Security Clearance Denial

Exception to Bond Amendment Not Granted – Clearance Eligibility Denied

The Bond Amendment states that an agency may refuse to grant or renew a security clearance for an individual who “has been convicted in any court of the United States of a crime, was sentenced to imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year, and was incarcerated as a result of that sentence for not less than one year.” Agencies may grant exceptions if mitigating circumstances are present. A recent Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Hearing and Appeals case involved an applicant who was convicted of Criminal Sexual Penetration of a Minor-Rape and Aiding and Abetting on a reservation in 1984. He was incarcerated for eighteen months. Now, one would think the applicant had served his time and 35 years would be long enough to mitigate this conduct and grant an exception to the Bond Amendment, right? Well, there is always more to the story.

The initial denial for clearance eligibility also cited other issues of concern: thirteen outstanding financial delinquencies for over 18k; a 1991 and 2008 DUI; and a 2012 arrest after a warrant was filed for failure to appear in court for a traffic ticket. The applicant’s testimony during the hearing was not persuasive and provided no mitigation for granting an exception. In the appeal summary the judge also noted thirty-five years had passed since the 1984 conviction, but the applicant’s failure to assume full responsibility for his conduct in the incident was troubling, and when combined with the more recent issues, paints a picture of continued unreliability and questionable judgment. The criminal conduct and financial considerations issues were not mitigated – clearance eligibility denied.