Obtaining Security Clearance

When a Favorable Security Clearance Determination is Overturned


In a not so frequent ruling by the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals, the board overturned a favorable security clearance eligibility decision by the judge that had heard the initial appeal. The main issues in this particular case fall under Guideline E (Personal Conduct), Guideline G (Alcohol Consumption), Guideline J (Criminal Conduct), and Guideline H (Drug Involvement).

The applicant had a long history of arrests for alcohol related assaults and had illegally used drugs (marijuana and LSD) from 1999 to 2010. He attempted to downplay the seriousness of his actions in his testimony to the judge, changing key facts and circumstances, and obfuscating his past history on the security application forms. In an interesting twist, the applicant also testified that because he was faced with jail time from an previous assault charge, in order to comply with the court’s order to get treatment, he had lied about the extent of his past illegal drug use in order to get into a program because he would not have otherwise met the admission requirements.

Too much credit where it wasn’t due

Upon review, the board determined that the judge had improperly given too much weight and credibility to the applicant’s testimony regarding the circumstances of numerous incidents of alcohol abuse, illegal drug use, and violent conduct. The board was of the opinion that the applicant’s claims were too outrageous for a reasonable person to believe, especially when confronted with all of the facts and falsehoods included in his past record. Agency counsel argued that anyone, who by his own admission, will lie when it would be to his advantage to do so, is not someone who can be trusted to hold a security clearance. The board agreed and revoked the applicant’s security clearance eligibility.