DOD contracting company that requires a secret clearance. I am currently working in the airline industry so I have had my FBI fingerprints done and a 10 year background done with no problems.
    My question is in about 1986 I was charged with a DUI pled guilty, paid a fine. I had never even had a ticket until then so I did no community service or probation. Since then I have not had even one ticket I have good credit and never had any illegal drug use. Do you see any problem for me getting an interim and actually getting the secret clearance?

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    I’m currently a DOD Special Agent for the Army with a TS/SCI clearance and I’m considering applying for a DOJ Special Agent (most likely FBI) position when I get out. I’m wondering if my previous SSBIs from the military will be reviewed as a starting point by DOJ or will they simply start all over again. Not sure if your expertise extends this far, but I’d appreciate any insight. Thanks in advance.

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    If you were only applying for a job in DOJ that required a security clearance, your Army TS/SCI might work. They may review your last security clearance investigation, but since you want a Special Agent position new investigation will probably be conducted. Investigations conducted by OPM (and previously by DSS) do not cover some things the FBI wants in their investigation (like questions regarding writing ability, ability to speak clearly and meet the public), because their investigation is used for both a security clearance and for employment purposes. They also require a polygraph exam for agent positions. The investigation is first adjudicated for employment suitability, then if successful for a security clearance. The criteria for employment suitability is more restrictive than for a security clearance.

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    Please let me know if my Husband and I file for bankrupcy, will it effect his exsisting security clearance? How long will it take for it to be noticed?

    I stumbled across your site and thought I’d post my question.


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    My husband recently applied for and IT position and he had that interium clerance that everyone is talking about. but he alone was in like 2,500 for debt. we payed off like 900 and something. we have had some fincial problems. he was honest about everything. and they called him and told him that he wasnt approved for the clerance. does that mean that he wont get the job? because that is the only thing that could possibly stop him that i could see. that i was reading from the others. what can he or we do? do you think that he still has a chance? and when he asked them what was the problem or could they explain and they said no .

  196. Avatar


    Yes, it can have an affect on his security clearance. As soon as you file for bankruptcy, your husband has a responsibility to report the bankruptcy to his security manager. Waiting for someone to find out about it will only make matters worse.

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    I just submitted my sf85p and my sf86. The one piece of derogitory information that I am worried about is that I paid 3 years of back taxes two years ago and just paid another 2 years of back taxes in the last month. i am now current with taxes. Should I worry about getting my secret and public trust clearance? i have no current deliquent debts and a hi 600’s credit score. I appreciate your attention…. oh and i bought the book. It is well written.

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    I have two questions and I apologize that my posting is so long.

    I worked with a non-DOD govt agency and had a TS clearance with them. The investigation had been done by OPM. I have been offered a job with a DoD contractor and my previous clearance is now being re-adjudicated by dod to transfer the clearance. I cannot start the job until I have the clearance and my offer is contingent upon getting the clearance. I was offered the job in Feb and still have not heard anything. My first questions is why is it taking so long for them to re-adjudicate?

    Also, I got a charge off on my credit report last week. Before this I had great credit with no issues. This was a business card given to me by my previous employer to be used for business purposes.
    I would receive a bill from the creditor and my company would send me a check when I had a payment due. I left the company in September and moved to another apartment at around the same time. I set up mail forwarding and also told my previous company my new address. I was never alerted by the creditor or my previous company that any payments were outstanding. I never received a bill. If there were any payments due and were incurred by me and if I had been told, I would have made them in a timely manner as I always had. This account never even appeared on my credit report until it was a charge off. I have spoken with the creditor and they refuse to remove the charge off regardless of the situation. My question is is this going to effect whether or not they will give me my clearance? I did not put it on my application because this just happened last week.

    Sorry so long but I am really worried about this.


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    It sounds like the job was contingent on getting an interim clearance and your husband was not granted an interim clearance. So the company withdrew the job offer and cancelled the investigation. In this case the company would not be told why the interim clearance was not granted.

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    Why did you submit both forms? Are there two different federal agencies involved? Why did you become behind in paying your taxes, repeatedly? The reason for the tax delinquency is very important, as well as the time frames involved. Please post your original question and the added information at the “Ask Your Clearance Questions – Part 5”

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    The only reason I can think of for readjudicating an SSBI is when the original clearance did not involve SCI eligibility and the new one does. Are you being considered for SCI eligibility?

    When an investigation is readjudicated for SCI eligibility, they use the existing investigation and do not initiate any new investigative action. Also when an investigation is readjudicated, they aren’t suppose to ask for a new SF86.

    You seem to have a good explanation for why the debt is delinquent, but you need to get it paid off as soon as possible, to avoid any serious negative effect from it.

    Please use “Ask Your Clearance Questions–Part 5” for any follow up posts.

  202. Avatar

    I just got hire for federal job with a secret clearance
    but my house is going to be foreclosed on soon. Will that effect my clearance?

  203. Avatar

    Any financial problem can have an adverse impact on a security clearance. The most important thing is whether you owe the mortgage company any money after the foreclosure and how you handle that debt.

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    I’m currently a college sophomore applying for a clearance for an internship in the summer of 2009.

    Would sharing an apartment with an Indian born permanent resident be a disqualifier? Will it raise eyebrows.

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    Your non-US citizen apartment sharer should not be a problem for a clearance, unless your relationship involves obligation, affection, or loyalty or you live in a spouse-like relationship.