Security Clearance Denial

Decades Long Drug Use Leads to Clearance Denial

In most security clearance denial cases the adjudicative decision is based on one or two areas of concern that are disqualifying in accordance with the adjudicative guidelines. However, in a recent Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) case the applicant was issued a Statement of Reasons (SOR) that invoked three out of thirteen adjudicative guidelines. This applicant was a contractor mechanic and held an interim Secret clearance for two years before it was suspended after the issues noted below came to light:

  • Used marijuana for the two decades prior to filling out the SF-86 application and continued to use it while holding an interim security clearance.
  • Met a foreign national and arranged to have marijuana-laced cookies sent to him via mail (in violation of that country’s drug laws).
  • Sold cocaine on the side to supplement his income.
  • Arrested in a bar fight and charged with malicious wounding.
  • Slapped his daughter across the face splitting her lip in a domestic dispute and charged with assault and battery
  • Answered “No” to all of the illegal drug use questions on the SF-86.

It is astounding he was granted an interim clearance in the first place, but then again, this was back in 2016 and at the height of the security clearance investigation backlog, so perhaps that had some part to play in it. Needless to say, the DOHA judge had a pretty easy decision to make in this case because the applicant could not mitigate any of the illegal drug use, criminal conduct, or personal conduct (lack of candor) concerns. Clearance appeal denied!