Background InvestigationsObtaining Security Clearance

Ask Your Clearance Questions Part 7

Ask your questions here regaring security clearances and our regular contributors will try to answer them. Here are the rules:

  1. Please do not address a contributor by name to ensure anyone who has knowledge might answer.
  2. Do not include your own name, email address, or other information that can identify you. This is a public forum and clearance holders have a responsibility for covertness.
  3. If you have questions regarding careers, job hunting, salaries, interviewing, or other career-related topics, see the other threads dedicated to this purpose.
  4. Understand that the suggestions and comments contributors provide are their opinions only. The owners of this site are not responsible for the suggestions and guidance from outside contributors.


Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    I am an army DOD. I must maintain a secret clearance for my field of work.

    I recently was arrested for Public Intox (misdemeanor). The prosecution agreed to dismiss all charges if I attended 10 AA meetings, which I did. All I have is the arrest record. When I was 18 I had convictions for Public Intox and Illegal Possesion of Alcohol.

    I will need to submit another security app in 3.5 years for another periodic investigation. Can I wait until then to disclose or should disclose now? Will I be able to keep my clearance?

  2. Avatar


    Yes, DoD5200.2R and AR380-67 require you to self-report any potentially disqualifying information to your security officer. I can not even guess whether your local local command might suspend your access–that’s the most they can do. They will report the matter to Army CCF who could suspend your clearance temporarily until they look into the matter. Absent any other problems or aggravating circumstances, I think it is doubtful that your clearance would be revoked.

  3. Avatar

    I’m looking into getting a job with a security clearance. I am currently 21, but when I was 19 I was arrested with a Class 1 misdemeanor for petite larceny. I did community service and the case was dismissed.

    I know that if I’m asked if I was arrested I have to mark yes for the question, and if I was charged I can mark no. My question is, will this hurt me when trying to get a security clearance? I haven’t seen my criminal record yet, but to my knowledge it says what it was and that it was dismissed, but I’m not 100% certain (mailing the form to get this information this week hopefully, have to have it notarized though).

    I’ve got no idea if this will cause any issues. I was booked twice, once at the magistrates office and again at the court after my first trail (when I was ordered the community service).

  4. Avatar


    I recently had an active DOE Top Secret “Q” Clearance granted back in August 2007. I left that company in December to work for a different company on a another government contract. The position requires a 6c Public Trust clearance. I was told that they will not recognize my DOE Top Secret and have to begin the process again from the beginning and have already been waiting upwards of 5 months. They will only recognize a DOD Top Secret. From what I understand, the 6c falls below both the DOD and DOE Top Secret clearances, why will they not accept my DOE clearance? Sorry, I had posted this in Part 6 and saw that Part 7 is the most current, that is why I duplicated the post. Thank you for your time.

  5. Avatar


    You must report this incident as soon as possible (normally soon after the incident occurs). If you wait for your PR (in 3-5 years), it will look like you are hiding something or being deceptive. So, in addition with the actual incident, you will need to mitigate: Personal Conduct; for the failure to follow policy (not reporting to FSO) and “poor judgment” plus Criminal Conduct and Alcohol Consumption.
    Most could be avoided by simply reporting the incident in a timely manner…

    I hope this helps?

  6. Avatar


    Reciprocity has come along way in the security clearance environment in recent months. Still not perfect though…

    You may want to research this blog’s other threads, as I am sure this question has been addressed previously.

    I hope this helps?

  7. Avatar

    I was just wondering what one should do if they have a problem with their investigator. I was investigated several years ago and my investigator kept trying to basically make-up stuff about me. After several months a different investigator was assigned who quickly closed my case.
    I was ultimately cleared and hired by a different agency based on the my orig bi. I was forthright and honest during the whole process but it simply was not enough for my investigator. I was a young person who had a clean record and the process was quite stressful. I have disclosed all that I possibly could with my current agency including info that I was afraid to share as a result of my exp with my 1st investigator and this agency has seemed to follow the “whole person concept” in this regard.
    My friend is now undergoing a bi and her investigator is constantly judging her actions. I would argue that this tactic would make people less likely to share information (unfavorable or not).
    What happened to the whole person concept here or is that just for adjudicators?

  8. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    I’m a contractor with DHS and I was recently granted my TS, which I know is good for 5 years. However, if I leave the contracting company and DHS, and move onto a new department who then owns the clearance? Is my TS still valid for the amount of time that is remaining on the TS?


  9. Avatar


    People do not own clearance eligibility, the requesting agency is the authority on holding your eligibility.
    Your TS eligibility can be transferred to most other agency’s within two years of speration.

    I hoope this helps?

  10. Avatar

    I’m in the US Army (16 years active duty) and I’m an Intelligence Analyst (35F/96B). I currently have a TS/SCI (SSBI) clearance that was granted 1 April 2008. e-QIP is not as bad as some people say and is a clear improvment over EPSQ!

    How long is this clearance good for? I know that 5 years has been the norm but I’ve been getting misinformation that it’s good for seven. Please advise. Thanks.


  11. Avatar

    bwinvestigator did you read my last?

  12. Avatar

    Thanks Edge141,

    I found a memo published by the OMB that states:
    “The goal is for agencies to promote reciprocity and avoid duplication. Therefore, government officials reviewing candidates with active security clearances may not do the following:

    • Ask an applicant to complete a new security questionnaire ;
    • Review existing background investigations;
    • Review existing security questionnaires;
    • Initiate any new investigative checks.

    However, agency officials can revisit investigations and background documents in certain instances, such as those cases where existing clearances were granted on a temporary basis or in instances in which the existing clearance proves outdated.”

    Hopefully, reprocity will take place. I am still unsure why I was asked to complete a new questionnaire and why they are starting a new investigative check based on this memo. It must be more money for someone.

  13. Avatar


    I recently started a DOD position with TS clearance. 6 months prior to my employment I was arrested for a DUI. I will be participating in a voluntary rehabilitation program, and the incident will be expunged from my record. Is this a reportable incident to my security officer? Also, this is the only mark on my record; is there potential to loose my clearance?


  14. Avatar

    The OMB memo address reciprocity of federal security clearances for access to classified defense information. It does not specifically apply to Public Trust “clearances.”

  15. Avatar

    I am an employee of a federal contractor, and I applied for an initial Top Secret in December 2005. On my SF86, I disclosed my illegal drug usage, which includes marijuana (occasional use, about 75 times), hallucinogens (several times), and opium (once). My drug use was from 1998 to 2005, with my last use of marijuana before finishing grad school and before my current employment. I also disclosed two visits with a counselor at my university for a consultation on depression, which did not lead to any further mental health care. My investigation closed in March 2008. Given that the rest of my record is clean, do you think it is likely that my clearance will be granted? Given this amount of derogatory information, I would guess that my case has been handed to DOHA. Is it possible that the DOHA adjudicator will reach a determination without further information from me, or should I expect to receive an SOR?

    Thanks in advance!

  16. Avatar

    Dear Edge141,

    Last year I received a conditional offer of employment and got the clearance necessary to start work about four months ago. I have not received a final offer of employment or a letter of rejection. Too me, this is far too long, so I consider the clearance “current” or good for two years and am free to look elsewhere and mention that I have a current clearance. Would this be accurate?

  17. Avatar


    I did read and look in Part 6, for my reply. There are alot of experts here, who would agree. Edge 141, who has experience as an adjudicator also replied–you should take a look.

  18. Avatar


    I did read–got confused about what you were asking. I’m sure you will do fine–just stay grounded and you and your wife should stay as calm as possible when meeting the panel. Edge141 gave solid advice of possibly getting representation. The legal process is best confronted with an expert, combined with your sincere replies. Wish you the best.

  19. Avatar


    When I retired from the Military, I was hired as a contract investigator. My TS was active but not used for the contract job. OPM required a new one. Maybe there will be a day where reciprocity is Govt-DoD-Contractor wide. We all have to go through the same pain.

  20. Avatar

    Thanks Edge141 for answering my question in Part 6, I will be eligible for requesting a clearance on or after Feb 25th 2009, would I fill out a new form or amend the old one (or does it depend on the company, whether I am at a new company or the old one?) if I append I will fix the errors before, however a new one would only go back 7 years and thus would not contain any info about the firing…how would that be considered, since it would be in my overall file, would it be a knock on me or does time heal all wounds?

    Thanks so much for your insight.

  21. Avatar

    You were arrested and charged. If you weren’t charged, you wouldn’t have had to appear in court. Having the charge dismissed, doesn’t erase the charge. The dismissal is just the disposition of the charge.

    Absent any aggravating or complicating circumstance or any other misconduct, a single misdemeanor charge for petty thief two years ago when you were 19, should result in a final clearance denial. Interim clearances are a little more difficult, but you have a reasonable chance for an interim clearance.

  22. Avatar

    My 2 cents:
    Yes, the “whole person concept” is just for adjudicators. I recommend you request a copy of your investigative file under the provision of the Privacy Act and see what the reports say. Perhaps it was someone else who made up the stuff about you and the investigator was only questioning you about it without revealing the source of the information. If you review your reports and there are no sources of unfavorable information, than you are probably right about the investigator.

    Investigators should never voice their opinion about a Subject’s actions. Most of the investigator’s questions should be neutral. Of course investigators make judgments about everything they see or hear in order to decide what to do or what to ask next. Investigators should also make it as easy as possible for the Subject to tell the truth without promising them anything. Ninety percent of the time or more, direct questioning using the “empathetic” approach results in the best outcome for the interviewee and the interviewer.

  23. Avatar

    Mike M:

    Five years from the date of your last investigation (SSBI or SSBI-PR) or two years from the time you separate completely from the Army, whichever happens first. There is a provision that allows a person to submit an application for a SSBI-PR between the 5th year and the 7th year instead of going through a new SSBI.

    By the time you’re ready to do that, everything will have changed. The entire clearance system is currently being revamped with a target of late 2009 for implementation. Instead of PRs they intend to institute continuous monitoring with yearly resubmission of SF86s.

  24. Avatar

    I assume you were previously granted a clearance at another employer and had the clearance transferred to your new employer. If your previous clearance was granted by a DoD agency, you should have reported the DUI six months ago (unless you were between jobs). I believe most (if not all) other federal agencies have the same requirement. For security clearance purposes having a court record expunged does not releive you of the responsibility to report the offense. There is a possibility that your access could be suspended, that your clearance could be suspended, and/or your clearance revoked. A revocation will not occur without certain “due process” requirements being met, probably including at least a limited investigation of the offense. Whether or not your clearance is ultimately revoked will depend on everything else (positive and negative) in your life.

  25. Avatar

    DOHA does not deny security clearances without first issuing an SOR. If they don’t issue an SOR, then they will direct DISCO to grant the clearance. If they issue an SOR, they will decide whether or not to grant the clearance based on your rebuttal (without or without a hearing—your choice).

  26. Avatar


    I just found out today, I’m going to be required to apply for a SC. My concern is a 1987 DWI where I received PBJ (Probation Before Judgement). No other incidents before or since. Will this adversely affect my chances?



  27. Avatar

    I had my PRSI a couple days ago and it was interesting that when I explained something, the agent took notes sometimes squeezing the text into margins on the paper and some parts barely looked legible. Sometimes I had to make a correction after it was already written down because when it was repeated back to me, it didn’t match what I said. This happened a few times.

    OK so I accept nobody is perfect when transcribing info, that’s fine. If I could double-check the accuracy I wouldn’t worry about it.

    How soon is it possible to request an OPM freedom of info report? As soon as the investigation is closed? Or only after a period of time, or after it is adjudicated?

    It would be nice if the subject were given some process to review the report prior to adjudication to point out any mistakes, at least give the subject the ability to proof read it to make sure the numbers and statements were transcribed correctly.

    Even if collateral clearance is not at risk with a few errors in a report, I am more concerned about SCI if I’m already on the borerline for SCI because of foreign relatives, a simple “note taking” error could tip it further to make it harder to get that clearance.

