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Ask Your Clearance Questions
Getting/Updating a Clearance, investigations

We get clearance-related questions in almost all threads on this site, so we thought we’d occasionally create a separate Q&A thread. Here, you can ask questions about clearance investigations, how to get a clearance, reinvestigations, adjudications, or any topic you are looking for an answer to.

  1. Lia:
    All but one of the Public Trust investigations includes a routine interview with the subject of the investigation.

  2. thank you,
    will they check my husband’s background too? the form had me put his SS#, why?

  3. Lia:
    No, they will not investigate your husband. But if during the investigation serious security information concerning your husband is volunteered to an investigator, it will be reported. Social security number like date and place of birth and full name is just another identifier. Sometimes there may be no routine use of all the information collected on government forms.

  4. Paul:

    It’s possible. The NAC is a component of all Public Trust investigations. Part of the NAC involves a name check and a fingerprint search at FBI. There is a chance that your felony arrest is still on file there.

    When a police record check is conducted, the security investigator generally does not ask for records on a Subject going back only 7 years. They just ask for a name check. If a record exists, it get reported.

    All of this is kind of moot for an offense that occurred 16 years ago, and even more so for an offense that did not result in a conviction.

  5. I have a question on the process of adjudication. I was put in for both an “L” clearance and “Q” clearance. My initial interviewer explained that my “L” would be delayed until a determination of a “Q” eligibility would be decided upon. Currently, my case is stuck in adjudication for a full year now. Could it be that this is just a very complicated case, I’m starting to
    lose hope–and really would appreciate an opinion.

    My credit is OK, and over the past 4 years or so, I pay my bills on time. I had a few medical bills from 6 years ago I was not aware of, which I paid off immediately [the agency could not get ahold of me to tell me about this because I moved--and it was taken off my credit record]. I did join a credit consolidation plan to manage debts and
    that caused a few deliquent payments back around 2003.

    I took anti-depresents for several monthes around 2002-2003 for smoking cessation and mild depression. I stopped taking them, mainly because I wasn’t seeing the point of it, and wasn’t terribly depressed.

    I used marijuana on occasions in 2000 and 2003, and was
    frank about it. The supplier on the second occasion I then had a falling out with. I’ve been interviewed on the 2nd occasion 3 times now, which makes me wonder if conflicting stories were told [mine vs. the supplier].
    I have not used drugs since then, and rarely drink.

    My brother is a dual citizen of a sensitive country, but now resides and works in the US for the govt.

    I left a few jobs during my early college years. One I left before giving notice, but had to start another position the next day. The other, I was injured and out of work for a month. When I returned, the company had not kept up a level of safety that would have prevented an injury like mine, and so I walked out.

    Adjudication for more than a year? Does this make sense? Should I be thinking about starting my career in an area that doesn’t require a clearance?

  6. I’m currently working on accepting a job with TS clearance. I have never had a TS clearance. My credit is good with a 746 with no other money problems. I don’t have a criminal record at all. My only concern is that I have seen a Therapist for Anxiety/Depression about 3 yrs ago and I have taken meds off and on during that time to help with the anxiety. But recently I had to start antidepressent meds again problem because of all the stresss of starting a new job after being at my old one for more than 12 yrs. Will me seeing a Therapists and taking meds deny my TS clearance? I also worry that if I start going back to my Therapists will I lose my TS and job. A lot to worry about since my current job doesn’t require any of this. Stress….

  7. Hello, I currently switched defense contractors and my new job requires a TS/SSBI. In my former place of employment, I was eligible for a Secret clearance and I had filled out an SF86 back in Feb07 and was denied an interm secret about a week later. (I am positive it is because I am a dual citizen – Scandinavian country, and have a foreign passport)I have never used the passport when travelling and the reason I have it is based on one of my parents citizenship, in which they are now US naturalized. I was contacted by an OPM investigator in Dec07 who asked a few questions over the phone about my dual citizenship and If I would relinquish my passport, in which I said I would. I am now at my new job as of Jan08. My question is, since I switched jobs and now require a TS/SSBI, does my investigation start over from scratch and how long do you think I will have to wait until I am granted my final TS/SSBI?


  8. Frank:
    It’s possible that the investigation for your Secret clearance could be used as part of the investigation for your SSBI, but it will not reduce the amount of time necessary to complete your SSBI. This is because the field investigation portion of the SSBI will take considerably longer than the NAC, LAC & credit report (NACLC) required for the Secret clearance. If they start again from scratch, the NACLC portion of your SSBI and the other field aspects of your SSBI will occur concurrently, and the other field aspects of your case will take longer than the NACLC portion. Additionally, the SSBI requires an indepth, wide-ranging Personal Subject interview (PRSI). As part of the PRSI you will be questioned again (if only breifly) about the foreign preference/foreign influence issue. With this significant issue present in your case, it’s not possible to give you an estimate of how long it will take.

    Unless you live in Scandinavian, I think it was inexcusable for the OPM investigator to interview you over the telephone.

