Background Investigations

If Only I Had Told the Truth

As many on this site have said for security clearance applicants, it is better to tell all then try to hide stuff and hope no one finds out. Many times, the information you are trying to hide can be mitigated, but the fact that you lied about it can’t. That was exactly scenario in a recent Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Hearing and Appeals case. Here are the highlights:

In August 2021, the applicant filled out the SF-86 and indicated his previously held security clearance was suspended as a result of being issued a reprimand in 2011 due to job performance. During a September 2021 interview with a background investigator, he clarified the reprimand was because of financial issues. Then, during a follow up interview in October 2021, he finally admitted it was also because he had misused a corporate credit card. The applicant also failed to list any delinquent debts or taxes, seemingly having forgot he owed the IRS over $100,000. And to top it all off, he failed to mention he had been diagnosed with a Bipolar Mood Disorder in 2010-11 and sought treatment for it.

Let’s take these one at a time: the reprimand and clearance suspension happened over ten years ago and is mitigated by time; the mood disorder can be mitigated with evidence that it does not affect your
reliability and trustworthiness; lastly and the most serious issue other than lying, is the delinquent taxes, which can be mitigated depending on the cause, what action you took to resolve or if you were on a
payment plan with a history of payments made. The one issue that absolutely cannot be mitigated: falsification and lack of candor during the background investigation process. We all know how this one turned out.