Background InvestigationsObtaining Security Clearance

Ask Your Clearance Questions – Part 9

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.
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  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 wrote earlier regarding my husband – he is in the Air National Guard and has a current secret security clearance. He has received a tentative offer for civilian employment and the job requires a top secret. We have a lot of debt with a high debt to income ratio (due in part to my husband being laid off from his full time job 2 1/2 years ago), but no delinquencies or past due debt with a credit score in the mid 700s. When I asked you earlier if this would be an issue, you said debt to income is rarely an issue because the agency does not have information regarding income. However, as part of the background paperwork, my husband had to fill out a financial disclosure form on which he had to list all of our income, assets, and liablities. When he called to inquire about the status of his clearance today, he was informed that there were “issues” with his paperwork, that he can not start work on a modified clearance and that his paperwork has been assigned to a contract investigator. Since he has no criminal record, could the reason for the issues be the finances? Or could it be that his mother is a foreign born naturalized citizen and my husband was also born overseas to a US citizen? I am concerned and don’t know if he should start looking for other employment.

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    There has to be a reason for the financial form they did–it is not common. You may want to check your own credit report just in case. If the agency requested debt ratio to income, it can be explained during your husband’s interview. They may want to know how you make ends meet. Mid 700’s is an outstanding rating, so it sounds like he can explain. If you have foreign born relatives, this is most likely the cause. If releasable, which agency will he work for? An interim clearance with foreign ties is much more difficult. Sounds like the case is assigned, so have your husband get all of his “Ducks in a Row.” The fact he was born overseas may make one think there are possible foreign ties–but not a big deal during the investigation, many military “Brats” born overseas.

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    I have another question regarding the clearance process: I currently live in Canada, completing my master’s degree aprox. 25 minutes from the US border and the city I grew up in. I was assured by the recruits from my hiring agency that this was not a problem however I am wondering how this will affect my interviews for my references. Will they come over the border to conduct interviews? I am awaiting TS clearance.

  4. Avatar

    In “Ask your Clearance Questions Part 5,” William Henderson wrote the following on 3/25/08 at 7:47 PM:

    “You should be told prior to the instrument phase of the [polygraph] exam, the exact questions you will be asked. If there are any questions you don’t like, you can decline to take the exam. A declination can never be used against you.”

    Is the above statement the case with all agencies, including DOE and intelligence agencies, or is this just the case with DISCO and OPM? Also, is the above statement the case for all types of polygraphs (e.g. both counter-intelligence and lifestyle)?

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    BW Investigator:

    He is going to work for a component of DHS. I am already employed there and know that it is standard to have the financial disclosure form filled out when an SF86 is filled out. An yes, my husband is a military brat, but he was not born on base, he was born off base when his mother was visiting relatives (she had already become a citizen) – but he has all of the state department forms showing that he was born to US citizens overseas. I am a bit reassured by your answer.

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    Of course can’t be 100% but sounds like foreign contact may be the issue. Sounds like maybe your Mother In Law may have family overseas. As far as your husband’s birth is concerned–not a big deal. I interview numerous folks born to U.S. citizens overseas. As for that matter, I interview numerous foreign born and naturalized citizens as well–many of which are in the armed forces. If your husband has relatives overseas, especially one’s he may speak to–have him get all of their info on them…ie…full nmaes, DOB, POB, address and occupations. This will speed-up the case. Best of luck and thank your husband for his service.

  7. Avatar

    I have had a clearance (DoD Secret) for about 7 years. I have had several job in that period, 2 of which I was let go from. 1 I was fired from due to substandard performance (I was just no good at this job). The other one I was let go from because they thought I was just not a good fit and was still within the 90 trial period. It was also a tiny company and they wanted to move my salary to other projects. In either case their was no issue with gross misconduct (stealing, looking at adult sites at work, etc). Would this have any serious effect on my reinvestigation?

    Also do I need to apply for reinvestigation 10 years after the start of my first investigation or 10 years after issuance of final clearance and does the reinvestigation go back 7 years like the original or does it go back 10 years.

  8. Avatar

    From your post it sounds like are not currently employed with a government agency or government contractor. Only the military, a government agency or government contractor can request a security clearance investigation. No one can request one for themselves. Once an individual does apply for employment which requires a clearance that agency or contractor will make the determination if a totally new investigation is needed or just a periodic reinvestigation is needed.

    If I read your post wrong I apologize but please clarify if you are currently employed with an agency or contractor in which you require a clearance.

  9. Avatar

    I concur with BW, having foreign realtives whether living in the U.S. legally or living overseas will hold up any clearance.

  10. Avatar


    As Investigator said, someone has to submit you for clearance. Also, if you were let go because you just did not have the qualifications or just didn’t catch-on, more than likely the outcome is a little different from being terminated for disciplinary concerns. Not everyone can succeed at every job.

  11. Avatar


    I am not employed this very second but I believe I will be very soon with a contractor who will hold my clearance (which is still good as it has been used in the last 2 years).

    None the less I foresee needing a reinvestigation within the next few years while working for a contractor who needs me to be cleared. In this case would my previous termination due to performance or skillset (not misconduct) effect my clearance?

    Also do I need to apply for reinvestigation 10 years after the start of my first investigation or 10 years after issuance of final clearance and does the reinvestigation go back 7 years like the original or does it go back 10 years?

  12. Avatar

    I am in somewhat of an odd situation. I am up for a job which requires interim secret clearance to be hired. When I originally filled in the form, I disclosed the two illegal substances I used accurately and honestly. I received a phone call from the person who handles this at the place where I am considering employment and was told I needed to change my answers, removing one of the two substances and explaining my use of the other in order to expedite my clearance. I did not certify my submission of the form online, it was done for me by the aforementioned person. I was notified that the form had been submitted, and received the forms to be signed, which I did. After those forms were sent in, I received the pdf of my answers and the second substance was not listed. Because I know the importance of honesty in these proceedings, I want to amend my sf 86 to disclose this information. Is it possible to do this and still be viewed positively?

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    Wow, wonder what the security person was thinking!!!!Nobody but you should be removing anything from your questionnaire. If you want to ammend–do so. Your honesty and cander up-front will say alot of your integrity. Sounds as if doing the right thing is important to you–GOOD ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Avatar

    Not sure if this was seen in Question 8 Forum..
    Hi, I applied for L clearance 04/09/08, was told interim takes 6-8 weeks. I have a chapter 7 bankruptcy from 2005 on my record, sent discharge papers and all relevant paperwork. On 4/17/08, told E-quip was rejected due to one accidental response. Corrected response and resubmitted 04/22/08. Called HR contact at week 6 to check status on clearance and was told they can’t even look into it until 30 biz days from date security package was received. It has just passed the 8 week mark and received phone call from HR wondering if I quit my current job and why I am asking for my start date. ( I have done neither) Is it possible they have me confused with someone else? If my interim was to be denied from the bankruptcy would I of heard something right away? I have had good credit since and no outstanding debts, put myself through college, etc.. How much longer would the interim clearance take?

    Update-Received relocation paperwork 06/08/08, wondering if that is a good sign or do they send those papers out to everyone who is waiting for interim secret clearance regardless…

    Any info would be greatly appreciated as this wait is extremely stressful, thanks

  15. Avatar


    Call the security officer for the company. If HR is one in the same ask again. Interim clearance is much more difficult with a Bankruptcy. No way of knowing who they send relocation paperwork to. Also, keep in mind if you do not get an interim this does not mean you cannot be cleared. The bakruptcy will have to be fully discussed. There are many reasons people have to file, so get all of the info together and do your best to explain to the investigator assuming it is for a TS, MBI or BI. Time and steps taken to correct sirtuation is key as well. I know the wait and process can be stressful–best of luck.

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    It is good that you want to amend your SF-86 regarding your illegal substance abuse. Personally I would be concerned about working for a company whose security official wants to falsify official government documents to make the process go faster. What government agency does the company have a contract with?

  17. Avatar

    If I recall correctly most periodic re-investigations (PR) for TS clearances are 5 years from the date of last investigation (DOLI). For secret clearances it is 10 years from the DOLI.
    The only information which most likely be investigated for a PR will be anything that happened from the DOLI until the date your new background investigation was scheduled.
    Being terminated for performance/skill set will have to be listed on your SF-86 and will be thoroughly investigated by the investigator and then reviewed by an adjudicator. As for it preventing you from getting a clearance it is hard to say. Are the functions of the job you are applying for now the same functions you did when you were terminated from your past jobs for poor performance? I do not see it as a security issue more than a performance issue. Why would a company hire someone for a job that they could not do in the past?
    Also to reiterate you will not be the one re-applying for a new investigation. The security
    official or who ever handles clearances at your new job will let you know if and when you have to fill out a new SF-86.

  18. Avatar

    I am applying for a four-month fellowship with a federal agency that requires I be granted an interim TS clearance. Does that mean that no SSBI will be performed, or is that only if my SF-86 was completely clean? I have to list that I have seen a psychiatrist several times before – will that result in a denial of an interim clearance and trigger a full SSBI before I can begin work?

  19. Avatar

    i have been offered a position as a travel agent with sato travel for the DOJ. i’ve been told that a security clearance is required to even enter the building. being that my job will just entail booking and making travel arrangements, i doubt that i’ll be privy to much classified information of the DOJ and it’s employees – but i’m still required to do a government security clearance.

    my question is concerning my credit. i have never had a bankruptcy or lien against my home or anything else like that, but i am maxed out on all my credit cards and my credit rating is very low – probably under 500, maybe lower. i had a different full time job before the most recent offer, but have been “underemployed” for a long time now.

    will my high credit card (cc) debt-to-income ratio, cc maxed-out status, and poor credit score keep me from getting a security clearance?

    also, if i don’t pass my security clearance, is it likely the travel company will let me work / transfer to another non-military division or is it more likely tht i’d be fired?

  20. Avatar

    Kristoff – enroll in a free credit counceling program in your area. Keep all paperwork you receive. Work with them to get the credit cards paid off. Personally, I strongly suggest cutting up all but one for extreme emergencies, but the credit counselors will instruct you as well. If you can show serious efforts to get the debt under control, show a history of on-time credit card payments, and work with a counselor, you should be okay regarding the clearance. Financial considerations are at the top of the list of things that can harm your chances of getting/maintaining a clearance. Get it under control and start today. Good luck.

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    Trevor – you will probably need to get into some details as to what the visits to the psychiatrist were for. Depending on the reason, you may need a deeper investigation. If the reason was drugs or alcohol, it may be treated differently than say a sleeping disorder or depression. I’m unable to address fully the SSBI issue, so hopefully someone else will jump in here. Thanks

  22. Avatar

    I am 19 years old and i was recently arrested for misdemeanor assault and battery. My girlfriend was extremely mad at me and she began to hit me in the face. After the second time she hit me, i grabbed her by the shoulders forcefully to get her to stop. Unfortunately this was all the police officer saw, and therefore i was arrested. I was given pre-trial probation, which is very fortunate because the judge was understanding. After 9 months, this offense will be on my record as dismissed. I am a very honest person and it tears me up inside because i feel as though i don’t deserve a criminal record. I am currently interning at a consultant firm that does work with the FBI and they are putting me in for a TS clearance. I basically want to know what my chances are of getting one; i was raised in a military family and have great values, but i don’t even think that will be taken into account because of my record. Thank you for your time.

  23. Avatar


    For the final TS, an SSBI will be done (Single Scope Background Inv). The Interim is given in lieu of the final clearance. Without knowing what the circumstances around counseling are, an educated opinion is pretty tough. Put as much detail about the counseling as you can on the SF 86 and ask the FSO if you can send an attachment with full deatails.

  24. Avatar

    I recently requested my security clearance information in which I knew I had a TS granted back in November for a project currently being worked on. I was shocked to find out that the TS was granted in Oct. of ’07 but was cancelled Jan. of ’08, and an RSI was done as recent as May (last month); but I’m still on the special project. Why was I not contacted, but I’m still working on the same project in the same space? The one thing that changed during October and January was my name – I got married, but when that information was submitted, everything was approved. Can you tell me what it means to have a TS cancelled and then why an RSI would be done? Thanks.

  25. Avatar


    Sounds like you will probably get an MBI or Minimum Background Investigation. Keep in mind you will be in a public trust position. The fact that you will probably not see any classified material does not lessen the sensitivity of the info you will possess. Mass movements of people within an organization is still sensitive information. The fact you have a poor credit rating in itself should not hamper your clearance. The fact you pay your bills is important. Somewhere along the line if your credit is brought into the investigation, they will want to know how you manage to keep up on the payments if you were under-employed. Sounds like you did your best to stay on top of things. From what you have explained, I think you should be fine. Good luck!!!!!!

  26. Avatar


    I will not sugar-coat the facts. The offense is serious. Why battery? Why will it be dismissed after 9 Months? Is it for good behavior in that time or were you ordered into some form of classes, which you must pass to dismiss charges. Make sure you report the details as best as you can. The fact the charge is current does not help. Now, keep in mind that all incidents are not what they seem. The information will be fully explored and you will have your chance to explain to the investigator. This, coupled with a report and court record, which corroborates your statement will help to mitigate the incident. Your character and morals will indeed play a big part of the investigation. There is always a chance, so don’t give-up.

  27. Avatar

    Mr. Henderson,

    I recently received my TS clearance and will be working for a defense contractor. I was notified that the FBI will be adjuducating my SCI access and administering my polygraph. My question is, do the FBI’s strict drug history regulations apply to contractors or just FBI employees? I haven’t touched drugs in over 7 years, but I did engage in some drug use during college. So are contractors held to the same standads as Fed. employees?

    Thanks so much for your help. This blog is a great source of information.

  28. Avatar

    Regarding a Public Trust position background investigation (and I am assuming it is either the Moderate or High Risk type given the form filled out was an 85P), I have a question.

    From my research, it appears past employers will be contacted. While I was honest and straightforward with the entire process in naming all my employers, I have one recent “employer” who I know will not give me a “good review.” Due to school obligations, I had to stop working there some two weeks after starting. Needless to say, I left the employer in a bind to find a new employee on short notice, although I think my performance was otherwise satisfactory.

    So my question is, what weight does this employer carry in a history of otherwise positive employer reviews? If this employer paints me as unreliable/etc, will this really heavily impact my chances?

  29. Avatar

    Hi all,
    Quick question; I was received my final secret eligibility earlier this year, however, when i submitted my SF-86, my FSO did not properly explain all of the criteria to me, simply stating that all questions covered “the past 7 years”; in regards to q.23, i did not disclose two dismissed issues from 9 years ago that i experienced as a minor – 1. a dismissed underage drinking charge from when i was 17, and 2. a dismissed petty theft charge from when i was 17; for reference i am now 26. The clearance was granted, and i experienced no issues. I have had no legal issues to date.

    Recently, i had an opportunity to go for TS, and this time around, received a much more comprehensive explanation of the SF-86 process – the problem is that now that i understood the process, I willingfully disclosed these two dismissed issues on q.23- shortly there after my FSO pulled me aside and was concerned that my initial clearance may be revoked, despite the fact that 0I did not purposefully omit these issues previously; i simply did not understand the process…

    Now I am in limbo, and have been persuaded not to pursue TS because of this… any suggestions on how i should handle this? It is not my fault that my FSO failed to explain this to me, and i really have nothing to hide; i would have happily disclosed and explained this; as they were stupid occurences from my youth, and were both concurrently dismissed… Any suggestions on what I should do? I really want to go for my TS; as i have some great opportunities if i do so, and aside from these two things have been an upstanding individual. HELP!!

