Security Clearance Denial

Spouse’s Gambling Addiction is Not an Excuse for Unresolved Debts

A contractor was recently denied eligibility for a security clearance by the DoD CAF based on financial issues and personal conduct. He subsequently appealed to the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals. Here are the highlights of the case:

The DoD contractor’s history of financial issues first started in 2007 when he became aware of his wife’s gambling addiction. Even though he knew she was using her entire paychecks to gamble, and then take additional funds from their joint account, he did nothing to prevent it from happening. This continued on and in 2017 he divorced her, but then a year later remarried her. In 2015 he bought a new car for $44,000 which was subsequently repossessed when he couldn’t keep up with the payments. In 2017 he took out $13,000 from his retirement account for a down payment on a $43,000 BMW. Credit reports showed they were almost $17,000 delinquent on their $400,000 mortgage. IRS records indicate they owed $33,000 in taxes because of early withdrawals from his pension plan he used to pay the bills.

In his appeal, the contractor seemed to place all of the blame for their financial issues on his wife’s gambling problem. The DOHA judge was of the opinion the contractor did not act responsibly in protecting his financial situation once he became aware of his wife’s addiction, nor did he take any steps to resolve the delinquencies. Additionally, no lifestyle changes were made even when he had to use his pension funds to pay the bills. On the security clearance application, he also failed to disclose the delinquent taxes. His excuse for not disclosing it was because he knew the government would find out anyways. Needless to say, this was an easy decision for the judge to uphold the initial clearance denial.


  1. The decision makes sense to me. A big reason to deny a clearance based on finances is because of an increased risk that one’s precarious financial situation can be more easily leveraged by adversaries to convince someone to sell government secrets. A gambling problem, whether it is the subject or the subject’s spouse doing the gambling, seems like the proverbial, classic, high risk case.

  2. Wow. That was clearly stupid decisions on his part across the board on every facet of his life.