Security Clearance Denial

Four Alcohol Related Incidents Sink Clearance Reinstatement

Guideline G: Alcohol Consumption is one of the grayer areas when it comes to evaluating a person’s character, reliability and trustworthiness and deciding whether to grant them eligibility for a security clearance. Alcohol consumption usually in and of itself does not end up disqualifying someone, but rather the associated conduct that occurs when inebriated. If resulting in criminal conduct like driving while intoxicated then obviously it is more serious then getting drunk in your own home because your judgment is impaired and not only are you putting yourself at risk, but others as well. The first step to mitigating concerns for alcohol related incidents is to take responsibility and admit fault. The below summary of a recent Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals case illustrates this point:

This contractor held a clearance previously for 14 years, but in 2019 was denied reinstatement eligibility by the DoD CAF due to concerns about his alcohol consumption involving four separate incidents in which he was arrested for driving under the influence. The first offense in 2010 was dismissed in court after his lawyer appeared before the judge. The second one in 2014 he made a plea deal with the court and received a deferred sentence.  Same thing happened again in 2016. Then, in 2018, he was pulled over again and arrested for DUI and refusal to submit to a breathalyzer. He was convicted of reckless driving and refusal to submit and lost his license for three years.

At the DOHA hearing the applicant argued the DOD CAF judge did not use the whole person concept and apply mitigation to the concerns. The DOHA judge outlined the entire case and rightfully upheld the denial.  When reading this case the one thing that jumped out at me was the applicant’s own statement in which he “maintains he has never driven a vehicle under the influence of alcohol”. Not exactly the way to assume responsibility for four separate arrests in which alcohol was definitely involved.