  30. Avatar

    I submitted my application for a DOE Q clearance December 2006. The investigation was completed and submitted to DOE July 2007. I had a follow-up interview re: drug use April 2008. I got the DOE Drug Certification letter to sign 3 weeks ago. During my follow-up interview the investigator hinted that, if I got the drug cert letter, I pretty much had my clearance. I signed and returned the letter immediately. Any idea when I might expect an email asking me to go for my drug test? I have been working without any sort of clearance since October 2006 and, honestly, am really close to leaving for the private sector.

  31. Avatar

    I have a question about upgrading my clearance from SECRET to TS/SCI/Lifestyle Poly. I currently work for a contractor but have an offer from the DoD. My initial SECRET clearance forms indicate I have never used illegal drugs. This is not accurate. I have used marijuana once in college and two times before then (although I don’t remember how old I was). However, our security officer told me not to indicate that on my SF86. This time, with the TS, I did indicate I did use them. Now the information won’t match. I understand it isn’t the officer’s fault since I received some bad guidance on that part and I DID SIGN a statment saying I was truthful. I didn’t want to hide it again even though it is slim they would find this out. I wanted it to be in the open for them to know I made a mistake. I have held the clearance for two years. Will this make them deny my TS because the information does not match? Thanks!

  32. Avatar

    I received an offer of employment contingent upon receiving an interim secret clearance. I have a recently discharged Chapter 7 bankruptcy due to loss of employment. I was 100% truthful and forthcoming on my application and was denied the interim and as a result lost the job. Although there was no reason noted, I can assume it was the bankruptcy. Will my application still be adjudicated and investigate and as a result could I still be considered for a clearance even though there is now no employment? There are a number of open positions and I’d like to have the process completed and a final decision made so that I may become eligible for another open position.


  33. Avatar


    I visited several prostitutes in 2006, but from September 2006-April 2008 I did nothing of the sort. Unfortunately and stupidly, In May 2008 I had another encounter.

    The rest of my record is clean. No illegal drugs, arrests, or anything remotely bad. There are no good reasons for why I did what I did, but they occurred before I had any idea that I would be landing a job where this kind of investigation was required. This is not an excuse at all, but I always thought this behavior and the associated guilt and shame would remain in my mind only. I have no doubt–zero–that it will never be repeated–but that is only my word.

    I am now set to receive an SSBI investigation. In fact, I am just now beginning it. So, am I positively screwed here? I have been absolutely freaking out about this. There are really no other things in my life that I am ashamed of.

  34. Avatar

    IN A CATCH 22

    Absolutely you should pusue your clearance. The theft appears to have been a misdemeanor. The alcohol charge should be reported. I know you have concerns, but everyone is afforded the chance to right a wrong. I would list the offenses and be very prepared to fully discuss with an Investigator. Tell the Investigator the incidents should have been listed in previous investigation, but explain the misunderstanding. Mistakes happen–just correct the record and see where the chips may fall. I think your complete honesty should help you along. Furthermore, getting the info out will undoubtedly make you feel better. Get that TS and progress your career!!!!! You would not be the first person who has had this problem and surely you will not be the last. Good luck.

  35. Avatar


    Short answer–Don’t sweat it!!!!!

  36. Avatar


    Tell the truth and clear the record. I think you will find out things are never that bad. Just make sure you explain, in detail, everything to the Investigator.

  37. Avatar

    TO ALL:

    Just a word to the wise. The SF Questionnaires belongs to you and only you. If you feel as if you need to list something and anyone tells you not to–do the research before-hand instead of ommitting anything. Better to beg forgiveness, than to be caught in a lie.

    Never let anyone change info or alter the form in any way without seeing it.

  38. Avatar


    Sorry to hear that. I’m almost sure the employer had your case discontinued and you will need another sponsor for the clearance to continue. As I told folks in the past–don’t give up just because you did not get an interim. These are tough to get with a Bankruptcy, however this does not mean you cannot be cleared after a full investigation. Keep trying and good luck.

  39. Avatar

    Thanks BW AN INVESTIGATOR. Does your reassurance still hold true although I didn’t list this employer on the section which requires you to disclose if you left an employer under “unfavorable conditions”? I hadn’t really ever considered my leaving there to be under “unfavorable conditions” (as I equate that with doing something wrong, or terminable conduct—like I said before, I think I did a fairly satisfactory job, but just had to quit on short notice), but as I grow more and more paranoid about the background check, I could see an investigator looking at my lack of disclosure and thinking I was being evasive or something—especially if this past employer has a field day with the written questionnaire he receives.

    Would you suggest I pro-actively address this in the interview with the investigator? Or is this better left alone?

    Thanks again. I’m sure I can speak for everyone on this board in thanking you for your advice during this agonizing process.

  40. Avatar

    An add on question:

    If I continue with the CJO I was given and for some reason am denied a TS/SCI/Lifestyle, does that also mean my SECRET clearance is gone? And on top of that, if I quit part way into the investigation and they have my update SF86, will they then revoke my SECRET because the information does not match?


  41. Avatar

    Does anyone know what questions are asked on the Lifestyle Polygraph or what they pertain to. Also, what is the psyc evaluation like?

  42. Avatar

    TakingPoly – See page 11 of the Security Clearance FAQ at for info on the Lifestyle Poly questions.

    “A Lifestyle Polygraph asks the candidate questions the concern the subject’s personal life and conduct and can involve all aspects of present and past behavior. Questions asked might concern drug and alcohol use, sexual misconduct, mental health, family relationships, compulsive or addictive behavior, and more. A Lifestyle Polygraph attempts to look for issues in a person’s private life for which he or she might be susceptible to blackmail or coercion.”

    Good luck, and be truthful!

  43. Avatar


    The fact you left on your own terms does not mean it was unfavorable. Just bbecause the person is mad because of it, does not make it wrong. If what you explained is everything, do not worry. You can surely tell the Investigator, your former boss may be mad at you for leaving on short notice. Explain the reasons you left. Doesn’t sound unfavorable to me. Tough for your old boss to hurt you in any way as your relationship was 2 weeks. If what you explained is everything, you have done nothing wrong and did not have to answer “Yes” to the question, so you are G-T-G. Now, relax and breathe you will be OK 🙂

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    I am interested in possibly changing jobs and/or looking for a job change into the defense industry that may require a security clearance. I have a felony conviction from 25 years ago wherein a death resulted from a car accident. It happened prior to entering college and since then, I have obtained multiple degrees and been successfully employed as an engineer.
    Would this prevent me from obtaining a clearance? I have had no convictions since then.

  45. Avatar

    Is it possible to work for any of the intelligence agencies with a TS Interim or do they require full TS/SCI? Also, can an interim be granted before the polygraph?

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    How much is a TS/SCI with full scope poly worth in the DC area?

  47. Avatar

    If a COE is based on receiving clearance, is it based on receiving interim or full clerance?

    What happens if you accept a COE and find another job during the clearance process?

  48. Avatar

    I have a quick question for you. I think my investigator is either done or finishing up on my investigation but I want to know because I guess I am an impatient person and plus its been like 2-3 weeks since he has contacted anybody regarding my investigation. But do many people call you guys and ask if your done or what the status is? Or do most the inv. get mad ‘cus I know your all busy people. Im gonna call him anyway but I was just curious. Thamks

  49. Avatar


    Did you live in more than one state during the coverage period? If so, undoubtedy your investigator has scheduled that portion out to the required area. I personally never get mad at anyone for asking questions, afterall I know how important the clearance is to folks. I will tell you, the investigator will not know if it is all finished. We report and it goes to a review analyst for review. They critque the report in accordance with guidelines and if all is covered and it is grammatically correct, it is then sent to to OPM for another review than closed and sent for adjudication. I see nothing wrong with asking–besides–you said you were going to ask irregardless 🙂 Keep in mind, just because you list someone as a reference does not mean we will talk to that person. We also look for outside/unreported sources. Good luck.

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    Working interim,

    It depends on the agency.

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    Anything is possible. I have worked many investigations in which people had felony convictions. Twenty-five years ago is a long time and I am assuming it was an unfortunate accident that caused a death. As an old Criminal Investigator, my assumption is Vehicular Homicide or Involuntary Manslaughter. Now, if you intentionally caused a death, there may be a different outcome. You will have a chance to explain the incident in-full with an investigator. If pursuing a contractor job is what you really want–I say, do it.

    Any adjudicators out there?

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    Tough call. Your visitations may seem like an addictive behavior. The recency of the last will definitely cause some “Red” Flags. I will say, adjudications is not my expertise so I suggest sending this out an address it to “Any Adjudicators” to catch their attention.

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    TS/SCI Worth – In short, it depends on what you do. A TS/SCI poly admin assistant is going to make less than a systems engineer. Check out There’s a new salary survey from March of this year which shows exactly what a poly is worth. DC area candidates with poly are in high demand, and can expect higher salaries.

  54. Avatar

    I received a job offer with the FBI after an interview in May 2007, which requires a TS clearance and a polygraph as well. My application was on expedite and the process went quite quickly and I was suppose to receive my TS clearance after about 6 months. I went through the process and my friends, family, and neighbors were all interviewed, but my family back home (in Thailand) never heard anything from the investigators. I received a call and a leter from the agency stating my start date, and after a few weeks they took back the clearance, and they never specified anything. Its now been a little over a year and I’m extremely worried because I haven’t heard back from them… is this common? I spoke to my family back home and they still haven’t had anyone interview them. Is it true that just because I don’t hear anything I shouldn’t expect the worst? If my security clearance is declined and I don’t get the job, would I have already heard something by now?

  55. Avatar

    Thanks for the survey.

    Is it possible to split all of the results by Government Employee and Government Contractor or have a separate survey for each?

    It would be helpful to know TS/SCI gov’t contractor average vs. TS/SCI gov’t employee average.

  56. Avatar

    Hello I need to ask a very concerning question. I have 17.5 yrs time in service. I am in the process of redoing my SF 86 and purchased an online backround check. I found out that there is an open warrant in Texas on me from 2002 and all I know is the case states theft more than $500 less then $1500 I have not been stationed in Texas since 2003. I am hoping the case gets either dismissed or settled out of court. There are no other negative items on the sf 86
    . I can not for the life of imagine what this is about. I have hired a lawer to look into it. How is this going to effect my reinvestigation I currently hold a secret clearence and it is required for my next mission to the sand box. I know usually once the SF86 is submitted your current cleaence is extended will they still go forward with the investigation and if it does get dismissed would I even need to list it as the SF86 only asks if you have had any felonies or if there are pending charges
    Thank You

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    I am currently in the process of applying for clearance for a contractor. I have some concerns about my credit history and my intermittent illegal drug use. I most recently smoked marijuana in November 2007 and prior to that it had been over 5 years. My use has always been occasional and in a social setting. Will this automatically disqualify me for clearance?

    My credit history is also somewhat shaky. In trying to help my brother with school put myself in serious financial strain. I have been under/unemployed since 2004 and while, until recent unemployment, I have only incurred one new debt, I have been able to maintain a near satisfactory payment history with my other bills.

    Also, I start work this new job next week. How long will it take before a decision is reached on my clearance application?

    What’s the worst that could happen if it’s denied?

  58. Avatar


    As a veteran of 20 years and an ex-military investigator, I would try to go to Texas and clear the matter or at a minimum, call the county attorney in Texas for guidance. You will find with a misdemeanor warrant they will be helpful. This should be reported and word to the wise, with 17.5 years in I would clear this matter sooner than later. You are not just talking about a clearance, but an entire career you have worked so hard to develop. You can bet this will be discovered during the investigation as Texas will be checked. Thanks for your service and be safe in the “Box.” The fact you attempted to clear the matter will go a long way.

  59. Avatar


    To finish from above response (got kicked-out). Maybe you wrote a check that didn’t clear or something or maybe it is a mistake. Honestly, I would not waste alot of money with an attorney unless further action is necessary. They take too long and cost too much (Sorry if any lawyers are here). Get to the matter with a direct phone call to the agency listed as holding the warrant. You will find things are probably not as serious as you think. Good luck

  60. Avatar

    I agree with BW, I would call the county directly and handle it as fast as possible… (Sending cash most likely???) but, get it done ASAP!!! The more you do now to clear it up, will go along way later…

    I would also report the incident/ warrant to your Security Officer.

    I hope this helps?

  61. Avatar

    I agree with BW, Just do it…. all they can say is yes or no!

    The regulations have relaxed greatly within the last year or two… Make sure to list it somewhere on your questionaire…

    It will take longer to investigate and adjudicate your case though…

    Good Luck

    I hope this helps?

  62. Avatar

    This is a tough call… How many times were you ever arrested? Was all the requirements ordered by the court completed? Any Treatment(s)? What have you done to show that it will not ever happen again?

    I hope this helps?

  63. Avatar

    I did list it on my SF86 and also have tried to talk with the county they told me to hire a lawer as they will not talk to me directly. I have told my S-2 she told me I will be fine because I reported it and also listed it on the SF86 so they will go ahead and open the investigation and extend my current clearence. I am trying to resolve and had I know about it sooner it would have been resolved years ago. I asked how it could go so long and the court told me easy as Texas does no pursew midemeanors they may have gone to my home once and that’s it. I am actively working to resolve and the lawer told me he will get it cleared up Guess I just wait on him now. Thanks for the help guys

  64. Avatar


    Advising the S-2 was the right thing to do. You are correct, there is not alot of effort put into midemeanors. If I recall you are getting a secret. More than likely the DoD will order a Special Interview with you based on your reporting. This will afford you time with an investigator to fully resolve this issue. Sounds like you have a good handle on things, so my thoughts are you will be just fine. Also, if you have any friends in Texas have them go to the courthouse and use the public access computer to look up your name. It’s public record and your friend may be able to shed some light as well.

  65. Avatar


    The agency you work for decides on whether an interim is the requirement or a full clearance to start work. If the process begins and you transfer to another cleared agency, the case can continue and be transferred to the new agency. Now, if you start the process and move to an uncleared agency, the process will be stopped more than likely.

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    How old are you now? Experimental use (Recent) may slow things down more. I would just pursue the clearance. A full explanation can be given. I think your honesty will help you through. I would not recommend quitting the process after you start, in fear. It is however, your absolute right to stop any clearance process as you cannot be compelled to continue. A TS and a Secret have different guidelines I’m sure. In my opinion if you received bad advice from an FSO, this does not mean your dishonest. The fact you disclosed the info means alot. I somehow think you will be OK. Also, read my post above addressed to all.

  67. Avatar

    I am currently an Officer in the Navy and have somehow got myself in 3 mortgages in California. I have to basically foreclose on one of them which would be around 600,000 due to a number or circumstances. Can the Navy seperate me? I currently has a T/S.