    Maybe SOR is the process to deal with this possibility? Or agencies just figure that “favorable” note taking errors balance out the “unfavorable” ones? 🙂

  28. Avatar

    My case was opened in mid decemeber of 2007 for an initial TS clearance and when I asked my FSO for an update in late Feb, he said that my investigation was pending and that I would be contacted by an investigator and answer any questions he/she has. Well, I asked him for an update on the first of May and he said my case was closed on April 4 2008 and awaiting a clearance determination. What happened here? I thought I would have an opportunity to mitigate any negative information. I am so confused.

  29. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    Thank you for your response. I did do a FOIA with OPM and they sent me a letter stating that I would have to get my info from the agency that requested my original investigation. However, my current agency informed me that OPM was actually responsible for my investigation and luckily I can go directly to them to access my investigative file. BTW the stuff that was an issue in my OPM investigation was not an issue for my current agency or investigation and nothing else ever materialized in reference to the information that my investigator made up. Also, you can file a complaint about your investigator with OPM. As a result, some investigators have been removed from the contract. My investigator was not removed from the contract but was subsequently removed from my case.

  30. Avatar

    I’m waiting for a TS clearance for a job directly with the government. If the clearance comes through but I decide not to take the job, will it still be considered “current” for the next two years, even if I don’t consummate the relationship by entering on duty first?

    Or, if I find another job requiring a clearance a year later, will they start over from scratch?

    Thank you.

  31. Avatar

    Bridgitte Tucker:

    As long as you complied with the Chapter 13 (made all the payments and it was dicharged) and there’s no indication of you having any finacial difficulties now. You should be fine…

    I hope this helps?

  32. Avatar


    If the investigation is closed and adjudication is completed (SC granted); it should reflect as being granted and with a Loss of Jurisdiction.

    I hope this helps?

  33. Avatar


    Time heals most wounds… normaly, as long as the disqualifiying factors are not repeated…

    I hope this helps?

  34. Avatar


    You may still be able to mitigate any disqulaifying fators, or you may not need too…

    I hope this helps?

  35. Avatar


    The process is, to investigate and adjudicate, then if anything needs or requires further explaination or clarifying. It would be at this time, with either/or another interview with an investigator, an Interrogatory or a Statement of Reasons… At any of these points, you may add what you feel is correct…

    As far as giving the applicant something to review during would be a huge waist of time… How long should be given to review, correct and verify??? Should we wait to adjudicate?? After all,you should have all the information… (It is your life or background)

    I hope this helps?

  36. Avatar


    You should be fine…. Just list it when, and if required..

    I hope this helps?

  37. Avatar

    DOHA can and does, grant or deny security clearance eligibility. DOHA only sends cases back to DISCO to suspend access.

    I hope this helps?

  38. Avatar


    I must be on this site too much lately…. I kknow what Mr. H. is saying…

    Absent any aggravating or complicating circumstance or any other misconduct, a single misdemeanor charge for petty thief two years ago when you were 19, should (Not)result in a final clearance denial. Interim clearances are a little more difficult, but you have a reasonable chance for an interim (final) clearance.

    I hope this helps?

  39. Avatar

    I am confused… You received an offer of employment (Conditional)and you received the clearance that is/was required, four months ago. Correct? How do you know your SC was granted?
    You still have not been notified of your start date nor, have you received your rejection letter?

    I would, contact the hiring agency for an update.

    If you are sure you eligibility was granted, you may consider your eligibility current…

    If this is correct, then Yes, is sounds accurate…

    I hope this helps?

  40. Avatar

    I would guess, Your case was sent to DOHA. When did you have your interview? How did you answer the investigators questions?

    It is possible for a Statement of Reasons sent in your direction. Drug Involvement (recent), Criminal Conduct and Personal Conduct.

    I hopw this helps?

  41. Avatar

    I take it, you did not report this incident when you hired on? (Not good)
    You most likely would not be granted an interim clearance with a criminal charge pending? And, with not reporting it, you are seriously jeopardizing your chances on maintaining a final clearance…

    I hope this helps?

  42. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson, edge141: thanks for your responses!

    To answer edge141’s questions:

    I had my interview in July 2007. I answered the investigator’s questions truthfully, which amounted to verifying what I put on the SF86. The investigator asked who could verify my drug use claims, and also about my intent to use drugs in the future, to which I emphatically stated my intent never to use drugs again. I did not address any other mitigating circumstances (due to my ignorance about the process at the time), and I don’t recall being asked to go into much detail about when or how my drug use occurred. The bulk of the interview was the investigator reading my form to me, and asking me to verify the information. Another investigator interviewed my parents, and she was told that I had disclosed my drug use to them.

    When my investigation closed (after 2 years, 2 months), it was already over three years since my last incidence of drug use. My last use was before taking my current job, and before I submitted my SF86. I was truthful and candid about my past behavior from the beginning, so would Personal Conduct still apply?

    In your opinion, is three years of abstinence enough to mitigate my drug use, or should I expect to receive an SOR? The guidelines seem to suggest 1-2 years for my level of involvement (I understand it’s at the discretion of the adjudicator).

    Ideally, there is enough mitigating information already in my file to make a positive determination, but you’d have to tell me if the process doesn’t really work that way. If an SOR is likely, then I should take some steps now, such as meeting with a counselor to get a professional opinion on my likelihood of relapse (which is nil, but I imagine it’d be better to have someone other than me say it).

    Thanks for your help!

  43. Avatar

    I’m a foreign national from a Western European country. I have been in the United States since fall ’06, and I plan to marry my American girlfriend. When I acquire citizenship I want to be active in jobs that require clearance (military/intelligence etc.). I’ve been arrested with dismissed charges after community service and an alcohol class for Public Intoxication in ’07. I have used some drugs but that is a very long time ago. Should I minimize travel outside the United States the coming years? Do naturalized citizens often have problems receiving clearance? I’m just looking for a bit more information for naturalized citizens.

    Thank you for your help!

  44. Avatar

    My son-in law is trying to get a security clearance and his wife has had some credit issues where she was trying to declare bankruptcy prior to their marriage but the attorneys she worked with did not complete the process and it is now delayed until June. Her credit report looks disastrous. Will this affect his clearance?

  45. Avatar

    It’s a tuff one to call… With your recent non-experimental use (when the SF86 was completed), that is a disqualifying factor.

    Your mitigating factors are; you do not have intent to use again and the fact that you were candid about it, will go along way. If your parents had knowledge of your drug use, and your intent to not use again, that could also show in your favor…
    A professional opinion does help a lot. Nor, would it hurt your case.

    I think you are on the right track. Continue to mitigate as much as possible…

    Good Luck

    I hope this helps?

  46. Avatar


    I have access to a JCAVS Person Summary Report and the Adjudication Summary reads: PSI Adjudication of SSBI OPM, Opened 2007 xx xx, Closed 2007 xx xx, determined Eligibility of SCI – DCID 6/4 on 2008 xx xx DoNCAF. That’s how I’m convinced I have the clearance.

    As far as I know, IC agencies have their own set of rules and what may make me eligible for some positions may not apply to others. People have told me that I should receive either a final offer of employment or letter of rejection (some employment suitability concern). Some agencies have stricter requirements on foreign contacts beyond DCID 6/4?

    Denials of clearances can be appealed. But, denials of employment for employment suitibility are not. There is another way for IC agencies to avoid hiring someone and that is to simply cancel the billet and readvertise with changed criteria.

    But, then again I may have a job there and it is planned for the future. Based on the info from the first paragraph, I feel as though I’m a free agent with a current TS/SCI to seek employement elsewhere after making numerous attempts to contact the clearance sponsor.

    Your opinion?

  47. Avatar

    I have a question I cannot seem to find answers on:

    I have a current TS/SCI which was moved from DoD to industrial side after I became a contractor. Just a few days ago I failed an FBI polygraph and I am pretty sure the results are going to be DI (deception indicated). He flat out told me I failed even after I told him about something way outside the timeframe in order to try and clarify. The polygrapher told me if I told him something he would retest me right away…after I told him he said he was out of time and I would get a failure notice in the mail…so, not only am I pissed I was put in such a bad position and being a former intel guy I am aware of the approaches (he rattled me and that I can admit).

    Here is the twist…I have had a CI poly for 14 months and a current TS/SCI…HOW WILL THIS AFFECT MY CURRENT CLEARANCES?

    Please, someone, give me some insight!!!

  48. Avatar



  49. Avatar

    My BI for a TS/SCI has just completed. I have a misdemeanor from 6 years ago for Reckless Driving for 50 miles an hour over the speed limit. There were no drugs/alcohol/racing, etc with the charge, just immaturity. Due to the area I live in, I spent several nights in jail (was not taken into custody at the time, but this happened after immediately after my court date). My driving record is very clean other than this. It also happened in my early 20’s. The rest of my background is about as clean as can be.

    What is your opinion on whether or not this can be mitigated.

    Very much appreciated!

  50. Avatar

    Hello. I have two clearance questions to ask your opinion of. I have been unable to find existing answers as of this point in time and thought to come to you with them. I am completing the SF86 paperwork for a TS/SCI (full scope poly) level for NSA civilian clearance at Ft. Meade .

    Question Item 1

    Very recently, the topic of Michael Vick’s felony conviction of his dog cruelty crimes came up in a casual conversation. Much to my surprise and chagrin, this caused me to remember something I did in 1985 that had all but faded to a distant memory.

    While on a week summer vacation in 1985, I had entrusted the care of my 3-5 month old common ferret pet [named; Ace] to a husband/wife/children family I was friends with who thought would do a good job with him since the husband was working for the National Zoo at the time.

    Ace had always been a delightful creature towards me, but when I got him back after a week, he had radically changed into a hostile little thing. I became angry and depress in the careless attitude I got from my friends answer to what might have happened in the week I was gone. Their attitude was that they had placed little value as a family in being nice towards him and that they didn’t want to hear about my complaint.

    A day or two after getting Ace back, I committed a terrible act: in my depressed and frustrated state, I became cruel to him in his hostility to me as I fell into lethal sadistic water torturing disturbed stat of mind and accidentally drowned him.

    I immediately experienced tremendous dismay, loathing, guilt & grief after I did this. I was really shocked that I could and would do such a thing!

    I asked God to forgive me and for a chance in heaven to see Ace happy to see me again when I buried his ferret’s body in the nearby woods that evening.

    This horrible act was a wake-up call providence sent me. I had been going thru a psychological issue and in early 1986, began receiving the help I needed. The professionals helped me heal from my issue and I completed their counseling by the end of 1986. My issue centered on my being kicked out of a controlling church group I had most of my social and spiritual life up from 1978 to 1983, which remained unresolved until 1985-86.

    I am confident this incident does not make me a public trust risk or that there is any risk that this could be used to coerce me into espionage.

    This was a one-time incident 23 years ago. At that time this was not a felony crime in the state of Maryland, but in 2001, it became a felony crime. I am concerned that in reveling this to investigation officials and you that I am making myself subject to arrest [something I wish to avoid], and then conviction [also something I wish to avoid].

    What would happen to me if I choose to complete the paperwork and have my employer schedule me for the poly interview?

    The law is as follows [from :]

    10-606. Aggravated cruelty to animals – In general.

    (a) Prohibited.- A person may not:

    (1) intentionally mutilate, torture, cruelly beat, or cruelly kill an animal;

    (2) cause, procure, or authorize an act prohibited under item (1) of this subsection; or

    (3) except in the case of self-defense, intentionally inflict bodily harm, permanent disability, or death on an animal owned or used by a law enforcement unit.

    (b) Penalty.-

    (1) A person who violates this section is guilty of the felony of aggravated cruelty to animals and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.

    (2) As a condition of sentencing, the court may order a defendant convicted of violating this section to participate in and pay for psychological counseling.