  9. Tim:
    Seeing a therapist and taking meds to treat your depression is much better than refusing to do so when it is needed. Mental health problems must be very serious before a clearance is denied because of them. Basically your theraphist would have to say that your condition would adversely affect your judgment and therefore your ability to safeguard classified information. Listing mental health counseling on your security clearance application could result in not getting an interim clearance, but that’s because without talking to your theraphist they don’t know how serious the problem is. Failure to follow treatment strongly recommended by a mental health professional is also viewed unfavorably, but is not cause to deny a clearance unless it would make your mental condition critical.

  10. Stalemate:
    If you are saying that it has been more than a year since the SSBI for your Q clearance was completed and sent to adjudication, then yes, one year is excessive. Contact your security officer again and give him one more chance to get things unstuck, then give consideration to getting your congressman’s office involved. You’ve been waiting a long time. It would be worth waiting another month or so to get a definitive answer.

  11. I applied for a secret clearance in April 2007 and received my interim about 4 weeks later. I officially received my secret clearance on October 4, 2007.

    In late November, I noticed a card from an investigator of US office of personnel management with a name and contact number that was dated October 9, 2007. During the months of September and October, I had a few contractors working on the house, and suspected that one of the may have placed the card in the house. This is why I did not notice the card until late November. I asked all of the contractors about the card, but they did not know.

    Anyway, I thought this was strange because I received my secret clearance before October 9, 2007 (date on card). As of today, I have not contacted the investigator. Should I still contact the investigator ?

    Also, how soon after receiving the Secret Clearance should I apply for a top secret clearance ?

    Thank you

  12. Matt:

    Possibly the investigator wanted to interview you as a reference on someone else’s clearance investigation.

    You can apply for a TS clearance as soon as you are sponsored for one.

  13. I recently received my Interim Secret Clearance. I am still awaiting Secret Clearance. Anyways, in the process of waiting for the interim secret to become secret, I was contacted about a great job at another company. If I leave my present company for the new company, will that create a problem with getting my clearance completed? The new company also requires a secret clearance. I don’t want to switch jobs if it will cause a problem getting the clearance completed. Is there a way to transfer the interim secret to the new job?


  14. Ann:

    Yes, the sponsorship of your interim clearance and the pending investigation for your final clearance can be transferred from one company to another, if both companies process their clearances through the same government agency. The companies’ government customer does not have to be the same, but the government agency that processes the clearance must be the same. Otherwise it may be very difficult or impossible to effect the transfer.

  15. William,

    Thanks in advance. I have read the thread and heard you say that “Absent any complicating or aggravating circumstances (i.e. weapons, drugs, alcohol, explosives), a single misdemeanor arrest is not significant enough by itself to become a potentially disqualifying condition for a security clearance.”

    I was recently charged with a firearm related misdemeanor with alcohol involved. I have an application in right now but the investigation has not commenced. Would you recommend I withdraw my application and wait until more time has passed (It has been less than 1 month)?


  16. i’m a new college graduate and a i’m applying for a job that requires a SSBI clearance. will i be denied the clearance if one of my immediate family member’s is not a US citizen?

  17. let me clarify a little more. she has her green card and is on her way to take the citizenship exam.

  18. steph:
    An SSBI is an investigation, not a clearance. The SSBI is the basis for a TS clearance with or without SCI access. Having an immediate family member who is not a US citizen, will not disqualify you from being granted a TS clearance without SCI access, but you will be evaluated based on foreign preference and foreign influence.

    For a TS/SCI having an immediate family member who is not a US citizen will disqualify you, but you could be granted a waiver based on a “certificate of compelling need” issued by a Senior Official of the Intelligence
    Community or his/her designee.

  19. Mike:

    I’m guessing that you anticipate pleading guilty or being found guilty. If this is the case, you will probably be placed on probation for a few years with or without jail time, fine, community service, etc. One of the potentially disqualifying conditions under the Adjudicative Guidelines is “individual is currently on parole or probation.” I don’t think this disqualifying condition can be directly mitigated. It may be remotely possible to overcome this problem under the “whole person” concept. But since your conduct involved a firearm and alcohol, this further aggravates the problem and opens the door to evaluating your conduct under other Guidelines like Personal Conduct and Alcohol Consumption.

    I can’t recommend withdrawing or not withdrawing your application, because if you are denied a clearance this time around you can try again one year after the clearance is denied. But, there are other factors to consider that are not related to security clearance processing. One of these considerations is whether or not a future potential employer will want to sponsor you for a clearance one year after being denied a clearance.

  20. I just found out that I was inaccurate on my dates of employment for one of my jobs. Whereas I thought it was over 7 years ago, it was actually over 6 years ago. I have my interview in less than a week and will inform the investigator because I was fired. Here is the problem. I was 19 or 20 at the time and I was fired because I was accused of stealing. No, I didn’t steal anything and there was no proof. I left my computer unlocked and someone, don’t know who, purchased supplies, canceled them, and then re-purchased them for a cheaper price for their friends. The day it was brought to my attention, I denied any act of it. However, I was told that they would press charges. I said go ahead, I’m innocent. So then they stated that rather than pressing charges, I would have to pay for the merchandise. I waas young, nervous, and afraid so I signed stating that I will pay back but I was no way involved. Will this prevent me from getting a clearance?