  68. Avatar

    BW / edge141 – Thank you for you prompt reply. You are correct in your assumption of vehicular homicide. It was a very dark time for me and one for which I still have deep remorse. If there was any possible way for me to exchange my life for the one that was lost, I would not hesitate for a second. That being said, in regards to applying for jobs requiring clearances or to subcontractors of government/military installations in general, is there any advice how to present myself given my background (ie just getting past the stigma of a felony conviction)? I have looked into expungement however, my state does not allow it based on the nature of my offense. Any additional input or references would be greatly appreciated.

  69. Avatar


    Tough break. I recommend just being yourself. Sounds as if you have had a good career and have been an upstanding citizen. I can only assume you were young and things spiraled out of control. It is a tragic time whenever there is loss of life, but sounds as if it was an unfortunate accident. Simply tell your side of the story and see how it goes. Sometimes a felony conviction is not what it seems once the story is told–many times it is a matter of someone being held accountable for the sake of the families and community. Don’t know the whole story, but I know the scenario. I wish you luck.

  70. Avatar

    When it comes to in-laws during an investigation what is the norm? Do they usually get interviewed or not?

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    As I mentioned in an earlier post a majority of the time family members including in -laws are not interviewed. They need to be listed on the case papers to make sure they are U.S. citizens. If any family member is not a U.S citizen then follow up questions are asked to the SUBJECT of investigation regarding foreign nationals.

  72. Avatar

    Just curious as to what your case load is like? Are you like me and still feel like they want 50 or 60 hours or work done in a 40 hour week.

  73. Avatar


    Absolutely!!!!!!!!! It’s crunch time as usual. At least I’m in a good region with a good FM so that helps somewhat. As I have said, most folks have no idea how much contractor’s produce in a year. Like I said before there was less stress in the military.

    I’m assuming you have about 2 dozen or so cases with about 1 week ACD’s with CD’s about 2 weeks.

  74. Avatar

    I have a situation that I want everyone’s opinion on how to act upon. I joined the Army in 2005, and am currently deployed. I have held a TS/SCI clearance since than. I have not had any misconduct or have had any issues until now. I am planning on getting out on time in 2009 when I return from deployment. I was going through my permanent records and checked through the SF-86 that I filled out at MEPS. I know all the stories. Recruiters tell you not to say anything and say no to all the answers, and your pressured into signing everything, and at that point you just want the job so bad that you’ll bypass minor things. What would happen if you want to correct something on your SF86? The SF86 is only valid for five years after the signed date anyways and I do not plan on pursuing anything clearance wise after this, I want to go to school and that’s it. It doesn’t sit right with me that these questions are answered wrong on my SF86. I have done research and it just doesn’t seem wise to do anything now, but I don’t want to complete my Army contract without having worked legitimately. You could call it a change of heart. I have never done anything illegal while possessing my clearance it was all stuff in the past that I did not report. The two questions that were answered wrongly were If you ever left a job after being told you’d be fired. I answered no. I had to leave a job and pay a fine, but the company I was with said that they would give good recommendations if I left, and wasn’t fired. It was when I was 17 and I am now 21. Also it asks about drug usage. Back in High School I experimented with Marijuana, and consumed Alcohol underage. Those are things that almost everyone does. It was so minor that I didn’t report it. I knew that it was wrong doing it in the first place and I’ve never pursued it after being in the military. If I could I wish I could go back and correct those tow things, but Its not worth losing my job and getting kicked out when I am so close to getting out anyways. What do you think I should do? The things that puzzle me is that I have talked to the people that were interviewed for my original investigation and they said that they told the investigators that I had experimented. And isn’t it the investigators job in the first place to find out what you didn’t admit to on your SF86? Wouldn’t they have found those minor things? Should I talk to my SSO? I would like to wait until I am back home, I couldn’t imagine being stuck here or in Kuwait. Please help!

  75. Avatar

    If you already have a TS and do a “short sell” to keep from foreclsing, will this effect the 5 year re-do’s?
    How about if it shows up as a foreclosure?
    I have read both, that it does not show as a foreclosure and it does…

  76. Avatar

    Right now there is still a huge push for past due NACLC cases for individuals who just joined the U.S. Army. CD’s back in Jan or Feb, some even as far back as Nov or Dec of 07. The area I am in has a military base that is the AIT for Quartermasters in the Army. The investigators that cover basic training for these individuals are not able to get to them before they graduate so the cases are passed on to me and the other investigators covering the base. I love it when I see a SSBI or PPR on my units assigned. It is a nice change.

  77. Avatar

    How do you change your SF86 once you’ve already had a clearence for almost three years?

  78. Avatar

    I have a “foreign influence” question. I am applying for a public trust position, and have a spouse who is a Chinese citizen. My spouse is either a US permanent resident or a conditional permanent resident who is about to become a permanent resident. My spouse’s parents still live in China (they are not Chinese gov’t employees).

    I have seen horror stories via Google-searches where people have been denied the public trust status simply b/c a spouse is Chinese (in many of these cases, it appeared that was the only issue—it wasn’t as if the spouse or spouse’s parents worked for the chinese government or anything).

    Does the investigator consider the nature of the agency I will be working for or the position (which is a policy-making position, but not dealing with anything remotely “sensitive”. We are talking about industrial regulations). I also have served in the military, part of which time I was married to my spouse—at which time I had a security clearance. I have visited China once to meet the in-laws, last year for 2 weeks.

    Thanks in advance

  79. Avatar

    I started a new position with a NASA contractor 9 months ago. In 2006, I failed a random drug test for marijuana at a previous job and resigned from my job prior to any disciplinary action being taken. I have no criminal record, foreign ties, financial issues, outstanding military record, ect. This is the only issue in my history. I completed an SF-85 and they are conducting an NACI to satisfy HSPD-12 requirements for a badge for access. I have had a temporary badge for 9 months and haven’t been contacted by security at all. I do not require a clearance per se, only satisfactory completion of the NACI for a PIV badge. Since it has been so long, I assume there is something wrong since others have received their badge within 2 months. What are my chances of being denied, and is there anything I can do?

  80. Avatar

    I got one or two more questions for you then I will leave you alone. I was in the military for five years and moved around a lil bit but just in the same county. I got out and moved back to my hometown a year ago and my new neighbors have beem interviewed and im sure my neighbors where i lived while in the military were also interviewed because an investigator called me from down there. But none of my old neighbors have been interviewed in my parents neighborhood where I lived for 18 years and last live about 6 years ago now. Also, I got married while I was in the mil. to a girl I knew pretty well from my hometown, the only reason we got married was so I could move off base into an apartment with my buddy who did the same thing. I know its sounds kinda bad but alot of people in the military did it just to make some extra cash and move off base because living in the barracks can be very depressing. But anyway we got the marriage annulled ot however you spell it. From my understanding an annullment is like the marraige never took place and Im pretty sure she was never talked to. Have you ever dealt with a situation like that? BTW I told my investigator everything about the marriage. You can probably tell Im very anxious to get this clearance so I can start the job. Thanks alot.

  81. Avatar

    Regarding your residential background; we do not investigate every residence that is listed on the case papers. I can tell you that no one will be interviewed where you lived six years ago. We don’t go that far back, primarily because it was six years ago and it is hard to find neighbors who may have known the individual under investigation. Your situation sounds different because it sounds like most of the neighbors who lived near you then still live there.
    As for your marriage situation, I have never dealt with an annulment (sp), just divorces. If you listed your former spouse in the appropriate section of your case papers and your marriage ended within the last 10 years then she will most likely be interviewed.
    I know you are anxious but remember once your investigator is done with his/her portion of your case he/she has no knowledge as to the status of it.

  82. Avatar

    Is there a way to edit your SF86 once it is already in your records?

  83. Avatar


    I’ll trade you–I have nothing but PR’s and SSBI’s. I’ve seen 2 PPR’s in 4 years–both expanded. Should have stayed a SPIN Inv.

  84. Avatar

    Are there investigators that only do SPIN? I figured the same guy would do the regular interview and SPIN.

  85. Avatar

    The company I work for has just SPIN Investigators. They are usually contractors for our company. Yet, I along with one or two other full time investigators get assigned many SPINS though because of the military base that is in the area we work in. I have done so many SPINS in the past few months I could ask all of the follow up questions for financial, criminal, alcohol or drug related issues in my sleep.

  86. Avatar

    PPRs that get converted into PRs stink. So much more work especially when you think the case is going to be a breeze and then that issue that changes the case type arises during the PRSI because the SUBJECT forgot to list it on his/her case papers.

  87. Avatar


    I am a Naturalized US citizen, currently working in the IT industry as a consultant. And am really interested to get onto Govt. Proactices division of our firm. Just before I start, initiate the process which may require me to go through the clearance process, what influence will the following factors have on the decision of my clearance application:
    -3 years back I had smoked pot once.
    -There is one deliquency on my credit report because of a mobile phone contact termination, I am in process to resolve it. It has been there for about months now.
    -When I got my current job, I had inflated my CV as far as number of years I have worked.
    -Currently I am overseas in europe working for the same company, got internationally relocated.

  88. Avatar


    I have a very, very complex case (SSBI for TS) that I have spoken at length with Mr. Henderson about.

    I got married to an Australian Citizen right after my case hit adjudication. My CAF wrote to my security manager asking for my wive’s personal data, such as Name, DOB , date of marriage, citizenship, etc.

    They then sent my case back for a special agency check.

    She’s only been to the US twice as a tourist for about 2 weeks a piece and we havent begun filing for her immigration paperwork yet (im stationed overseas).

    How long does a special agency check take, and what does it entail?

    Second question is, could it be considered a good sign if they sent my case back for her SAC, even though it’s complex enough that is a chance it could be denied, but at the very least will have to be reviewed by a senior adjudicator before being granted?

    Part of me thinks that if they were going to deny it, and issue a LOR/SOI, they would have done so without the SAC, the other part says that would go through the whole process anyways.

    I’ve acquired my entire casefile from OPM via a FOIA request, with zero deletions, and it was reviewed by someone who was of the opinion that although complex, in the end, it would be granted.

  89. Avatar

    Follow up- I’ve read Mr. Hendersons security clearance manual but I cant seem to find the SAC section in the book, which is why I ask.

  90. Avatar


    Is it possible for me to get in touch with you offline? I have a question for you relating to your engineering career and how your felony conviction affected that. My son is an engineering major at ODU. Right before he got out of high school he got caught up in a drug conviction…Didn’t do any jailtime, nor did he have a PO. The charge was for possession of a controlled substance. Since you have had a successful career as an engineer, I would like to find out how you accomplished that with the felony conviction! Many thanks in advance!

  91. Avatar

    BW: The last use was when I was 19 (almost 8 years ago) and before that, there were two times but I don’t remember how old I was (15-17 years old). I already sent the stuff in and started the process. A few things look different on my new SF86 so I’m hoping they give me an interview and a chance to explain them. I read the SF86 and it said you have a chance to explain and go over everything on the form. If thats the case, I will be good to go since I don’t have anything that would hold me back. On paper though, a bit different.

    Thanks again!

  92. Avatar

    I know credit has been covered in several spots on this forum, but I wanted to ask for an opinion on my specific situation. I have a high-debt to income ratio and my credit score is between 550-600. All of my credit is current, with the exception of one unpaid collection that dates back to 1998 (which is currently being disputed and will be then paid). Here’s the problem: Though my CREDIT is current, I still have some additional debts that are not – these items do not reflected on my credit. Three years ago I moved out of state and was overwhelmed with financial obligations (mostly caused by hurricane-related events) and ended up taking out several cash advances, some of these over then internet. Long story short, I couldn’t pay them all back and have since been trying too. I have paid some of them but I still have several that are unpaid. Is it possible to still receive a TS Clearance with this being my situation? I expect it all to be paid in full within the next couple of months, give or take.

  93. Avatar


    I definitely would not lose any sleep over this–Best of luck.

  94. Avatar

    Wondering Mother,
    I had the extreme good fortune of befriending an employee in the organization who then hired me as a student assistant. That student job then became a full time position. While by no means authoritative in these matters, given that his offense occurred during high school, you might want to look into expungement. Getting your foot in the door and doing a good job is key. One other piece of advice would be that he makes a concerted effort to hold his standards high in terms of work ethic, grades, and community involvement. My gut tells me that since his situation is far less severe than mine, he will be fine. Hope this helps.

  95. Avatar

    BW – as an investigator, would there be any value in doing a background check on myself? When someone is investigated, to what level does the investigation go (ie – do they obtain actual court documents/transcripts ect)? Are there any services available (or that you would recommend) to the average person that would approach the level of investigation that an employer would use? I think it might be helpful to have the same or similar information when questions arise.

  96. Avatar

    I was granted TS/SCI while in the Air Force back in 2001. I left the AF in 2007 during a periodic reinvestigation. I have since been working with 2 different contracting companies that required SCI for the jobs. Just as I was leaving the AF, my SSO informed me the investigators found an FBI application where I admitted drug use. I wrote a letter of explanation, how it “slipped my mind”, when filling out the original SF-86 and during the reinvestigation. It has come back to haunt me. AFCAF has revoked my SCI and access to classified information. I am working with a clearance lawyer and writing my appeal. Basically, AFCAF cites 3 concerns, drug use (all of which was years before the AF), criminal conduct, and personal conduct. I have been told that if AFCAF sticks with their decision (80% I’ve read), then DISCO will follow suit and revoke my clearance.
    I knew I shouldn’t have lied to begin with and thought I was “coming clean” with the FBI application with hopes of starting new after the AF.
    I haven’t read any stories like mine where it was just a flat out lie on my part. Anybody seen similiar situations?

  97. Avatar

    My TS/SCI investigation was completed about 6 months ago. I was renting out my townhouse because I had to relocate for a new job. I was already paying a lot of money in overhead for my house after collecting rent so when the tenants decided to stop paying the rent I was really in a bind. The property managment company I was using evicted the tenant after a couple of months. The property was in bad shap, carpet walls, front doors were broken. I could not afford to fix it, the property values declined, (I owe about 330K, current units selling for 170-180K) and with foreclosure looming I fear the status of my clearance will be jepordized. What is the possibility of me loosing my clearance in this cituation?

  98. Avatar

    Thanks BW. I am finding my situation at my current employer as well as many others who applied and just needed a SECRET level clearance is the same. In order to speed up the process or for whatever reason, they are being told smoking marijuana 1-5 times is not important. I personally think when people say they do not drink or smoke in college it is a bit unusual.

    Another question, what is the most common reason people are denied clearances? Also, a friend of mine was recently denied but doesn’t know yet. I think he is a trustworthy person and don’t understand how he cannot get cleared (unless he is hiding something from me of course). If you are denied, can you ever be cleared? Like if I was denied because of my credit, can I fix the credit and work with them to get myself cleared? (I won’t get denied for credit, but it is just an example).

  99. Avatar

    I saw the IRS will raise the mileage reimbursment rate to 58.5 cents per mile starting July 1. I know you must be happy about that.

