Security Clearance Denial

DOE Contractor Blackmailed in Sex Triangle Tryst

All security clearance holders receive an initial security briefing that covers the does and don’t as far as what behaviors and personal conduct could jeopardize their eligibility. Basically, this is anything that could be used to extort or blackmail someone to gain information, obtain money, or exert influence. A recent Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Hearing and Appeals case highlights how off-duty personal conduct can result in a clearance revocation. Here is a summary:

The DOE contractor, who is married, started communicating via texts with the spouse of someone else. These texts eventually turned into meetings of a sexual nature. The spouse’s partner found out and contacted the contractor directly to find out the extent of their relationship. Subsequently, the contractor starting texting with the partner in sexual overtones. That is when the partner’s spouse hit the contractor with demands for money in exchange for not releasing the texts and photos to his family and friends. But, wait, that was just the beginning. The spouse’s partner also jumped in and suggested to the contractor to allow her lawyer draft an agreement to release all damaging hard copy and digital materials to the contractor in exchange for $5,000.

Amazingly, after 96 separate transactions totaling around $18,000 paid to the two extortionists, it finally dawned on the contractor that maybe he should report this to the police and his local security office. During his DOE Appeals Board hearing he admitted he only self-reported the information because the couple threatened to come to his workplace and make trouble with his manager.

The judge in this case rightfully denied reinstatement of clearance eligibility, opining the individual did not report the situation until after four months and $18,000 later, and only did so when he thought his employer might find out. Claiming this was a one-time incident that will not happened again did not negate the seriousness of capitulating to blackmail over 90 times. The individual received training and should have known to report this immediately. You can read the entire case here.


  1. That is a good case. Interesting for sure.