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Security Clearance

A security clearance is a status granted to individuals allowing them access to classified information. Those trying to get a clearance may have questions such as how does one go about attaining a clearance? And, what are the different levels? As well as other questions. This area will allow those that have clearances offer advice and suggestions to those inquiring about clearances or upgrading their clearances.

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engineerwitharecordish  
#1 Posted : Monday, June 22, 2020 6:23:39 PM(UTC)
engineerwitharecordish

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Hello,

I was hoping that you guys might be able to help me understand whether I might be able to (eventually) obtain a security clearance. To start, I am a network engineer with a speciality in security. The reason I am inquiring about this is because there are a lot of jobs that require clearance and I am wondering whether I have a chance in hell in obtaining one with my record. The jobs I was looking at range from Secret up to TS/SCI w/ Poly.

My criminal background:

I was arrested five years ago on a drug charge, 21 USC 841. However my charges were dismissed after a deal with the USAO on a pretrial diversion deal. As part of that deal, my records were to be erased after three years if I did not get into trouble which I did not. My records however, are still visible in pacer (dismissal and all) obviously. To sum up

- Arrested on drug charges
- Charged
- Was not indicted
- Do not have a conviction
- Dismissed

I am in the process of submitting an IdHSC request for FBI records because I want to know what's still there and if my records are still visible in the FBI system. Additionally, I am sober and am committed to maintaining it.

So, do I have a chance of obtaining a clearance at any level? Would it make a difference if I were to apply to something now versus waiting longer? Obviously I would be truthful about everything during an interview and on the form, but would it matter?

I appreciate any insight into the matter. Thank you for your time.
someoldguy  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, June 23, 2020 7:43:09 AM(UTC)
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There are many more factors which need to be considered, and you may not want to share them all here, but the fact that the US Atty was willing to drop prosecution (or so it seems) has to be a point in your favor.

I for one do not see this as some kind of automatically disqualifying event, though some agencies will be more apprehensive than others. I suspect most contractors will be reluctant to take a chance on putting you in for a clearance. Anyway the entirety of your background will be considered including finances, employment history, foreign contacts, and all the other stuff. I don't know if you should wait, but maybe it would be a good idea to focus on positions only requiring a secret clearance, at least to start.

Aren't there a lot of computer security jobs in the commercial sector? That's one of the problems the government is having, the demand for top IT security folks is not limited to government work. Top people can make big bucks.

Edited by user Tuesday, June 23, 2020 7:44:34 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

DISCLAIMER: You read it on an open internet forum :)
frankgonzalez  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, June 23, 2020 9:24:23 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: someoldguy Go to Quoted Post
There are many more factors which need to be considered, and you may not want to share them all here, but the fact that the US Atty was willing to drop prosecution (or so it seems) has to be a point in your favor.

I for one do not see this as some kind of automatically disqualifying event, though some agencies will be more apprehensive than others. I suspect most contractors will be reluctant to take a chance on putting you in for a clearance. Anyway the entirety of your background will be considered including finances, employment history, foreign contacts, and all the other stuff. I don't know if you should wait, but maybe it would be a good idea to focus on positions only requiring a secret clearance, at least to start.

Aren't there a lot of computer security jobs in the commercial sector? That's one of the problems the government is having, the demand for top IT security folks is not limited to government work. Top people can make big bucks.
The USAO didn't drop the charges, they cut a plea deal with the OP. I would guess it was because the OP wasn't worth the expense and time of pursuing, and I would guess the plea deal allowed for automatic sentencing on the charges had the OP failed their part of the deal (ie stay out of trouble for 3 years, etc) as no plea deal has all carrot and no stick aspect.

I would guess that any law enforcement agency or DoD are likely to have more of an issue with this than some others (like Voice of America or Office of the Capital Architect), especially as this is within 7 years.

That said, be brutally honest...the records never really get erased (especially the federal ones), so leaving it out (or downplaying aspects) can result in unfavorable decisions.

No-one can predict whether you will get a clearance or not. Apply and let them tell you no.

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
engineerwitharecordish  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, June 23, 2020 12:38:43 PM(UTC)
engineerwitharecordish

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It is partially correct that it was a plea deal. In the strictest sense, it was not because it was pre-indictment and the deal did not have to be approved by a judge. My only time in front of a judge was at arraignment. The deal was approved by the head of the criminal division at the USAO. It was an agreement of deferred prosecution (PTD under 9-22.000). The charge at the end of my deal was dismissed without prejudice. But yes, in a sense it was a plea deal and should I have violated the agreement in any way, I would have been subject to the original prosecution.

As for there being a lot of jobs, there are both in networking and network security. I really just want to know my options should I wish to pursue a cleared job.