    [An. Code 1957, art. 27, § 59(c)(1)(i), (ii), (v), (2); 2002, ch. 26, § 2.]

    10-606. Aggravated cruelty to animals – In general.

    (a) Prohibited.- A person may not:

    (1) intentionally mutilate, torture, cruelly beat, or cruelly kill an animal;

    (2) cause, procure, or authorize an act prohibited under item (1) of this subsection; or

    (3) except in the case of self-defense, intentionally inflict bodily harm, permanent disability, or death on an animal owned or used by a law enforcement unit.

    (b) Penalty.-

    (1) A person who violates this section is guilty of the felony of aggravated cruelty to animals and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.

    (2) As a condition of sentencing, the court may order a defendant convicted of violating this section to participate in and pay for psychological counseling.

    [An. Code 1957, art. 27, § 59(c)(1)(i), (ii), (v), (2); 2002, ch. 26, § 2.]

    Question[s] Item 2

    On 4/14/08 I filed my Federal and state tax returns. Upon cleaning up my home office afterward, I found paperwork that reminded me that I [as a victim of 2nd degree assault in 2004] had received criminal restitution in 2007 in the amount of $1,500.00 from the person convicted of his crime against me. I immediately thought that perhaps I should have reported this as taxable income. I then researched for an answer at about the topic of Other Income. The closest answer I found here states: Damages received for the following: personal nonphysical injuries or sickness; back pay / lost profits (in most cases); and punitive damages relating to any injury or illness. Damages for emotional distress in a case not involving personal physical injury, except to the extent the damages are paid for medical care. (Interest on any award of damages is include-able as interest income).

    Does the phrase; ‘punitive damages relating to any injury or illness’ indicate to you that this would apply only to penalties against an employer or also to criminal restitution?

    I anticipate receiving soon my Federal and state refunds. But I have not yet taken any initiative with the IRS at this point in time. I am not sure I feel completely guilty about this since I never received any reminder [like a form 1099] from the criminal court system that they were reporting this as income to the IRS in that they would want to tax the monetary restitution to me from the convicted criminal.

    In all honesty, if my passing clearance requires that I take the initiative with the IRS then I will do so, otherwise I will not. Would it?

    To date, the only falsifying of any of my tax return reports was to under-report my barber stylist tips or self-employment commissions. I am not sure of the total dollar figure from the July 1997 to June 2001 period. I estimate it to be $4,000.00 [average $1,000 per year] over this 4-year period of time.

    Would passing clearance require this initiative as well?

  51. Avatar


    I have a question about the FBI Special Agent position. I have recently been accepted and sent a conditional letter of appointment. I am worried that I will not make it through the TS check based on the following (with mitigating explanations that I plan to put on the SF86):

    -My credit has taken a big hit the last couple of years after I left Military service. I initially took a commission based sales job in Manhattan and got eaten and went into big time debt. I settled on a credit card debt at $20k right before it went to civil court (I received bad advice on how to handle it). In addition, I have paid off at least three other existing debts (under $1000k) from the past that I didn’t realize I had do to my moving around so much from being in the Military.


  52. Avatar

    I can give you a good anwser without knowing the original situation, but sometimes requestors inadvertently fail to cancel the request for the investigation after they have withdrawn the job offer. Once the investigation starts this error is usually discovered and the investigation is then canceled.

    I don’t think the FBI is involved in your husband’s case. They do very few security clearance investigations. Even for DOJ positions, the investigations are done by contractors.

  53. Avatar

    You should be able to request a copy of the investigation as soon as it is closed and sent to the adjudicator. A few years ago it was policy to get a written statement from the Subject whenever there were significant issues in the case that needed to be addressed. The Subject reviewed the statement for accuracy, then signed it under oath. The investigator then summarized the statement in his/her report and attached to the statement to the report. This procedure has been almost completely eliminated because it slows down the process of transmitting the reports. I personally liked sworn statements, because it involved the same amount of work for me and because there was no doubt about what the Subject told the investigator. The problems is printing out the statement, having the Subject sign it, then scanning it back into the computer—all of which has to be done in a field environment. Perhaps in the future with improved technology, it will be possible to do signed written statements that can be transmitted electronically.

  54. Avatar

    Are you outside the U.S. at some remote location? Are you certain you were submitted for a TS clearance and not a Secret clearance (which doesn’t necessarily involved a Subject Interview)? Were any of your references or work associates interviewed about you?

  55. Avatar

    Entry Level Seperation:

    About 20 years ago I received an Entry Level Seperation from the Air Force; medical reasons. Here is what is listed on my DD214:

    Type of Seperation: ENTRY LEVEL SEPERATION
    Character of Service: UNCHARACTERIZED

    1) Will this be a factor in being issued a clearance?
    2) On the paper sf86, question 19, it askes “have you ever received other than an honorable discharge from the military. How do I answer this since I’ve been told that an Entry Level Seperation is not an actual discharge? I see on the EPSQ SF86 Worksheet it asks the same question, but underneath, it says “If yes…select the type of discharge, and Entry Level Seperation is listed. Should I just answer Yes on any form and simply list, or cirle based on the form, the Entry level Seperation?

  56. Avatar

    No, the location is not in a remote area. I was under the impression it was TS, but it is secret. My FSO had said that due to an alcohol related incident that I disclosed, an investigator would contact me and follow-up with questions. My references have been contacted, none of which I know has been in person. Is this pretty standard procedure?

  57. Avatar

    For contractor Secret clearances the investigation is an NACLC. Initial scope for an NACLC does not include reference interviews or Subject Interview. When an issue(s) is present and break a certain threshold, the investigation is expanded. This expansion usually involves a Special Interview (SPIN) with the Subject. The expansion might also involve reference interviews and additional records checks that are all done in person, not by letter or telephone.

    For federal employees the investigation is an ANACI that is the same as a NACLC but includes written inquiries to references. There are other investigations but they are for a combination security clearance and public trust position.

  58. Avatar

    I cannot help but be a little nervous about my security clearance… In early March I got a conditional offer with the DIA and filled out all of my paperwork and had an initial interview. In order to actually start work I need an interim or full TS/SCI by August 1. Obviously the people who hired me must know that, but still NO ONE I’ve talked with about clearances gives me confidence that a TS/SCI can be turned around that quickly… Am I completely delusional if I think I have any chance of starting to work there in August? Case in point, I haven’t heard of them contacting a single SF-86 reference yet! Your thoughts, whatever they might be, would be very helpful as I wait for the next few months.

  59. Avatar

    I currently have an SSBI which is being RRU’d (brought over) from OPM’s CVS database into JPAS. Recently I attended the FBI’s hiring blitz where as part of being a conditional employee, I went over another SF86 with an investigator and then was taken to participate in the polygraph. As a former investigator, it was interesting to see the differences between OPM investigations and the FBI’s. I was in and out of the interview with my FBI investigator in a little under an hour despite having lived abroad for a couple of years in the scope of the investigation.

    Because of my schedule the night before the interview and polygraph, I received around five hours of sleep. The morning of the interview I was up and out the door with little more than an English muffin and a 16oz energy drink. Not knowing much about the polygraph, I thought that I would be OK. Big mistake…

    Long story short, I was wired on the energy drink and the examiner stated that I failed my polygraph. This was despite me explaining to him what I had consumed and why I had done so. He specifically called into question my prior drug use and the under reporting of said use. I wrote a statement which he said would be attached to my file and then finished maintaining my stance on my stated drug use. I didn’t however make note of what was consumed…Probably a mistake, but I just wanted out of there. What needs to happen next? I feel like if there is any question, to report my situation, which I intend to do. However, I also am going to formally appeal this test with the hopes of either getting it thrown out (unlikely) or retaken. I was told that I would receive a letter in the mail telling me what my next steps can be/are.

    How does this affect my clearance, and any help/recommendations for going about trying to clear this mess up? Since this was a pre-employment situation, and an investigation will not be finished as a result of what happened, will this need to be listed on a future 86? All help is appreciated. As a former investigator, I understand the idea of honesty and being forthright. I don’t want this to mess up any future regarding my clearance.



  60. Avatar


    I am waiting on a TS clearance from State…it’s been about 8 months since my investigation was opened. About two years ago, I did a lifestyle and CI poly for an intel agency summer fellowship, but — after the poly — had the offer rescinded on suitability grounds.

    During my SF86 interview with the State investigator, I reported this, and gave a copy of the letter which rescinded my summer fellowship offer. Just last week, I was informed that State has just now requested the records of my poly.

    My question: is this going to take forever to get these records? Also, during the poly, I was totally open and — though I didn’t think anything disqualifying came up — something I said apparently led to my getting nixed on suitability grounds. So my second question: if the State investigator looks at my poly and sees something they have concerns about, do I get a chance to explain/have input?

    Thanks for your help.


  61. Avatar


    I have been a federal Special Agent since 2000, and I obtained my original TS security clearance through a large DHS agency. I also underwent a 5 year security clearance update with this agency without any issues. Since then, I became a Special Agent with a DOJ agency, and successfully underwent another background investigation. I passed a polygraph and underwent a thorough background investigation successfully in order to obtain this clearance. I recently took a polygraph with the FBI, and was informed I failed. Although this is irrelevant, I feel the polygraph was unfair and I’m going to appeal it and request a retest. Will this affect my current TS clearance, or if I want to go to another federal agency, will I be denied a clearance based on a failed FBI poly?

  62. Avatar

    I don’t know how long it will take for State to get the polygraph report. If there is something in the polygraph report that is adjudicatively significant for a security clearance, you could be reinterviewed about it. Whether or not you are reinterviewed, if the adjudicator decides that the polygraph report contains unmitigated, potentially disqualifying information for a security clearance, you will receive an SOR (Statement of Reasons) and be given the opportunity to rebut the SOR before a final adjudicative decision is made.

  63. Avatar


    You most likely know the answers to your questions… If you ask… Would it effect something???… You must know that it will…

    I hope this helps?

  64. Avatar


    Regarding your post above, if no derogatory information is obtained in a polygraph but the polygrapher believes the subject is lying (for whatever reason), is this “adjudicatively significant”? This doesn’t apply to me but I was curious how agencies view “failed” polygraphs that don’t turn up any information, considering polygraphs are not 100% accurate.

  65. Avatar


    Financial issues are a big disqualifying factor… I would continue to review and mitigate as much as possible…

    Good Luck
    I hope this helps?

  66. Avatar


    It does not sound good for you…. You most likely will have your eligibility reviewed/suspended/revoked…

    I hope this helps?

  67. Avatar


    If they have not completed the invesigation, then it was not adjudicated…
    It sounds to me like, Your husband’s interim was denied and not the final clearance. The investigation would continue until the requesting agency told them to stop/close/ or loss of jurisdiction.

    I hope this helps?

  68. Avatar

    In the last published stats (Feb 08) DIA claimed an average of 62 days for end-to-end processing of the top 85% of SSBIs during FY07. If they can actually do them that quickly, then they probably don’t have to issue interim clearances, which take about the same amount of time. Most of the time involved in an SSBI is queuing time. If 62 days is an accurate number, then the field portion of these investigations are probably accomplished sometime between the 25th and the 50th days (thus allowing 12 days for adjudication). The questions is when was the investigation opened. It may not have been opened right away. Ask your neighbors to tell you when they are interviewed about you. That should give you a reasonable idea of when your investigation may be completed if you fall within the 85%.

  69. Avatar


    I would answer “yes” and note that it was an entry level or general type discharge and add the correct wording in the additional comments section.

    I hope this helps?

  70. Avatar


    August sounds to be pretty quick… Who knows if the agency has requested a expedited investigation but, with the interviews not being conducted yet, it would or might be a rush to be completed in time.

    I hope this helps?