  100. Avatar

    So I have an odd question….. I am currently an Investigator for a well known Investigations company. I have OPM credentials and have worked for the company for less than one year. I have been accepted for a position with OPM as a reviewer, but I signed an agreement with this well known investigations company stating that if I left prior to one year of service, I would owe the company a large sum of money due to the cost of the investigation plus training. One, is this legal for a company to do when it is at will employment and how likely is it that they will come after me for the money when I am going into the federal government and the companies largest customer? Also, I know they have not made others pay this fee when they had less than one year as well. Any advice would be very helpful!

  101. Avatar

    I am an adjudicator, getting the “end product” from the investigators with OPM regarding backgrounds for DoD contractors. As I scroll through some of the answers I would like to let the applicants concerns regarding debt, arrests and convictions and any other adverse issues, be relieved a bit. I, along with my co-workers review the background of adverse files that the preliminary reviewers cant issue eligibility on, knowing what the outcome of the investigation and any subsequent RSI or interrogatories, is a major LIFE-changing event. We don’t take some bad debt, usually resulting from medical issues or the economy downturn (loss of job), influence the end decision. Usually the way the applicant answers their questionnaire or interrogatory is a real good indicator as to their concern about issues. If I sent an interrogatory out to someone and ask about multiple debts, lets say;one is a $1000. tax lien issued in 2004 (among others), the applicant has already been made aware of it in the subject interview with the investigator, now it is brought up again by me. If the answer is: I paid this 2 years ago, I already told the investigator in my interview. WTF? Do you really think that is gonna fly?… If I had some documentation I wouldn’t be asking you about it. Give me a document/receipt/letter from the lien holder…something so that I know you have addressed this issue. Telling me again is just ticking me off and showing how much you don’t really care about the adverse creditor issues on your record. Another thing: if it is on your credit report (any of the 3 companies who issue them), you are responsible for taking care of the debt. Either show documentation that you have paid it or that it is not yours.
    The criminal convictions is another issue in this blog that seems prevalent. Current convictions are considered to be from close to 2004 to the present date, usually. How many did you have? Are you a repeater or just unlucky? Did you learn from your arrest? Did you minimize or justify the arrest in your interview?
    PJ, your behavior is not only current, it is ongoing, time after time. While some may look at the behavior as harmless, it is criminal either way. Your not able to be very convincing that you won’t do it again… Just my opinion.
    I apologize about the ramble, I just wanted to address some issues in a different perspective.

  102. Avatar

    I think you and I work for the same investigations company. If we do, I too have questioned the legality of the fact money is charged if one leaves before the required time period of employment is fulfilled. I also know people who have left before the required time period of employment is fulfilled who did not have to pay to money. Have you let them know you were leaving and that you were going to take a position with OPM? Since you are going to work for OPM I think the company would be less likely to go after the money but I can not give you a definite answer.
    You are a better person than me to take a reviewer position. I tried it once for six months with a program through my company and I thought it was awful. I think the toughest part for me was getting use to the other investigator’s writing styles. Good luck with your review position.

  103. Avatar

    Yes we do obtain law enforcement records, court records, college transcripts, employment records, residential records and other records in addition to interviewing numerous sources. There are background investigation services available to the general public but at a cost of course. I have no idea which one is better than the other and if it is even worth it to do one on yourself or if you even can. Most court records are free to review. Most law enforcement agencies charge for a copy of police records and colleges charge for transcripts. You could probably obtain all the information you needed on your own without having to pay a company to do it.

  104. Avatar

    Investigator, Thanks. I was stopped, read my Miranda warnings and questioned (by police) regarding my 5 year old daughter saying I hit her mom. I cooperated with the police who did an investigation. I now have a four page local police report with a disposition of Unfounded. This was discovered by the investigator and surprised the daylights out of me. Very unsettling. Yes. Should have notified Internal affairs. I notified Internal affairs (earlier this week0 on the police contact. Sort of late. Explained that I was not arrested, charged or cited. Everything on the SF-86 is good. However, this unfounded report and investigation caused me stress and depression. On top of this my grandfather died during the investigation where I sought professional counseling from a physchologist due to this loss and transitioning here from a big border to this isolated post. Coming to grips with a shooting incident in 2000 and my wife is pregnant. This is all going to look fishy since these issues came to me during and after the investigation. My firearm was temporarily rescinded due to this stress. I filed a CA-2 (notice of occupational illness) However, My physchologist has explained everything in a letter that I go back to full duty and that is what I want. OPM is gonna have a field day! No history or pattern to any of this, ever!!!!How can so much fall on ones lap??? I am only human. This was a new experience and eye opener. Just getting older and tired. Thanks. Jeff

  105. Avatar


    No, I have not let the company (USIS) know that I am leaving yet. I have to get cleared through OPM first. They have to process my fingerprints, then send me for a drug test. After that, they give me a start date. I don’t want to tell them yet as I am afraid that they will just let me go which would take care of me possibly owing them money, but then I would be out of work until OPM gives me a start date. Although I do not think it will be long since I am cleared through OPM to be an investigator, I just don’t know when I will start and do not want to take a chance of being unemployed. How can they charge one person, but not charge another? Especially when they can fire you at any time. What other thoughts do you have on this?

  106. Avatar


    Complete non-sense isn’t it. The FSO has no vested interest in whether or not someone gets a clearance so I am amazed at how many tell people to leave things out.

    Alot of unpaid debt is alot of times a deal breaker. Criminal behavior, especially when recent is a bad thing and excessive amounts of foreign contact. These are not all inclusive, but you get the idea.

  107. Avatar


    I do not work for the same, but the process they have is legal. They built in into the contract for that specific reason. Now, with that said I think this business has a high failure rate as well as many who succumb to pressure or simply leave for a better deal. I think if you gave some quality time you will be fine. Alot of this rhetoric in contracts is also used as a scare tactic. Hey, good luck on the new job. So if I send you my SID are you gonna be kind on my reports 🙂

  108. Avatar


    It could never hurt to run a check on yourself. Your local Sheriff or Police Dept will normally do it for a nominal fee, usually $10-$15. But, keep in mind the check will only cover the county/city you are running the check in. If a prospectice company is checking on you, ask them who they use as their background provider and check-out the company. Also, call a local PI with a good rep and see what system they use. Just make sure they have a national program or they will do no more than you can do yourself.

  109. Avatar


    You bet–the better the JTR rate the better for me. Lately, I have been driving alot and covering an entire state alone.

  110. Avatar


    Also should have added that Investigations have varying degrees. We as OPM Investigators are much more thorough than just a company run check.

  111. Avatar

    What area do you cover, if you don’t mind me asking? Central VA here.

  112. Avatar

    My TS/SCI investigation was completed about 6 months ago. I was renting out my townhouse because I had to relocate for a new job. I was already paying a lot of money in overhead for my house after collecting rent so when the tenants decided to stop paying the rent I was really in a bind. The property managment company I was using evicted the tenant after a couple of months. The property was in bad shap, carpet walls, front doors were broken. I could not afford to fix it, the property values declined, (I owe about 330K, current units selling for 170-180K) and with foreclosure looming I fear the status of my clearance will be jepordized. What is the possibility of me loosing my clearance in this situation? Thank you in advance for any advice!

  113. Avatar

    From reading all your responses it seems like that unless I’m reknewing my clearence (which I’m not) that its pretty pointless to make the facts of what I said above known to everyone. Most people would think it crazy to want to “ruin” my career, but even if they opened a special investigation they would see that the issues are well over 4 years old, and had nothing to do with my actual job performance. No one has said anything, but my guess is that you all will say that it is better to let old dogs lie rather than opening a can of worms?

  114. Avatar

    Also, I apologize for the repeat comments above, my internet browser was screwed up and it submitted the same question twice.

  115. Avatar

    Hey Guys and Gals,

    Just have one very specific question: When verifying one’s employment disclosures on the sf-86, is it common for any background investigator (OPM or agency specific)to request records held by the IRS or the Social Security Administration FROM THOSE AGENCIES THEMSELVES, in order to verify the accuracy of your disclosed jobs? Thanks so much.

  116. Avatar

    Hello, When i enlisted for the army i told my recruiter i was once arrested as a juvenile(i was 16 and now am 22) for possession of marijuana(under 20 grams). I was never taken into custody, just released to my parents and completed a “youth court” program which dismissed the charge. When my recruiter contacted the court house for my records they indicated that i had no felony or misdemeanor charges. However, the county sheriffs office indicated the juvenile arrest(not that i was charged) since they were the ones to arrest me. We decided to be truthful about it and i was granted a moral waiver and was told i wouldn’t need a security clearance since my mos didn’t require one and never filled out any questionnaires regarding one. However, while in basic training a civilian came to my unit and informed me he was conducting a security clearance interview and asked me several questions regarding the arrest and use or sale of marijuana, bribery/blackmail questions etc he didn’t ask any personal information. He had a statement that my recruiter had typed for me and i signed. He did inform me that i(my recruiter) didn’t provide the correct date of the offense but i am not sure that was the reason for the interview or not. Also, i think some of my answer may have varied from the ones in the statement since i didn’t write it myself. Needless to say i was injured and discharged and was never informed the status. I remember him saying in 6 months i could request a copy of the report. Was this a security clearance interview even though i never filled out any paperwork or asked personal questions? I was just accepted into a homeland security program at my university and my guidance counselor is recommending i find the status of the security clearance before i start since it may disqualify me for many careers if it was denied. How would i find out what type of clearance they interviewed me for and if it was approved since i am no longer active duty? Did they complete it even though i was discharged and they couldn’t follow up? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  117. Avatar

    I have never contacted the IRS or the SSA to verify employment. I go to the employer and contact the HR office to obtain the employment record and then interview as many sources as needed for the case.

  118. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101,
    Thank you for your post. Since I work on the investigations side of the clearance process I am not able to answer with complete accuracy what would prevent someone from getting or maintaining their clearance. Thanks again.

  119. Avatar

    Thanks for that, I am here for some questions that you want to pass on or think I might be able to shed light on….
    Hey Edge 141, (I know him, he used to work in my office.) how about an answer here or there….!!!
    CJ; explain your situation to the investigator, in detail and provide some documentation of the issues you have encountered with the renters/eviction process/damages and some sales of homes in the area. The more you can show the adjudicator when you are asked, the better. This one financial issue is not indicitive of you being untrustworthy/unreliable etc. If your credit bureau report or past records show a bunch of other debt issues you have yet to resolve, then that is where you run into a problem with the clearance. We look at ‘big picture’ of the person, not a single issue you have had really bad luck with.

  120. Avatar

    I have a question for anyone who knows about the adjudication process. I have read where like 80% of cases are adjudicated within 30 days now. Is that accurate? I’m almost sure that my investigation over, so whats the process from the time the investigators are done. Its for a Q clearance.

  121. Avatar

    O.K….Perserec (or similar) site cites the use of new ACES automated clearance process at DHS. I am up for a clearance through the agency and I think I am in the automated pilot.
    Can anyone provide information about the actual process? ACES is supposed to curtail time and cost, so does it substitute for field work unless adverse info comes up? Is there a PRSI for all clearances, some, what? Thought I had a handle on what I was looking at, prefered that feeling to wondering about the unknown! Any info on the steps for the process in the automated/human-assisted trajectories appreciated.

  122. Avatar

    Secret Shopper,

    Your rent drug use does not help your cause. What info can you give that will show you have no intentions on further MJ use?

    Worst can happen is you may lose the job if you cannot be cleared for some reason. Press on and see how it goes, but be truthful. Good luck.

  123. Avatar


    Report the bind you are in to your security officer. I am retired USAF, which works a little different than the Navy, but I highly doubt the Navy would discharge you over this, but get it out into the open. Make and document all attempts to get the matter under control.

  124. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101,

    Welcome aboard. You have one tough job!!!!!!!!!!!

  125. Avatar


    I am dead center of the country. I know your area pretty well as I some TDY’s there from time-to-time. Also hit NoVA area during my trips. I don’t mind working Belvoir, Herndon and Reston areas–not too fond of other areas.

  126. Avatar


    As Investigator said, that would not be normal and I have never needed to do that nor would I unless for some reason it was directed. Is there more to this scenario we should know about? You can tell us–afterall you are “Anonymous.” 🙂

  127. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101,

    Also, love the way you explained some scenarios. I always love the uncooperative. The only one hurt when folks are unhelpful is the person needing the clearance. I will not lose any sleep over it.

  128. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101,
    When ever I do SPINS or PRSIs dealing with financial issues I provide the SUBJECT’s with the telephone numbers of the three creidt bureaus and advise them strongly to get a copy of their credit report from each bureau so they can then contact the appropriate creditor and take care of the debt. Most are very grateful.
    I know you mentioned an example above of when you send out an interrogatory for financial issues but are there specific guidelines you follow when you have are required to?

  129. Avatar

    BW and Investigator,

    Thanks alot for your info. Honestly it was mostly curiosity – and the fact that I’d been a bouncer at a strip club for a short period of time. I’d long made up my mind to list my experience accurately, though I was initially worried this would raise an eyebrow or two. I’m in the process with about five agencies for 1811 slots, so by now its just an overwhelming world of nerves. Thanks again guys.

  130. Avatar


    Thanks for responding! We live in the Commonwealth of Virginia that doesn’t allow expungement of felonies. Given the fact that my son was 18 at the time of the offense, he’s considered an adult. As young as he is, (now 20) he has a good work ethic, so hopefully someone will be placed in his path that will give him a chance like they did for you! Thanks again!

  131. Avatar

    If you have TS/SCI with poly and go to a job requiring TS/SCI without poly, will you lose your poly clearance after x number of years?

  132. Avatar

    BW do you think I should alert my SSO or le it go? I know a SII will be initiated most likely, but that would give me the chance to straighten things out.

  133. Avatar

    Just a general question that may have been answered already. If I apply for a job as an instructor at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, do they do Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)? I know they do some kind of background check, but I am not sure if it is officially called an SSBI or not. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  134. Avatar

    The financial interrogatories are most often sent out when the financial issues are unresolved (not medical debts or financial debts we have definative evidence of payment/settlement/garnishment) and are close to or over about $10K. That may seem really high, but we look at the Personal financial statement (if we have it) and see what kind of net remainder the applicant has to help with the decision. We also look at the particular debts (clothing credit cards, department stores, electronics, etc. or are they for water bills, electric, living expenses, so on…) Did they list the debts in their repayment plan on the Personal Financial Statement? Did they pay any of the debts in prior investigations? So many different dynamics in our decision to send back for more information.
    You said that you provide the credit bureau company phone numbers to the applicant for helping in resolution, is that standard across the board for most/all investigators? It is helpful to know if that is the case. I have always said that the investigator and the adjudicator should have a more direct connection when there are unresolved adverse information, we could save a bunch of time and money for the US Government if we just spoke instead of sending memos of requests, vague and un-detailed as they are.
    BW the Investigator; Makes me wonder if the uncooperative think I am asking for more information because I just want to hold up the case for a bit longer or I just like to type up more information for my own good! I really would like to clear more individuals, really I do. The more I can get cleared, the more I will get off my desk…. Neither is an advantage to me, just more or less work. FYI to the applicant; help me.. help you…..!!!

  135. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101

    From your personal experience, how long does it take you to adjudicate a case without all the extra stuff like Personal financial statements, criminal records or any other stuff that could slow you down?

  136. Avatar

    so much financial stuff. How often does it originate from the investigation, rather than the form — and then isn’t it usually DQ?