Thanks for your responses thus far.
Endless Summer  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, June 23, 2020 1:37:00 PM(UTC)
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Don't let this keep you from applying for positions.

Apply, be completely honest about this, don't think they won't find out about it(they will), and let them tell you if it's a big deal.

As has been said, this will be a bigger deal to some agencies than to others. I'd expect you to have a tougher time with any Law Enforcement or Judicial agency. Others may not be an issue.

good luck
TheUnderverse15  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, June 24, 2020 6:21:28 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: frankgonzalez Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: someoldguy Go to Quoted Post
There are many more factors which need to be considered, and you may not want to share them all here, but the fact that the US Atty was willing to drop prosecution (or so it seems) has to be a point in your favor.

I for one do not see this as some kind of automatically disqualifying event, though some agencies will be more apprehensive than others. I suspect most contractors will be reluctant to take a chance on putting you in for a clearance. Anyway the entirety of your background will be considered including finances, employment history, foreign contacts, and all the other stuff. I don't know if you should wait, but maybe it would be a good idea to focus on positions only requiring a secret clearance, at least to start.

Aren't there a lot of computer security jobs in the commercial sector? That's one of the problems the government is having, the demand for top IT security folks is not limited to government work. Top people can make big bucks.
The USAO didn't drop the charges, they cut a plea deal with the OP. I would guess it was because the OP wasn't worth the expense and time of pursuing, and I would guess the plea deal allowed for automatic sentencing on the charges had the OP failed their part of the deal (ie stay out of trouble for 3 years, etc) as no plea deal has all carrot and no stick aspect.

I would guess that any law enforcement agency or DoD are likely to have more of an issue with this than some others (like Voice of America or Office of the Capital Architect), especially as this is within 7 years.

That said, be brutally honest...the records never really get erased (especially the federal ones), so leaving it out (or downplaying aspects) can result in unfavorable decisions.

No-one can predict whether you will get a clearance or not. Apply and let them tell you no.




I dont know Frank, most agencies would have a problem with this and request a Statement of reason from the OP. Pretty sure ths most CAFs will see the issue as a trustworthiness problem and flagged under suitability guidelines. It has only been 5 years too is another issue.

If he was going after small potatoes job like MWR positon...someone might let it slide because he would fall under local suitability guidelines where installation makes the call.
frankgonzalez  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, June 24, 2020 9:41:14 AM(UTC)
frankgonzalez

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Originally Posted by: TheUnderverse15 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: frankgonzalez Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: someoldguy Go to Quoted Post
There are many more factors which need to be considered, and you may not want to share them all here, but the fact that the US Atty was willing to drop prosecution (or so it seems) has to be a point in your favor.

I for one do not see this as some kind of automatically disqualifying event, though some agencies will be more apprehensive than others. I suspect most contractors will be reluctant to take a chance on putting you in for a clearance. Anyway the entirety of your background will be considered including finances, employment history, foreign contacts, and all the other stuff. I don't know if you should wait, but maybe it would be a good idea to focus on positions only requiring a secret clearance, at least to start.

Aren't there a lot of computer security jobs in the commercial sector? That's one of the problems the government is having, the demand for top IT security folks is not limited to government work. Top people can make big bucks.
The USAO didn't drop the charges, they cut a plea deal with the OP. I would guess it was because the OP wasn't worth the expense and time of pursuing, and I would guess the plea deal allowed for automatic sentencing on the charges had the OP failed their part of the deal (ie stay out of trouble for 3 years, etc) as no plea deal has all carrot and no stick aspect.

I would guess that any law enforcement agency or DoD are likely to have more of an issue with this than some others (like Voice of America or Office of the Capital Architect), especially as this is within 7 years.

That said, be brutally honest...the records never really get erased (especially the federal ones), so leaving it out (or downplaying aspects) can result in unfavorable decisions.

No-one can predict whether you will get a clearance or not. Apply and let them tell you no.




I dont know Frank, most agencies would have a problem with this and request a Statement of reason from the OP. Pretty sure ths most CAFs will see the issue as a trustworthiness problem and flagged under suitability guidelines. It has only been 5 years too is another issue.

If he was going after small potatoes job like MWR positon...someone might let it slide because he would fall under local suitability guidelines where installation makes the call.
As we don't have the full story (was this an attempt to sell a brick of cocaine, or was this someone caught in a raid of a pot grow house who was just there to pick up a baggie from their friend the grower for personal use or...?), we can't say what an agency's CAF would say. We are making educated guesses that Law Enforcement, and DoD would likely say "no", and the further away you get from those, the higher the chance of a yes may be.

The ONLY way to know for sure is apply and explain the issue when the clearance is investigated.

