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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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ConfusedStressed  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, September 27, 2011 8:20:08 AM(UTC)
ConfusedStressed

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Hello.
 
I am desperately looking for advice. I am at the (S) level. I am in the security profession and back-up the FSO when they are away. Back in June I opened the safe to look for something, got distracted, closed the safe and marked in the log that it was secure (which I thought it was). However, I did not spin the dial to lock the safe. An honest mistake when it was found the next day, unlocked.
 
The FSO reported it as a security violation to the DSS and the DSS forwarded it to DISCO. I was told by my FSO that was the end of it. The incident was documented in my personnel record and I was re-trained.
 
Today I was contacted by an OPM background investigator who advised me that I was being reinvestigated.
 
I am scared that an honest mistake will cost me my clearance and job.
 
I have a couple of questions:
1. How common is this? My FSO said he had never seen this happen before (been an FSO over a decade).
2. Will I have to re-mitigate stuff that was previously mitigated? (divorce, foreign friends, losing a job, speeding tickets, etc)
3. The investigator said that he would interview me based off of my SF86 but that is over a year and a half old and several things have changed. How can that be used accurately?
4. The investigator said he would want to look at my company personnel record. When I was initially investigated I disclosed losing a job on the SF 86 form and explained the circumstances in detal. That job is listed in my company personnel record, but I never disclosed my reason for leaving to my company as they did not require it. Do I have to re-mitigate this with OPM?
5. Do I need to start looking for a new job?
 
I am very confused and incredibly stressed out about this. I made a mistake, learned from that mistake and am now an even better back-up FSO because of it. This could potentially ruin my career in security.
 
Thank you for any advice,
ConfusedStressed
Fed Agent Lisa  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, September 28, 2011 2:12:42 AM(UTC)
Fed Agent Lisa

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Did the investigator also want to look at your security file?  If so, it looks to me that they have opened an investigation just to look into the violation.  It is rare, but it happens.  If your investigation was closed and your clearance granted they will not go back and review the entire form just discuss the violation.  If the violation was just an honest mistake then you have nothing to worry about.   
ConfusedStressed  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, September 28, 2011 3:39:36 AM(UTC)
ConfusedStressed

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The investigator said that he wanted to review my "personnel file" perhaps they were referring to my security personnel file which is different from my HR personnel file.

I also thought that they would not reinvestigate the entire form again if it was already adjudicated once before.

It was an absolute honest mistake. I have been very open and candid about it. It taught me a great deal.

Thanks for your response and I hope you are right!

Knight  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, September 28, 2011 5:14:41 AM(UTC)
Knight

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Did he mention the safe or are you assuming that is the reason? Maybe they are re-opening your case for another reason.
NewlyMintedFed  
#5 Posted : Thursday, September 29, 2011 12:27:52 AM(UTC)
NewlyMintedFed

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They need your file to see if this has happened before. No big deal if this is a one-time thing.  Stop worrying.  A security incident needs to be papered.  At worst you'll have a document that says you forgot to lock the safe one day.  Generally, if they add something to your file, you'll have a chance to include an explanation.
ConfusedStressed  
#6 Posted : Thursday, September 29, 2011 12:33:57 AM(UTC)
ConfusedStressed

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Knight - The investigator did not specifically say that was why I was being reinvestigated. This however is only a month after the official report from filed from DSS to DISCO, so putting two and two together is what I did. I don't have any clue what else it could be because I am still 5 years away from my periodic reinvestigation.
 
Newlymintedfed - Thanks for the feedback. Your senitments are pretty much what my company co-workers and director's have said. Just tell them what happened so it can be documented. I guess if it was something to worry about, they would have already suspended my clearance. Your feedback has lifted some of the weight off my shoulders. I still feel bad fo rmy mistake, but that is only human nature.
 
Thanks!
NewlyMintedFed  
#7 Posted : Thursday, September 29, 2011 12:50:19 AM(UTC)
NewlyMintedFed

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Take it easy man.  If everytime my office fired someone for a security violation, i'd be working by myself. 

By the way, you can't be 5 years away from a re-investigation unless you got your clearance yesterday.  Re-ups, AFAIK are done every 5 years.

ConfusedStressed  
#8 Posted : Thursday, September 29, 2011 4:23:32 AM(UTC)
ConfusedStressed

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Ahh I am mistaken when my next periodic reinvestigation begins. I have only had my clearance a year though, so it if defenetely not due.

Thanks for all the help Newlymintedfed, you make some great points and have really lowered my stress level. If I knew you I would buy you a drink!

Cheers!

ConfusedStressed2011-09-29 12:28:59
liaisonguy  
#9 Posted : Friday, September 30, 2011 8:47:17 AM(UTC)
liaisonguy

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I don't think you have much to worry about.  The old adverse info in your SF-86 won't interest the investigator.  I suspect the fact that you're a security officer and back up the FSO is the reason for the extra attention.  Security violations by us common folk are common, but it's more rare for a security person to be reported.  Self reporting?...yeah right  I wouldn't be surprised if your facility gets some extra attention soon in addition to your re-investigation.
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