Security Clearance Denial

DoD Contractor’s Marijuana Grow House Leads to Discovery of Classified Documents

All clearance holders receive an initial security briefing that
includes going over the proper handling and storage of classified
documents. This is a hot topic lately with the discovery of classified
documents at high level current and former political figures. I ran
across a case study from 2021 about a former U.S. Air Force
contractor, Izaak Kemp, who was put in prison for a year after being
convicted of unauthorized removal and retention of classified
information. Here are the highlights of the case:

From 2016 to 2019 Kemp worked for the Air Force Research Laboratory
and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center out of
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and had a Top-Secret security
clearance with Sensitive Compartmented Information access. Acting on a
tip about a possible marijuana grow house, the local police department
got a search warrant for Kemp’s house and during their search, in
addition to a marijuana grow operation, discovered around 2,500 pages
of classified documents.

Department of Justice prosecutors in the case could not link Kemp to
any evidence of unauthorized disclosure of classified information and
Kemp did not offer any specific motive for taking the documents.
Regardless, the fact that he was operating an illegal drug
manufacturing facility at the same location heightened the possibility
of classified information being disclosed to unauthorized
persons. For a person who had a PhD in Electrical Engineering and the
highest-level security clearance, it should have been obvious the
risks of being discovered were pretty high.

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