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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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momofasmartguy  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, August 12, 2009 2:47:19 PM(UTC)
momofasmartguy

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Hi...I am new here and am concerned about my oldest son, who worked his butt off in high school and college to obtain his EE degree and minors in Spanish and mathamatics. During his high school years, it was apparent that he was a bit bored and hence, hacked into his high school computer system. Not doing any harm or threatening anything, just out of curiousity on how the network was put together. Well, to make a long story short...our local high school used him as an example (only after he came forward with the truth) and prosecuted him...only after they lied to us and told us they would not do such a thing. Such great example setters. After all of this, he was given a misdemeanor. He did not serve any time and was never arrested. It is just "on his record". I am proud to say that he graduated 3rd in his high school class and completed his Associates of Science degree at the same time from our local community college and went on to graduate from a 4 year university, getting his electrical engineering degree in 3 years time. He is 23 now and has been working for a company doing embedded software for the last 2 years. His job is very slow and boring and recently has been looking for something else. He applied for a position that required a top secret clearance and he did not pass because of his indiscretion at age 15. It really breaks my heart, because he is a very gifted and wonderful human being. I now know why he was not able to get in to some the colleges that he so dreamed of. He has paid the price, but maybe someday someone will see what he has to offer and not look at the petty mistake of a boy of 15. If he could expunge this plunder of his record, would it make a difference in the future with other top secret clearance jobs? Any input would help us...him.
deltatango  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, August 12, 2009 11:15:37 PM(UTC)
deltatango

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i ain't no expert, just a fed job seeker myself...i don't think hacking a high school computer at 15yrs of age would proclude your 23 son from getting a TS clearance...is it possible he also smoked weed, missed a couple credit card payments, and maybe got a DWI, while in college...i don't mean to offend you...but, you see where i going here?
SharonL  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, August 12, 2009 11:45:08 PM(UTC)
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...and - did he get his clearance denied or did whoever was thinking of hiring him decide to deny his interim and not even submit the request for a full clearance?
momofasmartguy  
#4 Posted : Thursday, August 13, 2009 12:35:50 AM(UTC)
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No....you are not offending me. I realize things can happen while away at college. He didn't even have his car with him while in college and has never even had a speeding ticket let alone a dui. Believe me, if he had had a dui, we would be the first people to know. He is not the type to do drugs, even mj....so I know it was not ever an issue with that. He is very good with his money, as he makes great money as an embedded software engineer, so I know that credit issues are not the problem. The company in which he applied is government contracted. Maybe they have different stipulations regarding misdemeanor. I am really curious if anyone can tell me that if a record is expunged is there any reason to disclose the fact that he has a misdemeanor in the first place? Or, will this be able to be dug up? I would like to help me in the pursiut of eliminating this from his record. He was honest and disclosed the fact that he did have this misdemeanor, but I am not sure about the circumstances or if he was able to explane the situation. Even so, I am not sure if it would have made a difference. They say to be honest and disclose everythigg. We have always gone with the motto of honesty is the best policy....but sometimes that doesn't always work out best for the person.
momofasmartguy  
#5 Posted : Thursday, August 13, 2009 12:45:21 AM(UTC)
momofasmartguy

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Also...for Sharon.....I don't know how far they got with the clearance before telling him. Or if the company decided not to hire based on the misdemeanor alone. They only told him that that was the factor of why they wouldn't hire him. The process had begun on the clearance, but I am not sure where they were in it.
deltatango  
#6 Posted : Thursday, August 13, 2009 1:06:43 AM(UTC)
deltatango

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You will get a good idea of what the Security Clearance Application requires (you'll see "expunged" really means nothing in this process) by reviewing the form....GOOGLE "SF86".

Also, you will get a good idea of the adjudication process and mitigation by searching out "Adjudication Guidelines" by GOOGLE.

If his TS was denied, there should be a letter of reason. Also, I believe, there is a period of time in which he can re-apply.

An year old misdemeanor committed by a 15yr, with an otherwise clean background, does not sound like a disqualifier for a TS. Maybe the Interim would be denied. Again, i'm not expert just a hapless fed job searcher.
momofasmartguy  
#7 Posted : Friday, August 14, 2009 3:59:16 AM(UTC)
momofasmartguy

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Thank you.....I will check that out. I am looking into getting his juvenile record expunged and sealed. I would think that any company that really wants a talented person to come and work for them, would look at the situation individually and assess it from there. It's a shame that a person can't even explain the situation. I see these poor students who have worked their way through college in hopes for a fed job and have had to take out a loan to pay for their schooling, only to have a school loan debt eliminate them from getting a clearance too. It's really a shame to me.
mallen  
#8 Posted : Friday, August 14, 2009 7:20:09 AM(UTC)
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quote:
Originally posted by momofasmartguy:
Thank you.....I will check that out. I am looking into getting his juvenile record expunged and sealed. I would think that any company that really wants a talented person to come and work for them, would look at the situation individually and assess it from there. It's a shame that a person can't even explain the situation. I see these poor students who have worked their way through college in hopes for a fed job and have had to take out a loan to pay for their schooling, only to have a school loan debt eliminate them from getting a clearance too. It's really a shame to me.