    There’s mention above to issues that must be elevated,(I guess on appeal?) are there guidelines available to aid in the understanding of that?

    I appreciate being able to read the candid comments on here. It is easy to assume, given that this is an ‘adversarial’ (in the formal, legal sense) process, that the investigators and adjudicators think they are doing the best when they interpret things strictly, and perhaps the foregoe extending benefit of the doubt. Glad to know that isn’t how the job is percieved. I’ve read a lot of the DOHA cases, darned if I can get a sense of rhyme or reason. I guess the level of clearance that isn’t usually disclosed inthe summaries IIRC accounts for some disparity.

  137. Avatar


    Don’t worry–a job is a job. Your work is completely above board so no worries. Good luck on the position, hope it is with a good agency.

  138. Avatar


    I will say we are not adversarial(But I get what you mean). I do not begrudge anyone nor do I ever stand in judgment of any man/woman. Bad things happen to good people!!!! I will however get the straight facts and report the same. I always try to give the adjudicator the best possible info to work with–afterall–they probably have the toughest part of the whole process. I hope more people have a chance to read this blog, which is hands-down one of the best sources to understand how difficult this business is.

  139. Avatar

    I only get the really bad cases, the ones with multiple adverse issues, mostly unresolved and usually in need of due process procedures; hearings before judge on appeals, etc. DISCO clears the easy ones that should take 10-15 minutes to flip through the pages, reading what is entered and reported, with little problem. From what I gather, DISCO reviewers will get 20-40 cases cleared in a day. I get the ones they cannot work through.
    On my end; each one can take an hour to read through, think about an initial decision and set it aside for a day, pick it up and review again for about an hour (research a bit on Internet, some websites, books relating to issues on hand, etc.) then decide if I have enough to make a decision or need to send back to OPM to open it up again or send out an interrogatory for some answers. My easiest case can take an hour or two, my worst is still on my desk from 2003. That old dog is so old because when the applicant gets the interrogatory, they quit their position there. It gets closed and they starts with another contractor. I send out another interrogatory and they transfer to another location or company again. In the meantime, new arrest/financial/anything pops up and we need to have the investigator go out for this info resolution. We call them ‘jumpers’, just avoiding the inevitable. We won’t have DISCO reinstate an interim when this happens, kind of makes them stay for a final resolution to the clearance. My 2004 person has many, many, many ongoing issues. I am so familiar with this person, they are like a family member to me….. 🙂
    Mack- you are in for a Q? For who? You are not a jumper, are you??? 🙂 The 80% in 30 days is really not applicable for my office, I am reviewing the 20% that keep our court/police/attorney/OPM investigators overworked!!!

  140. Avatar

    We have more information to review the higher the clearance request is. The more we know, the less likely the information is good, keeping in mind we get the bad cases….
    I must say, the foreign influence cases are probably the hardest to adjudicate. I was never really good in geography or history, so the internet is a great asset for me in that regard. Unfortunately, the beliefs/religions/ideals/etc of the ‘home country’ is always changing and keeping up is ….fun…?

  141. Avatar

    BW the Investigator,
    Were you with DSS prior to the turnover to OPM? You seem to know a thing or two….Haha.

  142. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101
    Wow, its sounds like you have some pretty tough decisions to make. I think I would like to get into this security clearance field one day down the road probably as an investigator but I hope I get my clearance first. Yes, I am in for a Q for a company called USEC, not a contractor.
    I’m def. not a jumper but I think its a pretty cool name,lol, im fresh from the military. Does DISCO adjudicate DOE Q and L or do they have their own thing going on?

  143. Avatar

    Again, thanks.
    You mention that it would be easier if channels were opened between field staff and adjudicator- and that certainly makes sense to me given that there must be some element of judgement in how a given fact pattern is interpreted and conveyed.
    Similarly, the fact that the door seems to close and the cone of silence descends between the applicant and the applicant’s information-on-file and the investigating office once the questionaire is submitted is a problem. The applicants are under some pressure, to get the 86 done quickly and submitted– at least that was what I experienced a couple of times. Not total arm bending, but pressure none the less. I was told about potential loss of eligibility if not submitted in ten days, in one case. Delving into 7, 10 or lifetime’s worth of info that may be located in different geographic areas in an accurate and comprehensive manner is tough to do in that time. Sometimes things do come to mind thereafter, and not being able to convey them potentially defeats any ability to meet the burden of ‘prompt’ reporting that is in the mitigating factors, and I would think might color how the circumstances are interpreted.
    From what I read in the decisions, stuff missed in the form, even when volunteered in an interview, seems to create a pretty big hurdle.

  144. Avatar

    Mack, I think DoE has WHS doing their investigation reviews, don’t quote me though. I do know that DISCO/DOHA does not do DoE levels.
    Jepson, Why is their pressure in getting the sf 86/eqip filled out quickly? I don’t understand why a company would put pressure on the applicant to list the extensive amount of information requested is a short amount of time. If not the company, then who?
    I have had one applicant get my personal phone line at my desk and now every applicant with this particular company waiting on their clearance contacts me for information on their particular investigation; what is holding it up…etc. That gets bothersome, word of mouth is good, but I am not in sales!!! I help anyone who asks, because I know how much the clearance means for someone, especially when in Iraq or Kuwait, like such.
    Information left off the form is a hurdle when the intent to leave it off is because they wouldn’t get the job or didn’t want to have anyone (one didn’t want their facility security officer to know about the information) see the adverse issue. I don’t think anyone was denied because they didn’t list their job in 2004, just bad when they didn’t list it because they were fired for taking money from that employer and also didn’t list adverse termination.

  145. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101,
    I do not think it is a standard practice for investigators to give out the credit bureau phone numbers. I just want to help people clear up their credit so they can get a clearance.
    It would be great if investigators and adjudicators had direct contact with each other. I think it would expedite the clearance process.
    It is funny how you mention looking at the Personal Financial Statement (PFS). We recently stopped routinely obtaining PFSs. We only obtain one if we are specifically asked to. I do not agree with it but that is what OPM indicated to us. They are a pain to fill out but a PFS does give an accurate indication of a SUBJECT’s overall financial status. Even though I routinely do financial SPINS I have only obtained on PFS in the last 6 months and that was for an RSI case and the PFS was specifically asked for. BW do you routinely obtain a PFS?

  146. Avatar

    On two occasions the pressure was from a fed HR people, no contractor involved.
    With respect to the other part, shades of grey but it seems even minimally adverse info unlikely to cause DQ if listed, results in Conduct DQ if its not listed initially and then revealed later on- even if volunteered. Just what I get from reading cases that are accessible– seems like items brough up in the interview or thereafter are regarded as deceptive & indicative of lying prima facie. I can understand how “I forgot” gets really thin and seems self serving. But presuming intent to decieve if something was missed in the initial submittal kind-of defeats the gains that could be had from allowing some level or protocol for submitting more info voluntarily. For both the gov’t and the applicants.
    Bear in mind the first statement though- I’ve got nothing on the line just now from conveying it, so if someday some applicant says they were rushed, well it may not help much depending on what rock they are pushing uphill, but don’t presume that its false!

  147. Avatar

    It’s extremely refreshing to see an adjudicator answering questions so openly.

    I understand that most adjudicators have a pile of work to do, and dont have time to answer. I work as a civil servant for a DoD agency and getting to talk to an adjudicator is like getting an appointment with the pope.

    As a personnel security officer, I’ve always thought there should be a bit more open communication.

    For example, for me to get the information of an adjudicator who is working a case is often impossible. I believe that security officers should have the ability to call and ask from time to time in exceptional circumstances. The agency I work for ROUTINELY takes more than 1 year to adjudicate virtually every case because there is about a 11,000 case backlog. Part of the reasons is opm investigations are alot quicker.

    I once got an email from an adjudicator asking for information on someone who’s case was on their desk. The last line was “Under no circumstances are you to call or contact me for information about cases including this one. Just provide the subjects response.”

    Maybe if I worked for another agency I wouldnt be in clearance limbo since 2005. God it just makes me sick to think about. I almost wish they wouldnt even review the case and just DENY the clearance so I can skip the backlog and appeal to DOHA.

  148. Avatar

    Call me Pope John Adjudicator! Sorry. Not serious,..or Catholic. It is hard to talk to us because we are trying to make decisions that have a pretty big impact on people’s lives. If someone loses their clearance, they may lose their job also, leading to losing other things….If we got calls on, lets say even 1/4th of the cases we have, I would be on the phone all day. I am sorry if this sounds presumptuous, I don’t mean to be that way. Each adjudicator in my office is so very different, I can’t remotely imagine placing the last line “Under no circumstances….” in any email I would sent out. That is redicilious. I could think of a couple of people in my office that would do that though… 🙁

  149. Avatar

    ridiculous…correct spelling…duh.

  150. Avatar

    Jepson, I think the big difference is that we wouldn’t include the failure to list something unless there are other circumstances also. 50 debts and a bankruptcy, then more debts. No financial issues listed on epsq, even though fully discussed in the interview, is just not right. They knew of the debts (even not each particular one with details), they knew of the bankruptcy, and they definitely knew they had collectors calling… My point is that we know the difference in not listing and forgetting to list.
    I also see your point too. Having someone threaten their job with making them hurry through is never advantageous either.

  151. Avatar

    Investigator- Please get me an PFS. Please. Please. Please….:) Some of the time they are not needed, but when they are, boy-howdy! they are good to have if big financial issues are discussed.

  152. Avatar

    I have a question on exactly how the clearance process works in order of things to come. I am currently starting the process with an agency that is equivalent to CIA, DHS, NSA, FBI, etc. What happens first? I filled out my SF86 and sent all the paperwork in. They recieved it all Monday. So do I interview with the investigator, then s/he goes and gathers information from people, then polygraph, then psyc exam, etc? I don’t know what to expect from this point foward. I can say this, the process is very unorganized from the standpoint of communication with the applicant.

  153. Avatar


    As an Investigator, at a quick guess, 90% or more of the SF Questionnaires I work with are incorrect. We do not assume any intent to withold info. We simply answer….ie… he/she forgot to list Job A in error. . Now, if the investigator goes to Job A and finds out the person was stealing supplies (Example Only) then you see where it is a problem. We do not think people are dishonest for simply forgetting to list an item–if that were the case, hardly anyone would be cleared.

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    Adjudicator 101,

    No, I was not prior DSS, I was a criminal inv for the USAF and have also been in charge of personnel security programs. I have been around in the business of clearances for about 25 years–man that is a long time!!!!!!!!!! I do not envy you guys. People need to appreciate the fact that you guys operate under extreme amounts of pressure. How many folks out there would like to have someone’s future in their hands? My guess, not many. Glad you jumped on-board with Edge 141–good to have your perspectives and besides, I won’t even attempt to answer any adjudications questions.

  155. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101 and Investigator,

    I have not done a PFS since the policy change. Adjudicator 101, I wish we could help. I could easily do it by memory–Investigator–because it has been burned into my retna 🙂

  156. Avatar

    My personal goal is to become an adjudicator. The clearance limbo isnt helping me at all though. I mean I’m in limbo at my CAF, and applying for a job there isnt going to get me anywhere.

    Personnel security is something that has grown on me over time from something I hate to a fascination and a drive to do. On the best of days, I’m excited to be at work every day and love doing my job. On most sundays I am ready for monday to begin so I can go to work.

    That feeling has slowly been fading since I’ve been in limbo, but I know I just gotta press on and keep waiting.

    Once I do get my clearance, however, I plan on settling in on the career field. Right now I’m managing about 5 different security fields the best I can without a clearance.

    I want to either:

    1) Become an investigator at OPM
    2) an adjudicator.

    An ultimate career goal of mine would be to develop a standardized personnel security training program for government agencies.

    There is to much of this “I heard from my friend that…” and “You’re supposed to do it this way I heard…” stuff going on. I can’t count the number of times I’ve argued with fellow security proffesionals and my arguement was “Read the latest guidance and regulation, it says how to do it” and there’s was “Well I’ve always done it this way”.

    At least in DoD, non-adjudicator personnel security types learn the trade from very, very basic courses (overviews) and on the job training.

    They dont realize that what they’ve heard could be wrong, and that wrong information could ruin someone’s career. I’ve seen it happen more than once.

  157. Avatar

    thanks for all the help and replies, good luck to you all

  158. Avatar

    Typical, stay with it….don’t give up, the adjudication job is very hard but also very rewarding. It is very high paying as the pressure and requirements are without end also. If you are hired, you will know within the first week if this is a position you want or not. I am moving with the BRAC, unfortunately. Uprooting my spouse and children from the midwest to the east coast should be fun, to say the least. I am a glutton for stress. With the BRAC in place, the positions needing filled for adjudicators is very high as not many want to do the move. Stay with WHS, clearance jobs, OPM jobsites, etc. and apply-apply-apply.
    My only recourse is to get an FSO position in my local area. Any companies in Ohio need an FSO???

  159. Avatar

    BW- your AF background is advantageous to OPM and the adjudicators… Keep on keepin’on….

  160. Avatar

    Typical and others.. We’ve been speaking to both OPM and USIS about getting some additional adjudicator and investigator jobs available soon. Yeah, I know – some folks have problems with companies like USIS and Kroll, but others have been quite happy with them.

    Also see

    This company FSO To Go seems to be looking for FSOs nationwide for anyone interested.

  161. Avatar

    Just like in every job I have bad days and want to quit what I do but then there are the good days. The days where I can interview all of the neighbors or co-workers I need at one time so I won’t have to make another trip out to what ever location the residence or employment is at.
    I think BW mentioned this in an early post but an investigators job is a very lonely one. A lot of what I call “windsheild time”. One of the advantages of an investigators job is that we make our own schedules. No 9-5 or 8-4. Even though I do work a lot, I try to work four days out in the field and then I am home typing on Fridays and usually done by 12. The job is very very flexible. I may have the opportunity to start working on another contract dealin gin personnel security through my company but it is an office position. I am very interested in it but I have never worked in an office my whole working career. I think it will be a big adjustment if I am offered the position and take it.

  162. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101:

    Hey, do you think I should just start looking for another, non-clearance required job? The instances that I spoke about occurred in about a 3-4 month period in 2006 and then the one instance recently in April. There was about a two-year time frame when there were no instances. And though I don’t want to give my life story on here, I would tell any investigator that they occurred in probably the two toughest times in my life. I make no excuses, but I have never touched drugs, don’t drink to excess and my record consists of one speeding ticket. I’m also 23 years old. I don’t hold any illusions that the aforementioned will make any difference here. Your opinion would be greatly appreciated and I know everyone here appreciates what you and the other guys are doing on this site. Thanks.

  163. Avatar

    You are young! That is an advantage to you. Your hurdle is not the actual criminal conduct, but that you went 2 years without any activity and still….did it again.
    Your honesty and open account of the issue is a good thing, don’t give up on the clearance process. You have no other major adverse issues, good also. With as much as we are dealing with in other cases, I would say to stick with the process. Don’t stop looking for other opportunities, by all means. Ask questions, ask, ask, ask. Be a pest in the form of ‘wanting’ that eligibility for a good job. The applicants that display the want and desire to recitify their ‘issues’ are the ones we know are worthy of the clearance, won’t take advantage of its benefits and protect their position in the company. All of that is good for the applicant, the company, our protected information and the clearance process. **And stay away from the adverse issues, for good. Seriously.

