Security Clearance Process

How to Report Another Clearance Holder

We all know about having to self-report information as a security clearance holder, but what about reporting on another clearance holder? This scenario is played out almost every day:  another individual with whom you work has a security clearance and you become aware of some conduct that could be an issue. It could be collection agencies calling the workplace looking for them, an alcohol related incident (DUI), indications of illegal drug use, security violations at work or engaging in some type of criminal conduct. What should you do? Should you report the information to anyone? If so, who do you report it to? This ethical decision-making process is exacerbated by not wanting to get a friend or co-worker in trouble, having a fear of creating tension in the working environment, or even possible retaliation.

As a clearance holder it is your obligation under Executive Order 12968 to report any information that raises doubts about whether another employee’s continued eligibility for access to classified information is clearly consistent with national security. Some will argue that a DUI or falling behind on some bills is not serious enough to report or ruin someone’s career. However, they are only seeing one small piece of the big picture, as there may be other things going on that they are not aware of. Most importantly, they are not trained adjudicators and do not have the authority to make that determination. A recent Supreme Court decision involving an FBI employee upheld the premise that information of concern reported by third parties deemed credible can be used to suspend or revoke a security clearance and that all parties with knowledge of adverse information have an obligation to report it as long as the information is not knowingly false.

If you are aware of information about a clearance holder that may be concerning you should contact your Agency Personnel Security Office or Company FSO. Do not approach the individual, co-workers or supervisors about it as that may cause a unpredictable reaction or result in unintended consequences. Let the security professionals make the determination about what to do and handle any necessary inquires. Contractors should read Industrial Security Letter (ISL) 2011-04 and the NISPOM Section 3 to learn more about reporting requirements.

Discussion

  1. Human nature being what it is...always makes this difficult. Great post. I find keeping companies informed of what must be reported is a difficult enough task. In my annual training for 340 employees (conducted in 4 training sessions; about 1 hour each) I go over "Outside Activities" in depth. I know I get the info across as I usually have a long line of employees needing report some issue or ask about a friend of a friend (wink wink, nudge nudge). Even with all this emphasis and monthly reminders to managers at the staff meetings, we always have employees not reporting info such as DUI's, arrests, etc. In a recent situation we had damage to a government vehicle. AS it was investigated the person who drove it every day stopped driving it in November for no good reason. He claims he noticed the damage but never reported it "I have no idea why I did not report that." As the investigation played out it turns out he lost his civilian license in October, this was January. He stopped driving the GOV because he knew he would be blamed and he was the likely culprit. He would need to produce his license....and he did not have it as it was suspended. So as Marko said above we only see what we see. What is going on under the surface is like the iceberg. Much more going on under the water than above the water. An anonymous call to the Security Manager or cognizant Security office may be in order. If you know about it and don't report it....and if you are subject to a Polygraph....it will come out and you are responsible. The Poly should not be the reason you report it but it sure helps make you do it.

  2. I agree completely that reporting requirements apply to the individual as well as other personnel known to have eligibility/access. In today's world, many do not report as they do not want to be known as a "snitcher" which can cause problems in the workplace. Various briefings (initial and annual security briefings and an organization's SPP) need to include information regarding the DoD Hot Line http://www.dodig.mil/hotline/ and an individual's ability to anonymously report information. Each organization should have the Hot Line poster displayed prominently in the workplace.