Clearance Holder Uses Marijuana to Save Marriage
I was reading through the transcript of a recent Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Hearing and Appeals case and was astounded when I came to the part about why this DOE contractor used marijuana while possessing a security clearance, and then lied about it. In 2017 the contractor underwent the reinvestigation process and filled out the SF-86 indicating he has not used any illegal drugs in the past seven years nor while possessing a security clearance. Over a year later an Enhanced Subject Interview was scheduled during which the contractor disclosed that he had indeed used marijuana twice in 2013. Why? He claimed that his then-wife (now ex-wife) started using marijuana and he tried it with her a couple of times in order to save his marriage. When asked why he didn’t disclose this information on his latest SF-86 he claimed to have been in the process of a divorce and was trying to forget all of the bad things involved with it.
The DOE revoked his eligibility for access based on illegal drug involvement and personal conduct (lack of candor). At his appeal, the contractor brought in several character witnesses and his current wife, who all vouched for his honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness. The wife’s testimony included her belief that his failure to disclose the drug use was the result of unique circumstances and that he very easily could have forgot having used marijuana during that time in his life. She also insinuated the ex-wife “talked” him into it and he was just trying to get along with her.
The judge took all of this into consideration and acknowledged that future illegal drug use was improbable, thus mitigating that concern. However, the lack of candor on the SF-86, use of illegal drugs while holding a security clearance, and use of illegal drugs in violation of his company’s drug policy were not mitigated. The judge opined the contractor failed to report this conduct for over 5 years and probably wouldn’t have reported it if he hadn’t discovered his ex-wife had been interviewed by a background investigator. His credibility was further damaged when he claimed another reason for not reporting it was because he was not actively working on classified matters. Needless to say, reinstatement for clearance eligibility was denied.