Obtaining Security Clearance

Ask Your Clearance Questions – Part 22

Our popular ongoing series allows you to ask your most complex questions regarding security clearances and our regular contributors of present and former clearance investigators and adjudicators will try to answer them. The rules are listed below. Failure to abide by them will mean your question will be deleted.

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Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    I am a 27 year old male with several years of professional experience in Federal contracting and private sector, a Masters degree, excellent credit and flawless criminal/personal history. I am, however, a Naturalized citizen (moved to the US when I was 17) and still have some family (parents, one sister) who live in Pakistan. I don’t have much foreign travel history, I only visited the place twice for short trips in the last 5 years. I am not a dual citizen either, I renounced my citizenship and surrendered my passport to DoS upon becoming a US citizen. I currently work for a DoD contractor and have a DoD Secret clearance. However, I have an offer pending for a Fed. job with DIA, where I would need a Top Secret/SCI and CI Poly. What are my chances? I am also currently undergoing suitability/BI for a separate position with DHS at the sensitive/non-critical and Secret clearance level, which I don’t foresee any problems getting. I have already been offered the DHS job and BI is the final step in getting approved to come on board. I guess the question is, do I have any hope of getting TS/SCI for DIA? Or should I take the DHS job?

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    Correction: I wasn’t clear earlier. My two foreign trips to Pakistan took place OVER 5 years ago (last one was in 2005.) No overseas trips from 2005-2010 besides one trip to Chile in 2006 (for attending an academic conference.)

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    I am a recent college grad (May 2010) that has been offered a job with a DoD contractor on the condition that I get approved for a Secret security clearance. I was offered the job in March and submitted my SF86 on April 20 of this year. My hiring manager and security contact at Raytheon have told me that for new college hires getting a security clearance usually takes 10-15 weeks. I am currently on week 12 and I am getting worried because I have not had any contact whatsoever with any investigators. My references listed have no been contacted, as far as I know, and I have heard nothing. I was completely honest on my SF86 and there should be nothing out of the ordinary that should prevent me from getting cleared. I only have like $200 in credit card debt along with my student loans and have never been late on any payments.I have no criminal or drug record and all of my family are US citizens.

    The only thing that I could possibly see causing an issue is the fact that I stated on the SF86 that I have made frequent trips to Mexico over the years. I am 22 yrs old and live pretty much 30min from the Mexican border in Texas. I haven’t been there in about 2 years, but before it wasn’t so dangerous to go and before passports were required I would go with family to eat and shop since we are so close. Because of that I have no documentation on my exact dates over the numerous times I have visited. This should not cause any major problems right?

    Also, should I be worried that I have not been contacted by anyone? I know I should have a subject interview at some point but nothing has happened and my targeted start date of July 1 by my employer has already come and gone. Any insight? How much longer should I be waiting?

  4. Avatar

    My husband has been requested to complete security clearance (Standard form 86) for his job as an Electrician. Over the past 7 years, he has worked for a total of 12 different companies (this is not unusual for his work). He is placed with various companies by the Local Union. On each of these companies he has been on multiple job sites with multiple different supervisors. He only knows his current work job site address and supervisor contact information (he has been there for one year). We do know all the companies headquarter’s addresses and contact information. My question is if leaving the supervisors and actual work addresses portion blank going to effect his clearance or slow things down. Thank you in advance for you assitance.

  5. Avatar

    Investigators talked to me, my references, and coworkers nearly eight months ago, and my case has not yet reached adjudication. My understanding from the recruiters was that that sort of thing generally happens towards the end of the BI process, but obviously that’s not the case here. So I’ve had plenty of time to become curious about how some things work, and so far I haven’t found information to help answer these questions.

    -I’ve heard that living in different places, even within the US, can slow things down, since there’s a greater chance one of the locations could be backed up. Is it common that an office might be running many months behind others?

    -I traveled to a communist country with a church group for a 10-day tour two years ago. It was all arranged through a travel agency, and we were kept on a tight leash while we were there, so there are records of exactly where we went and when. Would this be something that might be holding things up? I know extended periods in other countries (like study abroad) can hold things up, but does a shorter time in an “unfriendly” country hold things up in a similar manner?

    -How do investigators handle checking on jobs that are conducted entirely online? When the investigator was here, he asked for contacts who could verify work done at my home, and I explained that since it was all online, no clients ever came to my house. The company for which I work has its headquarters in another state, and I had included the relevant information on my SF-86. Does someone stop by headquarters to verify my employment like they did for my offline job? What do they do if nobody at the office knows me personally (my immediate supervisor also works remotely, and she has not been contacted)? I would think this sort of thing would come up more and more frequently nowadays, and I had explained on the SF86 that the work was conducted online and where the HQ is, so I was surprised that they were asking for local verifiers.

    -Do you have suggestions on other blogs / boards where I can look for ongoing information on clearance-related topics? I lurk here and on FederalSoup, and I find both sites very informative and interesting. These two seem to be the most active, but I’d like to know I’m not missing something else good.

    I know the standard “every case is different” applies, but hopefully these questions are broad enough that they will help others too. Thank you for your insight!

  6. Avatar

    Good Evening, thank you for taking my question.

    I am about to be submitted for a secret clearance, and I have some prior drug and alcohol issues, I am not sure if these will affect the clearance.

    1) I was charged with a DUI 11/2007, charges were dropped

    2) I used cocaine one time 6/2008

    3) All prior drug use in past 7 years (marijuana 1 time, Ecstasy 1 time, and cocaine 2 times) these occurred in the 6th of my 7 year scope.

    4) I did use marijuana with some frequency in college, but prior to the 7 year scope.

    6) I have discontinued all drug use, and have abstained from any alcohol use for the last year (I do not plan on taking another drink)

    7) Last one – I took some of my wifes old pain meds last year when I hurt my back.. not sure if its even worth mentioning but I thought I’d include everything.

