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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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woodywoodpecker  
#1 Posted : Friday, October 29, 2010 4:18:09 AM(UTC)
woodywoodpecker

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Hello everyone:
 
Question - I'm reviewing a job offer here that will eventually require a security clearance but in the interim, an interim security requirement is needed. The employer is a large defense contractor.
 
I've read that "any" negative information will get you rejected? Thirty years ago I got into numerous problems with the law as an 18-19yr old. Nothing that serious mind you, but it is what it is. Knowing that "integrity" is the personality attribute that is looked at from a very serious position, I will not lie about those juvenile past descretions.
 
What are the ramifications regarding the interim solution?
 
I've been a model citizen since that time with flawless credit, no debt, and a 20 year marriage, but I did do some stupid things way back then.
 
Advice?
liaisonguy  
#2 Posted : Friday, October 29, 2010 6:56:59 AM(UTC)
liaisonguy

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woodywoodpecker:
Welcome.  First you'll save yourself a lot of stress by opening up the SF86 to see what the exact questions are and how you'll need to answer them (google SF86).  The eQIP will have the same questions.  The issues concerning your police record are covered in section 22 of the SF86.  Some questions only go back 7 years for a secret or 10 years for a top secret, while some questions state "EVER" in your lifetime.

It is unlikely any minor issue from 30 years ago will cause a denial of clearance.  Time is a strong mitigating factor for almost everything.  As the SF86 indicates, felony convictions and firearm/explosives charges are not considered minor and time doesn't mitigate well.

In the event your interim clearance is denied, it is very likely your large defense contractor will revoke your job offer.  They usually make all job offers contingent on your obtaining an interim clearance, but you can ask them directly - it shouldn't be a secret between them and you.  If you're one of the super special candidates with unique skills they're desperate for, they might employ you in a job without access to classified info until your final clearance is determined.  The experienced investigators on this board report that nearly everyone that is denied an interim clearance will eventually be granted a final clearance if they are able to wait for final adjudication.   

In the event that you are denied an interim clearance and the DOD contractor revokes your offer and withdraws your clearance application, there is no further damage to you.  The denial of an interim clearance isn't held against you later.  You could apply again to another job requiring a clearance if you think they'd be patient for final adjudication, but your interim would likely be denied again.
Good luck.

Zephyrus  
#3 Posted : Friday, October 29, 2010 6:59:01 AM(UTC)
Zephyrus

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"I've read that "any" negative information will get you rejected?"

I don't know where you read it, but as written, that is a false generalization.

That being said, although 30 years is way out side the coverage period for even a TS (10 years), without knowing exactly what your transgression was, it is hard to comment since some SF-86 questions ask, "have you ever......"

sherco  
#4 Posted : Friday, October 29, 2010 7:38:59 AM(UTC)
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I had a dismissed felony charge and was denied an interim. This was 17 years ago AND I was a juvi at the time.

Another guy was in a short sale and denied.  Another guy sold a boat out of state several years prior but the DMV sent him to collections as they assumed he failed to pay regs and property taxes on it.

Yet one guy was arrested for assault, spent 3 days in jail after arrest, was convicted of disturbing the peace about 7 years ago. HE got an interim....go figure.

jhennessey  
#5 Posted : Friday, October 29, 2010 8:14:59 AM(UTC)
jhennessey

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Dear woodywoodpecker,
 
I am re-posting this from a similiar answer I just gave to another forum memeber.
 
Not all folks with listed issues get a Interim denied, but due to the applicants explainations or mitigation (or I should lack of), many folks get the Interim unnecessary denied.
 
 
 I do not exactly agree. You are correct in that many folks who list any adverse information in the security questionnaire (SF-86) will get a denial of the requested Interim. 
 
Many of these same folks (good folks too) will list some issue and that is it, period, no explaination or not explained in very good detail (specific, concised, factual + appropriately).
 
There are folks who will + do list an issue(s) or adverse information within the SF-86, but if they adaquately and properly explain, mitigate (in proper & relevant) detail, will have a higher chance of getting that Interim.
 
