1: The Investigation Phase, while data is being "collected" about you.
It takes 1 to 12 months, depending on 30 different variables. Location governs most of those variables. Most of that time, your file is in a drawer waiting for an available investigator. Once it gets assigned to someone, expect to be called within 24 hrs.
Other factors: How many ZIP codes are involved in your life? Residences, jobs, schools, etc.
How many BI contractors are in each ZIP Code? How competent are they?
How many OTHER cases pending in each ZIP code?
How cooperative are each of YOUR contacts?
2: The report writing Stage:
Again, this takes 1 to 6 months, depending on the complexity of your life, and the quality of writing skills (and competence) in the people involved. Some cases go through 4 to 8 re-writes, as the report is edited, proofread, re-written, & repeated.
Sometimes, this is where you will get calls from "DHS" or DC for clarification of your record. The call is from the contractor (USIS, KROLL, OMNISEC, etc) but they will not usually give the company name since the average applicant has never heard of their company.
3: The Adjudication process:
It could be done in 3 days, or it could take 12 months. Depends on the backlog of case reports that came in BEFORE your file did (even if they were initiated 12 months after you applied) and the competency and efficiency of the adjudicator who draws your case.
In some cases, the adjudicator finds problems or discrepancies in the report, and it goes BACK to either Phase 2 or Phase 1. More often than in the past, many adjudicators will call the SUBJECT (you) directly for these clarifications. But if they call & miss you twice: they are likely to kick the file back, and go handle twenty other cases while your report gets revised or re-written.
For a little fun reading on what will zing you on background investigations, go HERE.
Read and Understand ALL of this before filling out your SF-86
Background investigations for national security positions are conducted to develop information to show whether you are reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and loyal to the . The information that you provide on this form is confirmed during the investigation. Investigation may extend beyond the time covered by this form when necessary to resolve issues. Your current employer must be contacted as part of the investigation, even if you have previously indicated on applications or other forms that you do not want this.
In addition to the questions on this form, inquiry also is made about a person's adherence to security requirements, honesty and integrity, vulnerability to exploitation or coercion, falsification, misrepresentation, and any other behavior, activities, or associations that tend to show the person is not reliable, trustworthy, or loyal.
Your Personal Interview Your investigation will include an interview with you as a normal part of the investigative process. This provides you the opportunity to update, clarify, and explain information on your form more completely, which often helps to complete your investigation faster. It is important that the interview be conducted as soon as possible after you are contacted. Postponements will delay the processing of your investigation, and declining to be interviewed may result in your investigation being delayed or canceled.
You will be asked to bring identification with your picture on it, such as a valid State driver's license, to the interview. There are other documents you may be asked to bring to verify your identity as well. These include documentation of any legal name change, Social Security card, and/or birth certificate.
You may also be asked to bring documents about information you provided on the form or other matters requiring specific attention. These matters include alien registration, delinquent loans or taxes, bankruptcy, judgments, liens, or other financial obligations, agreements involving child custody or support, alimony or property settlements, arrests, convictions, probation, and/or parole.
Organization of this Form This form has two parts. Part 1 asks for background information, including where you have lived, gone to school, and worked. Part 2 asks about your activities and such matters as firings from a job, criminal history record, use of illegal drugs, and abuse of alcohol.
In answering all questions on this form, keep in mind that your answers are considered together with the information obtained in the investigation to reach an appropriate adjudication.
Instructions for Completing this Form 1. Follow the instructions given to you by the person who gave you the form and any other clarifying instructions furnished by that person to assist you in completion of the form. You should retain a copy of the completed form for your records.
2. All questions on this form must be answered. If no response is necessary or applicable, indicate this on the form by checking the associated "Not Applicable" box. If you need to estimate a date, an "estimated" box will be available after each date entry blank.
3. Do not abbreviate the names of cities or foreign countries. Whenever you are asked to supply a "Country" name, you may select the country name by using the country list feature.
To use the "Country" list feature, click on the "List" link beside the "Country" title to open a listing of country names in a separate window. Find the desired country name and use your web browser's "Copy" and "Paste" features to copy the country name into the "Country" text field. If the country name is not in the list, manually enter the country name into the "Country" text field.