    Thank you for taking the time to review my question, please let me know if you need any additional information.


  7. Avatar

    sorry for skipping 5, it was a duplicate point..

  8. Avatar

    Hello, during my last year of high school and my first year of college I worked in a restaurant as a cashier and they paid me by cash. However when I began working at the same restaurant as a server they began paying me by check and I then received my W2 form. The amount I made as a server was more than when I was a cashier and even then I did not make enough to need to file an income tax return. But of course while being paid by cash there was not any income tax withheld, obviously. I have since (that was 7 years ago) only worked jobs that paid by check and have filed all my taxes on time. Would the time I worked while being paid by cash affect my chances of obtaining a TS security clearance?

  9. Avatar

    I had a TS/SCI clearance until I retired from the Social Security Administration in 10/09. I’d like to apply for a security clearance job. Am I considered eligible since it can be reactivated?

    Thank you.

  10. Avatar

    I have held a TS/SCI clearance through the Army for many years. I recently went in for NSA SCI. I was denied. NSA submitted an incident report to DISCO and they suspended my TS. My question is can they do that without any physical evidence of the reason NSA denied me since the NSA denial was based on answers given on a polygraph. As opposed to physical evidence like an arrest record/DUI or something of the sort. Basically NSA has no proof of what they are claiming is the reason they are denying me so I was wondering how they can have DSS pull my collateral clearance.

  11. Avatar

    Yes, a clearance can be suspended based on an unfavorable allegation.

  12. Avatar


    If your husband is filling out an SF-86, he needs to go back a full 10 years on employment (not 7). He needs to list all employers. If he leaves supervisor info blank, it WILL add potentially significant time to his investigation, as the investigators will be tasked with trying to get the info. It will be much easier for your husband to locate the information than to leave it to an investigator to have to do. The more thorough he is on the form, the quicker his investigation will go. Did he ever have a point of contact at the headquarters of the companies where he worked (as opposed to different supervisors at different job sites)? Did he ever have any coworkers who worked with him on multiple projects? Again, the more information that is provided on the form, the better the investigation will go.

  13. Avatar

    College Grad,

    Waiting is part of the process. For a secret level clearance, there is a chance that you may never get contacted by an investigator. If all the paperwork has been submitted properly, there is really nothing you can do but wait. Don’t start panicking and assuming the worst. Your security office was probably wrong to speculate on how much time the process will take because there are a lot of variables. Hang in there.

  14. Avatar

    Cindy Mayhle:
    If your last Periodic Reinvestigation is less than 5 years old and your access to classified information terminated less than 2 years ago, your clearance can be reinstated at the same or lower sensitivity level. So, with that limitation, you should be eligible for any job that requires a “current” clearance.

    Only Intelligence Community (IC) agencies have the authority to grant SCI eligibility, and SSA is not a member of the IC. I can’t imagine a scenario where an IC agency would grant an SSA employee SCI eligibility, but I guess anything is possible.

  15. Avatar

    Seven years of employment information is sufficient, if your husband is applying for a Secret clearance. The name and address of former employers is important. The names/contact information for former supervisors and job site information (if in the same city) is not critical, particularly for a Secret clearance. As Contract Investigator indicated, the more complete and accurate his SF86—the fewer problems. If necessary write “unrecalled” for supervisor, rather than leaving it blank. For a job site that differs from the company location, he should list as much information as he can—at least city & state. Explain in the comment section or continuation space, the nature of the work and any information that will facilitate the investigation, such as the name and contact information for a coworker.

  16. Avatar

    For applicants such as yourself it is nearly impossible to evaluate your chance of being granted a TS/SCI clearance. The Foreign Influence criterion in the Adjudicative Guidelines is harder to apply than other criteria. The criterion takes into consideration information you haven’t presented here and information only available to the government regarding the potential threat presented by the country involve and/or elements within the country.

    You can read my article on this subject at https://news.clearancejobs.com/2010/09/05/foreign-influence-and-security-clearances/ and make your own assessment. The article is a little dated in that DCID 6/4 was replaced by ODNI ICD 704 in October 2008. ICD 704 governs the criteria for the granting of SCI eligibility. It is available at https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICD/ICD_704.pdf

  17. Avatar

    I am currently on a hire list and hope to be selected in the near future. The position only requires a PSI (personal security investigation) and did not mention the requirement for a clearance.
    When I was in the army I did have a secret clearance, from 1998-2002.

    The last few years the economy has truly hurt my credit and I am trying to improve things, but it isn’t very pretty. Between a car and credit cards around 20k of charged of debt. The reality of which is more like 10k, and I am in the processes of fighting them to get things under control.

    My driving record is also less then stellar. I don’t have any major offenses just lots of little ones. I am currently looking into how to get items sealed or expunged.

    Never committed a crime. Honorable discharge with some medals and honors.

    Will my poor recent credit history and bad driving record disallow me from getting a position.

    Thanks in advance, i realize you all very busy and truly appreciate your input.

  18. Avatar

    Questions while waiting:

    It is not uncommon for one field location to be two or three months behind other locations, but it would be rare for one location to be several months behind other locations, unless it is an overseas location.

    Normally a 10-day tour to a communist country shouldn’t have any affect on your clearance processing unless something unusual happened to you during the trip. If the trip was to North Korea or Cuba, then there are other considerations.

    Your telecommuting job is investigated the same as any other job—employment records are reviewed and employment references are interviewed. Applicants are routinely asked to provide contact information for other people who can corroborate an applicant’s activities during certain periods of time.

    Another knowledge person and I respond to questions posted under articles I have written about security clearances. The articles are posted at the ClearanceJobs.com website.

    By today’s standards end-to-end processing time of more than 8 months suggests a major problem or the need for investigation in an overseas location (which doesn’t seem to apply to you) or your clearance is being processed by Customs and Border Protection or the Board of Broadcast Governors. See my article on “Security Clearances: How Long Do They Take?” for individual agency processing times.

