Security Clearance Denial

Background Investigator Uncovers a Trail of Lies by a DOE Contractor

A Department of Energy (DOE) contractor was denied clearance eligibility based on his inability to be forthright and honest about the extent of his illegal drug use. What set this particular appeals case apart from other similar cases was the extent his lies, both on the SF-86 questionnaire and in interviews with the OPM background investigator. Here are the highlights:

The applicant submitted his SF-86 and listed he had last used marijuana in 2005 and had not ever purchased illegal drugs or been entered into a substance abuse program. The OPM background investigator interviewed him, and it was then he disclosed he had in fact undergone a substance abuse evaluation and treatment in 2018 after being arrested while in a bizarre state of psychosis. When asked why he did not list this on the form, he stated it was due to oversight. Off the background investigator goes with the medical release and finds the treatment records, which interestingly, indicate the applicant admitted he had regularly used marijuana from 2005 to 2019 and experimented with cocaine in 2016-17.

The investigator also interviewed one of the applicant’s listed references who corroborated the extent of his illegal drug use. The lawyer the applicant used after he was arrested was also interviewed and disclosed the applicant had voluntarily sought treatment for substance abuse on three separate occasions. When asked by the judge at his appeal hearing why he failed to disclose all of this, he confessed to being ashamed about it all and was fearful of being denied a security clearance. The judge noted the applicant’s trail of lies and lack of candor all the way up until the hearing and denied his appeal. You can go here to read the whole case summary.