Let's face it, completing a SF-86 is not a lot of fun.
 
Many people rush through filling out this form.
 
And it shows (it is sloppy, full of mistakes, lacks required information, has gaps, and if an issue is listed, no adequate explainations or such, is there, to be considered by adjudicator, hence you have a Interim denied, which in many cases need not happen.
 
I have reviewed the various security forms (SF-85, SF-85P, SF-86), many (many) thousands of these forms, and I can state that certain forms appear to have been completed with little thought or effort, many which lacked basic and often required information.
 
Some looked as though it took less than 15 minutes to complete. 
 
Now I know these forms are a pain & then some.
 
However, getting that Interim can have (positive) rippling effects.
 
However, the importance in the (proper) completion of these forms seem to be lost.
 
And that need-not happen.
 
Flipping the same coin, I am happy to state that many folks take the process serious and devote the proper effort and time in filling out these forms, and I have witness many (many) times the granting of their Interim clearance and then the granting of their Final clearance.
 
So yes, you will continue to see many folks getting denial the Interim, which on many occasions could have been avoided.
 
Hope this helps
 
Jim Hennessey<br />Leesburg, VA<br />Federal Background Investigator (Ret.)<br />Security Clearance Consultant
contractor  
#6 Posted : Friday, October 29, 2010 8:41:17 AM(UTC)
contractor

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I will reiterate what Mr. H is saying:  there is nothing more important in this process than an applicant taking the time to properly fill out their paperwork.  Read the instructions carefully, provide appropriate references that cover the entire time periods required, use the comments section to provide additional information if needed.  Also, nothing holds up a clearance more than failing to list something like mental health counseling (when it is required to be listed), or omitting or forgetting residences, employments or education.  Failure to answer these questions properly can add months and months to your investigation with no one but yourself to blame.  Again, you, as the applicant, can greatly reduce the time your investigation will take by properly filling out the paperwork.  Off my soapbox. 
woodywoodpecker  
#7 Posted : Sunday, October 31, 2010 8:13:46 AM(UTC)
woodywoodpecker

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Mr. Hennessey - Thank you four your reply.
 
Could you please give me a better description of what you mean by, "but if they adaquately and properly explain, mitigate (in proper & relevant) detail"?
 
There is no way I'm going to find the details of the cases that are 30 years old. My only explanation is that I was raised without a father figure, and got into trouble. I hung out with the wrong people and they influenced me to do things I normally wouldn't do.  I truly didn't straighten out my life until I walked into a Korean Marine Corp. Captain's martial arts school at the age of 22, and it was at the time that I dumped every friend I had including my girlfriend who only wanted to party. I finally had the discipline to make something out of my life and have done just that.
 
Details as best as I can recall:
 
Run in with the law #1, two friends were visiting and they had stolen a check. I was in the vehicle when they cashed the check. I cooperated with authorities and got one year probation. I'm not even sure if I was an adult at the time it was so long ago.
 
Run in with the law #2 I was 18 or 19 and again, was running with the wrong crowd. We broke into a school and got caught red handed. I got a years probation for this, but what was most important is that my mother intentionally left me in jail for two weeks, and that was a lesson I needed.
 
Additionally, I got a DWI when I was 30, something like 20 years ago. I went to alcohol conseling on a deferred sentance, and that was a good experience that taught me that abusing alcohol can lead to trouble. Again, it would be very difficult for me to get the details of this case, etc.
 
I've had no problems with law enforcement for over twenty years now, other than a couple of tickets. I've had steady employment, twenty years of marriage,excellent credit, and recently paid off my mortage so now I have no debt.
 
I've always wanted to serve my country and would hate to think the things I did as an immature, unguided juvenile/young adult would come back to haunt me to this day.
 
Any advice would be appreciated.
 
Thank you
 
 
liaisonguy  
#8 Posted : Sunday, October 31, 2010 8:55:56 AM(UTC)
liaisonguy

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woodywoodpecker:
If you havn't headed my advice to go look at the SF86, you really ought to: www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf86.pdf.  You could put yourself at ease.

