AdjudicationSecurity Clearance DenialSecurity Clearance Process

Luggage Thief Denied a Security Clearance

When reading through case summaries and Report of Investigations (ROI), I always look for what a security clearance applicant’s motivation was for committing a crime, doing illegal drugs, or just plain lying about stuff. In most cases, the motivation is easy to figure out: financial difficulties, alcohol or drug dependency, or just a lack of integrity and honesty. Then there are those few cases where you shake your head and ask “what were they thinking?”.  Here are the highlights of one such case:

“This security clearance applicant is married, retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel, is a current clearance holder and has worked as a DoD contractor for 23 years. The DoD CAF denied him eligibility based on criminal and personal conduct. In 2014 while traveling for work, he was caught on airport video surveillance stealing luggage on four separate occasions. The last time he was caught red-handed with another person’s luggage and subsequently charged with four felony counts of theft. During his appeal to the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals he came up with some pretty incredible explanations about the arrest and you can read about them in the case summary. What’s even more bizarre about this is when asked by the DOHA judge as to why he accepted a plea deal if he didn’t commit the crimes, the applicant said he didn’t want to pay the lawyer $10,000 because he only made $150,000 that year. The judge ordered the applicant to provide his IRS tax return to corroborate his claim and the return showed he his total income was actually over $287,000 for 2014.”

I bet many of you are thinking the same thing I am: why the heck was this guy with a security clearance who is making good money stealing luggage from an airport? Your guess is as good as mine, perhaps a mental condition yet to be diagnosed? The DOHA judge found the applicant’s credibility lacking when compared to the evidence of criminal conduct and dishonesty during his arrest interviews, his security interview, and testimony during the appeal. I, for one, am glad I don’t ever check my bags when flying, lest it turn up missing because of someone with sticky hands.