  21. Charlotte,
    Failing to list this incident on your security form is more serious than the incident itself. Even if you were guilty, a minor offense six years ago by itself without any other misconduct would probably not result in the denial of a security clearance. I recommend you volunteer this information at the beginning of your security interview before being asked about it. This may prolong the investigative process, but it will help mitigate the omission. There are no inflexible rules about granting or denying a security clearance for the situation you present.

  22. I did not know, and am still not sure this was within 7 years. My interview is tomorrow and I plan to disclose it whether or not it falls within the time period. I’m not positive about the dates but I know it was around 2000/2001, no more recent than that. It was an honest mistake and am afraid that it will hurt me, but I will be honest in my interview.

  23. Hi,

    If during a personal subject interview the investigator asks what you consider an “inappropriate” question…what can you do? Are there guidelines as to what the investigator can ask? Is there a complaint mechanism if you feel a question has gone over the line?


  24. Mary,
    Yes, there are guidelines regarding inappropriate questions and there are way to report inappropriate conduct/questioning by an investigator. Unfortunately the guidelines are not in the public domain. I might mention that sometimes people are offended by a legitimate question because the investigator failed to introduce the question properly or failed to explain the relevance of the question to a security concern. There are too many agencies involved in security investigations to tell you how to submit a complaint.

    If you would prefer not to discuss your complaint in an open forum, you are welcome to contact me through my website.

  25. When a clearance is being reviewed and they actually tell you the date they are going to review it. How much longer will it take to get the final answer? Thank you

  26. One more Question, I have a misdeamnor served probation from June 2006 to June 2007. Still waiting on the outcome of the clearance. Will this prevent me from getting my TS back??? They are reviewing it now will as of the 4th of Feb 2008. How long will this review take? Will I be granted my clearance back. All my bills are paid including a bankruptcy filed in Mar 2007. Paid in full.

  27. SS:
    It is possible to see the date a case has moved from the investigative stage to the adjudicative stage. Once in adjudication, the case will sit in a que until an adjudicator picks it up to adjudicate. If he/she is able to make a favorable determination, it could happen the same day. If not, the case is referred to a senior adjudicator and again sits in a queue. Sometimes it is referred to a supervisory adjudicator. The greater the issues involved in the case, the longer the adjudication takes.

  28. TS:
    There are very few absolute disqualifiers for a security clearance and your situation does fit any of them. Your case will reviewed based on the Adjudicative Guidelines, applying both the potentially disqualifying conditions and the potentially mitigating conditions.

  29. Mr Henderson,
    I’m back again for some advice. In December my clearance processing was “just stopped”.It was for a TS as a contractor working for a three letter employer, the client.

    Timeline was BI completed May-June 07, followed by two full scope polys in June 07 the “in adjudication”.

    When I contacted my ” person” at the contracter HQ he gave me no reason and I also noticed that the particular job had not been advertised for since then. It had appeared weekly for the prior seven months. It as an admin support position.

    I asked the contracter if they had stopped recuiting for this and he said ” no” but yet it has not appeared and all references to these positions ( there were multiple spots) have been erased from the contracter website. I’m waving my “BS” flag now.

    You had concluded that it was some sort of admin action on the part of the ” client” and not due to adverse findings.

    I have yet to find out what happened and have no report either. I have nothing that would preclude a favorable decision. My husband has had a TS/SCI for 20 years.

    Now, I/m thinking of applying to another agency which will also require a similiar investigation.

    What do I tell them? Do you think it’s worthwhile or I am on some list somehwere?

    Why fast track this and then come to a screeching halt. My BI and polys where competed within six weeks of my initial application with no wait time!It happened so fast my head was spinning.

    I’m just trying to get a job. I went through a lot for this and ended up with nothing.

    Sorry the question is so long, but I am very discouraged.

    Thank you very much for your time and patience. You are the best.

  30. Question: My clearance is being reviewed by the adjududicator now for the final stamp of approval or denial. They had me do a financial statement, and explain how I am paying my bills. I haven’t worked for the agency in about 2 yrs but I m still employed there. I have been in clearnce hell. got behind in bills. now i paid em up. they had me do a mental health exam bcuz i was on a ton of meds they really did me no good bcuz I really did not need them. I was just depressed and sad. The doctor says i m not crazy this was a one time thing and he beleived i was over medicated. I was taking about 6 or 8 different pills a day back then the doctor did not know what to give me i think so she tried everything out there i had many terrible side effects and could have died over this junk. not on meds anymore and love it. feel pretty well adjusted too. I have a eeo case too. could the adjuciator be waiting on the outcome of that case before they either approve or deny my clearance? Who will know first me or the agency when I m approved or denied my TS cleance back. will they call me on the phone tell me to report to work or will i need to go up there sign papers or something. I never did this when I originally got my clearnce i just worked and actually really did not know it was done. a yr later it was pulled for something stupid i did while medicatied that I wish i could forever change. I just wasn’t in my right mind. any answers…. I will appreciate. I m not a bad person i just messed up big time one time in my life and it cost me bigtime so far.

  31. another question is a police dispatcher considered a public trust position like an Officer?

  32. Essy:
    If your EEO case is based on alleged misconduct by you, it’s possible that adjudication can be delayed until the case is resolved. The agency will be informed first about the adjudicative decision, then agency will notify you in person.