For parts a and b of question 22 on the form, it states to only respond for the timeframe of the last 7 years (if a SSBI go back 10 years).  So none of your listed crimes would need to be included on those parts.
Part c asks whether you have EVER been charged with a felony, and the crimes above don't appear to me to be felonies.
Part d asks about any firearms or explosives.  Again this doesn't apply to your listed crimes.
part e asks about any drugs or alcohol charges EVER in your life.  This is where you'll need to report the DUI.  The form also states in question 22 that "if you answered yes" to any question above, explain below, providing information for each and every offense.  That's where you can include the alcohol counseling as a mitigating factor as you noted above.  If this is for a Secret or below clearance, you might also consider noting on the form what your current drinking habits are (unless you binge drink and drive drunk every night (kidding)).  If this is a TS/SSBI, you'll get the chance to discuss your current drinking during the personal interview.

For bedside reading on the adjudication standards, try this:
http://www.fas.org/sgp/isoo/guidelines.html

jhennessey  
#9 Posted : Monday, November 01, 2010 12:54:13 AM(UTC)
jhennessey

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dear woodywoodpecker,
 
first, I have to state that both (posters) contractor +  liaisonguy gave you good advise.
 
In your initial posting you made reference to obtaining an Interim clearance.
 
My response to your original posting (about obtaining the Interim) still stands.
 
Not all Interims need be denied (as many folks believe due to listed issues), if (and remeber) if the issue(s) are fully explained in a adaquate, relevant manner (mitigated). Your chances ARE greatly improved in geting that Interim.
 
I witness folks getting that Interim all the time that otherwise would not, had they NOT adaquately explain, in very good detail, what they should state (prior) to submitting that SF-86.
 
Just ask  "why do some folks (with listed issues) obtain a Interim + some folks (with listed issues) do not obtain a Interim.
 
Many with the same or quite similiar issues.
 
Why ?
 
And whe are talking (good folks) here.
 
And please (please) leave your friends, co-workers, buddy's opinions, advise + suggestions out of the equation.
 
I read all types of speculations who got Interim & who didn't, most of it amusing, (the Investigators's mood, the  adjudicators was happy or unhappy that day, on & on).
 
Well, I can only state a submitted SF-86, fully explained (fully), with everything adaquately addressed, explained, candid, honest, full of relevant detail, and with some common-sense, makes that decision (favorable Interim + and a favorable Final) that more realistic and possible.
 
It's not that complicated.
 
Google the "13 Adjudicated Standards", find the standard that relates best to your situation, read through that standard (very very carefullly).
 
At the end of each of these 13 Adjudicative Standards there is a Mitigtating Section, again read very carefully.
 
When completing your SF-86 (in e-Quip) write down all that applies to your situation and your attempts to correct/reticfy your issue.
 
Provide details (and no BS at all or take make untrue claims) on what you did to "right things' and "take care" of any of these problems.
 
Do not make make half-bake claims, excuses or place blame of others, if untrue or such.
 
Investigators & Adjudicators are pretty smart folks & will see through any BS or such.
 
Anything stated is subject to be verified.
 
Half-assed statements "oh, I will,... at some future time..." and such vagueness (again showing not "owning-up" will not help the situation".
 
Please look at this from the other side of the table, the security-folks side, they pretty much have seen/heard all, especially the BS.
 
Now, I am not saying you are in that league (BS'ers, etc), but many folks (yes, even some readers here in this forum can fall within this league).
 
Also, read those timelines carefully, very carefully.
 
Good luck and best to you.
Jim Hennessey<br />Leesburg, VA<br />Federal Background Investigator (Ret.)<br />Security Clearance Consultant
woodywoodpecker  
#10 Posted : Monday, November 01, 2010 1:03:04 AM(UTC)
woodywoodpecker

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Excellent advice. I do believe I have more than owned up to my lack of character as a young man, and through my own initiatives I turned around my life. I've often looked back and reflected on key decsions. If I wouldn't have taken up martial arts, I never would've met my wife of twenty years as just one example.
 
Thank you for your time and advice.
 
 
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