Security Clearance Denial

Clearance Holder Loses Eligibility Due to One-Time Marijuana Use

Security clearance holders receive an annual briefing on the requirements for maintaining eligibility and what kinds of activities are a no-no. Yet, time and again a select few choose to ignore the warnings and gamble they won’t get caught. Another recent case involving a Department of Energy contractor shows the consequences for clearance holders who roll the dice thinking they won’t get caught. Here is a quick summary of the case:

This contractor, who had held a security clearance since 2001, was involved in an accident at the work site and as is standard protocol, was required to submit to a drug test to ensure no alcohol or illegal substances were involved. Well, just so happens, the weekend prior the contractor had smoked some marijuana with some “buddies” and the drug test came back positive. His clearance was subsequently revoked and in his appeal before the judge, he claimed it was the first and only time he had ever smoked marijuana and would never do so again. However, the details of how he obtained the marijuana and from who (buddies he hardly knew) were sketchy and inconsistent, and the one witness he brought to the hearing with him was not even aware the contractor’s clearance had been revoked due to marijuana use.

The moral of this story is this: if you got caught using illegal drugs be prepared to answer detailed questions about who you were with and why you decided to partake despite knowing it was illegal. Also, if you bring a witness to appeal on your behalf you should brief them on the facts so they aren’t surprised when the judge tells them why you are there in the first place. You can read the whole case here.