    Public Trust positions are designated by individual agencies based on broad guidelines issued by OPM. So it is possible for similar positions to be classified differently by different agencies. Almost all positions for federal police officers are designated as Public Trust. I can’t make any general statements about police dispatcher positions.

  33. Dear Mr. Henderson Thank yo for yor reply. My case is NOT based on misconduct. it is Disability related. at the time My doc’s thought I was bi-polar, depressed and anxiety I think they really did not know. put me on a ton of meds which in turn I got a traffic violation and my clearance was pulled. that is all behind me now this happend in dec 2005 and i plead june 2006 served probation off since june 2007. still not working for my agency. done everything the asked of me and more. I still cannot get answers. I guess what I want to know is can this really take forever? Thank you Mr. Henderson

  34. Confused:
    There is very little I can add to my previous response. At this point I can only guess that the contractor is not being completely honest with you. You need to independently verify the status of your case. There are three ways to do this: 1) apply to another contractor who deals with any IC agency, 2) through a Freedom of Information/Privacy Act request, or 3) through one of your congressmen.

    If you apply to another contractor, tell them exactly what happened. If they are interested in you, it only takes a minute to check the Scattered Castles database. Agencies don’t keep secret lists of people they don’t want.

    Normally the only time an agency stops processing a case is when there is a “loss of jurisdication.” This occurs when the applicant withdraws from the process or when the sponsoring contractor advises the agency that the applicant is no longer being considered for the position that required the clearance.

  35. Mr. Henderson: In one case, recently, I asked the office to verify my security clearance status – and received a blue e-mail back. (After receiving black typeset two times before christmas.) I guess that represented something. Didn’t seem real, or right from this Carter man tho’. Thanks.

  36. David:
    I don’t know who you are communicating with. To my knowledge government offices do not verify security clearance status for applicants by email.

  37. Reply:
    We send an e-mail to our security clearance clearinghouse. The then chose to tell us what is happening, if they can. In this instance every few months I check in. Last time, I check in a friendly person there (had spoken with them on the phone) sent back the e-mail in blue color. I said,=[thought] fine okay I don’t expect to be hearing from them any time soon. Appreciate what is done here on this board.
    thank you again, Mr. Henderson.

  38. David:
    “…our security clearance clearinghouse.” Who is this?

  39. Mr. Henderson:

    CBP same as Pamela’s. I jumped up on box for (was tough), had a medical exam, other tests; and met with my BI in August. (He checked in right before Labour Day and said, “I have no further questions going forward.” [had wanted to clarify who I'd gone to Spain with (my wife at the time -I did.)] Around early July I got them to initiate a background check after waiting some months, and saw it wasn’t being initiated. (probably overlooked because I had to send in a second set of fingerprints.) So, what I have to show for a long time as a 98C (and given the rank of ass Pltn Sgt in AIT) is a blue e-mail. I guess its better than nothing but, like a linquist (the BDE’s best) from the wine region I find myself back home. (I work part time for the newspaper, and see [1] basic buddy! that I argued with, just made the E-7 list. Good for him!

    Thank You.

  40. CBP similar to Pamela. Once can call or e-mail to St. Paul Minnesota. That’s where they have Senator Coleman, and former Senator Wellstone. Our Senators in our state don’t have the clout — so I’m not calling them. Just take the e-mail, for now.

  41. Question: I just received a job offer at a defense contractor where I will need to obtain a security clearance once I begin work. I am currently 26 years old, and I plan on disclosing that I have a marijuana possession arrest on my record from 2000, while a freshmen in college. I also used marijuana one additional time in 2001. I have no drug usage in the last 6+ years, nor do I intend on any in the future. What is the likelihoood of being denied secret clearance? Can anyone guess how long this investigation will last?

  42. A close friend of mine has recently been offered a job that required a public trust investigation. After she turned in her paperwork she realized that she was incorrect on her dates of previous employment. The scope was 7 years and she only went back 6 years 6 months. What she failed to do was report a job she was terminated for due to a failed drug test. Now she has concerns because at the beginning of the form 85 it states she could be guilty of a felony for false information. How serious is this problem? Will the investigation reveal her past job?

  43. Jim:

    I’m not an adjudicator but in my opinion your chances of getting a Secret or Top Secret clearance are good, provided there are no aggravating circumstances. Almost any drug involvement that happened more than 5 years ago can be fully mitigated by passage of time, so don’t be tempted to minimize your past involvement. Falsification is a much more serious issue.

    I haven’t seen the full report yet but this month OPM claimed that they completed 80% of contractor security clearance investigations received between Oct 07 and Dec 07 in 61 days and that end-to-end clearance processing for these cases took 151 days. The other 20% probably took a lot longer.

  44. Roger:
    Most investigations for Public Trust positions include a Personal Subject Interview, during which she will have an opportunity to correct this error. I recommend she tell the investigator about this matter at the very beginning of the interview. By doing so, she will greatly reduce the possibility of be charged with making a false official statement. Prosecution for making a false official statement is pretty rare and almost never happens in cases where the falsification occurred unintentionally.

  45. Mr. Henderson,

    Thank you very much for prompt and professional response. It has helped tremendously. Just one last question. In regards to an individuals employment history. Do the investigators of a Public Trust investigation go by information that you the potential candidate has provided or do they also go by other checks, such as IRS records? Thank you in advance Mr. Henderson.

