Obtaining Security Clearance

The FBI Provides OPM Post-Investigation Arrest Reports

As a part of continuous evaluation requirements clearance holders are supposed to notify their agency or company security officers whenever they have been arrested or charged with a criminal offense. Many do not, or delay in communicating the information in hopes that they can get the charges dropped or downgraded.  This is a really bad idea because you would have to complete a periodic reinvestigation at some point and have to answer to why you did not report it right away.

Another reason you should report arrests or charges, regardless of the outcome, is because the FBI routinely sends OPM notifications of arrests for anyone who has undergone a federal background investigation. This is how it works:

  • Applicant’s fingerprints and name check are submitted to the FBI for a federal background investigation.
  • Results are sent to OPM and included as an item in the completed investigation.
  • Individual is subsequently arrested by some law enforcement agency, who reports the information to the FBI.
  • FBI checks its own database for any matching records, finds out the individual had a background investigation done, and sends OPM a post-investigation notification of arrest.
  • OPM looks back to the last agency that submitted an investigation on the individual and sends the notification to their security office.
  • The security office reviews the notification to determine whether any action is needed based on the seriousness of the conduct. Also taken into consideration for any action is whether or not the individual voluntarily self-reported the information.

As you may imagine, it would not be looked upon favorably if the individual DID NOT report this information to their security office. Now, in addition to the issue that led to the arrest, there is another issue in play for failure to follow reporting requirements.  So there you have it, clearance holders are now forewarned.