Security Clearance Denial

Clearance Granted to Applicant Who Failed to Disclose Military Service and Drug Use

In one of the more unusual security clearance denial appeals I have run across, a DOE applicant successfully pled his case in front of the judge after explaining the circumstances of why he failed to list his military service in the Army from 1978-1984. He also had to explain why he failed to disclose involvement in selling illegal drugs while serving as a military policeman, as was outlined in an Army CID report provided in the background investigation. You’re probably asking yourself right now, “How can he explain away not listing 5 years of military service and drug involvement captured in a criminal investigation report?”

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s the Army was still in the process of transforming from the Vietnam era to a more professional volunteer military force. Officers and superiors (including some who took advantage for personal gain) had a lot more power and influence in determining what happened to the fate of young enlistees. The appeal proceedings in this case read like something out of a movie where the guy is framed and thrown into jail on trumped up charges.

Here is a short recap of his story.

In 1978 he enlisted in the Army as a military policeman. In 1979 he was told by an Army Captain that his induction into the Army was not done properly and he was discharged (did not get a DD-214 since he technically was not enlisted properly). In 1984 the Army contacted him again and said they didn’t properly discharge him, so he went to an Army base and this time was properly discharged (issued a DD-214) The problem with this was his service dates showed as 1978-1984 even though he was a civilian from 1979-84. To add fuel to the fire, while he was in service from 1978-79 his supervisor set him up by involving him in a controlled drug sale sting that ended up with Army CID generating a report listing him as the subject of the investigation.

Fortunately, this applicant was able to present his side of the story and explain the strange circumstances and events that led to him answering the questions on his security questionnaires the way he did. His cohesive explanation of facts, along with sticking to his story, even when told by the security office that processed his application that if he admitted to the drug involvement it would be mitigated and he could get a clearance. The judge determined the applicant did not deliberately attempt to hide or withhold information, but rather believed he provided the most accurate information based on what he had been told. You can read the full case report here.