  19. Avatar

    The criteria in the “Adjudicative Guidelines” for Alcohol Consumption and for Drug Involvement are easier to apply than most other criteria. If you have not had any other alcohol-related problems, there are no aggravating factors related to either your alcohol consumption or drug involvement, and there are no other issues present in your case, I believe you have a fair to good chance of getting a final Secret clearance. However, your chance of getting an interim Secret clearance is poor to fair. For more information see my articles regarding alcohol and drugs. Both are posted at the ClearanceJobs.com website, along with numerous related questions and answers.

  20. Avatar

    r b:
    If you were not require to file an income tax return because your income was below the legal threshold, then the fact that income tax was not withheld from your wages is a non-issue for a security clearance. Your employment during that time period will be verified through records and/or employment interview.

  21. Avatar


    I went through a background for a TS clearance about 10 years ago and it was denied. I was a Marine for 12 years in which I held a secret clearance and worked for a DOD contractor where I held a secret for another 5 years.
    It was while working for this contractor that my TS was denied and my secret was suspended.
    I was told that it was because I owed the IRS back taxes. I have since been paying my taxes every year and making payments to the IRS when possible.
    How do I at least get my secret clearance back?
    What process should I take?

    Thank you,


  22. Avatar

    Thank you for your response, Mr. Henderson. My agency is one of the ones that takes a longer time, but it certainly isn’t this long.

    I think I will check with the main office for my telecommuting job to see whether anyone there remembers being contacted. I held the job at the same time as I held my in-person job, and I had included the contact information for that employer on the SF-86, so it shouldn’t be difficult to verify where I was and what I was doing during that time.

    I know there were some problems when my form was originally scoped (they did not scope one of my references until I asked the investigator why she hadn’t yet been contacted, and they had assigned my telecommuting job to the investigator here rather than in the state where that reference is), so I wonder whether that could have delayed things. There shouldn’t be any problems that I can imagine, I’ve never had financial or legal issues, and I filled out the SF-86 completely, so I do wonder what is taking so long. I did take a month-long study abroad trip to Europe through my college in 2000, so maybe that has something to do with it. Or perhaps they had trouble locating some former supervisors for whom I don’t have contact information. I keep wondering if they might have lost my paperwork for a while!

    Again, thank you. I appreciate that you and others are willing to share what you know!

  23. Avatar

    Will a current prescription for antidepressants disqualify me for either agency suitability or any level of security clearance? The medication treats minor depression and anxiety that have never affected my professional life.

  24. Avatar

    I have received a tentative offer as a Civilian from the Army, and I am in the process of filling out the paperwork. One of the conditions of employment is the ability to get a Secret clearance. I would be part of a group of new hires that are all intended to start at the same time.

    When I asked what would happen if the Interim was denied, I was told that there is no accommodation for that happening. Does that mean they can not hire me based on my not getting an Interim clearance, without going through the appeal and hearing process? Or will I have the opportunity for the whole appeal process even though they may not put me on payroll until it is complete?

    I have my doubts about getting an interim, because of the business downturn and no income my tax situation was a mess. I am cleaning it up and the actual indebtedness is minimal now, but I did not file some taxes until very late because I had no money to pay them.

    So I am not at all sure about a clearance, but I am even less sure about an Interim, and I would hate to count on this if I don’t even get an appeal.

    Thank you

  25. Avatar


    When I was 16 I was fired from a job due to poor performance and the following year I was fired from a job for stealing / ringing people out improperly. After that I have worked summer jobs for 4 consecutive years with great performance. Do I have any chance of getting a secret security clearance?


  26. Avatar

    Hi, I have a DOS secret clearance. I just switched employers and they require a DOD secret clearance.
    I was wondering how long it takes to transfer a DOS secret clearance to a DOD secret clearance after an RRU has been initiated?

    Thanks guys, great site!

  27. Avatar


    If I agree to a lifestyle polygraph, am I simultaneously waiving my 5th Amendment protection against incriminating myself? And, if every answer I give on the poly is deemed as “no deception detected,” does that constitute as “passing” the lifestyle poly, even if I admit to bad behavior in the past? And if bad behavior is determined, yet I answered the entire poly truthfully, can the results be used to revoke previously granted access to SCI?


  28. Avatar

    Probability of passing an employment suitability review is very difficult to predict, because there is no publicly available information on how the suitability standards are interpreted and some standards depend on the specific job. I recommend you read my articles on personal finances (4), employment suitability, and criminal conduct (2) for an idea of what adjudicators look for and consider important. See the links above.

  29. Avatar

    First thing you should do is consistently make monthly payments to the IRS in an amount acceptable to them for several months before applying for a clearance. Then find an employer who is willing to sponsor you for a security clearance at any level. They will have you submit the appropriate forms.

  30. Avatar

    For a final clearance the short answer is no. For an interim clearance, maybe. For more information I recommend my two articles on Mental Health and Security clearances post at https://news.clearancejobs.com/

  31. Avatar

    I don’t know what it means. Perhaps you should ask them. You can not appeal the declination of an interim security clearance. There is a procedure for rebutting and appealing the denial of a final security clearance, but the agency that sponsored your clearance must continue to sponor your clearance through the entire process. There is also a procedure for appealing an unfavorable employment suitability decision, if you are applying for a competitive service appointment. See my articles on “Employment Suitability Versus Security Clearance” and 4 articles on personal finances. There is also an article on “Rebutting and Appealing Security Clearance Denials” that was written primarily for defense contractors, but the general concept is the same for everyone. Links to all the articles are at the top of this page.

  32. Avatar

    Being fired for poor performance that does not involve misconduct or rule violation is not a security issue. Being fired for theft is a security issue, but since it only occurred once 4 years ago at age 17, your chance of getting a clearance is good. List both of these job terminations at question #13c of the SF86.