Expunging the record may not do any good. They will still find it and if the question asks,you still have to answer yes regarding the conviction. What will help is time. The longer he stays squeaky clean the less significant a youthful infraction will be.
My understanding was that you DO in fact get a chance to explain when they interview you. Of course telling them "it was no big deal,I was just curious" may not help you much. Personally,I think that "I was stupid and did something illegal and payed the price and have never done anything like that again" might be a better explanation but that's just a guess on my part.
BackGdInvestigator  
#9 Posted : Friday, August 14, 2009 2:11:18 PM(UTC)
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Don't pay for the expungment.

Time will heal this wound - even for most BIs.
*DISCLAIMER*Correctly filling out your security forms will not guarantee you a clearance in 3 months BUT be sloppy and your case will be in the field a heck of a lot longer, guaranteed.
momofasmartguy  
#10 Posted : Saturday, August 15, 2009 12:04:02 PM(UTC)
momofasmartguy

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HI...for BackGdInvestigator.....

I have a friend who works for the Attorney General in WA State and is going to check on what we need to do to expunge and seal his records. It looks like the matter won't be too difficult, as he was a minor and it was a misdemeanor. I am still very curious though, if you consider a clearance on an individual basis? Do you look into the matter and get the whole story? If he does eventually get the record sealed, would he then be able to say in the future, that he never had the misdemeanor? Or, would you be able to find it out anyway? I am not sure of the cost here in this state, but I don't think it should be too much of an issue. Thanks though, you sound like you might be a little bit more considerate of the situation than some!
BackGdInvestigator  
#11 Posted : Saturday, August 15, 2009 12:42:46 PM(UTC)
BackGdInvestigator

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Mom - I am here to tell you from personal - first hand observation - if your son lies on the security questionnaire - it will go badly.

A misdemeanor is just a misdemeanor. Lying is one of the three major disqualifiers.

I really have to question your integrity, and your son's, if you are willing to get a public official involved so your son can possibly lie about his previous arrest in order to get a security clearance. Do you not see the problem here? Right now, it is just a misdemeaner by a teenager. Have him stand up like the man you claimed he was and own up to his youthful error. He will earn the trust of a security clearance honestly then.

It only takes one person who knew about the incident to open the door - then your son loses his clearance, not for the misdemeanor, but for the lie, when we confront him, his friends, the school, and the judge. This behavior is so serious that it has its own issue code.

I am showing my age and my mom's values I guess. No job, especially one involving a national clearance, is worth a blantant lie. We have enough Madoffs here in the United States, we need more honest joes and janes.

I should be glad to read posts like this, it means constant employment for guys/gals like me. Still, it is still a sad commentary.

Yes, each case is looked at individually. This is why lying about a minor criminal issue becomes a major integrity issue.
*DISCLAIMER*Correctly filling out your security forms will not guarantee you a clearance in 3 months BUT be sloppy and your case will be in the field a heck of a lot longer, guaranteed.
momofasmartguy  
#12 Posted : Saturday, August 15, 2009 2:25:19 PM(UTC)
momofasmartguy

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I am sorry and I would hope that you can understand that I am new here and only asking questions based on the posts that I have looked into on here. If you think that obtaining an expungement is not in the best interest of my son, then that is the road we shall take. I am only a mom who loves her son and only wants him to be happy in his life and job. If you could know my son, you would then know how much of a man he is and how strong of a person he is to have come forward that day all on his own at age 15 to explain himself and to have believed in his teacher and the administrators that they would not harm him or prosecute him. It was painful when we found out they had all lied and wanted to prosecute him anyway. Not really a great lesson was taught by them. They wanted him to go finish up his high school career at the local community college, but even though extremely shy, he wanted to finish his high school degree at the high school. We have taught him never to lie and to always stand up for what is right. He has so much intregity and in no way would I or his father EVER tell him to lie about his misdemeanor to gain a job or anthing else. It is just sad that people can't see through a mistake of a kid....I don't want to be judged on my integrity. I am just trying to figure out how to help him respectfully and honestly.
momofasmartguy  
#13 Posted : Saturday, August 15, 2009 2:31:09 PM(UTC)
momofasmartguy

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Oh and he was NEVER arrested.
the rock99  
#14 Posted : Saturday, August 15, 2009 10:36:29 PM(UTC)
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No offense intended, cut the apron strings, you need a reality check.

You seem to refuse to acknowledge that your son committed a crime. He illegally hacked into a computer system that he had no right to access. He was charged with, and convicted of committing a crime. Stop making excuses about how he was "lied to", he did the crime.

Your son needs to stand up and say "yes, I screwed up, it was my fault and there is no one to blame for my stupidity but myself."

