Domestic Violence, Debt Easy Path to Security Clearance Denial
In a previous post, “Online Dating Sites, Sextortion, and Your Clearance”, I covered the pitfalls and potential for blackmail for clearance holders while using online dating sites. In a similar scenario, a recent Department of Energy contractor lost his security clearance when a woman for whom he was providing financial assistance to and was romantically involved with took pictures of him in a compromising sexual situation and then threatened him with blackmail. This is one of the more interesting cases I have seen in quite a while, so happy reading!
The Local Security Office became aware of some personal conduct issues with this contractor, suspended his clearance, and then had him come in for an interview to obtain more information. The ensuing interview kicked off a referral to a psychiatrist, where even more concerning information was revealed. This resulted in a formal Letter of Notification (LON) to the individual proposing clearance revocation, citing specific concerns under Guidelines: E (Personal Conduct, I (Psychological Conditions), and J (Criminal Conduct). From what I could piece together on the case, this contractor had anger issues and during his previous marriage to his ex-spouse in 2009 he was arrested and charged for domestic violence related offenses. These anger issues also manifested themselves during a 2015 road rage incident in which he threatened another driver with a tire iron and was subsequently arrested for drunk and disorderly.
In 2015 he met a waitress (half his age) at a local restaurant and started helping her out financially to get her through some lean times. After she lost her job at the restaurant he “hired” her to run errands, and eventually the relationship turned sexual. At one point he allowed her to tie him up naked in a chair and she took pictures, which she subsequently sent to him via text messages threatening to make them public unless he gave her more money. He contacted the local police and filed a complaint against her and got her arrested, then ended up giving her more money to pay her rent because “he “couldn’t live without her”. To add another twist to this story, he was already $60k in debt on his credit cards when all of this transpired. The DOE psychiatrist provided testimony that the individual had impaired judgement in several areas of his life and that he viewed himself as the girlfriend’s “savior”.
The DOE Office of Appeals Judge was not sympathetic to his claims of just trying to be a good Samaritan by helping the girlfriend out, especially when, as a current clearance holder, he didn’t report any of this information to his employer as required. Additionally, there were many discrepancies between this individual’s version of the circumstances and events that led to all of these troubles, versus what other sources and witnesses conveyed. Needless to say, none of the issues cited in the LON were mitigated and his clearance was revoked. Go to this link if you want to read the entire case summary.