Security Clearance Denial

Weapons Cache and Experimental Marijuana Grow-House Found in Clearance Applicant’s Home

This particular Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) case was certainly an interesting read just because of the audacity of the applicant in thinking he could keep a security clearance in the first place. The Department of Defense initially granted him eligibility in 2018. In May 2021 he completed a new SF-86 and after the investigation closed, the DoD revoked his access due to concerns involving criminal conduct, illegal drug use, personal conduct, and finances. He subsequently appealed to DOHA in person. Here are the highlights of the case.

The applicant is a defense contractor working as a cloud network engineer. In June 2021, during a police investigation into an unlawful gunshot into his neighbor’s residence, the below items were found in the applicant’s residence:

  • 4 Mason jars containing marijuana in his living room on his coffee table.
  • 4 vacuum sealed bags containing marijuana in the bedroom.
  • 180 plastic packaging envelopes in his living room on his coffee table.
  • 1 digital scale under the living room coffee table.
  • 1 Glock Model 30 handgun, which was properly registered.
  • 1 Glock Model 40 handgun, which was properly registered.
  • 1 shotgun; – 1 semi-automatic rifle with short barrel installed.
  • 1 upper receiver allowing conversion to a full-length rifle.
  • 1,123 rounds of ammunition of various calibers.
  • 15 large capacity ammunition feeding devices for the pistols and rifles.
  • Personal papers and identification documents of applicant.
  • $3,024 in U.S. currency in multiple denominations.

There was 15.9 oz total of marijuana found in residence. He was subsequently arrested, charged, and found guilty. On his SF-86, he failed to disclose other arrests and past illegal drug use. Amazingly, during his interviews in July and September 2021, he told the investigator that he was experimenting with growing marijuana for his own knowledge and as a hobby, but denied selling it to anyone. He also replied “no” when initially asked if he had been arrested in the last 7 years. Obviously, with all of the items found in his house related to drug distribution, the judge did not find the applicant’s testimony credible. Telling bold-faced lies will always result in a clearance denial, as it did in this case.