  33. Avatar

    If DOS entered your clearance information in OPM’s Central Verification System (CVS) database, DISCO can reciprocally accept the clearance almost immediately—so it will only depend on how quickly DISCO is taking action on RRUs. This changes all time depending on their workload. If your clearance is not in CVS, there’s no way to know how long it will take — 2 weeks, a month?

  34. Avatar

    WH –

    Thanks for the response. It is a competitive service appointment. I think I will pass the suitability, and not be granted an Interim.

    I am just worried that if I do not get the Interim, they will drop their sponsorship, without allowing me any appeal, and I wondered if there was anything in place to prevent them from doing that.

    Thanks for providing this service.


  35. Avatar

    I’ve purchased Mr. Henderson’s book and now I realize that my TS/SCI will not be processed any faster due to my exisitng Secret clearance. It makes sense to pull the credit report and the NAC check, as something might have changed but why pull all LACs again if you’re not living in the area (ergo nothing would have changed in that particular LAC). Seems a bit redundant but is that what happens?

  36. Avatar

    I am in the process of filling out an SF86 for a secret clearance, which is due to be submitted by 8/15/2010. I will need an interim clearance to keep the offer.

    I filed for CH 13 BK in 6/2003. The case was dismissed in 2/2004 at the confirmation hearing for non-payment, but my house was the only debt I had requested relief on and the house was under contract for sale, it closed 2 weeks later in 3/2004. I did not have the money to make the back BK payments prior to confirmation (which were mortgage related) and with closing coming up (and enough funds left at settlement to pay the mortgage and realtor in full), I opted to let it be dismissed. My attorney also advised this saying it was the simpler way to settle everything since the house was sold.

    Question: The SF86 says to list any BK filings within 7 years. I assume this means the actual “filing date” as listed on BK paperwork. My filing date of the BK was outside the 7 year window (June 2003). So I wasn’t going to list it per the instructions. But, because it was dismissed, it shows on my Equifax credit report and will for another 3 years (they have a 10 year rule on “dismissed” Ch. 13).

    So, do I declare this BK this on the SF86 or not? They will see it when they run the Equifax report, but it was filed outside the 7 year window, so do they ignore it? I really need the interim clearance and want to do whatever will make my chances greater of getting it.

    It seems to me that if I answer “yes” on the SF86, then I haven’t filled it out correctly since I did file BK outside of the 7 year window. I don’t know what to do.

    Please advise the best course of action. Again, interim clearance is critical in order to secure the job.

    Thank you for any help.

  37. Avatar

    Does the written offer specify “ability to get an interim?” If not, my best guess is that they will continue sponsorship of your clearance until a final decision is made.

    Average end-to-end completion time for the fastest 90% of all initial clearances through the Army is 58 days–a little faster for Secret and slower for cases with significant unfavorable information. Of course it’s only an average, but it’s much better than 2 years ago.

  38. Avatar

    Company B put me in for a straight DoD top secret in February, being upgraded from a full secret. The investigation went to adjudication in June.

    Company A put me in for an NSA clearance back in January. After only a week after I passed my last poly this month, the TS-SCI poly clearance was issued. Even though NSA is part of DoD, there seemed to be two investigations going at the same time (references and workplaces called by different investigators a week apart, etc)

    So, in JPAS there still shows an interim top secret with company B in adjudication and 6 weeks seems like a long time. Company A’s security officer said it will take a few days for the TS to show up in JPAS, however I wonder how this worked with the two investigations. Were the two investigations combined since they are both under DoD? Was the NSA investigation just for the “SCI” part and they used the work done by the other company for the TS? Does all of the investigation work go into the same OPM file for efficiency?

    When the company A TS/SCI poly went to adjudication, were they able to access the company B investigation and combine them? Im wondering if the company B investigation will still need something else from me to complete (like a spin or additional questions answered or whatever its called) or if it will drop out of JPAS once the company A clearance is updated in the system.

    FYI I think that the slot for company B might have been cancelled a short while ago. They don’t return phone calls so I don’t know what the status is.

    Company A’s security officer says it is immaterial since a TS clearance was issued but I still feel up in the air with another clearance in adjudication and wonder if something is holding it up or if I need to do anything else on my part.

  39. Avatar

    WH –

    The job posting and the offer only specify that I must be able to obtain a Secret clearance, no mention of the interim. So I guess that it helps a bit to know that the whole process will have to play out.

    Faster clearances are usually a positive thing – but not so much for those of us who wish for more time to prove mitigation or a change in behavior!

    They are hoping to have us on board by the end of August, but I think they are being very optimistic in their estimates, unless they will allow us to start without the clearances. The offers were sent out in July.

    Thanks again


  40. Avatar

    Thank you for your previous response. I’m glad that I can look to your experience for advice. I was wondering, does investigator contact ( either with me or references) come at the beginning or end of the process? I’m really hoping to hear soon of some sort of status update.

    Thank you

  41. Avatar

    College Grad:
    An interview with the Subject of the investigation is not a standard part of the investigation for a secret clearance, nor are interviews with references. Check out the 2nd page of my Federal Security/Suitability Clearance Chart for a brief description of various investigations. It’s posted at http://www.lastpostpublishing.com/Documents/Clearance%20Chart.pdf

  42. Avatar

    Well over 50% of the police record checks are now done by what OPM calls “linkage,” that is they are done by clerks sitting at computer terminals in one central location. So they aren’t really LACs anymore in the true sense of the word “local;” they are state-level records accessed through NLETS. Of course local police contribute records to the system. It doesn’t matter whether or not OPM is the investigative agency that does your SSBI. The NAC, LACs, and credit report (the elements of an NACLC) are the least time consuming and least expensive part of the SSBI, so they will get done much faster than the PRSI, references interviews and other record checks. The time it would take to retreive and review the previous investigation to determine which LACs are unnecessary would probably exceed the cost of the LACs and delay the investigation by at least a few days.