  71. Avatar

    An uncharacterized entry level separation for medical reasons should not be adjudicatively significant for a security clearance. I didn’t know that anyone was still using the EPSQ SF86 Worksheet. At any rate, it’s only a worksheet, so how you enter the information there isn’t really important. What is important is how you list the information on the actual application form. I recommend you answer “no” to Question #19, and include information about your separation in the comment section following Question #19 on the eQIP or at the continuation space at the end of the paper form. But get the information about the separation into the application somewhere, even if you have to shoehorn it in. If neither of these options are possible, then answer “yes” to Question #19 and explain your situation in the comment section.

  72. Avatar


    I would guess your current eligiblity, would be reviewed (SI)/suspended and could be revoked??

    I hope this helps?

  73. Avatar

    The adjudication of background investigations for FBI Special Agent positions goes through a two-step process. First the investigation is reviewed by their personnel office for employment suitability. If it is favorably adjudicated there, it is sent to their security office for security clearance adjudication. The security office is suppose to use the national Adjudicative Guidelines, but the personnel office uses broader and more restrictive standards. For security clearance purposes, read the three articles posted at on “Personal Finances and Security Clearances.” They should give you a fairly good idea of where you stand.

  74. Avatar


    The disqulifying factor would be a Dishonrable Discharge (they usally stem from some sort of felony or hard time of incarceration, and that is what the adjudicator would look for…)

    And, I would still list it as “other than honorable” and explain it… (Have you ever received other than an honorable discharge from the military? Which you did…) It will not be an issue, as long as you list it…

    I hope this helps?

  75. Avatar

    A single misdemeanor conviction (absent any aggravating or complicating circumstances) is not a potentially disqualifying condition for any level of security clearance, unless the person is still on probation/parole. See paragraph 31a of the Adjudicative Guidelines.

  76. Avatar


    One misdemeanor conviction (absent any aggravating or complicating circumstances) offense is mitigated easily, just make sure you list it… (as your fine was probably more than $250.00)

    I hope this helps?

  77. Avatar


    I am not the best at salary negotiations and am currently looking for a new job opportunity with a large company. I possess a TS Clearance (no SCI) and was wondering what would be reasonable to ask for in a Financial Analyst position (non-manager) in the DC area. I currently make about 60K and think I may have low-balled myself when I initially got my current job. Any suggestions as to what would not be an outrageous amount to ask for? Is 85K too much?

  78. Avatar

    William and edge141. Thank you for your response. Now, if we only knew about the ever elusive and more tightly restricted suitability standards.


  79. Avatar

    Just a couple more thoughts/clarification questions to my above post: My failed polygraph was a pre-employment FBI polygraph. The polygrapher was in a hurry….ran me through a set of questions three times, and didn’t say anything in between. I had some inconsequential things on my mind, but he didn’t give me any opportunity to get them off my chest. When I took my initial poly with DHS agency, it was long and the examiner talked with me and we worked through my issues. Questions were rephrased, etc…and I ended up passing! Not this time. Apparently, he said I failed the completeness of application question, which ironically, I felt most comfortable with. Now, however, I’m wracking my brain worried about every little date, detail, etc! Every time I think of something new, I write it down. I called the Applicant Coordinator and asked her if I should amend my SF-86 with these changes, but she said I should just bring in the minor clarifications to the polygraph before my retest (if I’m granted one). I would feel much more settled if I could amend it on my official application. Do you know if I’m able to add information to my SF-86? This is all minor information (i.e. I was off by a month when I moved into one of my residences, I forgot about a family trip LONG ago where we went to Niagara Falls. All stuff I had forgotten about and inadvertently left off.) It’s hard to remember dates from over 20 years ago! Also, I haven’t gotten any responses to my above post. I have a very clean background, was cleared by a DHS and a DOJ agency…never have had any derogatory info. come up in any of my 3 background investigations. How will this failed FBI poly affect me? If I apply to ICE (who doesn’t require polys and most agents only have Secret clearance), may I be denied a Secret clearance based only on this failed poly? No disqualifying info. was revealed on the poly. In fact, at the end, he said he actually believed me and that if anyone deserved a retest it was me. You’d think because I was found deceptive, he would’ve been a little more interested to figure out what my issues were. Oh well, that’s another story in itself. I’ve been losing sleep over this because I’ve had a good 8 year career, have been a good agent/investigator, and have always had a great reputation. I feel completely stigmatized by this failed poly, and regret ever taking it. I have nothing to hide, so I never imagined I’d be in this position. I had no idea that it could possible jeoparidize my LE career/clearance, and it seems so unfair. Any comments would be greatly appreciated…I’m so scared about all of this!

  80. Avatar


    Yes, a failed Poly (deception) could effect allot of things, including your current and future eligibility.
    The question(s) will be:
    Is she being truthful now?
    What was / or Why the deception?
    Or within that line of thinking
    (I think you already knew that???)

    How would you handle deception during an investigation as an agent/investigator? Generally, not good….

    I hope this helps?

  81. Avatar

    I understand your point. The problem is, I wasn’t hiding anything and I have told the truth during the entire process. I was thinking about a lot of things that bothered me during the questions (i.e. stealing candy as a kid, serious crimes I’ve investigated for my job…just random, fleeting thoughts that are often triggered during polygraphs. The same types of things that I thought about during my previous passed polygraph. Nothing new, and nothing that I hadn’t already talked about, and certainly nothing that would be disqualifying). My SF-86 was complete and thorough, and was consistent with all other SF-86’s during my federal employment. I know that all of this doesn’t matter because I have a failed polygraph on my record. I guess I just don’t know the notification process, or how clearances work. Since I already have a TS clearance, are you saying it may be revoked? Also, does a failed polygraph mean I was denied a clearance, even though I already have one? William, do you have any insight into my situation…including my above two posts?

  82. Avatar

    1. “Deliberate omission, concealment, or falsification of relevant facts” on any form used for security clearances or employment suitability.
    2. “Deliberately providing false or misleading information concerning relevant factors to . . . official government representative.”

    Both of the above are adjudicatively significant for security clearances and covered under Adjudicative Guideline E.

    There are differenced between what is relevant for a security clearance and what is relevant for employment suitability—lying about either can be disqualifying for security clearances. My response to Patrick addressed the possibility that although Patrick was truthful about everything, something he truthfully disclosed either disqualified him for employment purpose or made him less desireable for employment purposes than others who were also being considered for the same position.

    I don’t understand what you mean when you say, “failed polygraphs that don’t turn up any information.” A “failed” polygraph generally means that there was deception indicated. Any indication of deception to a revelant question is significant information. The only time deception would not be relevant is when the question is designed specifically to elicit a deceptive response to help the examiner interpret the chart. For instance, “have you ever lied to your spouse.”

  83. Avatar

    Naturally naturalized:
    Everything about security clearance processing will dramatically change within the next year or two. So, what applies now, may not apply then. Foreign travel is only significant when it is accomplished for certain purposes, such as maintaining citizenship or property rights in a foreign country, visiting close friends or relatives, engaging in business activities with a foreign company or government. Travel accomplished for these types of reasons directly relate to the closeness of a person’s ties to another country and the potential for foreign influence. Foreign travel per se is not a security issue. The issues are foreign preference, foreign influence, and outside activities. For more information about these issues, see Guidelines B, C and L of the Adjudicative Guidelines.

    Naturalized US citizens are treated exactly the same as native-born US citizens. Both can have zero foreign contacts or extensive foreign contacts.

  84. Avatar

    It could have no affect on his clearance. Under certain circumstances it could have some affect; it depends on his legal/moral/ethical financial obligation to her. Once her debts are absolved through bankruptcy, it pretty much become a moot point.

  85. Avatar

    It’s up to the FBI. If they feel the polygraph report contains adjudicatively significant information for a security clearance, they are at liberty to share the report with other concerned federal agencies. These other agencies may use this information to readjudicate an existing clearance or for any future clearance.

  86. Avatar

    Of course this discussion of employment suitability standards only applies to people applying for positions in the federal government (not contractors) and is somewhat restricted to IC agencies. I suspect the FDA doesn’t want people convicted of crimes related to prescription drugs. The DEA has zero tolerance for past illegal drug use. Recently the FBI changed their rules and now accepts agent applications from people who had very limited illegal drug involvement. The DCIS would probably never hire someone who had been convicted of contractor fraud. Too many agencies and too many individual peculiarities.

  87. Avatar

    See my response to Anne (above). Technically there is no question on the SF86 that would require you to disclose the polygraph exam. But it’s always better to get out ahead of any potential problem with a preemptive statement of what happened on any clearance application form.

  88. Avatar

    I’m applying for a position that requires SC. I have had a small issue with my previous employer and would like to assess how deadly it is for my clearance.

    I was often encouraged to work from home on weekends, which required me to have proprietary information on my home computer. This was against company policies, but my manager told me it was “OK”. When my services were no longer required, this fact has been used against me to justify termination, labeled as “security violation”. I signed the termination notice, even though I do not agree with the actual charge.

    I understand I have to list this on the sf86, but my concern is whether it even makes sense to submit the form w/ this on it.

    Aside from this issue, my record is completely clean (no criminal, no credit, no drugs/alcohol)

    Thanks in advance for any clarification.

  89. Avatar


    I meant to state that there are cases where the polygrapher believes there is “deception indicated”, but in reality there is no deception, as in Anne’s case. False positives certainly do exist and I was wondering how people with existing clearances who have an unfortunate false positive are handled. Do other agencies/departments take NSA/CIA/SCI polygraphs at face value and revoke existing collateral clearances, even if the resulting file is 100% clean except for the false DI poly? I don’t mean to argue about the merits of the polygraph, as I believe it is a valuable aid regardless of limitations.

    Thank you for all your advice.

  90. Avatar

    Hi William and edge141,
    Thank you very much for your replies… If I may ask just one other question: I believe that I will need to take a CI polygraph. At what point in the process will I have to do this, do you think? I understand that other places (e.g. CIA) have applicants complete it upfront. It doesn’t make sense to me that the DIA would save it for the end, particularly if a person proved to be untrustworthy after all–meaning the whole investigation was in vain. Then again, I really know/understand very little of this whole process. Thanks again, I find this blog a very helpful resource!!

  91. Avatar

    Some DIA applicants have their polygraph exam upfront at the very beginning of the process. I think it depends on the workload of their examiners. Don’t expect everything in the government to make sense.

  92. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson and any adjudicators please chime in

    Have you folks had a chance to see the new exec order the President will be signing soon. If so, what is your take. I can’t believe this process can be mainly run through various electronic means. If we use a “Clean” record and SF Questionnaire based on this info, how do you think we will get our hands on local info? As we all know, CJIS and any other databases do not cover everything. Limiting field work makes sense, but I am more in line with increased telephone interviews to save valuable time–VS–relying on mainly computers. If you have see the new order–let me know. As anyone in the business knows, just because you answer “No” to questions, doesn’t make it true.

  93. Avatar


    Mr Henderson and EDGE 141 are spot-on. Your discharge as you explain it–is not a real problem. I am also retired Air Force and about 20 years ago–was it because of the “Program” or WMP. If this is the case, you served honorably, just separately differently–besides, so you know we also look at these records, even from 20 years ago if needed.

  94. Avatar

    Polygraph should only be an investigative tool, not the final arbiter of clearances. I would never allow myself to be polygraphed at one of the recruiting/job fairs described above. I would never allowed myself to be polygraphed by anyone who did more than two exams in a day at the same location.

    When exams are conducted properly I believe the number of “false positives” are minuscule. I think that when exams become sloppy, there is probably a big increase in the number of “inconclusive” results.

    I was told that over 90% of issue-oriented security clearance polygraph examinations that result in “deception indicated” subsequently result in some related admission of misconduct by the applicant. So of the people who DI’ed, 90% admitted they lied. That’s pretty good validation of the instrument’s/examiner’s accuracy. You can’t duplicate those results in a lab because you can’t create a real sense of “jeopardy” using test subjects.

    There’s another factor that hasn’t been mentioned. The examiner’s interpretation of the charts must be reviewed by a supervisory examiner and the reviewer must agree with the conclusions of the examiner before the report can be forwarded.

