Obtaining Security Clearance

Contractor Overcomes QAnon and Three-Percenter Concerns to Get Clearance

There were only two Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) cases involving the Allegiance guideline this year. This one involved a DoD contractor who had shown a more than passing interest into the anti-establishment conspiracy theorist group called QAnon, and militia extremists who call themselves Three-Percenters (III%). He was working overseas on a military installation when someone reported QAnon and III% bumper stickers on his vehicle. An administrative investigation ensued, and he was eventually barred from the military base for 10 years because of displaying iconography associated with extremist ideologies. Plus, using his government computer to research and distribute material about QAnon via email to other federal employees.

At his DOHA appeal, the contractor denied being a III% or having sympathy toward extremist ideologies, but rather did not know much about them and was interested in learning more. He was misinformed and has no future intentions of displaying or propagating messages about resistance to the U.S. Government. Co-workers, a supervisor, and retired military officers all attested to his allegiance to the U.S. Constitution and that the events on Capitol Hill in January 2021 caused some to overreact and take a hard line on anyone who was suspected of supporting the insurrection.

The judge in this case opined the contractor did not behave or conduct himself in any way that would lead people to believe he supports extremist groups or militias. He merely was trying to research what these groups were all about. He was unaware that he should not be using a government computer to send information about what he naively thought was just a repository of information about QAnon. Based on the whole person concept, and the unanimous testimony of witnesses who have never questioned his patriotism, security clearance eligibility was granted.