Security Clearance Denial

Intent to Keep Using Illegal Drugs = Public Trust Denial

It would be safe to say that most, if not all, government workers know that using drugs is not copasetic or in line with the Drug-Free Federal Workplace policy. This applies to all tiers of investigations, not just security clearance applicants. When I find Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals cases where the applicant states they intend to keep using drugs, I shake my head and wonder, “what were they thinking?”  Here are the highlights of one such appeal:

The applicant applied for a public trust position with a defense contractor for whom he has worked in other positions since 2010. The DoD denied him eligibility for the position based on his self-admitted illegal drug use listed on the SF-85P application. Specifically, he listed using marijuana from 1998 to 2019 and hallucinogenic mushrooms from 2021-22. During his security interview with the background investigator, he was asked when the last time was that he had used illegal drugs. His answer? “I have not decided to stop using marijuana or mushrooms at this time.”  He further stated he uses marijuana as a stress reliever and the mushrooms give him a pleasant experience that wears off in a few hours, much more manageable than drinking alcohol.

Given the fact that the applicant stated his intent to continue using illegal drugs, one has to wonder why he even bothered to submit an appeal. This case was a slam-dunk from the beginning, so no surprise at the judge upholding the denial for eligibility to hold a public trust position. Still shaking my head on this one. You can read the entire case summary here.

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