A misdemeanor at 15 (8 years ago), if he was truthful about it, is most likely not going to stop him from getting a clearance or a job. There is probably something else going on here that is preventing him from getting a clearance, and he is to embarassed to admit it to you because you have him on a very high moral platform.

Don't be one of those parents who says "my child wouldn't do that", and yes I have two adult children who did stupid things when they were kids, and I did stupid things when I was a kid, it is part of growing up.
BackGdInvestigator  
#15 Posted : Sunday, August 16, 2009 12:18:58 AM(UTC)
BackGdInvestigator

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Thank you Rock.

Mom - the question is "In the last 7 years, have you illegally, or without proper authorization, entered into any information technology system?" Download the SF 86.

Honestly, at age 15, the incident is not a heavy issue. The fact that you and your son are worried about it and working to HIDE his past behavior becomes the concern. It tells me, a security goon, that in your heart, he can be blackmailed or coerced in order to hide this behavior.
*DISCLAIMER*Correctly filling out your security forms will not guarantee you a clearance in 3 months BUT be sloppy and your case will be in the field a heck of a lot longer, guaranteed.
momofasmartguy  
#16 Posted : Sunday, August 16, 2009 1:16:22 AM(UTC)
momofasmartguy

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oh come on...you guys are WAY too extreme. I am simply asking questions. Investigator....I have no knowledge about your forms or what takes place in a secerity clearance, so please don't make it sound like I should. Questions are legal and I am not lacking intregrity by asking questions of which I know little about. I am just trying to learn more about the process. Like I said, the kid is completely honest about what he did, extremely regreful and would never lie on a job application. And yes, I was a kid too and was not perfect. I do have him on a high moral platform, mainly because I am his mom....but also because I know him and you don't. He would not be embarrassed to state any of his wrongdoings on a clearance form and he knows what he did was wrong, paid the price and wants to get on with a great career.
mwm158  
#17 Posted : Sunday, August 16, 2009 6:04:46 AM(UTC)
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The fact is, there is no way that what you say happened caused him to not get clearance. There HAD to be something else.
momofasmartguy  
#18 Posted : Sunday, August 16, 2009 12:46:50 PM(UTC)
momofasmartguy

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reall? What could he have done so bad that his parents don't even know????
mwm158  
#19 Posted : Sunday, August 16, 2009 1:20:18 PM(UTC)
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I don't know, maybe he has bad credit? Maybe he smokes weed? Maybe he has webcam sex with groups of british men that he put down as foreigners he knows. I don't know what, if anything, he hasn't told you. But I really really don't think you'd be denied a clearance for something minor you did 8 years ago when you were 15.
Yokofed  
#20 Posted : Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:35:41 PM(UTC)
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quote:
Originally posted by momofasmartguy:
oh come on...you guys are WAY too extreme. I am simply asking questions. Investigator....I have no knowledge about your forms or what takes place in a secerity clearance, so please don't make it sound like I should. Questions are legal and I am not lacking intregrity by asking questions of which I know little about. I am just trying to learn more about the process. Like I said, the kid is completely honest about what he did, extremely regreful and would never lie on a job application. And yes, I was a kid too and was not perfect. I do have him on a high moral platform, mainly because I am his mom....but also because I know him and you don't. He would not be embarrassed to state any of his wrongdoings on a clearance form and he knows what he did was wrong, paid the price and wants to get on with a great career.


Mom, it might be a bit nuanced, but -- I think the miscommuniation here is related to a fundamental misunderstanding of the term "expungement."

It's a little like some many people who misinterpret the basic judicial concept of the presumtion of innocense... Boy has thatconcept been twisted. Pretty much the population has twisted "presumed innocent" to mean, literally, "not guilty" until it goes to court, or judicial review, or whatever. (Stick with me... I'm getting somewhere! Razz ) There's this sense that if you commit an illegal act, you are guiltless -- it didn't happen -- unless our justice system proves otherwise. That's not and never has been the case: you are only presumed to be innocent. Of course, if one commits the illegal act, they are in matter of fact, guilty but will be presumed innocent until the case is tried in the judicial system.

So, there's this sense we can "eliminate reality." That's, I think, how an "expungement" is treated. In an expungement, the ONLY thing that has been done is... right, an expungement. It does not mean that you may treat the expunged act as if it never occurred, or that it gives you the justified or legal right to respond to any direct question about that act by saying, it never happened. I think people think expungement is a whole lot more powerful than it really is.

I know, I'm late to this short dialog: but, mom, I guarantee the folks responding to you are not intending to be rude, just reacting to what appears (or appeared) to be the perception that, if one's record is expunged, the activity "disappears as a matter of reality." It doesn't. It's just "expunged." But in any security interview the answer to the question about the misdemeanor is: "Yes, the record was expunged, but here're the details..."

I hear you about your son. Your description of his character comes across as very sincere and believable... But don't misinterpret "expunged" as if it meant "never happened." Big mistake.
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