  164. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101,

    Check USA JOBS if you are near an Air Force Base. Query series number 0080–these are Security Jobs, ie….personnel/industrial–right up your alley. Also Citizenship and Immigration Servive/DHS will be having a push for Security Personnel/FSO’s. The DAF is always looking for folks with your background. You may also consider doing my job. As Investigator said, some days–no fun. With that said, I never have to worry about how to get-off work for any reason. I have complete control as long as I’m producing.

  165. Avatar

    Here’s my dilemma, and thank you for answering so quickly. If I go forward with turning in all my paperwork and don’t get it, I’m going to have to explain to the people around me (family, friends, co-workers, etc.)why that happened and why I am going to have to leave my job, though it didn’t not specify in my offer letter that it was clearance contingent, but the job essentially demands one. Basically, I’d rather just quit early if I’m basically screwed rather than having to deal with losing my job later. I certainly am ashamed and embarrassed, but I would never lie during the investigation. Are these kind of questions going to come up in the SSBI interview? Thanks for all your help. I’ve really just never been so scared, that being said, if I got the clearance, I would never put myself in the position to feel this way again. God if I could take it back.

  166. Avatar


    I have worked for both USIS and Kroll. Although I do prefer one over the other, my experiences have been positive. Anyone interested in this work must be extremely self-motivated and willing to work hard or they will fail in the endeavor within a few months. Anybody that has “Thin Skin” need not apply–just my opinion.

  167. Avatar


    DO NOT LET THIS PROCESS SCARE YOU–worst that will happen is you will not get a clearance. There will be nobody there to arrest you for anything. As far as family goes, you will need to make a decision on who to tell. If adjudicator or edge read this I’m sure they will tell you that you are exhibiting signs that this could be used against you. If you are scared others will find out–that could be an issue. Clear the air–afterall–they are family and friends. Not telling you to confess your sins if you don’t want to but telling others doesn’t hurt.

    Adjudicators tell me where I’m wrong–BW

  168. Avatar

    I didn’t mean it that way. I just meant that I’d obviously rather not let them know if I didn’t have to and if I wasn’t going to get the clearance in the first place. If it ever came down to it, of course I’d tell them. I know I couldn’t be coerced to reveal anything b/c in the grand scheme of things, what I did isn’t nearly, or even in the same ballpark, as something that would be worth revealing sensitive info. I’m more scared that my new job out of college is going to end. THanks guys, again, for answering these things. I know that it helps put me more at ease.

  169. Avatar

    Adujicator 101 – when you are looking at the finanaces portion of an individual, is your focus on bad/delinquent debt or does a high debt to income ration have an impact? I have very high credit scores, no delinquencies, but a high debt load.

  170. Avatar

    I agree “thin skinned” people need not apply. I am not sure about you BW but it took me a little over a year before I felt comfortable enough doing my reports. Seeing constant re-opens on my Units on Hand when I first started discouraged me often but my fellow investigators who had been on for a while said everyone goes through that time at the begining of their career. They were right and I have told everyone that I have trained the same thing. It takes time to understand what is required in the reports. I think this job requires patience and being able to adapt to change.

  171. Avatar

    BW is right again..shucks…, you are gonna need to get the air clear to get anywhere. This is not to say that you should go tell everyone you know about the issues at hand, but don’t decline the job/quit/change jobs based on what you think the outcome MIGHT be. Your issue is really not worthy of an adverse decision, on its own. Only you know all the adverse in your file. If what you said is the worst, actually, the only adverse – stay with it. I say that honestly. I have been adjudicating cases for many years and I know you are more scared than you have any need to be, (based on what you have said about your file). Additionally, your family and friends have no access to your file, information in it or any decisions made while obtaining info or the adjudication/decision/appeal. All is secret to you; and the company you are working for.
    *by the way; what is the ballpark for the worth of revealing sensitive info??????

  172. Avatar

    BW and Investigator; do you mean ‘thin skinned’ because people call you bad names when you turn your head or because you dont get accolades on your reporting??? The schedule seems to be the biggest benefit in your job, how about the pay? Do you get paid by the hour or by the case? Can you disclose that?

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    Adjudicator 101,
    I am sure some SUBJECT’s have not been happy with the questions that I have asked regarding their specific issues. When that happens I just say to myself well you should not have done what you did causing me to ask those questions. What I mean is in the report writing portion of our job. It is tough to hear from a reviewer who is critiquing my report telling me what I did wrong when they are not a supervisor of mine. If that makes sense.
    As for pay since I am a full time employee I get paid by the hour which is great when it comes to
    overtime. I know the contractors who work for my company get paid per case. Is that how it is for you BW?
    Another great perk for me is my company supplies a car and a gas card. I just have to pay a personal usage charge (PUC) which is automatically deducted from my paycheck. With this PUC I can use my car for personal use as well. As long as I don’t go over the yearly PUC amount I am good to go. If I do go over the yearly amount the additional money I owe is taken out of one of my last paychecks of the year. If the car breaks down I do not have to pay for a thing. Oil changes are free. The car is no lame car either. I currently have a 2008 Dodge Charger. My first Fleet car was a Sebring which I had for a little under 2 years. I got my Charger this past fall so will probably have it until next summer. Also we get to choose the color of the car and if we want any extras. We do have to pay for the extras but I think it is great that they give us the option. Just another of the perks of the job.

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    “*by the way; what is the ballpark for the worth of revealing sensitive info??????”

    Haha, thought someone would catch that. Nothing, the answer is nothing. Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it. I still feel like an ass, but I made the bed, so I’m gonna sleep in it. Even if it’s a bit lumpy.

  175. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101,

    Thin Skinned: We run into many rude people in the field. If you cannot handle criticism of your work–you will have a melt-down. I personally had no problem with someone correcting something I did wrong. I have a great memory so never make the same mistake twice. I always sit back and absorb what I can. For the most part, the folks who review cases do well. As you well know, OPM reports are like no other. I covered less info during a murder investigation than on some clearance reports. I really have no idea how your job works. I am full-time with the “Other” company and I am paid pretty well and treated extremely well by everyone. You can go sub, but there are no benefits and if you have family you know how much med costs can be. If you have a sig other with benefits, sub work can be a good thing. You can easily pull low 6 figures if the work is available in your area or you are willing to go to D.C once per year for 4 weeks. Had a friend make over 30K in 6 weeks on a special project in D.C. Mind you, he worked hard but you are in a hotel so why not.

  176. Avatar

    I look at the bad debts, ones not paid and new ones opened without paying old debts. I really don’t do too much on the income side unless there is unusual numbers indicative of some strange income (drug sales/gambling/inheritance, etc.) Your debt ratio is important, but I personally look at it like a personal issue, some people a fine with a lot of debts. As long as the debt is being paid timely, and the creditors are happy, so am I. That is me, my adjudicative opinion. Each adjudicator is a little different, look at the whole financial deal in their own binoculars. Until the adjudication process becomes ‘automated’, which is never, there will be other human beings trying to decide if you are making the right choices. I can honestly say, each person in my office wants to grant the applicant their clearance. Contrary to belief, we are not on a Denial Rampage…

  177. Avatar

    BW- the other company…? O_M?…
    I have a sig other, and they keep on me for looking into the investigation side of it, the scheduling for our children in school would be beneficial with ability to not have a strict schedule… And, Ft. Meade does not sound appealing at all. Talks have been floated for the adjudicators working from home 3-4 days and office for a day or two. That would be perfect. Too perfect, I am sure.
    But the Dodge Charger is always appealing too.

  178. Avatar

    PJ- you are funnee….hang in there; stick with it, even though it is not easy.

  179. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101

    Nooooooo; the other company K_ol_. I am very happy there and have worked for others. I’m thinking the OPM folks will be in a bit of transition again after the new process begins and takes hold. I think they will be strictly on the industry side and we will be more DoD. I too live in the midwest and it would be hard for me to relocate east. That area is somewhat of a nightmare. But, work from home a few days is not bad either. OPM folks still have an office to report to–I however, work from home and am in complete control of my time. I am at my kid’s school every day to get him. After 20 years of the military, I chose some freedom and man it feels good 🙂 Also (Sounds Cliche) but working smart frees-up alot of time.

  180. Avatar


    Report writing was tough for a short period. I know what you mean about the reopens when you first start. Wondering how to get them done along with all the new work. I was extremely fortunate that for some unknown reason the report writing came quickly. Weird–driving around one day and “Bang” suddenly I knew exactly what they wanted to read. I will say that manual was no fun though–if subj says “This” go to chart “A” line 3, which refers you to Appendix B and sooooo on–combine debt total but only using X amounts later than X amount of days–only investigators will understand what I mean. I do recall being told in training to consider your first submittal of any report a “Rough Draft.”

  181. Avatar


    I’ve received a tenative offer from the DCAA depending on the results of my security clearance.

    I was fired from liquor store that I worked while in college because I stole some chips and cigs. I was young and stupid, and its something that I’ve regret and often thought about until this day. I didn’t think much back then since I was hungry, and I didn’t bring any cash. It sort of turn into a bad habit. The store manager asked me to go into the office and hand in my keys and didn’t really confront me about it explicitly. Since I didn’t really like the job and I felt ashamed about what happened so I just gave him the keys and left without asking for any explanation. On the SP-86 form, should I put it that I was fired from a job, or that I left a job by mutual agreement following allegations of miscondut?

    The other thing is I checked NO to this questions on the preliminary form that I faxed over when I submitted my application package because I was fearful that would decrease my chances. But I want to be honest now so that I won’t have to live in fear later on that they might find out somehow.

    I’ve listed the situation on the sf 85p. I’ve learned my lesson on how stupidity and dishonesty would come to haunt you even years after such as in this circumstances. I know what I did was absolutely wrong and that there are no excuses, but no matter how much I regret now, I can’t really change the past. If I failed my clearance, I would just consider that a price to pay for the mistake.

    But I just want to know what are the chances that I will still pass? Or should I just start looking for non fed job and come back to apply 5 years later since the incident happened roughly around 3 years ago.

  182. Avatar

    So many cases with relative specifics- is the broader clearance community really not checking in on these sites that often?

    Anyway, I’ve now read most of the DOHA cases on the web, a lot of available guidance info, and feel better informed. Wish I’d had some additional info when I recieved the eqip, that’s for sure.

    I now know that I’ll have an issue to deal with..well, two..that I didn’t anticipate. One, is a simple mistake and nothing other. A vocabulary error, essentially. However, I anticipate that explanation won’t carry the day.

    Looking at the decisions and the process- there seem to be a lot of ‘changed stories’ referenced. I’m wondering whether the system or investigations are set up with something like “admit and take responsibility and you may be redeemed, maybe” versus “you can’t mitigate against something you deny”.
    So, hypothetically in the later case, the gov’t makes an allegation of wrong doing, and the applicant must choose between either sticking to saying “I just didn’t do it”..which seems weak if evidence to *prove the negative* is lacking, or else they can say “I did, but…” Just wondering based on some experience with investigations and the decisions I’m reading. – Such a double bind to get an admition is low hanging fruit but I think it gets undesirable results if things are handled that way.

    And as for ‘just a job’..boy, a declined clearance and the grounds for that if it happens sure seem to me as though they can terminate a career. Or at least result in unemployment in a really bad economy, and lots of problems getting new federal employment.

  183. Avatar

    I had that same thing happen to me to. One day it all of a sudden just came to me and I knew what they wanted in the reports. Since then, I have had very few re-opens (knock on wood). I tell everyone I train to reread their reports before they transmit them. Write it up one day and then reread it the next day on a clear mind.
    It is good that you were able to grasp the report writing quickly as well as the interview techniques. There are a few former LEO’s, including myself, who work for my company in our area but I have trained others who just can grasp it. They can’t get past their law enforcement interview training.

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    Have you been fired from any other jobs? Was law enforcement involved since you were fired for stealing items? If they were, what was the outcome? Also, if they were have you had any other negative contact with any other law enforcement agency since this incident? Do you plan on having any future negative contact with any law enforcement agency? You said it happened three years ago when in college, how old were you when it happened?

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    If the government brings up adverse information on you and questions you, they will – absolutely- without a doubt- have the evidence to prove it or back their claim. I am sure of that, by experience. Very sure. Yes.

    If you continue to deny it, the problem is changed from the actual issue to what you evolved it into. Unless you can prove with some form of documentation otherwise, you will be dealing with whatever they find during the investigation. Documents proving your innocence (if you will) go further than anything in your file and put most issues to bed.
    Can you tell me a little more of your issue, I may be able to give better guidance?

  186. Avatar

    …Do you plan on having any future negative contact with any law enforcement agency? …

    I don’t know about Misha, but I don’t plan on having any future negative contact with any coppers….no way, no how….
    Wow, that is a very “Investigator Man” kind of question.haha.! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I am just razzin’ ya… 🙂

  187. Avatar

    I have not been fired from other jobs and the law enforcement was not involved. I’ve never had any problems with law enforcement agency in my life. I made a very stupid and dishonest decision 3 years ago when I was 20 years old. I know what I did was wrong and there is no excuse for it since 20 years old is not exactly young. I had taken another job after graduation and had very good relationship with my boss.

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    Explain the situation, you were young, hungry, in college, did something stupid. Don’t be afraid of the outcome, it really doesn’t seem to be so bad. Especially if you were not told of the reason for turning in your keys, nothing about the ‘firing’ was clear. Left following allegations of misconduct is what you should/should have listed on 85P. A position of trust clearance is not nearly as ‘looked upon’ by the adjudicator as secret or TS. That is a good thing for you.

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    Adjudicator 101,
    I think it is a silly question too but it is something we have ask and to put into our reports or else it gets kicked back to us. Just like we have to ask do you plan on ever becoming delinquent on any future accounts? I don’t think anyone plans on becoming delinquent on any account they have. But it is what our internal review staff wants before they send the report to OPM.

  190. Avatar

    I know, I am just being a simpleton. Sorry.

  191. Avatar


    I hear ya–I am LEO trained, 20 years, but one thing I decided early on was to erase that from my mind. I will say, my report writing for 20 years as an LEO has helped me through. Detailed I am–once I learned the OPM way things were–smooth sailing from there. I always tell LEO folks to not rquate the two–huge difference.

  192. Avatar


    In ref to above post–I actually tell LEO not to “EQUATE” the two, not “RQUATE” the two, don’t think RQUATE is a word is it 🙂

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    I have an question for the investigators or anyone else who knows. When you are done with your report it then goes in for a review? If its good to go then does it get sent for adjudication? Are the review people and the adjudication people usually at the same facility? And does DOE do their own adjudication? Thanks

  194. Avatar


    Not the worst case scenario I have heard. Be upfront, honest and you should be fine. In my opinion it was more of an error in judgment than a straight-out theft. Good luck.