  46. Roger:
    Investigators use the SF86 or SF85P was a roadmap in conducting an investigation. If they find that the map is inaccurate as they navigate from one venue to another, they are required to do as much as necessary to resolve the discrepancies. If the applicant indicates that they worked at a company from 7/03 to 6/04, but company records show that the applicant only worked there from 1/04 to 6/04, its rather obvious that 6 months are missing. If the applicant is unable to provide a satisfactory and verifiable explanation for this gap, secondary sources of information are used. Cases of this type take much longer than normal and are taken very seriously.

  47. Mr. Henderson,

    Thank you again. I was very curious to know about the process. I am a former military Officer and with conditions in security checks today I was just curious to see how one would go about starting a business in this field. It seems like a very lucrative career field. I was just curious to know some of the tools the investigators use and what is available for someone who had interest in starting a company in that field. Thanks again for your prompt and professional responses.

  48. Roger:
    Go to my website (just click on my name above). There’s a lot of information there. Parts of my book, Security Clearance Manual, are posted there. Chapter 1 covers a lot of the basics about investigative scope. On the resources page of my website, read DCID 6/4. It covers in general terms the type of questions asked of different types of sources. Good luck.

  49. Please help! Today the security manager tells me that my secret clearance has been cancelled or revoked. He asked if I know why and of course I don’t. I have a job overseas as a army contractor and my job required a secret clearance which I already had through the Airforce Reserves. I took this job so I had the Airforce place me into IRR status. Would that be the reason why my clearance got cancelled?

  50. Hello,

    My name is Alex and I have recently been offered a job setting up and networking computers. I recently found out that it requires a security clearance that I must apply for. I am 19 years old and a sophmore in college. I need to know what my chances are of getting my clearance because I have a pending possession of marijuana charge. It is a first offender misdemeanor which is going to be dismissed once I complete all the requirements of court. How will they look upon this, it is my first run in with the law dealing with something like this (excluding a traffic ticket). What are my chances for getting this clearance or being rejected?

  51. Hank C.,
    Revoked would be very bad. But some other type of termination shouldn’t be a problem. You need to clarify with your security manager what he knows that you don’t. Exact terminology is very important.

  52. Alex:
    For a security clearance with the federal government more things than just criminal arrests, charges & convictions are considered. For example, illegal drug use. Clearance adjudicators are more concerned with conduct than with outcomes. Having the charge dismissed does not negate the conduct. Using marijuana without being caught does not negate the conduct. Your chances of getting a clearance will depend on your intent not to use illegal drugs in the future and at least six months to three years of abstinence, depending on the frequency and type of your past illegal drug involvement.

  53. I have been offered a job by a DOD contracting company that requires a secret clearance. I am currently working in the airline industry so I have had my FBI fingerprints done and a 10 year background done with no problems.
    My question is in about 1986 I was charged with a DUI pled guilty, paid a fine. I had never even had a ticket until then so I did no community service or probation. Since then I have not had even one ticket I have good credit and never had any illegal drug use. Do you see any problem for me getting an interim and actually getting the secret clearance?

  54. Hello everyone, I hope you’re all doing well. I have posted the following on the DB, however, since this seems to be dedicated to Security Clearances I decided to give it a shot.

    Prior 11X wannabe here who got injured during OSUT at Benning, but I have been looking at reenlisting into the Army; probably a year from now.

    I have been looking at two particular fields within the 35-series: 35M & 35F. From the research I have done online I have read that 35F requires a TOP SECRET clearance off the bat, whereas 35M first requires a SECRET clearance and then is moved to TOP SECRET once you reach your unit. My question, which I pose this question to those of you with experience in the TS/SCI process, what is the likelihood of getting denied either if you have debt but are paying it off?

    Here’s a bit of background on my problem. Apparently I have about $3,000 debt owed to the US Department of Education which I actually just found out last night when I ordered a credit report online. Along with $12,000 owed to a college I went to back in 2002 and had no idea about either seeing as I had never been contacted by any collection agency while I was back in the States. I have been living in the UK since November 2005, however, I intend to pay off the $3,000 when I return to the States in a lump sum due to the GBP to USD conversion. As for the $12,000 I would like to start paying that off once I joined the Army, especially using any bonus money that came from enlisting, etc. I have also been thinking of doing one of those debt consolidation programs, my parents would take it out and I would send them the money each month, etc.

    Also, in 2004 I worked for a City facility, it was a pool, and a I gave away a few punches on a swim pass. However, my name came up doing a criminal investigation because two of my supervisors were being investigated for embezzlement and last I heard they were charged. I spoke with two detectives about my time there and I was upfront about having given away a swim pass, etc. and I never heard anymore about it. Any thoughts on this being detrimental to my obtaining clearance?

    I would hate for something like this to keep me from enlisting, especially when it seems like it’s the only thing in the whole clearance granting process that might keep me back. I’ve never done drugs, never been in trouble with the law for anything more than just two speeding tickets.

    I would have asked a recruiter, but the fact that my nearest recruiter is in Germany…well…this was the next best thing.

    Thank you so much for your attention and I look forward to your replies at your earliest convenience.

