Security Clearance Denial

Soliciting Prostitutes Is a No-No for Clearance Holders

Even though it is practiced across the entire country, prostitution is illegal in the United States. There are countries where it is legal and regulated. Regardless of where it occurs, soliciting a prostitute is never a good idea for someone who has a security clearance. What is the big deal, you ask? According to the adjudicative guidelines under sexual behavior, it makes you vulnerable for blackmail, coercion, or exploitation by criminals or foreign intelligence operatives. Depending on where it occurs, it may also be criminal. A DoD contractor was denied clearance eligibility exactly for these reasons. Here are the highlights of the case.

In early 2019, the contractor applied to a position that required a polygraph and voluntarily agreed to a pre-test interview. During this interview he disclosed patronizing prostitutes approximately 40 times in two U.S. states and four countries abroad between 2014 and 2018, during which time he held a security clearance. The polygraph examiner terminated the interview. In April 2019, he got a job with his current
contractor and during the course of the subsequent background investigation, he confirmed the information he previously disclosed in the pre-test interview.

Despite his claims of not knowing it was illegal to do so in the U.S., the judge considered that he was a former military intelligence specialist and was trained on activities not conducive to clearance holders, such as human trafficking for the sex trade. He also noted the contractor’s boss, FSO, family, and friends had no knowledge of these activities, indicating he was trying to keep them a secret. Ultimately, the appeals judge sided with the government and denied clearance eligibility.


  1. FWIW, I don’t think that’s quite correct. I think it’s a state level law. It’s illegal in most of the US but it is legal in some counties in NV. I don’t think there is any federal law relating to prostitution.

    Wikipedia: "The regulation of prostitution in the country is not among the enumerated powers of the federal government. It is therefore exclusively the domain of the states to permit, prohibit, or otherwise regulate commercial sex under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, except insofar as Congress may regulate it as part of interstate commerce with laws such as the Mann Act. "

  2. In my prior BI days, I had a case where a fed employee use to visits “escorts” while away on travel and in the course of interviewing, he claimed it wasnt for sex but to dress up and do roleplays that his spouse wouldnt do. His spouse knew about it and he was not open to blackmail or coercion, etc. and even was going to counseling for it.

  3. Prostitution is not federally illegal, it is a state law issue. In Nevada they have Red Light Districts where prostitution is legal.