  95. Avatar

    I didn’t know there was even a draft out yet. The EO isn’t scheduled to be out until the end of June. Do you know where a draft copy can be found? I think the EO is only going to assign responsibility.

  96. Avatar

    Mr Henderson

    I have the draft–got through personal sources, don’t think you will find it posted yet. Strange thing is they are going to start relying on computers–but still field presence. I’m sure the system will not pass the “Muster” test. It will be signed soon and as you said not implemented till June. The concept is sound, but the reality is different.

  97. Avatar

    CE and William:

    CE-thanks for trying to get more clarification regarding my situation. William, thanks for your insight. For what it’s worth, I have always been a strong believer in the polygraph. I’ve utilized them frequently in my criminal investigations, and think they are a very valuable in eliciting information that may not have been obtained through other means. However, due to my current situation, there certainly are limitations. Unfortunately, none of you know me at all…and I’m sure the majority of the people who have “DI’d” a polygraph swear that they were being honest, when in fact, they lied. I can only tell you my story, and hopefully–and even if only in a hypothetical sense–you will give me the benefit of the doubt and believe what I’m telling you. I’m certainly no expert and am not well-versed enough to judge what a “sloppy” poly is. But I can say that my examiner blew through the pre-test (he said he wouldn’t need to go so as in depth because I previously passed a USSS poly). I was only on the box for about 10 minutes. In between cycles of questions, he asked me if something was bothering me, and I said, “I keep thinking when I stole candy when I was young. And then I was thinking about an investigation I was conducting…etc. etc” He said, “did you murder, kidnap, or commit arson? No. Then don’t worry about it.” Questioning resumed and I still had so much on my mind. I fault MYSELF for not being more assertive and making him listen to me. I had no idea I wouldn’t have more of a chance. He left the room, and told me I failed the application question, which was completely shocking. My mind was completely clear on that question. At that point, I had no idea I was failing. I did know, however, that my mind was racing and I was thinking about things I described above. The SAME things that I thought about during the SS poly…but that polygrapher said I was reacting to things and asked me to talk about them. They helped me work through all of the things that bothered me. Once my conscience was cleared from all of the inconsequential things, it wasn’t too much of a problem. I should note that my SS poly was about 5 hours long. Quite a difference. If the SS didn’t give me a chance to talk about what I was thinking about, I’m sure I would’ve failed that one, too. I am the type of person who needs to talk about things. I worry and things bother me. A good polygrapher should be able to handle very conscientious people. I do believe that people who are labeled as “DI” ARE withholding things, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are lying. The facts are: I did NOT lie on my application. I have NEVER committed a serious crime. I did NOT misrepresent my drug use. I did, however, for example, steal candy when I was young. A reaction is completely relative. The other thing that was weird was that when he told me I failed, he said “I really like you. And I believe you. Maybe it’s me. I know your background has been under a microscope over the past 8 years. If anyone deserves a retest it’s you.” Would you expect that from a polygrapher who labeled you as being deceptive? Wouldn’t you think they would want to know what I was lying about??? But of course, this poly wasn’t video/audio taped, so I have no recourse. If you are administered a “sloppy” polygraph, there is nothing you can do. On paper, I am labeled as someone who did lie on those important questions. I love my career, and I have always excelled at it. I feel like it’s so unfair, and I’ve had a pit in my stomach for over a week now. The thought that my clearance may be affected and that I may not ever get a different government job is devastating. I just feel so helpless, because no matter what, I am viewed as a liar. And from the sounds of it, there’s nothing I can do to help myself.

  98. Avatar


    Thank you for the insight. I did not know there was a review and I also did not know the statistic was that solid. It shocks me.


    I feel for you, certainly do not fault yourself. I’m certain everyone here believes you. You have no motivation to lie on an anonymous blog.

    I can only hope, as William stated, that it can only be used as an investigative tool (or as employment suitability for agencies) and not as the final word on your current employment. This is a fear, rational or not, I’m sure many of us on this blog will face at some point in our careers. The fact that most non-agencies don’t use it must mean they don’t take it as the all-mighty Oracle when it comes to investigations.

  99. Avatar

    CE: Thanks for your understanding. I guess I just regret taking it. I’m beating myself up because this was so self-inflicted; I CHOSE to take this poly–I didn’t have to. But, on the other hand, why wouldn’t I take one if I have nothing to hide? No one should be afraid (or at least I thought so at the time) to take a poly if you intend to be completely candid about your past indiscretions, and of course, to know that none of them would disqualify you (as in my case). When I walked into this poly, I was nervous, but there was no doubt in my mind I’d pass. I think my background illustrates how subjective the test is. I passed the SS polygraph, but failed the FBI one. It’s funny how people just assume the “failed” one is the accurate one. Suddenly, the SS must’ve let a “liar” like me slip through the cracks. But no one seems to view it the other way around, you know? Doesn’t that suggest a lack of consistency in the test? Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who are stupid enough to think they can beat the test, or will flat-out lie about their past. And I think those people deserve repercussions, such as those I’m facing. I guess what hurts my feelings the most is that nothing distinguishes me from those people. On paper, I am THEM, and it kills me. I suppose now, for the first time in my life, my character will often be question. I just have to live with it and try to move forward.

    Thanks for your support and most of all, for listening.

  100. Avatar

    I had a secret DOD secret security clearance revoked in 2002 for having and using dual passports. I have officially renounced my citizenship to Country B since then. I have no other “major” disqualifying factors other than I was once fired from a position for “poor performance”. I was told at the time that I have to wait 1 year before I can re-apply for the clearance. Question is, can I get a DOD security clearance today??

  101. Avatar

    I am being considered for an excellent contractor position that will require an immediate “interim secret” as well as an ordinary secret clearance afterwards. I am concerned about some negatives on my SF86: My wife of 5 years is a naturalized US Citizen (for over 15 years). Her elderly mother lives with us but is only a green card holder. Additional negative is a misdemeanor “resisting an officer” arrest from 6 years ago, the case was dismissed with the charges dropped. I am wondering if I should just pass on this job offer.
    What are my chances of getting the interim clearance?

  102. Avatar

    Is it proper to use the following in a resume?

    PSI Adjudication of SSBI OPM, Opened 2007 xx xx, Closed 2007 xx xx, determined Eligibility of SCI – DCID 6/4 on 2008 xx xx DoNCAF.

    PSI Adjudication of NACLC OPM, Opened 2005 xx xx, Closed 2006 xx xx, determined Eligibility of Secret on 2006 xx xx DoNCAF.

  103. Avatar


    As someone who helps friends with their resumes often, I would not put those two lines verbatim on a resume. Many of those words are extra lingo thrown in that make a resume harder to read/scan.

    I would put instead either:

    Clearance information available upon request


    Active TS/SCI granted XX 2008

    The secret is redundant/useless if you went through a SSBI in my opinion.

    Use the first version if you’re posting this resume on a website. Combining your name/phone/address on the resume with your clearance information on the internet is something enemy spies would love.

    Just my 2 cents.

  104. Avatar

    One more question, and then I won’t bother you guys anymore!

    Hypothetically, if the FBI doesn’t find anything in my poly report that is adjudicatively significant (as William stated in earlier post), and decides not to make an immediate notification to my current agency of my result (this of course, sounds like the best case scenario)…

    According to FBI HQ, my failed poly gets entered into the “Scattered Castles” database. I had never heard of this database until I read through other posts in this blog. I’m assuming this database gets accessed by every federal government agency during the course of an applicant’s background investigation. If I were to apply to another government agency, who makes the final decision if I’m “suitable” for a security clearance? Does the background investigator gather all of the information (e.g. failed poly) and give it to X agency’s headquarters, or the actual hiring office? I was just wondering at what level my failed poly will be evaluated and who may deem me as “unsuitable” for employment and/or make the final determination of my clearance eligibility.

    Thanks for your help. I just don’t know how all of this works, and was wondering what my chances are of ever obtaining future government employment with a different agency.

  105. Avatar


    I am currently exploring career options in my field and I have a security clearance question. I drank underage during college, but have been drinking infrequently and responsibly for two years. I voluntarily received a consultation from a social worker regarding anxiety due to the pressures of grad school within the last year and was referred to a workshop that lasted two months. It was great and I learned alot. The rest of my SF86 would be clean except for two overseas vacations. Great work and academic history.

    Given the negative attitudes I’ve seen toward preventative mental health counseling, I am concerned that I would be denied a clearance for this. Any advice?

  106. Avatar


    I agree with CE. If you are posting on a secure job board like

    Active TS/SCI granted XX 2008

    If you are posting on Monster, CareerBuilder, or HotJobs where anyone can view your resume:

    Clearance information available upon request

  107. Avatar

    Is having your foreign national mother-in-law reside with you & your family a “problem” (other than the normal ones of having your spouses mom live with you!!) for obtaining a DOD ‘ordinary’ secret clearance? (She has had a green card for over 5 years). What about for the so-called “interim” secret clearance? Not that I want to add any more ‘stress’ to my home-life situation!!
    Thanking you in advance……

  108. Avatar

    I know what you’re talking about. I’ve seen outside factors influence the response to polygraph questions. But the examiners always rephrased the questions, ran additional chart(s), and worked around the problem. I’ve observed about 50 exams. I was physically present during the pre-tests and post-tests and monitoring from another room during the instrument portion). But they were all issue-oriented exams with about 3 relevant questions out of 10 questions. Each series of questions took about 10 minutes. Sometimes they had to run 3 or 4 charts. Fortunately, I knew and trusted the examiners who assisted on my cases, and I was always satisfied with their work.

    I don’t know the answer to your question about how the results of your exam will be handled. There is a large website specifically devoted to polygraph. You might find your answer there. Just google “antipolygraph.” I’m not certain about the data fields in “Scattered Castles,” but the data fields for polygraph in CVS are “Poly Type,” “Poly Agency,” and “Poly Date.” There is no field for “poly result.” There is an extra comment field, but the only info I have seen in that field is “PLEASE CALL.”

  109. Avatar

    I’ve read case decisions where people surrendered their passport and renounced their foreign citizenship immediately before their hearing and were granted a clearance. So, now that you have done the same, your chances of getting a clearance are dependent only on the extent of other factors that might be considered under Guidelines B, C, and L of the Adjudicative Guidelines.

  110. Avatar

    I think that some of the verbiage of the “Security and Suitability Process Reform – Initial Report” will probably find its way into the executive order. I think that most of the executive order will be concerned with who is granted authority to do what to whom in very broad terms. The “Executive Summary” to the report says, “An Executive Branch governance structure is needed to ensure processes that enable hiring and clearing decisions . . . . This structure will be formalized in an Executive Order for your signature no later than June 30, 2008.”

    BW AN INVESTIGATOR has seen a copy of the draft E.O. Perhaps he can comment.

  111. Avatar


    Thanks for your insight. I have also observed numerous polygraphs during the course of my investigations, with very good polygraphers. I would trust them wholeheartedly to give anyone exam, and I believe their results are incredibly accurate. But they will spend hours with people to get to the truth and work around issues. Their goal is the truth, not to fail/pass a subject. Sometimes this takes hours on end, as I’m sure you’ve observed. They ran the examinations exactly as you described above: “rephrased the questions, ran additional chart(s), and worked around the problem”. They were shocked by my story (partly because they know and trust me, and also because they know what it takes to be a good polygrapher): they said a lot of the things the polygrapher did/said were “sloppy”, inappropriate, and were definitely red flags. They don’t think it was conducted properly. They said if the polygrapher saw that I was having an issue with the completeness of application question, he should’ve sat down with me and asked what was going on. They said the fact that he didn’t say anything in between the series of questions, would lead one to believe that I wasn’t having any major problems. He should’ve tried to work it out with me and then rephrased the questions, ran more charts, etc. He didn’t do any of this. Most likely my result would’ve been a lot different if he was willing to spend time with me and work around my issues. Anyway, their input makes me feel a bit better, and I’m certainly going to provide this detail in my appeal letter. As my polygrapher friends told me, the test accuracy correlates directly to the quality of the examiner. Unfortunately, I think I was dealt a bad hand, but sometimes life isn’t fair. I do wish I knew the vast repercussions ahead of time…I really question whether taking a polygraph from an unknown examiner is ever worth the risk.