  55. TE said on March 17, 2008


    I was honorably discharged from the AF back in 10/06. I was given a TS/SCI on 05/05. I know I have about 7 months left for my clearance to still be considered ‘active’.

    Now I’m in the process of applying as a private contractor but need the Department of State’s approval. Will my clearance be able to cross over? Or do I have to repeat the whole process again?

  56. TE:
    According to current policy, you should be able to have your TS/SCI eligibility reinstated at any federal agency until 10/08 without any further investigation. If access to an SCI program that has supplemental investigative requirements is involved, you will have to fulfill those supplemental requirements before being granted access.

  57. Raul:
    You’ve got some problems that you don’t seem to be aware of: Why have you been in UK since 2005? How could you not know about a $12,000 and a $3,000 debt when they are based on education you received? It will be really hard for an adjudicator to believe that you were previously unaware of these debts; therefore your honestly/truthfulness will become an issue. This is potentially as big a problem as $15,000 of long term unpaid debt. The swim passes by themselves are relatively minor, but combined with your apparent financial negligence shows a pattern of irresponsible conduct. There are major differences between eligibility for military service and eligibility for a security clearance. Often military recruiting policies are more restrictive than security clearance policy.

  58. Not sure if my previous post went through. If it did, please have this one deleted and I apologize.

    Thank you Mr. Henderson for your prompt answer. I live in the UK because my wife is British and we decided to stay here. I have my Indefinite Leave to Remain and have stopped short of applying for Citizenship.

    I’m not going to write all I wrote in my previous post because it might show up…but I am curious. If I were to get rid of all the debt by dipping into our savings right now, before joining the Army a year or two down the line, would the problem be seen in the same light to an adjudicator? Or would the conduct outweigh the action to remedy the problem?

    Thank you!

  59. Raul:
    Any action you take to pay off your debts will improve your chances of getting a clearance. If you pay off the debts before you apply for a clearance, it will further improve your chances of getting a clearance. The adjudicators try to predict future conduct based on past conduct, so if you can show that you have changed (i.e. become more responsible)and that you will not repeat the same mistakes in the future, it will make a big difference.

    Because you have a spouse who is not a US citizen, in order to get SCI you will require a waiver. There are no written guidelines for waivers. It just depends on the needs of the govt agency and their assessment of the risks involved.

  60. Hi Mr. Henderson,

    Again, thank you for the prompt response and sharing your insight and answering my questions.

    I’ve begun the process of transferring the money owed so that my family back in the States can pay these two debts on my behalf. Hopefully it’ll help down the line.

    As for the issue of my wife being British I found out about the waiver earlier in my research. I believe for the Army I will have to get a waiver from the CO of the Army Central Personnel Security Clearance Facility. I’m hoping since my wife, nor her family, have no criminal records here in the UK, nor work for the Government, or have ever been in the military, that it won’t be a difficult process. But again, just one of those things I’ll have to wait and see about.

    Again, thank you so much for all the great information, I really appreciate it.

  61. I currently have job offers with companies that are in the defense industry. All of them require me to get a security clearance. After some research, I realized I am not eligible for top secret clearance due to the fact my long-term girlfriend is not a US citizen or a greencard holder. We were actually planning on getting married this year and apply for spouse sponsorship. I was wondering if I am eligible for ordinary secret clearance or confidential secret clearance. Will my girlfriend’s status affect my chance to get clearance. Thank you.

  62. Johnk:
    You have reached an incorrect conclusion from your research.

    There is a prohibition against having a non-US citizen spouse, cohabitant, or immediate family member for SCI eligibility, but not for collateral clearances. Foreign influence is a consideration for collateral clearances, but the foreign influence of a non-US citizen spouse, cohabitant or immediate family member would be evaluated based on a number of different factors.

    The adjudicative criteria for confidential, secret, and top secret collateral clearances are exactly the same, only the investigations are different.

    You didn’t say if your fiancee is in the US. I hope your situation isn’t futher complicated by any violation of US law.

  63. Hi! Mr. Henderson,
    I applied for a DOD secret clearance last August. It is still in Interim stage currently; however, I am going to start another job soon which requires public trust investigation. While filing my public trust investigation form, SF85P, I realized that I omitted a one month job I had 4 years ago in the previous SP85P form submitted for the secret clearance. If I include the omitted working experience in the new SF85P form, is it going to have negative impact on my investigation just because this discrepancy between the two SP85P forms?

  64. I left the cleared world in May of 2007 and was told that my clearance would be ‘active’ for 2 years from that date (2 years from my last date of access). In reviewing some dates, I noted that my BI/poly run their 5 year term in 7/2008. Will my clearance still be active until 5/09 or will this be trumped by the fact that my BI/Poly run their 5 year course in 7/08?

  65. Nancy:
    No, it should not have a negative effect. You may be questioned about the discrepancy, but it won’t be a problem as long as it was an inadvertent omission. Over 80% of the military SF86s for TS/SCI clearances that I reviewed failed to list all relevant education, residences and employment. Consequently more than half of the time involved in conducting a Personal Subject Interview is spent gathering this unlisted information and correcting dates.

