Don't Compromise Your Security Clearance

Honesty and truthfulness are of overriding importance for a security clearance, even when it comes to embarrassing incidents, like a bankruptcy or a DWI

For many jobs connected with the military or their contractors here in New Jersey, obtaining and maintaining a security clearance is essential. Because of the many sensitive issues of national security that are implicated, whether you are active duty or working for a military contractor, a security clearance is necessary.

Obtaining a security clearance is relatively straightforward, assuming you have no unusual issues that could implicate your trustworthiness and lead to a disqualification. However, the investigation for a security clearance is wide ranging and will examine many aspects of your personal life.

But you fell in love

For instance, many service members are stationed overseas and may develop personal relationships with citizens of those nations that lead eventually to marriage. For many individuals this would be unexceptionable, but if you are applying for a security clearance, such a marriage to a foreign national will increase the scrutiny you are subjected to during the process.

Two sections of the regulations that govern this process specifically deal with allegiance to the United States and foreign influence. In most cases, it is unlikely that your marrying a foreign national will compromise your loyalty, but it will be examined as part of the security clearance process, and you should understand why the questions are being asked.

Personal conduct

Another area that can cause difficulty for applicants are issues involving personal conduct, like alcohol abuse, drunk driving, overspending and large quantity of debt. A frequent concern for applicants and those who currently have a security clearance is the consequences of a DWI arrest.

Assuming this is a first arrest or conviction, it may not mean the loss of your clearance. The adjudication process is interested in the totality of the circumstances, and the fact you had one too many at a restaurant and were stopped by law enforcement on the way home, should be seen in the larger context of your career and service. This can be where an attorney can be extremely helpful, as they help develop a broader picture of the incident, and ensure that important details of your career and experience are part of the record.

Truthfulness

Many individuals, embarrassed or worried about the consequence of an alcohol related arrest may put off reporting or fabricate elements of the story in an effort to lessen the impact. In reality, they may be violating other fundamental requirements for a security clearance, placing it in jeopardy or leading to a disqualification of their application. As with many political scandals, its less the offense, and more the cover-up that gets you in the end.

It is of paramount importance during this entire process that you be factually honest. Lies, if any, are likely to be uncovered and will destroy your credibility. You will need to disclose as soon as possible the incident and the outcome of any prosecution or conviction.

You have to be careful, however, not to say anything incriminating, which is why it is typically a good idea to speak with an attorney from the Cody Law Firm, who understands military law and the security clearance process, as they can properly advise you on how to report the incident and deal with other aspects of the matter.