  43. Avatar

    Ah, makes sense. All the ones from NLETS must go very fast. It’s just those pesky states that refuse access to OPM like California. Doing all CA checks individually sounds like a financial and logistical nightmare.

    Not to sound like a snitch but it is appropriate to forward a tip (someone’s name) to OPM if they’ve stated an intention to lie about an arrest. Do I do the good citizen thing and act or trust that the investigator will see through the charade?

  44. Avatar


    You are not required to list a bankruptcy that occurred more than 7 years ago based on the filing date. If your case is being processed by DISCO, an interim Secret clearance determination will be made within about 3 days based on the information in your SF86 and a check of 2 government security clearance databases. Your case will then be transferred to OPM for investigation. Once your case is opened at OPM, a credit report will be obtained. There is a possibility that after the credit report is obtained your interim clearance could be withdrawn, if negative information appears in the report other than just a notation that your bankruptcy was dismissed in June 2003. Were you more than 180 days delinquent on your payments to the bankruptcy trustee? If so, you will have to list it at question #26m.

    If there is nothing negative in your credit report other than a notation that your bankruptcy was dismissed, you might be okay by not mentioning it at all. Otherwise you should answer “no” to question #26a and provide an explanation of what happened in the comment section of question #26. I recommend providing an explanation of what happen in the comment section no matter what appears in your credit report.

    Predicting the outcome of interim clearance decisions is very difficult because there are no written interim clearance decisions. In FY08 DISCO declined interim clearance in 39% of cases; whereas only 1% were denied final clearance.

  45. Avatar

    This type of thing still happens inspite of rules against it. NSA, like many other Intelligence Community (IC) agencies, has the authority to conduct their own security clearance investigations. NSA records their cases in Scattered Castles (the IC clearance database), then purchases the background investigations from a private company. Most NSA cases are later posted to JPAS. Army, Navy, and Air Force industrial cases (SCI and collateral) are initially processed through DISCO, recorded in JPAS, and the investigations are purchased from OPM.

    All federal agencies are required to check government clearance databases before initiating a security clearance investigation to prevent duplicate investigations, but if DISCO doesn’t check Scattered Castles and the case is not posted to JPAS at the time DISCO requests the investigation from OPM, they are unaware of the NSA investigation. I suspect that most DISCO personnel do not have access to Scattered Castles, because some of the information in the database is classified. It seems to me that if you listed the NSA investigation on the SF86 that you submitted to Company B, it would have been routed to someone at DISCO with access to Scattered Castles and DISCO would not have initated an investigation through OPM, but I don’t know for sure.

    I have heard of cases where IC agencies have initiated SSBIs with full knowledge that another SSBI is being or has recently been conducted by OPM. Some IC agencies choose to do this because they don’t have confidence in the quality of OPM’s investigations.

    Your two investigations were not combined into one. It is possible that company B withdrew sponsorship for your collateral clearance, and DISCO has/will change the status of your case to “loss of jurisdication” without completing the adjudication. However, the completed OPM investigation will still be recorded in JPAS. Your security officer at Company A is correct. If you have a TS/SCI clearance from NSA, it doesn’t matter if DISCO doesn’t adjudicate your collateral TS clearance.

  46. Avatar

    Hello I am currently in the IRR and have a secret clearance my mos required me to have one? Is my clearance still active or will they have to reactivate it if I get a job that requires a clearance? If so what kind of check do they do to reactivate it? I have been out of the national guard for 1 year.

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    My question is whether another company who either has DoD clients or is an agency within the DoD itself would grant me a Secret clearance right off the bat and hire me straight away because I was approved for Secret eligibility in January this year. My situation is odd in that the Navy completed my investigation for a Secret clearance, but I never actually held a Secret clearance. This is because I chose to separate since they changed their mind about granting me a TS/SCI as an Intelligence Specialist since I planned on marrying a Brazilian who has every intention of becoming a U.S. citizen. I declared my relationship with her on my S.F. 86 but during my interview at boot camp, the security clearance investigator commented on how NSA viewed Brazil in a not-so-friendly light – all this without me even knowing I would have had to work with or under NSA as an Intel Specialist reservist.

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    The first blog did not show up, it probably was swallowed by the ether of the internet.

    So here it goes:
    I currently hold TS/SCI.

    Few months ago I went with my wife to a relationship counselor to address few romantic issues we were having. During the last meeting the relationship counselor stated that I might be suffering from Anticipatory Anxiety or General Anxiety and she recommended that I go see a Psychiatrist or Psychologist in order to work on a treatment method…i.e. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (find a way to address those anxieties by addressing the triggers) or to obtain a prescription for Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor (SSRI) like low dose of Lexapro. She stated that SSRI might help me address anxiety before it becomes an anxiety and thus make our relationship more romantic and more “loving (if you get my drift)”.

    Now the reason for writing:

    1) Will seeing a Psychiatrist or Psychologist affect my current security clearance status? (yes I have declared to my SSO that I am seeing a couple’s counselor)

    2) Will taking the prescribed SSRI medication affect my security clearance status? (mainly will I loose it because of it?).

    3) If I were to visit my family physician and ask him/her for low dose SSRI prescription, will the sole fact of taking the SSRI affect my security clearance status?

    I do not want a counselor’s exploratory hunch solution to affect my job or my chances of maintaining a job. Yes I do worry about things but I don’t think it’s that bad to require medication. However, now that the counselor has dangled the idea of SSRI as a solution in front of my wife, my wife will expect me to follow through. I can see her pulling the: “So you care more about your job then our relationship” card.

    No I am not in the military.

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    You have about 12 months before the process will have to be redone. Your info is in JPAS.

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    I was recently charged with a DUI (month and half ago) and have not gotten my court date yet. I am going through the personal interview process for a NACI and my interview will be a week before my court date. I understand that nothing is reflected on my criminal record yet until a conviction and on my DMV record is the administrative 7 day license suspension. Is this an automatic disqualification? I am contractor and have an Active Secret Clearance with one federal Agency and the NACI is an investigation for access to another Federal Agency.

