Security Clearance Denial

Top Issues in 2015 for Security Clearance Denials

In 2015 the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) Board held 996 hearings for appeals on adverse security clearance determinations or eligibility for placement into public trust positions. As was the case in the previous year, analysis of the types of issues involved showed that cases with financial and personal conduct issues made up the overwhelming majority. The next two highest categories were drug involvement and foreign influence. Below is a breakdown by adjudicative category of the types of issues presented (Note- some cases had multiple issues):

Adjudicative Guideline                                              # of Cases

Guideline A: Allegiance to the U.S.                          0

Guideline B: Foreign Influence                                 87

Guideline C: Foreign Preference                              41

Guideline D: Sexual Behavior                                   8

Guideline E: Personal Conduct                                225

Guideline F: Financial Considerations                    499

Guideline G: Alcohol Consumption                          59

Guideline H: Drug Involvement                                 122

Guideline I: Psychological Conditions                     1

Guideline J: Criminal Conduct                                   70

Guideline K: Handling Protected Information         8

Guideline L: Outside Activities                                  0

Guideline M: Use of IT Systems                                4

The cases that involved personal conduct issues more often than not were a result of the applicant not disclosing required information on the investigative paperwork. Here are some words of advice to those that intend on applying for or retaining a security clearance: answer the questions honestly and ensure you provide full disclosure on any potential issues; take proactive steps to mitigate any financial delinquencies long before you fill out the SF-86 and gather supporting documentation; and what would seem like a no-brainer, stay away from any drug use even if it is legal in your state.

Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    And when your investigator asks why you didn’t list something on the case papers, don’t A) cop attitude about why it needs to be listed and/or B) laugh it off and say you didn’t think it was significant enough to be listed. Especially when it’s something either financial or criminal.

  2. Avatar

    It’s amazing that sexual behavior and psychological issues are very low. I know there are many instances of the latter, as I have a lot of cases involving this. But so few of the former is due to either adjudications minimizing it or the investigation not uncovering it. I’m inclined to think it’s a little of both. Either way it’s not good. Never is someone as reckless and stupid and willing to do bad stuff as when they have engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct, adultery, etc. Conversely, a Subject who has an atrocious credit history might be the worst candidate for a loan, but I’m not sure they can’t be trusted otherwise. Yes, they’re irresponsible (in most cases), but not reckless. IMO, the guy to be most concerned with usually starts doing crazy stuff to cover up a personal financial crash and burn, and will swallow a bullet way before the unraveling shows up in a credit report. Guys with atrocious credit reports and lots of credit credit card and loan debt will almost never engage in extremely reckless and criminal behavior to hide the debt or cover for it. People don’t start fudging the accounting books and take out insurance policies on spouses because of pressure from bill collectors or bad credit scores.

  3. Avatar

    How do I apply for a security clearance? I’m a U.S. citizen. I’m Honorably discharged from the Marine Corp and served as a Deputy Sheriff for Pinellas County until retirement in 2003.

  4. Avatar

    @Kenneth Styles, you cannot just go out an apply for a security clearance. You have to be employed by a company or government agency who will sponsor you based on you being hired for a position that requires it.

  5. Avatar

    Hey guys I hope that you have the answer for me. I had interim clearance granted and after 10 days I got declined Have you guys had that issue before and how can I find out the reason of the denial?

  6. Avatar

    Not sure what that you have painted an accurate picture, you would not have been granted an interim to turn around and be denied within two weeks. However, if that was the case you have no recourse to find out why unless you FSO can find out and tell you. Granting an interim is basically a waiver until the investigation is done, and not something that is required for them to do, and they don’t have to give you a statement of reasons or an appeal process.