    Thanks for the information on the Scattered Castles database. I haven’t been able to find much on it at all. I’m hesitant to visit “Antipolygraph”…despite my current horror story, I’m still a polygraph supporter. 🙂 I just hope everything works out for me. If you learn any more information on this topic, please let me know. I just wish their were some recourse for me, but since it wasn’t audio/video taped, I don’t think I have any leverage.

    Any further thoughts are more than welcome!

  112. Avatar


    I have a question about SCI access. I have had a SSBI and been granted TS. Many jobs require TS/SCI. It is my understanding the SSBI is the big part that requires months for the investigation and SCI access is more trivial only requiring a few weeks and in some cases a polygraph, CI for DIA, FS for CIA, FBI, NSA. First, is my understanding correct in the length of time for SCI access if already possessing TS? Having another SSBI for SCI makes zero sense to me but I know that some agencies do their own anyway even though I believe there is an executive order out there that states all SSBIs are transferable, which to my knowledge has not been rescinded. Now if my assumption is correct, why do the majority of jobs require current TS/SCI over SCI eligibility? I would think one SCI would not be interchangeable with another, because it’s a subset of access. The probability that the same SCI is held by an applicant that the job requires is very low so paperwork would need to be completed for the new SCI access anyway just as it would need to be for the TS only holder. The only difference would be the TS holder would need to go complete the polygraph. This is of course is too logical and would save taxpayers money, so it of course can’t be the case. Thanks in advance for any clarification.

  113. Avatar

    Hi all,

    I have another question. I recieved a msg from my HR contact telling me to report for in-processing on a specific date in the not too distant future. I guess that means I’ve got the job for now???

    I’ve got like 6 weeks to move to a completely new city, so I’m going to have to resign from my current position in a few days.

    Do I need to correct the SF86 I submitted to show the date I end my career w/my current employer? I’ll only be “unemployed” for about 3-4 weeks. Given my previous posts on part 6, do you have any additional advice?

    Sorry if this is a silly question. I’ve only worked in the private sector & I’m teriffied of making a mistake on the SF86…. I wish I had thought of this before I sent the paperwork back to HR.

    Thanks for all of the good advice!

  114. Avatar

    Jessica B:
    Updating your SF86 is not necessary. It is important that you keep your new employer (HR & security office) informed of how you can be contacted, so a security investigator can get ahold of you if necessary. If you have already been contacted by an investigator, provide future contact information directly to the investigator also.

  115. Avatar

    Hello again everyone,

    I’m not sure, but I think my question got missed in the midst of all the traffic. If someone could give me a slight idea of what to expect in regards to my situation, I would really appreciate it.


  116. Avatar

    To some extent it may depend on how plausible your explanation is. You said, “I signed the termination notice, even though I do not agree with the actual charge.” By signing did you just acknowledge receipt of the notice? Did you apply for and successfully receive unemployment benefits? Are there former coworkers who will corroborate that your boss gave permission to you or to others to put proprietary info on their home computer?

    Since there was no allegation that you did it for personal gain, there is a good possibility that this single rule violation (even if you were completely at fault) can be mitigated because “. . . it happened so infrequently or under such unusual circumstances that it is unlikely to recur or does not cast doubt on the individual’s current reliability, trustworthiness, or good judgment.” Recommend you review Guideline K of the Adjudicative Guidelines.

    People who have had one security violation involving classified information have been allowed to keep and renew their security clearances.

  117. Avatar

    In process for a TS/SCI. My contact says that the clearance people will contact me for a “private interview,” but didn’t know any other details. Does this sound like a SPIN?

    I already had my subject interview a few months ago and the field background investigation was complete a few months ago, too.

    I can’t imagine what the topic might be; the only thing I can think of is debt, since I have a fair amount of student and credit card debt, but it’s all current / never delinquent (verified by my credit reports), and I submitted a lengthy written statement with my payment plan to per my investigator’s request at my subject interview.

    I’m starting to get worried since I was told to expect that I’d already be working by now, but now it seems like the whole thing might be in jeopardy because it’s taking so long.

  118. Avatar

    Hi, I do hope I’m in the right forum with this question as they all seem to be talking about “personal” security clearance issues. My issue involve submitting security clearance for others. I recently took over a position and discovered that one of my job is security administrator for my office. (I’ve had no formal training). As such it is my responsibility to submit individuals through JPAS and EPSQ for security clearances. I’ve learned how to do that, but no one has trained me on what to do after the SF86 is submitted! It is my responsibility to ensure these individuals have a security clearance prior to leaving. Recently (Mid April), I’ve submitted 22 individuals for clearances. Some are showing that the “case closed”, some are showing “scheduled”, some are showing “closed” with issues, (eg:credit, honesty…etc), some are showing “unacceptable”. Whenever I ask my Security Manager questions about what some of this stuff means and what I am required to do next, he get’s angry and incoherent as if I’m suppose to automatically know. It has gotten to the point where I’d rather gnaw off my right hand, than to pick up the phone to call him. I’ve searched on the internet for some type of JPAS training….to no avail. All training is geared towards putting a person into the system’ or what folks can do to ensure a clearance is granted. None of it talk about what security administrators do to monitor the process after submission. My question is, is there a manual which talk about what happens after the SF86 is submitted….what the administrator is required to do? I check the status of the individuals daily, but just don’t know what to do when I see Case Closed (without adjucation), or Unaccepted/ Opened/Scheduled or when I’m told that there are specific issues with the applicant, such as moral or credit issues.
    Thanks for any help yopu can provide,


  119. Avatar

    I was in the USMC for 5 years in the aviation field. I think I have some level of a security clearance, but am not sure. HOW CAN I FIND OUT?? I know I took the screening, but do ot know if it was ever activated.

  120. Avatar

    I currently have a TS/SCI which I recieved in 2006. This weekend, I got a speeding ticket (15+ the limit) – my first in six years. At first, I thought I wouldn’t have to report it – as the SF86 only asks for traffic fines above $150 (this was not); however my security officer told me she wanted to report it, and to give her a copy of the ticket. I found this unusual, but of course I complied. As I understand, honesty is the best policy with these things.

    Could this adversely affect my current clearance or my reinvestigation in a few years? I have an otherwise clean record with no other problems whatsoever, and I let them know everything. However, I’ve heard rumors that with a TS, even a speeding ticket can cause you problems. Is this true?

  121. Avatar


    No. A minor traffic infraction like speeding will not adversely affect your clearance.

  122. Avatar

    Yes, this is true… but,
    I don’t think you needed to report this incident, since your fine was less than $150.00. Your FSO may have wanted to be on the safe side.??

    It is still better to report it now, then to answer about it later…

    If, your fine and costs were less than $150.00, you should be fine…

    I hope this helps?

  123. Avatar

    Sounds to me, that you have some troubles…
    You should be asking your security manager for this information… Whether he/she likes it or not…

    You need to/should have the required training.

    It would more than this site, to have you competent in this field…

    I hope this helps?

  124. Avatar


    This is a repost from 08 May in search of an answer in that I have to make my decision ASAP: Thank you!
    I am being considered for an excellent contractor position that will require an immediate “interim secret” as well as an ordinary secret clearance afterwards. I am concerned about some negatives on my SF86: My wife of 5 years is a naturalized US Citizen (for over 15 years). Her elderly mother lives with us but is only a green card holder. Additional negative is a misdemeanor “resisting an officer” arrest from 6 years ago, the case was dismissed with the charges dropped. I am wondering if I should just pass on this job offer.
    What are my chances of getting the interim clearance?

  125. Avatar

    Yes, it does sound like a SPIN too me, also. I do not think it will be a problem, if you do not have any delinquent debt?

    Even with a high amount of debt, one of the first trouble signs would be delinquency (which you do not have).

    I hope this helps?
    edge 141

  126. Avatar


    Also, Even if your fine was over the limit, it is not a real big deal with only one minor traffic infraction. Multiple infractions could be a concern though…

    I hope this helps?

  127. Avatar

    Yes, it seems you have been scheduled for a SPIN. But not all SPINs are for previously undisclosed/unaddressed issues. Sometimes a SPIN is scheduled because the “case controller” feels additional details are needed for a previously covered issue.

  128. Avatar

    The Navy has a pretty good JPAS manual that might be useful to you. You can view it at

    The DSS Academy has training classes they offer through their website. I believe they have some online course materials. Check it out at

  129. Avatar

    If you left the USMC more than 24 months ago, even if you had a clearance, it’s expired. If it’s been less than two years, you can submit Privacy Act requests to NCIS, OPM, and/or DSS. The Dept of Navy Central Adjudication Facility (DONCAF) belongs to NCIS. If your investigation was conducted between 2002 and 2005, it could have been done by either DSS or OPM.

  130. Avatar

    My husband is in the Air National Guard and has a current Secret clearance. He was offered a federal job which requires a top secret clearance. We currently have a large amount of debt, but we have always made all of our payments on time and have never had delinquencies or bad marks on our credit report – our credit score is in the 700s. Also, our take home income is in the 6 figures.

    2 questions – does having a current Secret clearance mean that he will automatically get an interim Top Secret clearance? Will the high debt affect him being granted a Top Secret clearance?

  131. Avatar

    Thanks for the reply William.

    The paper i signed did explicitly only ask for the “acknowledgement of termination” – not whether i accept the charge or not. I did not apply for unemployment. I don’t think any of the coworkers would be able to back me up, but can definately confirm how hectic the project was and that “corners” have been cut.

    Now, how do I put this on the form? Do I go into detailed explanation? Or should I just state the fact and expect a phone call back from the investigator?

  132. Avatar

    I have a question? Is the SF86 and the details of an investigation of an individual privelaged material or can your employer request to see the results of the investigation and your input on the SF86?

  133. Avatar

    Hello everyone,

    Suppose I have a security clearance.

    Will I be able to work at a second job? What are the rules regarding this second job?


  134. Avatar

    You list it under Question #22 “Your Employment Record.” If you want an interim clearance, you need to include as much detail as possible concerning the alleged mishandling of proprietary information that resulted in this termination of employment. If it doesn’t all fit into the comment section, then submit a one-page addendum to the SF86 explaining what happened. If an interim clearance is not important, you can just indicate that you were fired for rule violation and request an interview.

    You should also list at least two coworkers on your SF86 who can at least partially corroborate your claim or otherwise provide favorable information about you. You can use the comment section for the appropriate part of the question concerning “Your Employment Activities” to list extra work references.

  135. Avatar

    Dean L:

    Sorry I missed your question earlier. A single misdemeanor offense within the past 10 years does not rise to the level of being a potentially disqualifying condition for a security clearance. Your elderly foreign national mother-in-law should only be of minor significance in the adjudication of your final collateral Secret clearance. It may be of greater concern for an interim clearance. I think you have a reasonably good chance of getting an interim Secret clearance and a very good chance of getting a final Secret clearance. In any event it only takes a few days for DISCO to decide to grant or not grant an interim Secret clearance, so you should be able to do this without risk if they make and you accept a contingency offer with a start date after the interim clearance is granted.

  136. Avatar


    Thank you for the reply. That is good news. I should have a yes/no on the interim-secret by the end of this month. When I do, I will report the result in the blog. I have ordered your book to help me properly fill out the SF86 and guide my way through the security clearance maze.

    Thanks again!

  137. Avatar

    Thanks for the reply Mr. Henderson. This site/blog is amazing! Thank you for all you do to help others. I too am ordering your book. It will most definately come in handy when my cadets ask me security questions

  138. Avatar

    A Secret clearance is almost always enough to immediately be granted an interim Top Secret clearance that does not involve any Special Access Authorizations.

