The long road that known as the security clearance process is almost at the end. You have overcome all of the hurdles involved, from getting an interview and being hired into a national security position to undergoing a background investigation and finally being deemed worthy of handling the nation’s secrets. However, before you get the keys to the magic kingdom there are some training and briefing requirements that have to be met before you can view those documents with the bold red stamp on the top and bottom of the pages.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Hearing and Appeals, much like its counterpart within the DoD (DOHA), hears appeals for those denied eligibility for a DOE “Q” or “L” security clearances. Unlike DOHA, the DOE appeals board decides on both federal and contractor employees alike and makes adjudicative decisions in other areas like Human Reliability Program reviews, FOIA appeals, whistleblower cases, contractor employment grievances, and other mediations. The bulk of their work, however, involves security clearance eligibility decisions. In their annual FY 2015 report the board heard and made decisions on 104 clearance eligibility related cases that fell into the most frequent disqualifying categories of conduct or concern (some had multiple issues). Here is a breakdown of the numbers and issues:
Many government contractors live and work all over the world in areas where family members cannot go. Locals are hired to take care of basic necessities such as food services, laundry, and housecleaning. Naturally, it is tempting to engage in extracurricular activities, as well. However, if you hold a security clearance you should think twice before engaging in sexual relations with a local foreign national, especially if you are married. A DoD contractor found this out when the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals upheld the decision to deny his clearance based upon his sexual relationship with his housekeeper/cook while he worked in Kyrgyzstan for a year, his failure to disclose the relationship to his employer, and his lack of candor about it during the hearing.
Demonstrating good judgment and reliability by following rules and procedures in the workplace is a significant factor for determining eligibility for access to national security information, as a recent DoD security clearance applicant found out. In this particular Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals case, the employee was issued a statement of reasons for a pattern of a failure to follow rules in employment resulting in terminations. The judge also considered the applicant’s inconsistent statements and lack of full disclosure about the details of the incidents that resulted in his getting fired from two jobs.