  195. Avatar

    I need help. To make a long story short…or at least as short as possible. I served in the miitary for 8 years with a Secret, when I got out I went overseas to work and was granted an Interm TS, upon completion of that contract I cam back to the states and worked for as a contractor in DC where my in 2003 TS was finalized. Well in 2004, I had an underage neice in my care that stole some items from a mall. Well, I spanked her and took her back to the store and made her return every item. My neice went to school and told the teacher that I spanked her. When asked by the CPS if I had spanked my neice I told them yes. In the end I was put on Probation for 1 year and told that I had to have counseling prior to allowing my neice to return home. I refused and the child was sent back to foster care. This went on for 1 year causing a stressful time for me. Then in 2005 I was pulled over coming from a party and charged with a DUI. Went to court and was fined and given a suspended license for 1 year. I know this all looks bad, but this was something that I never expected to happen in my life and worked through with my family and close friends. Now it is time for my PR and I know that this is going to have a big impact on the outcome of TS. I have been straight forward Security Officer and on my SF with a lengthy explanantion. In my career, while holding a clearance, I have never had any judical punishment not negative judgements against me. But, I am nevous about the outcome of this investigation. Overall, I am a good person but that timeframe was just the worse time in my life. What are my chances of losing my TS? And, if I lose my TS will I keep a S level?

  196. Avatar

    I can’t believe this~ after a fairly long career in local government….but only a few months in federaly system, I have opty to take a different position that requires a clearance. On my form where it asks for prior investigations I put hte one for this job describing my current slot as a position of public trust. That was common language for government jobs in my prior work- and classes on public mgt. Now I find it is a special category for federal employees.. Oh God.

    I also learned that a local tax was overdue a couple of times in teh look back period. Like, ten bucks one time, forty bucks another in just a couple instances. Needless to say that will be paid ahead in a couple days. This is outside US in a friendly country. A clerk said it was common practice there but I bet that doesn’t help.

    I tried very hard, many times to report these errors and I did cover it with the HR person but was told to just deal with it at the interiview. Am I a dead man walking for S or TS?

    I think my character references will be excellent except perhaps for one employer. God.

    What happens to the ‘process’ if a person decides to start seeing a councilor?


  197. Avatar

    How old was the niece at the time of you punishing her with a spanking?
    CPS placed you on a one year probation or you were charged with ….what….? Is is closed?
    Do you have any documents with the store she stole from, a report or something that shows you did return her there and have her give the items back?
    Why did you refuse the the counseling in order for her to return? What is her status now?
    Is the 2005 DUI the first/only one you have had?
    Is the suspended sentence closed without incident?

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    hypothetically– if a person (new to the federal system) uses an incorrect term (PT) for their current position out of ignorance when listing past investigation- but does not claim any security clearance, is the individual toast?

    Also, if a person seeking TS makes numerous attempts to report that error and an overlooked debt (small amount, but recurrent in past, to be settled immediately) very early in the process, does disclose to HR but is told to wait for interview to deal with security, is there any shot of redemption?

    Also, if a subject has never had any counseling of any kind, and elects to seek some after submitting form, what kind of problems does it add to the process?

    admin pls delete if unsuitable.

  199. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101/Mack:
    DoE adjudicates their own “access authorizations” (their term for Q and L clearances). They have a non-centralized system, but cases, where there is an initial decision to deny, get bumped up to their headquarters.

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    Are you talking about hardcopy PFSs or those that are typed into your report?

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    My understanding is that under the new proposed security clearance system (which they plan to implement next year), applicants will be allowed 15 days to complete their SF86, fingerprint cards, releases and signature pages. I my view, 15 days is more than enough time. Air Force recruits who need a TS clearance are often given only a few hours at their basic training location to complete the SF86 and they usually don’t have any of their personal records with them to refer to. Of course, a few hours is grossly inadequate and it almost always results in numerous omissions and errors.
    I accepted almost any plausible explanation for a Subject’s failure to list required information on the SF86 and from some of the feedback I received on my cases, I don’t recall anyone being denied a clearance because of an inadvertent omission, as long as they provided complete and candid information during the Subject Interview. If a person has only been arrested once and as a result went through the booking procedure and spent the night in jail, I doubt at they will ever forget the experience. On the other hand, if a person has been arrested 8 times during the past 5 years and each arrest resulted in being incarcerated, I would find it plausible if they forget one or two minor arrests on their SF86,.

  202. Avatar

    There were no specific figures in the Feb 2008 SCOG report about DoE Q clearance adjudication time; however they did mention that at the time of the report DoE had 3,300 cases pending adjudication for more than 45 days. 3,300 cases represents about 2.4 months of adjudicative work for DoE. The less unfavorable information in the investigative report, the faster the case gets adjudicated.

  203. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101:
    Are you sending out interrogatories because the investigator failed to cover the issue(s) properly or because a lot of time has elapsed since the PRSI or SPIN and you need updated information?

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    My understanding is that ACES was designed to replace a traditional periodic reinvestigation when no unfavorable information is surfaced during the automated checks. If any unfavorable information comes up, the investigation is expanded beyond the ACES checks. The concept is to do an ACES check every 12 months for TS clearances and once every 5 years for Secret and Confidential. I’m not sure how DHS is implementing the use of ACES. DHS is rather fragmented in their processing of security clearances and public trust clearances with different sub-agencies using totally separate systems and different investigation service providers.

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    SCI is not a clearance; it’s a special access authorization. When you leave the SCI program that required a polygraph, you are “read-off” the program and your access authorization terminates. When you go to another SCI program that doesn’t require a poly, you will be “read-on” to that program. Your investigation history (including type of polygraph) and adjudication, will remain on record in the Scattered Castles database, but you can only have one current access eligibility on file at time. At some future time, if you need access to an SCI program that requires a polygraph (CI- or Extended-Scope), the IC agency that owns the program will decide what additional investigation is required before you can have access, because there is no current policy that specifically addresses your question.

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    Mr. Henderson,
    If I do obtain a PFS I usually type it up into the report unless the agency specifically asks to have the hard copy I have the SUBJECT fill out. Again per OPM I rarely do any PFS at all.

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    W. Henderson-
    I send out the interrogatory for, usually, both reasons. Mainly, I just need closure that a debt(s) has been paid or settled. The investigator usually always addresses the debts, but without documents or proof, we can’t know for sure that it has been paid. We can, and do, obtain a new credit report at any time and usually do before typing up the interrogatory, giving the most accurate amount. I need the applicant’s own writing (hence the notary and signature request) saying/showing what he/she has done about the debt.

  208. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101,
    For any delinquent account over $1000 we get the SUBJECT to sign a specific release with the creditor and account information on the release. Then a division of our company obtains the account information for the SUBJECT from the creditor to add to the report. The information obtained includes if the account has been paid off or is in the process of being paid off.

  209. Avatar

    I understand what you are saying, however, we don’t actually get any ‘hard copy’ documentation from opm in the final ROI. We get the ROI write up from opm about what has happened and the judges at hearing do not accept OPM investigators write-ups as a valid legal document. Kind of makes the adjudicator do the investigators job also, just to have everything on the legal up-and-up. OPM investigators have been known to make typographical errors. Not you, I am sure, but some have. We are (adjudicators) all upset and complaining that we have been paying OPM for the information and the investigation, yet we have to go for documents because OPM doesn’t have a scanner or ability to marry up the actual documents (this goes for all arrests/court records/police records, etc…) with the finished background investigation. It is horrible for the adjudicator, but my office is such a small part of OPMs investigations load, we won’t have any changes anytime soon.

  210. Avatar

    Questions for the insiders here.

    What does you think about clearance lawyers? Are they a good idea and how are they viewed?

    What can someone who is in there 20s hopefully do before the clearance process begins to mitigate prior irresponsible drinking(no DUI but multiple public incidents and open container)?

    Thanks a lot.

  211. Avatar

    I recently (May 08) found out from the IRS that they have no record of my filing or paying income tax since 2002. Originally I payed with money orders bought at a Supermarket. After 90 days you are not allowed to get your money back. I have recently re-filed all past years and have set up a payment schedule with them and shall re-pay through the DOT website. I have also taken on a second job to pay off the debt as quickly as possible. The debt should be gone by the end of this year. Will this disqualify me from getting a TS/SSBI clearance for an Air Guard job.

  212. Avatar

    I’ve begun interviewing for jobs that require a TS clearance and was wondering how far back the SSBI investigations go. Some sites have the SSBI as going back ten years, some list only certain questions that require a ten year history, and some state that SSBIs will go as far back as necessary. I ask because I had some issues—credit and I tried (once) a popular drug—that would fall right around the 10-year window. None of it was serious, just irresponsibility and experimentation, that hasn’t been repeated. No arrests, no work or school issues, etc.

    Most of the questions I’ve read here concerning clearance issues are more recent in nature, so I’m not getting a clear answer from them. Can you help me out? Is it 10 years flat? Ten plus? Seven years with some questions going back 10?


  213. Avatar

    TO Edge 141 and Adjudicator 101:

    I had a a BI ( for TS/SCI) and FS poly completed last year and it was ordered from a contracter to fill a position.

    I went through and very exhaustive BI with 4-5 investigators due many moves.

    In addition I endured two FS polys ( the first I was told was ” not all we wanted results -wise” …… but they asked me back a week later for a second and those results were ” much improved” second ) and was completed in June 2007.

    All of this was initiated in May 2007 and by July I was supposedly in adjudication.

    Along comes November ( I kept calling to contracter to say this times for adjudication seemed long) and I receive a letter from the contracter saying the COE was widthdrawn and that the clearance processing was ” stopped”.

    What’s up with that? No explanation, no denial, no unsuitable………. just stopped.

    Comments or thoughts please????

    I doubt FOIA will produce anything beacuse it was” stopped”

  214. Avatar

    First; who is the contractor?
    Second; they will withdraw your ‘need’ for a clearance, causing the ‘stopped’ investigation. OPM would not just stop an investigation or adjudication, the employer will need to inform them/us of your changed status.
    Third; What possible adverse are you concerned about?

  215. Avatar

    10 years, 20 years, whatever. Just don’t lie about use of anything. Ever. We won’t mitigate falsification of forms. List anything you did, even if possibly past the ‘deadline’, shows you have nothing to hide/forget…etc. Time mitigates the actual act. It is always better to list it than to not list it, as a benefit to you. Just my opinion.

  216. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101


    The contracter was USIS and I noticed that the position they had advertised for , which I was going to be doing, was removed from their listed/available jobs at the time this happened.The client had a need for may people in a hurry at a new location which was why mine was expedited.

    Honestly, I do not know of any adverse.

    My husband ( military) has had a TS/SCI was did work the the “client” not the contracter so I ‘m not sure if that had anything to do with it.

    I would have though that if there were adverse I should be made aware of it though. IS that true?

    If the client changed their mind, I also thought I would have received the dreaded “unsuitable” letter.

    Any ideas? We did live in foreign places due to husband’s military assignments etc but I am sure I was also looked at of his PR’s

    It’s just maddening to go through two full scope poly’s , each taking the full three hours, plus the extensive background info.

    For what it’s worth…I never had any inkling of trouble from any of the four investigators either.No SPIN , no additonal questions.

    Since this is your bailywick, I could sure use some advice.

    I contacted the FSO at USIS and they said ” the client stopped it” but provided no reason and I am sure you you can figure out who that is. I was asked to to speak abotu my experience so I will not name them.

    It just seems to me that if I was unsuitable or flat out denied why wouldn’t they just say that instead of just stopping it.I really don’t think they care about my long term effects ie; if they think I don’t deserve one I would think they’d want it known or bounce me for unsuitable.

    I had a friend that went through a similar and she received the “unsuitable at this time letter”.

    Makes no sense.
    Sorry so lengthy.

  217. Avatar

    Almost 20 years ago I applied to NSA, completed one poly and on the second, made admissions that I had not fully disclosed my drug use. I later receievd a letter stating that I would not be processed further-(can’t remember he exact verbiage. Would this factor prohibit me from getting a clearance?

  218. Avatar


    I recently just put in for a clearance. And I think I may have misspelled my middle name on the forums, but all my other info is correct. And my name is misspelled also on my finger print docs. Will this affect my clearance, or is there anyway I can fix this now? Thank you in advance.

  219. Avatar

    I am a little confused about this also.
    Were all the positions filled and they wouldn’t be hiring you for it because of that?
    What do you mean that you were ‘asked to speak about your experience’? You were asked to speak or NOT to speak about it???
    If USIS was contracting with one of the intelligence branches with the 3 letters….you know..(not opm)..then I really can’t help you there. I deal only with the industrial side of adjudication. It is pretty cut and dry with due process steps that would allow you to appeal or review your background investigation due to the Privacy Act, find out all the adverse and what your references said.
    If it is OPM that stopped the investigation, maybe there is some conflict with your husband/client thing. I don’t really know what to say about it, there is too many blanks in; what you can say or what you know about and can’t really reveal.

  220. Avatar

    It may hinder you getting a clearance with NSA. Not really with the industrial side. 20 years is a long time and can be mitigated.
    Have you had any, at all, drug use since then?

  221. Avatar


    Are you on drugs? How do you misspell your own name?

    It probably is not a problem unless you listed John and it is suppose to be Jane, oh, an you forgot to list the medical operation dealing with your reproductive parts, the one you don’t want anyone to know about.

  222. Avatar

    Adjudicator 101,
    I thought you would have had access to all of the documentation we obtain. As you said it would make your job so much easier.
    I understand about the typographical errors. It is emphasized so much to spell check and grammar check all of our reports. We have a spell check button for the program we use but the only way to check for grammar is to read the report. Investigators should read the report over anyway to make sure it makes sense. I have gone back many times to read my report before I transmitted it and after reading a paragraph I think to myself what the heck am I trying to say here and how can I make it easier for the adjudicator to understand it. No offense to you but I try to type my reports so the information provided could be understood by a kid in elementray school. No fancy words or phrases just simple and to the point. “K.I.S.S.” Keep It Simple Stupid. 🙂

  223. Avatar

    With a name like IXNAY82885- I can see why you may accidentally miss a letter or number on your SF and print cards 🙂

  224. Avatar

    HUMMMMMMMMMMMMM!! 45 word sentence 🙂

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    The agencies you mention are collectively referred to as Intelligence Community (IC) agencies. If you are applying for federal employment with one of the IC agencies, the process varies from agency to agency. Some will schedule you for a polygraph exam as soon as you submit your SF86; others wait until the SSBI is completed. Sometimes there is a screening Subject Interview early in the process and a regular Subject Interview conducted later as part of the SSBI. Sometimes the regular Subject Interview is conducted by agency personnel at the time the SF86 is received and there is no screening interview. When this happens the Contract Investigation Supplier only does the rest of the SSBI. The medical/psychological exams are generally for employment purposes, not for the security clearance. The requirement for a psych/medical exam also varies from agency to agency. Sometimes the SF86 is reviewed and the applicant is screened out based on employment/clearance suitability issues due to obvious problems. When this happen they generally inform the applicant that their application has been rejected for employment suitability reason. It is also possible to have the clearance investigation completed, then be rejected for employment suitability reasons. Generally within the IC there is no right to appeal this type of decision.
    Basically, you have to sit back and wait for someone to contact you. When they need you to do something, they (or their contractor) will let you know. The process is not disorganized; it’s just unnecessarily secretive and the sequence of events vary widely from IC agency to IC agency.