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    I am looking at the “Federal Security/Suitability Clearance Chart” that you posted (excellent information, thank you), and have one question. For a Level 2 (Secret) clearance, it references investigation by NACLC and ANACI. Under ANACI on 2nd page, it states that written inquiries are sent to current and past employers, schools, references for past 5 years. If so, why do you they ask for 7 years on the SF86 form?
    Do they really ONLY go back 5 years on written verification of this history (for Secret)?

    I ask this because I worked for a company about 5 1/2 years ago, I was laid off, then the company shut down, then was bought out, reopened. Problem, there are no HR records on employees who worked there prior to the company being bought out, and no one I know still works there.

    So there is no one who can verify my employment there or the fact I was laid off due to reduction in force. I’ve been sweating it and waiting on phone calls back from the company to see if there was some external group that has those records, but keep hitting a dead end. I have to list the layoff on Question 13C as it falls in that 7 year history period.

    But if in the investigation, they are only really worried about and request written records for the past 5 years for a Secret clearance (and not 7 years), then maybe I am sweating needlessly about the lack of verification available from this employer? Just list it as best I can with the current address/phone of the employer and not worry about it?

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    I’m sorry, I meant to post the above “Clearance Chart” question as name Art2D, that post is not from the original poster using the name “Art”, sorry for any confusion.

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    Ok, I need to add that this is for a position with a DoD contractor. I jumped the gun and did not see Footnote 3 that ANACI is only used for federal employment applicants.

    So what organization does the verifications for a secret clearance on a DoD contractor position? Are the written verifications still only for 5 years? Thank you

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    Thank you for the info. The RRU came back today and the FSO told me that they cant find a record of my DOS clearance, and he needs some type of proof to verify that I have the DOS clearance in order to switch it to DOD.
    Isn’t there one system that DOD and DOS can verify and exchange clearance seamlessly?
    Also how would I go about getting proof of my DOS clearance for the DOD? Like what type of verbiage should I use in order to request proof from the FSO from my previous company? I just got awarded the darn thing a few weeks ago.

    Thanks a bunch this site is very informative and I appreciate it.

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    No there isn’t one system. It’s your new employer’s FSO job to fax a verification request to the State Department, then fax the State Department’s response to DISCO. DISCO will authenticate the State Dept. information, then manually enter your investigation/clearance data into JPAS.

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    Dear Mr. Henderson,

    I recently got hired by a defense contractor (my dream job) and applied for a secret clearance and completed my SF 86 e-QIP application. My interim secret was denied (no reason given) and investigation has been opened to obtain my secret clearance now.

    I am a naturalized US Citizen living with foreign born parents and a sister (all of them are naturalized US Citizens now). I came to USA in 2001 from India as a permanent resident (green card holder) and got naturalized in June 2008. I do have some relatives who live in India as well as Canada whom I have listed on my application. During the past 9 years, I have not traveled to India but did travel to Canada to meet my relatives (all Canadian citizens now). I have listed all details and information that was required on SF86 (traffic tickets, foreign passports held, foreign relatives etc.) and have been very candid about everything.

    I was not told the reason why interim secret was denied. I currently have 2 Indian passports (one of them is canceled, the other one was renewed in 2007 before I got my US citizenship). I am guessing that might have been the reason why I was not given interim clearance. Since I renounced my Indian citizenship when I took oath of allegiance during naturalization, I did not surrender the renewed Indian passport and it has been lying with me since then (I was told not to contact any foreign embassy to surrender unless told by US Authority).

    I would appreciate your if you can give me some advice that will help me to get my secret clearance once the investigation interview comes. Will I be able to get my secret clearance even if I was denied interim? Please advice.

    Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

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    I recently applied for a position as a Foreign Service Specialist with the State Department. I have jumped through all the hoops and have been placed on the register of cleared candidates, which means I have passed a TS security check, medical check and suitability review and am waiting for the next orientation class to convene. The State Department informed me that a Top Secret clearance was granted. Does this mean that even though I haven’t started working for the State Department yet, while I am waiting and applying to other government agencies, I can tell these other agencies that I have a Top Secret security clearance?

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    Although the standard “period of coverage” (also known as period of investigation) for most standard components of an ANACI and NACLC is 5 years; the Financial Review (or credit check) component is 7 years. The current federal investigative standard for an ANACI and NACLC states that the Financial Review shall encompass a “Verification of the subject’s financial status, including credit bureau checks covering all locations where the subject has resided, been employed, or attended school for six months or more for the past seven years.” The SF86 must collect enough information to cover the standard components of the investigation that go back the furthest — in this case the Financial Review. Standard components and standard periods of coverage represent the minimum scope of an investigation. If for example, a person lists on the SF86 that they were fired from a job 6 years ago for theft, additional checks beyond the standard 5-year period of coverage will probably be conducted. If a person lists that they were “laid off” from a job 6 years ago, no additional checks will be conducted.

    The investigation for a contractor Secret clearance is an NACLC. The NACLC does not include any written inquiries.

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    Brian L:
    A DUI (even a recent one) will not “automatically” result in a clearance denial or revocation, but it will be taken into consideration along with all other information in your investigative case file. A Personal Subject Interview (PRSI) is not a component of an NACI investigation. When there is a suitability issue that needs explanation, a Special Interview (SPIN) can be added to the NACI investigation.

    I assume that the NACI is being conducted for an HSPD-12 PIV card for access to the facility or computer system of the other federal agency; however, this is unnecessary because HSPD-12 permits federal agencies to accept a previously conducted and favorably adjudicated NACLC as the basis for issuing a PIV card without any further investigation or adjudication, provided there has not been a break-in-service of more than 24 months since the last investigation. This is true even though the criteria for issuing a PIV card are different than the criteria for granting a security clearance. Be aware that there has to be an arrest report on file at the law enforcement agency that arrested you for DUI. If you haven’t already done so, you should notifiy your company Facility Security Officer about the DUI arrest.

