Update on 2019 Security Clearance Appeals – Major Case of Misuse of IT Systems
The Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) released their first batch of decisions for security clearance and public trust position denial appeals for 2019. Through the end of February, DOHA heard 83 appeals and as in previous years, financial issues continue to outpace all others followed by personal conduct, which most often means a lack of candor or lying on the application. Of the 83 cases, 21 were successful in getting clearance or public trust eligibility. Two cases were remanded back to the adjudicating agency for procedural errors, two favorable decisions were reversed based on incorrect use of mitigation by the initial appeals judge, and the remaining 58 had the denial upheld. Here is a summary of one of the more interesting cases:
This security clearance applicant is a software engineer for a defense contractor and a self-admitted sex addict to pornography. His wife is an ordained minister and is of the opinion that pornography is the same as infidelity. Starting in 2002 through 2017 the applicant viewed pornography at work in order to satisfy his addiction and avoid confrontation with the wife. He also admitted to occasionally masturbating in the men’s room at work after viewing pornography. In 2012 he sought counseling and in 2014 he attended Sexaholics Anonymous. On the SF-86 application he failed to disclose the counseling and answered “no” to the misuse of IT systems section. During his security interview he initially lied about the last time he viewed pornography, saying it had been 18 months prior when it actually had been three days. He had been terminated from previous employment for viewing pornography at work. Needless to say, the judge was not swayed by his character witnesses and claims of being cured of his sex addiction – appeal denied.