  66. Mark:

    Your clearance stopped being active when you left your job. Your clearance is now “current.” In 7/08 your clearance will be “expired” so after that you will not be able to have it reinstated, except that there is a two-year window (between the 5-year and 7-year anniversary of your last SSBI or SSBI-PR) during which your clearance can be reinstated provided you submit an SF86 for an SSBI-PR. So, between 7/08 and 5/09 you can have it reinstated as soon as you submit an acceptable SF86.

    Polygraphs are program specific, so I can’t comment on their “reinstateability.”

  67. Thanks William. Looks like the cleanest path would be to get back on contract before July of 08. Thanks again.

  68. ****** Someone please help me *********

    I have a current active DoD Secret.
    My new job requires Top Secret with Compartments.

    The Investigation is done.
    The Agency came back asking for “Justification of
    critical need” to the Program. My manager wrote a 2
    page letter of critical need but the security officer
    at my company says that he’s never seen a TS go through
    after a request for explanation of critical need has
    been made. The Agency is doing the investigation is
    either NRO or NSA. No one has told me who it is but
    this is a safe guess on my part.

    If they deny my TS, I will then loose my Secret and
    never be able to work in Defense again. If I withdraw
    from the process I will be fired from my job.

    Now for my question:

    If I withdraw now, can I at least save my secret clearance or am I past the point of no return?

    I was told that all agencies share records now and
    that if I withdraw now, my official record will be
    coded such that any other Agencies which attempt to
    reactivate my Secret will see that the process was stopped. It was suggested to me that if I tried to re-activate my secret with a DoD position that DoD will see this coding from the NRO or NSA investigation and then request the investigation records before allowing the reactivation to occur. Is this true?

    If there is any way to save my Secret at this point??
    I want to do so before the official ruling comes out which will 99% likely be a denial. If I can at least
    save my Secret I will be far better off.

    Thanks So much and please keep replying to my topic as
    I may have more questions.. I am running out of time!

  69. Tom:
    There is something you didn’t mention. Why do you need a “justification for critical need?” It seems that this should only concern SCI eligibility, because such a justification is usually only required when an applicant needs a waiver for the US citizenship requirement for family members or very close friends. The waiver is based on a “Statement of Compelling Need” under DCID 6/4. If you are denied SCI eligibility, your investigation will be adjudicated again for the collateral TS clearance if a TS clearance by itself needed. For collateral clearances a different standard is used for foreign influence. Denial of SCI does not automatically result in the denial of a collateral clearance. Before I can give you any meaningful advice, I need to know why you need justification for critical/compelling need.

  70. William,

    I am in the process of a re-submittal of SF-86, I recently held a TS/SCI Clearance during my 22 year military career. My question is how do I account for names, addresses and phone#’s of personnel who have since transferred or retired from active duty. I don’t keep in touch with those personnel at last duty station. I am not the anti-social type, just work and home type person so therefore I really don’t have a social life.

  71. Larry:
    The only military people you have to list on your SF86 are your former supervisors–list their names plus the unit address and unit phone number where they were assigned at the time. It’s the investigators job to track them down. If your SF86 is for an SSBI-PR, then you only need to go back 7 years. If you don’t remember phone numbers, plug the field with any number and explain in the comment section that you don’t remember the number and the number listed is not correct. For address you can use the unit ID and installation; that should be enough.

  72. My husband has a TS – I don’t know anything else about it except that he is under the impression that any sort of mental health, and possibly even marital, counseling would cause him to lose his job. However, *I* think I need to talk to my doctor about an rX for antidepressants (for me). Since our health insurance is through his employer, would I put his job and clearance in jeopardy if I seek mental health advice/medication?

  73. Hi,

    I currently have a Top Secret clearance and I am up for my Periodic Reinvestigation. Of course, things have changed in my life over the past 5 years. My boyfriend currently lives with me—and he has been out of work for awhile. As a result, his credit is terrible…he even had to turn his car in because he couldn’t pay for it. My credit is great and I have no other issues.
    When I filled out my application the other day, I added him as someone who lives with me and DISCO responded back that my app was incomplete because they needed his Social Security Number. So, my question is: how much can his bad credit affect me in this process?
    On a lighter note—he is starting a part time job in a few days, so he will be able to start paying his bills again.

    ANy help you could provide would be much appreciated.

  74. Nell:

    Marital counseling is never a reason for denying/revoking a security clearance, unless one of the cleared spouse has a problem with being physically violent. But even then it’s generally not a big problem, if they are getting treatment. If you look at the clearance application form (SF86) you will see a general except for marital, grief, and family counseling.

    “Psychological Conditions” is the 2nd least frequent reason for clearance denial out of 13 reasons. The least frequent reason is “Allegiance to the United States,” which is never cited as a reason, because people go to prison for this one and never get to the stage of being adjudicated for a clearance.

    Mental health problems for one spouse would not have a negative effect on the other spouse’s security clearance, unless the cleared spouse was easily influenced to do something criminal or outrageous by an insane spouse.

    The Department of Defense is trying to get the mental health question removed from the clearance application form.

  75. I currently have excellent credit, however, about 10 years ago I lost my job, had a child with emotional and drug issues, and had to accept a much lower paying position. I had 7 charge offs that are no longer on my credit report. I paid creditors that would work with me. I could not pay those that would not work out payment arrangements. My question is, if I apply for a security clearance related position, must I list those charge offs that are no longer on my credit report? I was not sued and have no adverse public records. I was denied a clearance after adjudication in 2002 because of the delinquencies that are no longer a matter of record.