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    If it were a single incident of stealing a bag of potato chips and a pack of cigarettes, I personally think your chances of getting a security clearance would be good. This issue should be judged under the “criminal conduct” guideline, but an adjudicator may also consider the “personal conduct” guideline since you also failed in your responsibility as an employee. If it’s judged only under the criminal conduct guideline, generally a single misdemeanor offense does not rise to the level of being a potentially disqualifying condition. Your situation is a little more complicated because it sounds like you repeatedly committed the same offense and this can be viewed as multiple offenses. You also provided false information when you failed to list this matter on the “preliminary” form you submitted to your potential employer—this is a personal conduct issue that is very recent and therefore can not be mitigated by passage of time.

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    The government doesn’t raise allegation—some reference or some record raises the allegation. I understand that in some situations there is no paper trail. A former friend or acquaintance remember that they smoke dope with the Subject once six years ago. If such an allegation come from only one personal source and is not corroborated by any other source, then its just one person’s word against another and I don’t think an adjudicator is going to deny a clearance because of it. However, an allegation by one source that is corroborated by another source is much more credible. It come down to a preponderance of the evidence. More on one side than the other. I had a case where two or three former friends stated that Subject used dope at a party. Subject denied the allegation and asked for an exculpatory polygraph and passed.

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    As a practical matter adjudicators generally don’t know what a Subject’s income is, so they can not calculate debt-to-income. Even if the Subject is a federal employee and his paygrade is known, the Subject’s spouse may have significant income and the Subject may also have investment income. If a financial issue exists, someone (either an investigator or adjudicator) has to ask the Subject to provide income information. This situation will change within the next year or so, if the government implements their planned reinvention of the security clearance process. They plan to use commercially available databases to search for financial and other record info about the Subject. After the data is collected, a computer will screen the info and flag any potential issues. They will then be able to flag cases for apparently high income-to debt ratio, expensive car purchase(s), buying real estate without a mortgage, etc. Flagging such cases will alert investigators and adjudicators to potential issues that require further attention.

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    Nothing is easy in the government! Wouldn’t be the government if it was!!
    DSS investigations had legal evidence in the ROI. Since the changeover to OPM, not accepted by the hearing judges. Not sure why, we pay a lot of money to OPM and, technically, they are an investigative agency, should be legally sufficient. Nope.
    The misspelling is not always the problem, inverted numbers when reporting amounts is what the real issue becomes.

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    Thanks William. I haven’t heard back from the IC since I submitted my SF86. I’ve actually been trying to get ahold of several people there to discuss salary (which I’m hoping is negotiable).

    I did check the box that said I recieved counceling for alcohol about 2-3 years ago, although this is not entirely correct (I never went there because of alcohol but the subject came up so I just said I did talk to someone about it, it was actually for a death in the family in which an alcoholic relative died). Will this cause the people to see I checked yes (without knowing the story) and not call me back because of it?

    Sorry for so many questions, I just really want this job and don’t know whats going on with it.


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    40 words.

  232. Avatar

    W.A.R.P. Was all really pertinent?

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    I’m in a relationship with a foreign national, whose father is a member of her home govt which I have been informed is a problem (not surprisingly). I have been advised I can voluntarily withdraw my application or proceed but my odds don’t sound good. This leaves me with 2 questions:

    1) Does this sort of situation ever get cleared?

    2) How much does putting down on future SF-86s that I was denied a clearance hurt my future chances at getting any kind of clearance? Will I get a chance to explain why? (it is not like I committed a crime, lied, etc…)


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    Adjudicator 101
    I am in for a Q and I wanted to ask you a question. When I was in the military I got married to a girl back from my hometown that I knew well and trusted basically so I could move out of the barracks and get an apartment with some buddies. The barracks were so depressing to live in plus I got paid more each month being married. I got the marriage annulled almost 2 years later because the girl wanted to marry her boyfriend. Its a pretty common thing to do in the military but I told my investigator about it which he really didnt seem to think it was a bid deal but who knows. Do you think when my adjudicator sees this it will raise a red flag? Thanks…

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    I used mushrooms twice, over 10 years ago-would this result in a denial of a clearance?

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    Adjudicator 101,
    When we do obtain a PFS they want us to check, double check and triple check the calculations. I completely understand it too. I had to redo one PFS for another investigator a few years back because he forgot to close the top of his “9” when wrote out the PFS. It looked like a “4” therefore the calculations appeared off. Again this was when we still filled out the PFS and sent it up with our ROI as an attachment.

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    I don’t adjudicate for Q clearance. For Industrial secret and top secret; not an issue. I don’t think I would look twice at it….unless you married to defraud the military of money. If it is as you described, it would not raise a flag for me.

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    Also, when we read; …applicant has been arrested 14 times for ….. and and it was 4 times…. Then we have to question the arrests, any numbers involved in the reporting and BAC level if DUI arrest, locations of arrests that may have not been found yet….etc.
    You said the “reviewer” looks over the investigations also, before sending them forward. That, I am sure, helps with catching any inadvertant mistakes. When we write the Statement of Reasons, 3-4 people will review it also. If any mistakes are in an allegation, we usually have to strike it at a hearing. That said, we don’t really need to go for documents unless the case is …bad….if you know what I mean.

  239. Avatar

    Any other info you want to give, help with giving a better answer….

  240. Avatar


    I’m also in for a Q clearance. I’ve been watching this blog but haven’t really read much on people’s personal clearance time experiences. When did you finish your SF-86? Has an investigator contacted you or references yet? Do you know for sure you are in adjudication?

    I finished my SF-86 in April. Since then I have had only one phone call from an investigator asking for clarifications on two of my items. No one I know has been contacted.

    Is this unusual? What was your time frame?

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    Adjudicator 101,
    It is great to hear about your side of the security clearance process.

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    …as it is to hear about your side also. Like I said before, we really should have a more direct contact in this process. But then that would make both of our jobs a bit easier and we can’t have that, can we??? 🙂
    I want to apologize to everone for my smart-elic-ky comments on here. I am sorry. I will behave.

  243. Avatar

    I am being considered for a job that requires a Secret Clearance. I was previously approved for a clearance to use unclassified government automated informational systems as a contractor after filling out the SF86. I am concerned about a DUI that I got in 2006. Will this be an issue? References and credit scores are very good. Thanks.

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    I have a friend who currently has a TS//SCI clearance and works for a govt. contractor. He had a reinvestigation and did not disclose marijuana use. He wants to take a job with a new company and wants to disclose the use. My question is, will the new company look at previous SF86s and will disclosing the use cause a problem for his current job. It has been over 4 years since it happened (2-3 times) and has not used since. He was previously in the army and when he got out is when he used. Thanks in advance for your answers.

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    This website has been a huge help. Thanks. I do have a quick question though. A few years ago, I applied for a job at a city police office. I got the job and answered an initial questionnare. It wasnt the SF86s. I disclosed all of my previous illegal drug usage on this form. I was told that the usage was too rescent and was not even going to move on to the next step. So really, i just filled out a work sheet, the police station investigator looked at it and said I wasnt qualified to even move on to the background check phase. Needless to say, i just didnt get the job. This was about 2 years ago.

    My question is this. Is this quistonnaire on any kind of record? Can i never apply for a government job because of this questionnaire? i dont have a criminal record at all and i have a military background. Just a silly night were I will always disclose the illegal drug usage, but if a background check is ran on me, will they see that I filled out this questionnaire for the rest of my life or is this destroyed?

    Any help would be great. Thanks a lot.

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    I have a question on the possibility of getting a secret clearance for a military contract job in Iraq. When I was almost 18, I joined the Marines and within a year was a complete idiot and went UA (AWOL) While I was gone, (again being stupid) I got a felony for burgulary. After I took care of the civilian charges, I came back to the Marines on my own and ended up recieving a BCD (Bad Conduct Discharge). I am now going to be 40 this year and have never had other felonies since then. I work in the IT field and have a buddy working in Iraq now who is trying to get me on the contract out there but he’s not sure if I could pass the BG check for the Secret clearance. If someone with some “real” knowledge of the process could please let me know one way or the other if I would be wasting my time and hopes on trying for the job, it would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Thank you

  247. Avatar


    The Police background will not be a permanent part of a record with the exception of possibly that particular dept. That questionnaire should not stop you from applying for other work. With that said, it would be wise to disclose the use on the SF 86. As I said in the past–better to beg forgiveness than to be caught in a lie. That form was private between you and the department and I can think of no good reason anyone else would have the right to see it. You say you have a military background. If you used any illegal substances while active duty this could cause you some headache. Good luck and thanks for your service. Hope this helps.

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    Both federal employees and federal contractors hold Public Trust positions. In any event, the question about prior federal investigations and clearances is not an important one unless you had a clearance or sensitive position denied, revoked, or suspended. Many people mistakenly list incorrect information in that section of the SF86 because they never knew the exact nature of their prior clearance. A couple of formerly past due tax bills of under $100 is not adjudicatively significant. Having foreign real estate is adjudicatively significant. If you are in for a TS clearance, just make sure to cover these matters during your Subject Interview. Don’t worry about mental health counseling; you have to be psychotic and refuse to take your meds before a person is denied a clearance for mental problems.

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    Adjudicator 101:
    Other CAFs saw this documentation (as attachments to ROIs) issue become increasingly problematic during 2000 when DSS started transferring 800,000 military investigations to OPM. You probably saw the problem get worse in 2004 when DSS investigators switched from CCMS to PIPS. Prior to that, I took a sworn statement on any significant issue and on minor issues when intentional falsification was involved. After that we pretty much stopped taking sworn statements. A few years earlier DSS set up a central office conducting for financial records checks (all done by telephone/fax). FISD does the same thing. I suspect from then on, less and less documentation from the creditor was attached to the ROIs. OPM strongly discourages any attachments to ROIs. It’s a shame that this is/was all driven by their desire to transmit reports electronically before acquiring the capability to create electronic attachments.

    As attachments disappeared from ROIs, the only alternative were for the CAF to get the Subject to provide documentation or have the investigator who wrote the report appear at the hearing and testify to the accuracy of the information in the report. The latter was never a practical alternative for financial information.

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    Make a dramatic change in your lifestyle and inform all your friends and associates of this change. Immediately seek alcohol counseling and do everything the counselor tells you to do.

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    Didn’t you keep copies of your tax returns with the money order stubs? It’s one thing to be a bad record keeper; it’s much more serious if you knowingly failed to file and failed to pay federal income tax for six years. It’s also highly implausible that a person would not at least have a copy of their 2007 federal income tax form in May 2008. How about state income tax? If your state has income tax, they may have required you to submit a copy of your federal return as an attachment to their form. If you did this, you should be able to get copies from you state income tax office. Unless you can convince an adjudicator that you’re just a bad record keeper, I think getting a clearance in your case is going to be very challenging

  252. Avatar

    I currently have an active secret clearance. I’ve always and i’ve mean for the last 16 years have excellent credit. However, due to my husband being laid off in January and us playing catch up our mortgage is falling behind. We are trying to catch-up. However, I am always thinking in the back of my mind “what if something happens and I have to declare bankruptcy?” Will I lose my active secret clearance? I hope to never get there…but the question is there.

    If anyone has had this experience or knows the answer, please help.


  253. Avatar


    That is not an automatic loss of clearance. They do take into account life’s events and sounds like you had a one time deal. If you chose bankruptcy report it to your security office. I hope all works out, but try to not let the thoughts get at you–I’m sure you will be just fine. Believe me when I say, your scenario is a common one, especially with the economy at prices in the state they are.

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    I hope you explained your “yes” response to the alcohol counseling question on the SF86. Contractors are not supposed to use any of the information on the SF86. A government agency on the other hand makes both an employment suitability and a security clearance determination based on your SF86, so they could reject you based solely on the SF86.

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    First it is necessary to define the “relationship.” It’s also necessary to know her nationality, her status in the U.S., and the country where her father is employed. For security clearance purposes cohabitants are treated like spouses. The issue is susceptibility to foreign influence. Obviously a spouse/cohabitant is considered to have much more influence on an individual than a girlfriend. Also the nature of her father’s employment is very important. Having job as a postal clerk in Canada is almost a non-issue, whereas being a Cuban intelligence officer would be totally unacceptable security risk.
    Does this sort of situation ever get cleared? Sometimes, when the close foreign relative dies/retires, when the cohabitant/spouse becomes a U.S. citizen, when there is absolutely no contact between the cohabitant/spouse and her foreign relatives, when the relationship ends, etc.
    When it comes to foreign influence, there is a big difference between collateral clearances and SCI. The foreign influence guideline is applied much more strictly for SCI eligibility than for collateral clearances.
    Usually when a person applies for a clearance after previously being denied, they are required to provide complete information/documentation regarding the prior clearance denial. No one is ever denied a clearance without two or more opportunities to provide information that mitigates, explains, and/or extenuates.

  256. Avatar

    Absent any other suitability/security issues, I doubt that experimental illegal drug use that occurred 10 years ago would result in a clearance denial.

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    Of course a recent DUI is a security concern. The DUI will be judged based on the totality of the circumstance surrounding the incident and the actions that occurred after the conviction. If you are a light to moderate social drinker and normally use alcohol responsibly, you should be able to mitigate this issue. Absent any other suitability/security issues, a single alcohol-related incident in the past 7 years rarely results in a clearance denial, provided the individual does not have an alcohol problem

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    Bob S:
    I’m assuming that your friend is due for another reinvestigation. The new company will not have access to the previous SF86 or previous investigations. Likewise, his current employer will not have access to the new SF86 he submits thru his prospective employer. As far as whether his disclosure of previously undisclosed illegal drug use will have an adverse affect on his continued eligibility for TS/SCI, of course it will. The real question is whether it will result in a revocation of clearance. Most things can be mitigated by passage of time. Even intentional withholding of relevant information during a security clearance investigation can be mitigated, but it’s difficult to do. Sooner or later he will have to deal with this. I recommend sooner rather than later. Failure to disclose this information on the next PR only compounds the problem. In the SCI arena, he can be put in for a program that requires a polygraph exam at any time and loose everything he’s worked towards in his career.

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    I applied for a position as a fbi special agent and also a cia agent. I am undergoing the exams for fbi and hiring process for cia. I am married to a foreign national from Peru with a work permit.

    Will my marriage prevent me from receiving the top secret security clearances necessary for cia and fbi? I heard the answers ‘yes it is a problem’ and ‘no it is not a problem’. I want a straight up answer from a security investigator, I don’t want to waste my time further with the hiring process for cia and fbi if I will not be hired due to my marriage.

    I have no credit, drug, alcohol, dui, arrests, etc problems other ppl are talking about. My record is clean. It seems stupid to reject someone due to marriage to a foreign national.

    Please advise.

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    Mr. Henderson,
    He is not due for a new investigation, however has to fill out a new SF86 for the new job and wants to disclose the information because he may be subject to a full Scope poly. I guess my question is, is how will the failure to disclose the information on prior investigations be known if the new employer will not have access to the information. He wants to get the information on the table for obvious reasons, but if this will affect his current job, he may have to look at another route. Any additional information that you can give me will be appreciated. Thanks.