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):
It truly is amazing how an individual’s perspective on situations and life’s events can become totally skewed and out of sync with actual reality. In a recent Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) case the applicant, a former military service member, filled out the SF-86 and indicated that he had served as a military officer and was honorably discharged at the end of his enlistment. There are no issues here, right? Well……..if that information had been true then you would have been correct. However, come to find out, the applicant did not serve in the military as an officer, but rather was an enlisted member. Oh, and also, he did not receive an honorable discharge, but rather an “other than honorable” type. But wait, that’s not all, here is the best part: He also failed to disclose marijuana use while in a cleared status which led to him being discharged from the military!
In an interesting Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals case, at issue was the marijuana use of a contractor who was working in a public trust position and subsequently applied for a security clearance. In 2008 for the public trust position she noted on her background investigation paperwork that she had used marijuana from 2003 to 2008 while in college. This issue was favorably adjudicated and she was cleared to work in the public trust position. Fast forward to 2013 when she filled out an SF-86 for a security clearance and disclosed new drug use information on the form stating she had used marijuana ten times between 2009 and 2013.
In a not so frequent ruling by the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals, the board overturned a favorable security clearance eligibility decision by the judge that had heard the initial appeal. The main issues in this particular case fall under Guideline E (Personal Conduct), Guideline G (Alcohol Consumption), Guideline J (Criminal Conduct), and Guideline H (Drug Involvement).