  76. Sydni:
    As long as your cohabitant’s bad debt does not show up on your credit report, there should be no problem. An SSBI-PR includes a NAC on a cohabitant (hence the need for the SSN), but it does not include a credit report on the cohabitant. However, you will be asked questions about him during your Subject Interview. Be prepared to explain his financial situation, if asked.

  77. Steve:
    The SF86 only asks for financial information going back 7 years. However, for people who were previously denied a security clearance, they can ask for detailed information about the previous clearance denial. Answer the questions on the SF86 accurately and honestly. If they want more, they will request it.

  78. I’ve held a TS since 2002 working as a DoD contractor, but move to a job that required an SCI as a DA Civilian. While at this job I waited for the SCI and was not able to get an interim TS/SCI or compelling need granted – the job was in a SCIF and they needed me to work, so I worked in an unclear area for the most part, even though I had a TS. Within the two years I was there, my investigation was conducted, closed and sent to an adjudicator. After two years, I moved to another state to another DA Civilian job that doesn’t require a TS or TS/SCI, but the security manager did not downgrade me. From what I was told by the losing security folks, the request doesn’t just stop because I moved. Today I received notification from the unit security office that I had a letter and have to go see the main security folks, but the person had to go with me and couldn’t go until about 3 days. What does this mean? Is my entire clearance being revoked? Is this a letter of intent to revoke or deny SCI or request to provide more information? When I asked was it bad, I was told “not necessarily.” Why would I get a letter that needs the unit security person to go with me? I was not told of what kind of letter it was just a letter. Can you shed some light on letters to applicants for SCI? Why can’t they just be delivered to the person via mail (certified perhaps) or just a quick run to the security office? Thanks for any help.

  79. Denise:
    A Central Adjudication Facility can issue a letter called a “Written Interrogatory” when they need more info from an applicant. They can also issue a “Letter of Intent” to deny/revoke a clearance or SCI. It is normal to have the applicant sign for these types of letters at the applicant’s security office, so they know the exact date the letter was received, because these letters usually have suspense dates for a reply/rebuttal. I don’t know why your local security officer would have to go with you. Perhaps it’s just their local procedure.

  80. Hi. Thanks for doing this. It really helps people like me who are freaking out about this.

    I had a Secret clearance for my MOS when I enlisted in the USMC in 1999. In Jan 2004, I got a DUI off-base because I called the cops to report an accident after I had run off the road. The charges were later dismissed. I informed my command, submitted to an alcohol-dependency screening per their procedure and was told that I was not alcohol-dependent. That was my only felony charge. The only other offense I have is one recent speeding ticket (84 in a 70). I have no foreign influence, drug use, missed payments, etc. Since 2004, I’ve left the USMC, about to get an engineering degree, stayed out of trouble, and I just got hired by a defense contractor. I need a TS clearance at some point, but I’m worried about the DUI charge for a couple reasons. First, I never entered an alcohol dependency program b/c the USMC said I wasn’t an alcoholic (and I don’t think I am). Also, I still drink… I’m just more responsible about it. Basically, I made a huge mistake in 2004 that I won’t repeat again, but I’m afraid it’ll look bad because I didn’t quit drinking or enter AA.

  81. Dan:
    Continued responsible use of alcohol after a single alcohol-related incident is not a security issue. Not completing alcohol counseling following an alcohol-related incident, unless required by competent authority, is also not a security issue. Since neither the civilian court nor the USMC required it, it is not a concern. Absent any aggravating or complicating factors, a 4-year old DUI charge without any subsequent alcohol-related incident, will probably be considered fully mitigated by passage of time.

    I’m surprised that your DUI was charged as a felony. DUIs are usually charged as a misdemeanor unless there was injury to another person, it was the 2nd or 3rd offense, etc.

    A single traffic infraction is not a security issue and doesn’t have to be listed on a clearance application unless the fine was more than $150.

    I don’t think you have anything to be concerned about for a final clearance. There is a possibility that you might not be granted an interim clearance, but that doesn’t mean that your final clearance will not be granted.

  82. ************ATTENTION********

    Myself and some of the other regular contributors to this blog do our best to answer questions about security clearances, but this blog has multiple threads and sometimes it’s easy to miss questions that buried back in one of the earlier threads like this one. For the fastest and broadest response to your questions, I recommend using the “Home” button at the top right corner of this thread to get to the most recent page of this blog and find the best thread to post your questions.

  83. I’m filling out and SF86 for a Clearance, 22 years ago I had a felony which was dropped to a misdemeanor. Do I report this?

  84. I am an army DOD employee 49 years old. I must maintain a secret clearance for my field of work.

    I recently was arrested for Public Intox (misdemeanor). The prosecution agreed to dismiss all charges if I attended 10 AA meetings, which I did. All I have is the arrest record. When I was 18 I had convictions for Public Intox and Illegal Possesion of Alcohol.

    I will need to submit another security app in 3.5 years for another periodic investigation. Can I wait until then to disclose or should disclose now?