Security Clearance Denial

Doubts About Trustworthiness and Honesty Doom Clearance Reinstatement

Under the national security adjudicative guidelines Personal Conduct (Guideline E) covers many areas that don’t fall into criteria under other guidelines. Disqualifying conduct under personal conduct includes dishonesty, history of rule-breaking, failure to follow orders, negligence in work performance, falsification, civil litigation, or omission of relevant facts during the background investigation process. Many of these may be minor issues when taken by themselves but are put together to paint the bigger picture of evaluating a person’s trustworthiness and reliability. A recent Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals case highlighted exactly this point. Below is a summary of the case.

The applicant appealed DoD’s decision to revoke her Secret clearance based on personal conduct issues that came to light in her background investigation:

  • Falsification of timecards for a previous employer to the tune of over $3,300 which she agreed to pay back after being confronted with it
  • False claims for state nutritional benefits after she changed jobs and based on her new income, no longer qualified for the benefits, along with providing misleading information on the application
  • During the interview with the background investigator she denied having committed time-card fraud; during the DOHA hearing she admitted to it

When reviewed under the “whole person” concept, the picture painted was of a person who deliberately took advantage of loopholes for her own benefit and provided false or misleading information for personal gain. Even after being confronted, she still shirked responsibility by claiming all kinds of excuses for why things happened. In the end it was all for naught – clearance reinstatement was denied. You can read the entire case here.