Downloading Company Information Results in Clearance Denial
In the world of high tech defense activities, contractors move around or change jobs quite often. For that reason, companies frequently have their employees sign non-disclosure and non-compete statements. The main purpose of this is to prevent the loss of proprietary information to competitors. A defense department contractor recently found out how seriously industry takes this when the FBI, who was conducting an investigation initiated by his former company, contacted him about some of his activities before he left his previous job. Here is a summary of the case:
This DoD contractor was offered a better position with a company that happened to be a competitor to his current company. Prior to leaving the job, he downloaded proprietary information to use in his new position. He had signed a non-compete and non-disclosure agreement stating he could not take or use the work he was doing for the company with him to another company. Well, he did it anyway. Despite glowing character and reference letters, the judge opined the contractor deliberately downloaded proprietary and sensitive information without authorization to benefit himself and his new company. Not only that, he had his clearance previously revoked in 2009 after some adverse information came out during a polygraph. He eventually was able to get his clearance eligibility back in 2014.
The disqualifying conduct in this case falls under Guideline M: Use of IT Systems, section (f) which states: introduction, removal, or duplication of hardware, firmware, software, or media to or from any information technology system without authorization, when prohibited by rules, procedures, guidelines or regulations.
Needless to say, based on this contractor’s prior history of negligence and poor judgment, combined with deliberate flaunting of rules, it is no surprise the clearance reinstatement appeal was denied.