Lack of Candor on Background Investigation Forms Will Sink You
More and more often, on all levels of background investigations I see applicants who fail to disclose required information. Some attribute it to oversight and failing to thoroughly read the questions and others claim an unfamiliarity with filling out government forms. Regardless, all applicants must check the box on the form stating they have read and understand this statement: “Statement of Understanding attesting that “I have read the instructions and I understand if I withhold, misrepresent, or falsify information on this form, I am subject to the penalties for inaccurate or false statement (per U.S. Criminal Code, Title 18, section 1001), or removal and debarment from Federal service.”
The language in the statement was updated recently to emphasize that the onus is on the applicant to provide all required information accurately. Yet, scrolling through the summaries at the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals site, I continue to find cases where the applicant failed to disclose information on the forms and is denied clearance eligibility under personal conduct due to lack of candor. In many cases, had they been forthright, the issue they failed to disclose could have been mitigated. Most often, it is not disclosing information related to financial delinquencies, arrests, illegal drug use, employment misconduct, or getting fired that gets applicants in hot water.
In the employment misconduct link above, the applicant lied on six different questions related to being disciplined, suspended or reprimanded for misconduct in employment and to having been fired or leaving employment by mutual agreement due to specific issues. Not to say he would have been deemed eligible for a clearance had he disclosed all required information, but he made it easier for the denial by outright lying about the numerous employment misconduct issues. As always, honesty, being forthright, and taking responsibility for your actions is the best path forward.