Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Involvement Leads to Clearance Revocation
An interesting Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) case caught my eye because it involved a DoD contractor who had his security clearance revoked for being a member of what the Federal Government calls an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMG). Even more unusual, in his initial appeal to a DoD judge he was granted eligibility for a clearance. That did not go over well with DoD Department Counsel and they appealed to DOHA. Here is a summary of the case.
The contractor had held a security clearance since 2010. In 2016 he became a member of a motorcycle gang that was closely affiliated with another gang known for criminal and other nefarious activities. Although he knew the affiliated gang was an OMG, he did not disclose his membership to his company’s Facility Security Officer (FSO) until he was confronted about it in June of 2018. The FSO advised to cease and desist all association with the gang lest it affect his clearance eligibility. Well, the contractor chose to continue his activities with the gang for another year before he was interviewed for a reinvestigation and then realized he might be in danger of having his clearance revoked, so he purportedly ended his association with the gang.
Sure enough, a month later his eligibility was suspended and eventually the DoD revoked his clearance. In his appeal to the DoD judge the main argument for mitigation of his involvement was there was no evidence the contractor was involved in any criminal activity or had any first-hand knowledge of it. The judge, in error, reinstated his clearance eligibility. Department counsel subsequently appealed to DOHA and argued the initial appeals judge failed to consider all of the other evidence in the case that showed the contractor was aware the gang was an OMG, was involved in criminal activity, continued to associate with them after being advised not to, and did not separate his contact with them until he realized he might lose his clearance. The DOHA judge agreed and overturned the reinstatement. This case is a prime example of who you associate with can be detrimental to your cleared job prospects.