I do agree 5 years is kinda short, but if the issue was being wrong place/wrong time, then it may not be an issue. If it is a case of being a low level slinger getting caught in a round-up, but the diversion was offered because they were too low level to waste the time prosecuting...but they were involved in a major drug operation, then there is liely to be a lot of concerns and questions.

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
TheUnderverse15  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, June 24, 2020 3:17:44 PM(UTC)
TheUnderverse15

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Originally Posted by: frankgonzalez Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: TheUnderverse15 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: frankgonzalez Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: someoldguy Go to Quoted Post
There are many more factors which need to be considered, and you may not want to share them all here, but the fact that the US Atty was willing to drop prosecution (or so it seems) has to be a point in your favor.

I for one do not see this as some kind of automatically disqualifying event, though some agencies will be more apprehensive than others. I suspect most contractors will be reluctant to take a chance on putting you in for a clearance. Anyway the entirety of your background will be considered including finances, employment history, foreign contacts, and all the other stuff. I don't know if you should wait, but maybe it would be a good idea to focus on positions only requiring a secret clearance, at least to start.

Aren't there a lot of computer security jobs in the commercial sector? That's one of the problems the government is having, the demand for top IT security folks is not limited to government work. Top people can make big bucks.
The USAO didn't drop the charges, they cut a plea deal with the OP. I would guess it was because the OP wasn't worth the expense and time of pursuing, and I would guess the plea deal allowed for automatic sentencing on the charges had the OP failed their part of the deal (ie stay out of trouble for 3 years, etc) as no plea deal has all carrot and no stick aspect.

I would guess that any law enforcement agency or DoD are likely to have more of an issue with this than some others (like Voice of America or Office of the Capital Architect), especially as this is within 7 years.

That said, be brutally honest...the records never really get erased (especially the federal ones), so leaving it out (or downplaying aspects) can result in unfavorable decisions.

No-one can predict whether you will get a clearance or not. Apply and let them tell you no.




I dont know Frank, most agencies would have a problem with this and request a Statement of reason from the OP. Pretty sure ths most CAFs will see the issue as a trustworthiness problem and flagged under suitability guidelines. It has only been 5 years too is another issue.

If he was going after small potatoes job like MWR positon...someone might let it slide because he would fall under local suitability guidelines where installation makes the call.
As we don't have the full story (was this an attempt to sell a brick of cocaine, or was this someone caught in a raid of a pot grow house who was just there to pick up a baggie from their friend the grower for personal use or...?), we can't say what an agency's CAF would say. We are making educated guesses that Law Enforcement, and DoD would likely say "no", and the further away you get from those, the higher the chance of a yes may be.

The ONLY way to know for sure is apply and explain the issue when the clearance is investigated.

I do agree 5 years is kinda short, but if the issue was being wrong place/wrong time, then it may not be an issue. If it is a case of being a low level slinger getting caught in a round-up, but the diversion was offered because they were too low level to waste the time prosecuting...but they were involved in a major drug operation, then there is liely to be a lot of concerns and questions.



CAF isnt going to say no immediately, but my point was CAF is going RFI or SoR 100 percent of time now to get his side of story and mitigate the issue. Because it is running afoul of the 5 CFR part 731. Even if case was expunged or dismissed, CAF still has it due to FBI checks they conduct during adjudication period.

We had a guy think he was Scot free from all his records, applied for child care job. Turns out he was busted as a teen doing someone heinous and thought it was expunged. When CAF came back with RFI and CoI, the individual wrote that "nobody was supposed to know about this, how dare you!", CAF is thorough for a reason.


OP can apply, be prepared to answer some questions.

Edited by user Wednesday, June 24, 2020 3:21:16 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

King_Fed  
#9 Posted : Saturday, June 27, 2020 7:02:12 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: engineerwitharecordish Go to Quoted Post
It is partially correct that it was a plea deal. In the strictest sense, it was not because it was pre-indictment and the deal did not have to be approved by a judge. My only time in front of a judge was at arraignment. The deal was approved by the head of the criminal division at the USAO. It was an agreement of deferred prosecution (PTD under 9-22.000). The charge at the end of my deal was dismissed without prejudice. But yes, in a sense it was a plea deal and should I have violated the agreement in any way, I would have been subject to the original prosecution.

As for there being a lot of jobs, there are both in networking and network security. I really just want to know my options should I wish to pursue a cleared job.

Thanks for your responses thus far.


OP - as stated above, no one knows for sure. I know plenty of people with Top Secret clearances who thought their past would haunt them.

Big take away from this thread: BE HONEST

All they can do is say "no". Also, at the same time, pursue other opportunities.
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