    Absent any delinquencies or other debt problems, a high debt-to-income ratio rarely becomes a security or suitability issue for a clearance. This is because adjudicators rarely see the income part of this equation unless there is a reason to ask the applicant for it.

  139. Avatar

    I’m not aware of the government restricting anyone’s right to work a second job just because of a security clearance. Obviously, your clearance will be affected if your second job is with a foreign employer. There are other concerns, such as potential confict of interest, that might limit your choices for a second job, but these concerns are related to the primary job, not the security clearance.

  140. Avatar

    The information in the SF86 and the government background investigation is protected by the federal Privacy Act. Your company security officer will not see your investigative reports but will see your clearance application (SF86) because they will process it. There are government rules about handling the SF86 information. Here is what the NISPOM says:

    2-202. The FSO [Facility Security Officer] or designee shall inform the employee that the SF 86 is subject to review and shall review the application solely to determine its adequacy and to ensure that necessary information has not been omitted. The FSO or designee shall provide the employee with written notification that review of the information is for adequacy and completeness, information will be used for no other purpose within the company, and that the information provided by the employee is protected by [the Privacy Act]. The FSO or designee shall not share information from the employee’s SF 86 within the company and shall not use the information for any purpose other than determining the adequacy and completeness of the SF 86.

  141. Avatar

    I recently read the book, Security Clearance Manual. The book talks about the failure to register with the Selective Service and in particular about possible explanations which constitute legal exemption in case one failed to comply with the Selective Service registration law. The book says: “Legal exemptions include, not becoming a permanent resident of the United States until after your 26th birthday.” I became a temporary resident alien when I was 28 years old and I believe I was 29 or perhaps 30 years old when I became a permanent resident alien. I currently hold Active TS and throughout my adjustment of status, naturalization and TS SSBI applications I cosistently stated that I beleieved that I was not required to register with Selective Service due to my age and circumstance. Recently, however, after submitting e-QIP application for a new contract position I was questioned about my Selective Service status and required to submit an explanation letter from Selective Service. I requested one and SS informed me that they’ve send me the letter asking me to register. I never received this letter and it’s possible they’ve send it to me while I was a foreign exchange student in 1985 (on a valid H-1 visa) or while on an expired B-2 visa, before I adjusted my legal status (between the ages of 23 and 26). What is your take on my sitation? I would greatly appreciate your opinion.

  142. Avatar

    Getting a Top Secret Clearance – Car Repossesion.

    I am interviewing for a position at Lockheed Martin. I currently have have a large amount of credit card debt approx 20k (I am married), and I had a car repossesion 4 years ago. The car was paid off within 4 days of the repo and returned to me. I have alway been on time with all of my payments since, and I am now a homeowner. Does this jepordize a clearance? Will Lockheeds pre-employment clearance check sniff out any problems I may have obtaining a clearance?


  143. Avatar

    My husband is trying to get in Special Forces. We are worried about our credit for several reasons for the Security Clearance. In 2002 we filed Chapter 7 due to the army not paying us for a month, which threw off the rest of our bills. We have had a decent credit history since then, until now. We owe $50k more on our home than its worth and regardless of whether he makes special forces, we have to move for the army. We are trying to complete a short sale, and will not owe the balance back if successful. If we are not successful, we will have to do a Deed-In Lieu or foreclosure. The payments will continue to be made until we have to leave here. How will this hurt his chances of a clearance, and yes, we will disclose the bankruptcy on the questionaire, but how to we disclose the possible foreclosure when it won’t happen until AFTER the form is submitted?

  144. Avatar


    For everyone’s benefit, the next paragraph of Security Clearance Manual states:

    “Almost all male citizens and non-citizens (living in the United States) are required to register, if they are between 18 and 26 years of age, including illegal aliens, legal permanent residents, and refugees. The general rule is that if a male non-citizen takes up residency in the U.S. before his 26th birthday, he must register with Selective Service. For more information about who must register and legal exemptions go to the Selective Service website at and select the ‘registration info’ link.”

    If you were in the U.S. as an illegal alien (expired B-2 visa) between the ages of 18 and 26, you may have been required to register at that time. You should not rely on either the book or me for an interpretation of the law. I’m sorry to have to reply in such a mealy-mouthed way but there are certain legal restrictions on giving advice. You should seek clarification from Selective Service or a competent attorney.

  145. Avatar


    The car repo as you described it should not present much of a problem to completely mitigate. Your current credit card debt will probably not become an issue because you have no current delinquencies and your only past delinquency was the repo. The repo could trigger a closer examination of you financial situation, but I don’t think it will be regarded as a problem.

    Lockheed Martin security personnel will review your clearance application (eQIP) form, but they are restricted in their use of the information. See my response to Mack on 13 May 2008 at 5:31 pm (above).

    If you need an interim TS clearance, it would be wise to include detailed information about the repo in the appropriate comment section of the eQIP form. I recommend you read my article on this subject at

  146. Avatar

    Events such as a foreclosure does not have to be listed on an SF86 until they occur. If it occurs after the SF86 is submitted, then the information must be reported to your husband’s security officer. The foreclosure itself is not as important as what happens after the foreclosure. If there is substantial indebtedness after the foreclosure, the adjudicators will want to see why the foreclosure occurred and how you handle the subsequent debt. If your credit report is otherwise clean, the 2002 bankruptcy could only require only minimal explanation because it might be almost completely mitigated by passage of time. If not, your husband may have to provide detailed information about any unfavorable information that appears on the credit report. See my response to Mike (directly above). The link is to Part 3 of a 3-part article on personal finances and security clearances. You’ll find links to the other 2 parts of the article there. I think you will find it helpful.

  147. Avatar

    hey guys, I am trying to get a Secret security clearance and I have a one question…

    A couple of years ago, I moved from one state to another after high school and could not find a job. Finally I found a job for cash and was working without a w-2 and didn’t file taxes. I understand that I cannot have any gaps in my application as far as empoyment. How should I handle this?

  148. Avatar

    Too All:

    If anyone has several million dollars laying around, Kroll is for sale. Looks like the usual five year plan to create a successful business–then sell.

  149. Avatar


    You guys are providing an excellent service answering all of our questions on this forum. Keep up the good work!

    My question is, I was granted a TS/SCI in 2006. In 2004 I recieved a PBJ (Probation Before Judgement)for a DUI and was still granted my clearance in 2006. I was arrested in February and found guilty (yesterday) of a second DUI. I don’t have any other criminal activity on my record. What will happen now when I tell my FSO on Monday of my conviction?

    I have been forthcoming with my arrest with my employer, I told them the next day I came into work. I am in a 16 week treatment program and attending AA twice a week, even though I was found not to be dependent on alcohol, but an abuser.



  150. Avatar

    I have a question regarding obtaining a security clearance. 15 years ago, I left a cleared job [Secret clearance] after noy being able to get along with a co-worker. We were both government contractors, and when a new company took over the new contract, we were not picked up. I had had good evaluations following years and a top award the year that is documented. Years later, I worked in a job received higher level clearances; but am now wondering whether, and agency DHS has the discretion to descretion to disqualify someone for telling a co-worker, off in the following manner – “I don’t know how your family even stands you… they must very nice.” Would very much appreciate an opinion on this. Thank You.

  151. Avatar

    I am looking at a job in intelligence requiring a TS. I have a few issues in my past, first and foremost I served in the Army National Guard for 3 years. At 20 I began employment in a civilian public safety position, and stopped attending my weekend drills. My reason is obviously undocumented but involved pressure from my public safety employer causing undue stress on the agency. At 20 years of age I thought the solution would be to stop going to weekend Guard drill. I received a General under honorable conditions discharge roughly a year later (2002) for unsatisfactory performance.

    I have stayed in the public safety position since then serving honorably and regretting my past decisions. Additionally, I had a lack of financial responsibility at the same age. Two items on my credit report were charged off. I payed off one several years later, but was advised after getting married and while purchasing a home not to pay off anymore due to it validating the old debt? I beleive that I can mitigate the financial portion, but what about the worst decision I ever made abandoning my commitment to the US Army National Guard?

    I am squeaky clean in all other aspects that I know about a TS investigation. I am now 28 years old. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  152. Avatar

    I recently found out that I’m going to have to do a SPIN regarding my foreign travel. All of my travel was listed on my SF86 and we went over it during my PRSI. I’ve been to a fair number of countries, but always for vacation purposes (no foreign associates, business interests, etc.) and only for a few days at a time. I can’t figure out why another interview would be required on this. How should I prepare for the interview?

  153. Avatar

    The PRSI investigator may not have covered your foreign travel fully during your interview. Did you make any lasting contacts with any foreign nationals at all? Even if it is just phone, mail or e-mail contact? Which countries did you visit? Were any of the countries on the State Department’s Travel Warning list:

    Did you go to a certain country more than one time?

    Are you sure the SPIN is for your foreign travel? It could be for another reason all together.

  154. Avatar


    You should list this employment on your SF86 as you would any other. If you are questioned about this employment, you should answer the investigators questions as honestly and completely as possible. Intentionally omitting relevant information is almost always much worse than the actual information you omit.

  155. Avatar

    You did exactly the right thing by immediately reporting the arrest to your employer’s security office. There is a possibility that your access and/or clearance could be temporarily suspended. If this happens the adjudicative authority could rely entirely on the information provided by your security office (as you reported it to them) or could initiate a limited investigation to gather relevant information about the arrest, your history of alcohol use, and your participation in alcohol counseling, before readjudicating your case. This could result in having your access/clearance reinstated with or without conditions or being issued an Statement of Reason—SOR to which you would have to respond to defend your clearance.

  156. Avatar

    What you described doesn’t sound at all significant, even if it had happened recently. At this point something like this that happened 15 years ago no longer has any relevance unless it is part of a pattern of conduct involving more recent events.

  157. Avatar

    At lot of time has passed since your general discharge, you acknowledge that you were wrong and accept full responsibility for your actions, and you subsequently maintained a good work record. These factors will go a long way in mitigating your situation. I believe that you have a good chance of getting the clearance, but there may be a few speed-bumps along the way.

  158. Avatar

    I agree with “Investigator.” If a SPIN is required for foreign travel, after a PRSI was conducted, it’s usually because either the case controller or adjudicator was not satisfied with the level of detail or completeness of that portion of the investigator’s report. Sometimes it happens that a reference makes a mistake and thinks you went to country X on vacation, but you actually went to country Y. Hopefully you have never been to North Korea or Cuba.

  159. Avatar

    One other thing. To prepare for the interview, review your SF86 for accuracy and completenes and take your passport to the interview.

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    I am interested in applying for a Fulbright (English Teaching Assistantship) opportunity in Spain. Fulbright is a U.S. Department of State-sponsored program.

    Prior to departure to Spain, I intend to apply, be accepted, and participate in an internship opportunity that would require that I be granted TS/SCI. Additionally, I already have a Secret clearance from State.

    My questions are: Will I, upon returning from Spain, be significantly re-investigated to the extent that selection for any sensitive position may be hampered or delayed? If re-investigated, will my prior clearance record help expedite this re-accreditation process?

    I am interested in pursuing a career in the IC but understand that being overseas for a year, even as part of a U.S. Gov’t-sponsored program, could have consequences. I was wondering if anyone could help give me a breakdown of how this situation would look to an adjudicator.

    My existing Secret clearance was processed quickly — I have no smudges on my record of any note. (No drug, familial, credit/finance, psych, criminal issues.)

    In case the above explanation wasn’t clear, this is a timeline of my plans:

    Spring 2008: State Secret clearance (completed)
    Summer 2009: IC internship requiring TS/SCI
    Fall 2009-Spring 2010: Spain
    Summer 2010+: ???

    An additional question: I plan to apply for an IC internship for Summer 2009. If I apply during Fall 2008 and I vacation for 11 days in the Dominican Republic during Winter 2008 Holiday Break (I’m still in school), will this foreign travel disqualify me from consideration?

