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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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#1 Posted : Tuesday, July 26, 2022 3:46:12 AM(UTC)

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 7/26/2022(UTC)
Posts: 3
United States
Location: Florida

Good Morning All,

So here is the deal. I have been with the government for going on 6 years. I have worked for FEMA, VHA, and VA. That said, I have had a public trust going on 6 years, started at a Tier 1 and now its a tier 4. I recently decided to switch jobs after being a GS-13 IT Specialist with a tier 4 public trust to a GS 12 Data Scientist with the US Army in Hawaii. This new position will require a Secret clearance at the Noncritical Sensitive with Moderate Risk classification. This is where it gets interesting... I have a few incidents that are spread out over the course of few years with zero incidents in over 10 years(not even a parking ticket). I have been adjudicated favorably for my HIGH Risk as of March 2021. List of good and bad below:

The Bad

-Insurance Fraud- two counts(felony)
-Theft- two counts (Misdemeanor)

Both of the above were an isolated incidents. Served on probation for 7 years, had it expunged from the record, which I realize doesn't matter in terms of reporting it. This happened in 2005.

-I received a careless operation in 2004. Which was a plea down from a DUI.

-Discharged from the Army with General for drinking in Iraq IN 2007. I recently got it upgrade to Honorable due to a service connection disabilities that were related to my discharge.

-I received a DUI in 2010

-I filed for CH 7 in 2012(falls off in 3 months) after a nasty divorce.
-Which leads me to the final issue, my divorce, which shouldn't be a big deal but worth mentioning.

The Good
While on probation, I went back to school. I received my associates in 2010, my BA in 2013, and my first Masters in 2016
I am about to finish my second masters and start the doctorate program in Jan.
Credit is good.
Life is good.
Child Support is paid.
Lots of friends and family that can account to my life style changes.
I rarely drink and when I do its usually at home.
When I did the Tier 4 public trust investigation, the investigator told me I over shared and he recommended I not do that in the future because it caused a slow down in the process. They ultimately had to go all the way back to 2003 when I enlisted in the army because of the over share. I wanted to be 100% transparent on everything so there was zero chance I could be told I was hiding something.

My question is, giving these variables and my clear lack of issues in over 10 years, is it less likely that I will get the Secret? I am trying to feel the audience out because this is quite a risk for me and my family. As stated above, I have been in government for a few years. Starting at Tier 1, then Tier 4 HR, and now looking for Noncritical Sensitive Secret. I am taking the slow approach trying to prove that I am trust worthy now. I would think that my previous public trust(s) and having no issues in over 10 years should put me in the green but not entirely sure. There is alot of risk to jump from HR public trust to Secret, this I know.

All thoughts from experienced background professionals are graciously accepted.

Thank you all and I hope you all have a wonderful day!
#2 Posted : Friday, July 29, 2022 1:08:46 PM(UTC)

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 7/29/2022(UTC)
Posts: 1

For your Tier 3 investigation, you will fill out an SF-86, probably online via e-QIP. The form will clearly specify what you must report based on the type of incident and the timeframe. Some but not all of your convictions must be reported on this form. This is related to the "oversharing" that your prior investigator mentioned. If the misdemeanor theft doesn't meet the criteria on the SF-86, don't list it - sharing information that is specifically not required might feel like full transparency, but it is actually failing to follow the instructions. You won't be punished for not reporting things that the form doesn't ask you to report - particularly if it was properly reported on a previous investigation when it was in scope.

That being said, *most* of what you described is reportable on the SF-86 - any felony charge, any charge involving alcohol, and of course it will ask for information about your divorce and your military discharge. Make sure to follow the instructions to the letter, but they may not instruct you to report your bankruptcy (due to age >7 years ago) and your misdemeanor conviction (again due to age >7 years ago and because it did not result in imprisonment at least one year).

You probably know that there is a list of "adjudicative guidelines" used to evaluate negative findings in an investigation. Each one has mitigating factors, such as the conduct happening a long time ago, due circumstances outside the applicant's control, and actions taken since by the applicant to resolve the problem and prevent recurrence. You'll find them if you google for "SEAD 4". Guidelines F, G, and J in particular.

I can't say whether your clearance will be granted or not, but it sounds like you've taken a lot of positive steps, including serving in public trust positions for many years without further issues. You should be aware of these mitigating factors, as you will likely discuss them during your interview (if you are scheduled for one, possible but not universally done for Tier 3 investigations). The biggest thing looks to me to be two DUIs and an alcohol-related discharge over a 7-year period. 12 years passing since then without any additional alcohol-related issues is a mitigating factor, but I would expect to be questioned about actions or other changes that you have made to prevent a relapse, whether that is complete abstinence, a treatment or counseling program, or simply a change in behavior that has stuck over the past 12 years.
#3 Posted : Monday, August 1, 2022 2:02:38 AM(UTC)

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 7/26/2022(UTC)
Posts: 3
United States
Location: Florida

You are absolutely right. The previously investigator mentioned having to go back through my military records because of the alcohol incidents. He even went through my military records from when I was stationed in Germany(18 years old), where I was late to formation and smelled of alcohol. I honestly, completely forgot about it. But because there were those "triggers", he went further and further back to see if there was a pattern, which, there was as it appears. Mitigating factors would be simply realizing that I was headed down a terrible path and I pulled myself up by my bootstraps(as they would say in the army). This is all great information, yes, I took a risky path by being fully transparent with things outside the scope. Thank you for the advice, Im still a little concerned about making the jump from Tier 4 Public to Secret. Hints why I am seeking advice, which you gave plenty!

Thank you FOTNMC!
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