Security Clearance Process

Contractor Overcomes 6 DUIs and Illegal Drug Use to Get Clearance Eligibility

It would not be a stretch of the imagination to think a security clearance applicant with six DUIs, illegal drug use, a violation of a protective order, other criminal charges, and a lack of candor on government forms would be denied eligibility for access to classified information, right? That is exactly what the local security office adjudicator did after reviewing the completed background investigation for this DOE contractor. Here are some of the highlights of the issues involved used for the initial decision:

–          He self-admitted marijuana use from 1981 up to 2012 and a possession of drug paraphernalia conviction

–          Applicant failed to list the first, second, and third DUIs on the SF-86. He did, however, list the other ones and disclosed they were the fourth through sixth offenses

–          Was convicted of driving on a suspended license twice, as well two other criminal charges

The applicant submitted an appeal to the DOE Appeals Board and presented the following mitigation for the issues of concern:

–          His co-workers testified on his behalf attesting to his character and ethics at work

–          Denied the lack of candor charge and pointed out that he listed three DUI charges as being the fourth through six, which implied he had three prior ones

–          Had his ex-wife submitted a letter to the board explaining the circumstances of their divorce and that they both got a bit “ugly”, which led to two of the DUIs and other criminal charges

–          Favorable prognosis from a DOE certified psychologist for alcohol use disorder and drug abuse

The judge in this case opined the applicant mitigated the lack of candor concerns, had not been involved in illegal drug use since 2012, and has not had any arrests or alcohol-related incidents since 2012. Weight was given for his current job performance, the circumstances that contributed to his behavior, and time elapsed since the last incident. Clearance eligibility was granted. This is a good case study on how to present mitigating information in accordance with the adjudicative guidelines to overcome multiple issues.


  1. Like I have always said, these investigations and judges just want to hurt financially strapped people. Not criminals like this one.

  2. For God’s sake stop . . . We have plenty of people here who have successfully navigated SERIOUS financial issues and been cleared.

    What this actually shows is that presentation and time work in our favor. The DUIs and drug use were six years old and the presentation of migrating factors from the AG are extremely important in ANY appeal.

  3. Was this guy represented by counsel?

  4. Yes would love to know who he worked with to prepare and present this appeal. Assume he was out of work for a certain amount of time, or allowed to work uncleared during the process?

  5. With issues that serious, he would have been wise to retain counsel.

  6. That…is an odd response.

  7. Wow. Thats quite amazing to read. So does this mean my one piece of medical debt of 566 bucks shouldn’t be an issue if everything else is clean? (Secret) I submitted the payment for it when i realized it was on my report.

  8. We don’t need someone clearing with six DUIs to tell you that one, paid off, medical debt isn’t going to stop you from clearing . . .

  9. Wow this was surprising. Granted the activities are in the past but they are consistent. Anyone wanna bet on a 7th DUI? And those are only the times he got caught.

    I’m no angel. I answered YES to some of the “Have you ever” questions. But I don’t make a mistake more than once. I’d think you would learn your lesson after feeling handcuffs on your wrist just one time.

    I hope in this case the judge is right.