    In the past, I’ve been told I cannot conduct study/work abroad-foreign travel the semester before a clearance-requiring internship. However, this is a short foray that would, ideally, take place after I’ve already sent off my security paperwork. I would obviously plan on submitting a thorough explanation of my travels and any significant foreign contacts made after my return.

    In your opinion: Would self-admission of near-term short-term vacation travel significantly hinder me from consideration?

    Thanks again — this website is a terrific wealth of information.

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    Don’t think it’s a foreign contacts issue. Could be an issue of detail, I suppose. I did go to a certain “red” country on two separate vacations, but it wasn’t North Korea and was totally above board. Aside from my passport stamps, I don’t really know what else I can do to provide details about my trips, however. It’s difficult to prove that I didn’t make any foreign contacts or engage in any suspect behavior (i.e. how do you prove a negative?).

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    Mr. Henderson,

    Thank you for all your advice on this website.

    Currently hold TS/SSBI. Been waiting for SAP a couple weeks now. Told it would take about 30 days. No foreign contacts. Not too worried about it.

    You’ve implied here that for SCI/SAP grant/deny decisions, while there are formally defined processes for this, there can be “deviations” from the “official” investigation/adjudication activities (as in, it’s supposed to happen like this, but sometimes it doesn’t…).

    Like what?

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    Overall, what percentage of applicants, would you estimate, get denied clearances (DoD collateral and special access), for any reason(s). What are a few common reasons for clearance denials?

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    JJJ, in my case I couldn’t get SCI access because the SOIC didn’t want to consider LOCN (Letter of Compelling Need) for anyone. The form was filled out but SOIC didn’t want to hear about it. This is an exception I would need because I have a couple immediate relatives in Europe. Even though they are from friendly NATO countries I lost the job transfer offer because of it. My company, one of the biggest defense contractors, spent 8 months trying to staff this position, finally they found me. I’ll be fine, I’m still employed in my original department, but I do feel bad because I could have provided some valuable services that the government is having a hard time to fill.

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    Vacation travel to Dominican Republic should have no effect on a security clearance or SCI eligibility. I’m relatively sure that the reason you were told not to travel abroad the semester before a clearance-requiring internship was because you need to be available for a security interview during that time period. Being gone for 11 days while your clearance investigation is in progress should not be a problem. You should have the security officer who processes your clearance application make a note in the file about the dates that you will be absent, so the investigator doesn’t waste time trying to contact you during that period.

    If you receive a TS/SCI for your internship and are hired for a position that requires the same or lower level clearance within two years of completing your internship, you should not have to be reinvestigated. There are 3 levels of TS/SCI.

    Living and working overseas for a year isn’t a big deal for a security clearance (U.S. servicemen do it all the time). It gets a little complicated if your employer is a foreign company or government, but if the overseas work is sponsored by the US State Dept, it shouldn’t complicate matters too much. You need to be mindful of the Adjudicative Guidelines concerning “Foreign Influence” and “Outside Activities” during you time outside the U.S. Foreign travel per se (with limited exceptions) is not adjudicatively significant; it’s what happens during the foreign travel that can be significant.

    I strongly recommend you check with the State Department to find out if they have any objections to sponsoring someone who was previously employed as an intern by the IC and with the IC to find out if they have any objections to hiring anyone who was previously a Fulbrighter. Long ago when I worked in HUMIT, there was a prohibition against hiring prior Peace Corps personnel. I don’t recall if this prohibition extended to Fulbrighters, and I don’t know if things have changed since then.

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    The problems I’ve mentioned in the past have to do with reciprocity of clearances and special access authorizations. Put another way, it concerns one agency accepting the investigation and adjudication of another agency for SCI/SAP without requiring a new investigation. The rules are reasonably clear but sometimes the gaining agency chooses not to follow the rules and requires a new SF86, new investigation and/or new adjudication. Sometimes it only seems that they are not following the rules, because the levels of access are not the same—there are 3 levels of SCI.

    Because you are going for an initial SAP, if your last investigation is less than 5 years old and does not involve any “waiver,” “condition,” or “deviation,” they may impose additional but not duplicative investigative requirements and they will readjudicate. See OMB memo 14 Nov 07, Subj: Reciprocal Recognition. . . . for a definition of these terms.

    Actual denial rate at DOHA (DoD industrial clearances) is between 1 and 2 percent, but the effective denial rate is closer to 4 percent. This is because some people withdraw from the process when it becomes obvious that their clearance will be denied. It is also necessary to take into account a presumably large number of potential applicants who are eliminated by a prescreening process. I am not aware of any available stats on SCI/SAP, but denial rates would have to be higher because of the stricter application of Adjudicative Guideline B: Foreign Influence.

    In decending order, the most common reasons for DOHA clearance denials is Financial Considerations, Criminal Conduct, Foreign Influence, Drug Involvement, Alcohol Consumption, and Foreign Preference. Personal Conduct was cited in about 50% of all denials, but it almost always involved intentionally providing false information about one of the other issues like finances, crime, drugs, and alcohol. Most cases (except Foreign Influence & Preference) resulting in a denial are based on mutiple issues.

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    I had several unpaid collection accounts during my adjudication process last year, but have now all cleared from my credit report. I have received word that the adjudicator is going to deny my application for secret clearance because I chose to wait 7 years for the items to clear and I indicated that I had no intentions to pay the collections agencies.

    Now my employer wants me to call those collection agencies and pay the amounts owed despite being cleared from my credit report, for which I waited 7 years. I don’t know what to do or where to start!

    Will this make me appear more favorable? Or will it just seem like I’m only doing it because I’m being forced to? And if I try to settle with the collection agencies will they report it on my credit and reaffirm my debt? I should probably find another job huh?

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    Mr. Henderson,

    Thank you for your response. However your answer has prompted some other questions and concerns.

    If my clearance is temporarily suspended, does that mean that I cannot work at my current employer? What is an approxiamate timeframe I should be looking at if my clearance is suspended?



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    If your clearance/access is suspended, no one can tell you how long it will take to have the matter resolved. It could be a matter of a month or two, or it could take several months.

    If your clearance/access is suspended, your company can temporarily place you in a position that does not require access to classified information, if such a position vacancy exists. This really isn’t the type of question I can answer. You should discuss it with your company FSO and personnel office.

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    I recently took a job at a federal contracting agency to the DOD. After accepting, I found out I needed a secret clearance. The agency doesn’t have an FSO and it’s been a process trying to get the application submitted correctly. It finally was a couple of days ago and we just received a decline from DISCO merely stating “eligibility declination 5/21/08.” Does anyone know why/how you find out why it was declined? As with others, my employment is contingent on my obtaining this interim clearance. The only somewhat negative information on my application is bankruptcy that was discharged over five years ago and since then I’ve built a clean credit history. Thoughts?

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    Unless there has been a recent change, DISCO does not formally deny an interim clearance–they either grant an interim or they don’t. Are you a U.S. citizen?

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    I don’t know if this number will help you or not? It’s worth a shot…
    DISCO help line 1-888-282-7682

    I hope this helps?

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    In Trouble:

    This site has addressed this issue many times… Effort does go along ways. I would recommend you review the mitigating factors for Financial Considerations and Personal Conduct.

    You could go out and find other employment or, you could address the issues and be done with them…???

    I hope this helps?

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    30 years ago, I was young and foolish – I allowed so called friend to talk me into stealing. I was convicted (felony theft), returned the merchandise, completed probation, and was pardoned as a 1st offender. I never committed another crime. I completed college and two graduate degrees. I have an excellent work history. This has never been a problem for me, until now. I am applying with a DOD contractor, I will need security clearance. In 30 years, I’ve had a 2-3 speeding tickets, which I paid. In the past, I’ve helped to support ailing parents and got into debt, but my bills are all current. Suddenly at 48, I feel like such a loser, this is the job of my dreams and I have the educational and work experience – but I don’t know if I should pursue this job. I have gotten different answers as to how to answer the form 86, how do I explain the pardon?

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    I have a question about the process of obtaining a TS clearance. I submitted my paper September 2007, and I received my Interim Secret the next day. I received my Interim TS and got interviewed in December 2007. I contacted my interviewer in April 2008, and he told me that his part of the investigation is already submitted for adjudication. He doesn’t have direct contact with the investigators who are working my case in other parts of the country. (continue next post….)

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    (continue from previous post…)

    I contacted my company’s security officer past Monday, and he told me that the investigation is still open and running. Does this means that the other investigators are not done with their investigation yet? Is there anyone else I can contact for a better picture of what is going on? Also, does the TS investigation only goes back to 10 years?
    Mat Troi

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    Are the OPM investigators allowed to go into courthouses and request seeing documents on an idividual for any reason? If so are they allowed to have copies of whatever they are looking for?

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    I have been doing some research on the FTC (Federal Trade Commission’s) website about the Fair Credit Reporting Act. I signed a form when I submitted my security paperwork with my current agency that they may secure credit information and consumer information about me, so they were bound by the obligations under the FCRAand I had certain appeals rights if they choose to use it in their investigation. Sure enough if a federal agency chooses to use information from a credit reporting agency (CRA)/comsumer reporting agency in their investigation they must comply with the FCRA. When a contracted investigator or CRA gathers information for the agency that falls outside of verifying the SF-85P or SF-86 facts it becomes a “investigative comsumer report.” This includes the investigations done by contracted federal investigators who ask questions about you to your employer, neighbors, criminal record searches, etc. If they find out information by accident and turn if over and it is used for adverse actions they are bound by FCRA and the agency that uses it. When the investigator leaves the fact-verifying mode and begins asking questions not listed on SF-85P or SF-86 it is a “investigative consumer report” and must follow the rules of FCRA. This includes turning over information more than 7 years old, and bankruptcy over 10 years old, and other negative information over 7 years old. The attorneys at my agency did not know that’s what a FCRA included until I had them look it up. Many people think it is credit reports and credit debts. It is SOOOO much more than that. And federal agency’s (and the CRA’s, and investigators who turn over the information) are bound by the FTC FCRA obligations to its employees and can be sued in federal and state court.

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    Most information at a courthouse is public information. An investigator can obtain most information that is not public by using the general release signed by an individual under investigation. If a company/organization does not accept the general release because they have their own release then the investigator will re-contact the individual under investigation to have them sign that release.
    As for getting a copy of any information from a courthouse, unless OPM or the agency hiring the individual under investigation specifically requests a copy of what ever document an investigator is looking for, the investigator does not need to obtain a copy of it. I just go into the courthouse and copy the required information down and then report it.
    Why do you ask?

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    I was looking at the Fair Credit Reporting Act after I read your post but I did not see where the SF 85P or the SF-86 are mentioned in it. Where did you see those two documents mentioned?

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    I was j/w, I got married probably 2000 miles away from my home so I was curious to see what they do or would they even bother looking at that kind of stuff. This whole investigation process is kind of interesting to me for some reason and I have no idea why. Is an investigator a job of high demand? And if I were to get a DOE Q clearance would that be good enough for OPM if I wanted to apply for that job or would I have to get a TS?

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    For the most part I rarely have ever obtained a marriage license. Now divorce records are different. We always obtain those if the divorce occurred with in the last 10 years if the case is an SSBI or since the date of last investigation (DOLI) if the case is a SSBI-PR.

    Depending where you live investigators can be in high demand. According to OPM is not hiring any Federal Background Investigators right now. Now if you are really serious you might want to check out USIS, Kroll and CACI since they are the main contractors who do background investigations for OPM. There is another company which does BI for OPM as well but I can not recall the name of it. I know these companies are always looking for people in the DC metro area since that area has the highest amount of background investigations.

    As for you clearance, if I am not mistaken a DOE “Q” clearance is basically the same as a TS. I think the DOE just wanted to feel special so they made up their own name for a TS clearance and called it a “Q” clearance.