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    Here is what I think happened. You filled out an SF86 for a Secret clearance sometime before going to Great Lakes. Your NACLC investigation was completed and you were granted a Secret clearance by the DONCAF. You arrived at Great Lakes and went through a screening interview with a civilian representative of the Navy Center for Information Dominance (formerly NAVSECGRU) or whatever they are calling themselves these days. The Navy representative decided that your foreign fiancee made it unlikely that you would receive a TS/SCI clearance, so you were removed from the program and the request for an SSBI was not submitted.

    Your NACLC investigation for your Secret clearance is not sufficient by itself for federal employment. To be hired for a federal job you would need an NACI investigation and it will have to be adjudicated for federal employment suitability—a separate process from security clearance eligibility. You Navy Secret clearance terminated when you separated from the Navy Reserves, but it can be reinstated quickly and easily by any DOD agency (including DISCO for DOD contractors) anytime within 2 years of your separation date from the Navy Reserves. A record of your NACLC investigation and Secret clearance should be in JPAS (the DOD clearance database) and can be instantly verified by any DOD security manager or the Facility Security Officer of any DOD contractor interested in hiring you.

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    Enzythe Dave:
    1. No, unless a psychiatrist says your condition or treatment negatively affects your judgment.
    2. I have never heard of a person losing a clearance only because they were taking an anti-depressant, unless for some reason the anti-depressant negatively affected their judgment and the doctor allowed the patient to continue taking the medication.
    3. See answer to #2.
    For a more detailed explanation of the impact of mental health treatment on security clearances, see my 2 articles on this subject posted at https://news.clearancejobs.com/

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    Mr. Henderson,

    Thank you very much for your information. You stated “The investigation for a contractor Secret clearance is an NACLC. The NACLC does not include any written inquiries.”

    If a NACLC doesn’t include any written inquiries, who does the education/employment verification portion for a contractor? Is that done by the contractor themselves by whatever standard BI they do on prospective applicants/employees?

    Again, thank you for your time.

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    No one does. An NACLC is a National Agency Check with Law and Credit checks. That’s it. There is no verification of current or past employment/education. Some companies do pre-employment investigations, but it is not required by the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM).

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    Most people who are “declined” an interim clearance go on to receive a final clearance. The oath of allegiance you took during your Naturalization ceremony had no effect on your Indian citizenship. Unless you contacted the Indian Embassy and advised them that you became a Naturalized US citizen, they still think you are an Indian citizen. I believe that under Indian law, a person involuntarily loses Indian citizenship when they voluntarily acquire citizenship from another country. So, there is no need to renounce your Indian citizenship, unless the law has changed. At this point do not contact an Indian Embassy/Consulate regarding your citizenship, unless advised to do so by a government security representative.

    DISCO probably declined to grant you an interim clearance because you possess a valid foreign passport. Of course there could have been other reasons. DISCO is not required to disclose why they decline to grant an interim clearance. On November 20, 2009 DSS posted a notice on their website entitled: Foreign Passport: Disposition Influences Personnel Clearance Eligibility:

    “DISCO will not grant or continue a personnel clearance if the clearance applicant or cleared individual possesses a current foreign passport. In instances where the foreign passport is the sole potential disqualifying factor in the personnel clearance adjudication, DISCO will send a Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS) message to the Facility Security Officer (FSO) stating that if DISCO receives reliable documentary evidence that the foreign passport has been destroyed, invalidated, or surrendered, DISCO will grant or continue the clearance. The passport holder may surrender the foreign passport to the FSO for safekeeping, but the FSO is not required to perform this service…“

    It seems that the FSO at your new company needs to stay abreast of new developments. You could have surrendered your Indian passport to your FSO when you filled out the SF86 and it might have made the difference between having your interim clearance declined or granted. For more information about security issues related to foreign preference and foreign influence see my articles posted at https://news.clearancejobs.com/2010/09/29/dual-citizenship-and-security-clearances/ and at https://news.clearancejobs.com/2010/09/05/foreign-influence-and-security-clearances/

  65. Avatar

    I was a covert employee with the CIA a long time ago and resigned after several years under good circumstances. In my final debriefing, I understood that I would retain an “active ‘secret’ clearance” the rest of my life. I see from the your questions that that may not be the truth. Did I misunderstand what I heard?

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    Mr. Henderson,

    Thanks very much for your comments. You are correct. Since I have not surrendered my Indian passport, Indian Embassy still thinks that I am an Indian citizen.

    Now going forward, during investigation if I am asked to surrender my Indian passport, who should I surrender it to? (DISCO or Indian Embassy?) I checked on Indian Embassy website online that they want all naturalized citizens to surrender their Indian passports to Indian Embassy and obtain a “surrender certificate” in order to get visa for travel purposes. I do have plans to travel to India in future with my US passport but in order to do that, I have to surrender my old Indian passport to obtain the visa (otherwise they will consider it lost and will not issue me a visa for traveling)

    So, when the investigator asks me to surrender my indian passport, is it ok to say that I will surrender it to the Indian Embassy (since it’s their property) and and will obtain a “surrender certificate”?

    Please advice.

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    Under the circumstances I recommend you surrender your passport to the Indian Embassy. Don’t wait for the investigator to ask you, do it now. If it’s not practical to go in person and receive a surrender certificate on the spot, use an overnight delivery service like Fedex. Since the Indian Embassy has a standard procedure for doing this and probably issues a lot of surrender certificates, you won’t attract any special attention to yourself by surrendering your passport to them. If you use Fedex, it would be good if you could seal the Fedex envelope in your FSO’s presence and put it in a drop box or otherwise turn it over to FEDEX together, so the FSO can verify you did it. If you get the certificate before your interview, this won’t matter.

  68. Avatar

    Thank you very much Mr.Henderson. I really appreciate your advice. I contacted my FSO and will be mailing my forms soon.

