Security Clearance Denial

Failure to Disclose History of Arrests and Drug Use Sinks DOE Clearance Applicant

When a clearance applicant certifies the Questionnaire for National Security Positions (SF-86), they are signing to say their statements on the form, and on any attachments to it, are true, complete, and correct to the best of their knowledge and are made in good faith. They are also stating that they understand that a knowing and willful false statement on the form can be punished by fine or imprisonment (or both) and that intentionally withholding, misrepresenting, falsifying, or including classified information may have a negative effect on their security clearance. Time and time again, I see clearance denials based on not disclosing required information. A recent Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Hearings and Appeals case highlighted the consequences of not being truthful on the form.

The applicant had a colorful history of criminal conduct ranging from possession/using illegal drugs, domestic assault, traffic violations, and failure to appear in court. Although not charged with a crime, he also assaulted his son while they were in a grocery store, punching him in the head multiple times in order to discipline him. He was also delinquent on child support payments to the tune of $10,150. On the SF-86, he listed only one drug charge in 2012. When asked by the background investigator if his questionnaire was accurate, he affirmed it was. He was then confronted with the rest of his criminal history and financial delinquencies, and subsequently admitted to drug use and an employment termination that should also have been disclosed on the SF-86.

The applicant claimed to have rushed through the questions and intended on providing clarifying information during his security interview. The DOE judge in this case rightfully pointed out that he failed to provide any additional information about his omissions until he was confronted by the investigator. His claim of having forgotten the details of all his arrests and citations was not credible. His appeal for eligibility for access to classified information was denied. You can read the entire summary here.