Security Clearance Denial

Paying for Sex and Security Clearances: Not a Good Combination

The number of security clearance denials for sexual behavior doubled from last year according to analysis of the top reasons for a denial. Three recent DOHA appeals cases jumped out at me because they involved solicitation of prostitutes or paying for sexual services. This has always been a source danger of compromise or exploitation for security clearance holders and applicants. History has shown many examples where foreign intelligence services or criminals have used the “honeypot” technique to get people to disclose classified information.  Here is a quick rundown on the three appeals, all of which were denied:

  • Applicant #1 is married, has children, and previously had a security clearance. He admitted information during a polygraph that included: he had sexual intercourse with prostitutes several times in the late 1990s and early 2000s; in 2008 he went to a massage parlor a few times and paid extra for sexual services; in 2015 he again went to a massage parlor and received sexual services in exchange for money. His spouse is unaware of this activity.


  • Applicant #2 is 71 years old, twice divorced, and has had a clearance for well over 30 years. During the subject interview with a background investigator the following information came out: he admitted he had viewed numerous porn sites and a woman on one of the sites caught his attention. He contacted her and arranged to have sex with her in exchange for $1,200. This occurred a few times in 2015-16 when the applicant had the extra money to pay. Also, it turns out she was a citizen of a South American country. None of this information was reported on his reinvestigation paperwork.


  • Applicant #3 is a former military officer and previously held a security clearance. During an upgrade investigation and subsequent polygraph he disclosed the following: he paid for sex with prostitutes numerous times between 1987 and 2015, including while holding a security clearance, and once while assigned overseas. In both 2013 and 2015, Applicant took several precautions, including using a disposable cell phone, providing false employment and other personal information for the website’s screening process, and leaving his military identification card at home. He took those steps because he knew his conduct was illegal and that it might subject him to coercion to leverage his access to classified information.


  1. I wonder what made any of these people think they had grounds to stand on for appeal…