    Just a quick verification, if I do not get cancelled passport and surrender certificate before my interview, will it be ok to show proof of application sent to Indian embassy? Of course I will also have my FSO as a witness if the investigator has any specific questions.

    I also bought your book from Amazon “Security Clearance Manual” to be better prepared for my interview. Thanks for all the help.

  69. Avatar

    I’m trying to find out the best procedure to lodge a complaint against a case examiner. He revoked my clearance after I responded to his SOR letter.

    My lawyer told him I did nothing wrong, no UCMJ,or civilian charges. He never gave me a chance to explain a LOC, and when I applied for my ten year renewal, he held my paperwork for over a year. When I ans. No to question 26, regarding counseling after returning from the war zone, he accused me of falsification. He also embellished the comments in the SOR, and admonished my behavior. I gave the attorney all the facts, the base legal had no input and the base I was at did not comment on the case.

    The person who made the initial temp decert, retired, and I went PCS. Now I’m going to have to spend seven grand for an att, and go before a Adm Judge. Should I have a Phy eval, and Polgraph? This seems like an abuse of power on his part. Can you recommend the best approach to settle this? THANKS

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    I am currently interning for the DoD and I have a question about the “Employment Record” part of the SF-86. I had a temp job one summer that had me standing in 100+ degree heat for 3 weeks straight. I was observing car sales for advertising purposes. The heat was very hard to bear, so I had asked for a chair, some shade, or a bottle of water to take with me on the job, and was refused. When the job was complete, they asked me to continue the work. I declined, and stopped working. Would this be considered “Leaving the job for reasons under unfavorbale circumstances”? Thank you for the help!

    College Grad

  71. Avatar

    Hi, Mr. Henderson. I have a question regarding a security clearance update. I have been a DHS employee for a number of years. My background investigation has begun for a promotion and I realized today after a request from the investigator for a list of foreign locations I have visited that although my foreign travel was just tourist trips to western European countries, I failed to fill out internal paperwork reporting it to my office. I have taken 5 or 6 trips and I feel like I filled out a form the first time, but I don’t think I have done so since – not for any reason except that I forgot. How much of a problem is this likely to be for me?

  72. Avatar

    thanks for the answer BW hey there’s another Art to update I got the job so appearantly the clearance is still active thanks

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    Yes, proof that you mailed the passport to the embassy will be sufficient.

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    You either misunderstood or you were misinformed. A security clearance terminates when the individual is debriefed and leaves the job where the clearance was required. This has been true since at least 1971 (the first time I was debriefed and left the Army). Currently a clearance can be reinstated for up to 24 months provided the underlying investigation is not out of date (no more than 5 year for TS, 10 for Secret, and 15 for Confidential).

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    With India, my experience has been that people who surrender their passports receive both a letter of surrender and the Indian passports back (stamped cancelled with the date and seal of the authority). I believe that India can give you a ten year visitor visa for your US passport for travel. I think they deal with this a lot. If you have received the documentation prior to your interview, feel free to bring it with you. If not, make sure you let your investigator know the status and provide them with the date you sent the passport in and where you sent it to.

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    I have been arrested for a couple of tickets that want into warrant status. i believe the tickets were under 300, but the warrant made it the ticket larger I believe. Section 22 on the SP86 is a bit confusing. Secondly, my identity was stolen when I was 18/19 im now 26. Ive always had a fraud alert on my credit making it difficult for me to get a credi report. I myself had not had anything on my credit. What should I do??? Im in need of an Interim Clearance. PLLLLLLLLLLLEASE HELP

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    Thanks Contract Investigator. I appreciate your advice.

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    Other than military personnel, the only pre-foreign travel notification requirement I am aware of is for people who have access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) or other Special Access Programs. And even that requirement doesn’t include all foreign countries and has now fallen into a regulatory abyss with the cancellation of DCID 6/4.

    DHS may have its own pre-foreign travel notificaiton requirement, in which case you need to ask someone in DHS security about the ramifications of your failure to comply.

    There are some things that I don’t understand about your question. Security/suitability reinvestigations are conducted at periodic intervals, not because of promotion. Security/suitability investigations are conducted when an employee changes jobs from one sensitivity level to a higher sensitivity level, not because of a promotion. If this investigation is for a security clearance, you should have filled out an SF86, which asks for foreign travel information. Why was it necessary for the investigator to ask you for foreign travel information?

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    I have about $30,000 worth of CC debt, $25,000 of it which belongs to my parents borrowing my credit after their bankruptcy 4 years ago.
    My credit history is as follows
    2 missed payments in 2004 over 30 days which were paid within the week after the due date
    $3000 FAFSA school debt never missed
    $600 personal line of credit never missed
    $17,000 CC and $7,000 CC that my parents use and pay for never missed

    I read on this site that a large debt is a disqualifying factor but mainly if its delinquent. I’m pretty confident I will get my final clearance but I need an interim as a part of my COE. I was debating whether I should’ve mitigated this on my SF-86 but didn’t because at the time, I didn’t think it’d be an issue since I have a relatively spotless history. Other than that, I have no other debts.

    Any insight on whether this is a sure disqualifier for an interim TS would be appreciated.

  80. Avatar

    College Grad: No.

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    My son is about to undergo a top security clearance with Military. He is dating a resident alien from Mexico and it looks like this may be a serious relationship. My husband said that he will not be able to get a clearance if he continues with that girl or intends to marry her. Is this correct?
    My son is very serious about his Military Career but I am not sure this woman may be the cause of his getting his TSC denied.

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    The fact that she is a citizen of Mexico does not automatically make your son ineligible for a security clearance. There are a number of factors that are considered, such as: she is a legal permanent resident; how long has she lived in the U.S.; does she own property, have close relatives, or foreign government connections that might be used to influence you son. Most of the time these types of concerns can be mitigated and a security clearance can be granted.