When entering a address or location, select the state or territory from the "States" pull-down list. Selecting a state/territory implies "" as the country, so you do not need to enter it into the "Country" text field. For locations outside of the and its territories, enter the name of the country into the "Country" text field and leave the "State" field blank.
4. The 5-digit postal ZIP codes are needed to speed the processing of your investigation. The office that provided the form will assist you in completing the ZIP codes.
5. For telephone numbers, be sure to include the area code, and use one of the following formats: (123)456-7890 or 1234567890.
6. All dates provided on this form must be in Month/Day/Year or Month/Year format. Use the pull down lists to select the month and day. The year should be entered as all four numbers, i.e., 1978 or 2001. If you find that you cannot report an exact date, approximate or estimate the date to the best of your ability and indicate this by checking the "Est." box.
7.Your relatives' names and middle name are IMPORTANT. Their place and country of birth is important. Be sure to include MIDDLE names. If any of your relatives who are listed on the SF-86 are aliens, attempt to have their "A" numbers or naturalization certificates numbers available.
8. Verify your references addresses and phone numbers prior to submission.
Final Determination on Your Eligibility Final determination on your eligibility for access to classified information is the responsibility of the Federal agency that requested your investigation. You may be provided the opportunity personally to explain, refute, or clarify any information before a final decision is made.
Penalties for Inaccurate or False Statements The United States Criminal Code (title 18, section 1001) provides that knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony which may result in fines of up to $10,000, and/or 5 years imprisonment, or both. In addition, Federal agencies generally fire, do not grant a security clearance, or disqualify individuals who have materially and deliberately falsified these forms, and this remains a part of the permanent record for future placements. Because the position for which you are being considered is a sensitive one, your trustworthiness is a very important consideration in deciding your eligibility for a security clearance. Your prospects of placement or security clearance are better if you answer all questions truthfully and completely. You will have adequate opportunity to explain any information you give us on the form and to make your comments part of the record.
Disclosure of Information The information you give us is for the purpose of investigating you for a national security position; we will protect it from unauthorized disclosure. The collection, maintenance, and disclosure of background investigative information is governed by the Privacy Act. The agency which requested the investigation and the agency which conducted the investigation have published notices in the Federal Register describing the systems of records in which your records will be maintained. You may obtain copies of the relevant notices from the person who gave you this form. The information on this form, and information we collect during an investigation may be disclosed without your consent as permitted by the Privacy Act (5 USC 552a(b)) and as follows below.
PRIVACY ACT ROUTINE USES 1. To the Department of Justice when: (a) the agency or any component thereof; or (b) any employee of the agency in his or her official capacity; or (c) any employee of the agency in his or her individual capacity where the Department of Justice has agreed to represent the employee; or (d) the United States Government, is a party to litigation or has interest in such litigation, and by careful review, the agency determines that the records are both relevant and necessary to the litigation and the use of such records by the Department of Justice is therefore deemed by the agency to be for a purpose that is compatible with the purpose for which the agency collected the records.
2. To a court or adjudicative body in a proceeding when: (a) the agency or any component thereof; or (b) any employee of the agency in his or her official capacity; or (c) any employee of the agency in his or her individual capacity where the Department of Justice has agreed to represent the employee; or (d) the United States Government, is a party to litigation or has interest in such litigation, and by careful review, the agency determines that the records are both relevant and necessary to the litigation and the use of such records is therefore deemed by the agency to be for a purpose that is compatible with the purpose for which the agency collected the records.
3. Except as noted in Question 24, when a record on its face, or in conjunction with other records, indicates a violation or potential violation of law, whether civil, criminal, or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute, particular program statute, regulation, rule, or order issued pursuant thereto, the relevant records may be disclosed to the appropriate Federal, foreign, State, local, tribal, or other public authority responsible for enforcing, investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, rule, regulation, or order.
4. To any source or potential source from which information is requested in the course of an investigation concerning the hiring or retention of an employee or other personnel action, or the issuing or retention of a security clearance, contract, grant, license, or other benefit, to the extent necessary to identify the individual, inform the source of the nature and purpose of the investigation, and to identify the type of information requested.
5. To a Federal, State, local, foreign, tribal, or other public authority the fact that this system of records contains information relevant to the retention of an employee, or the retention of a security clearance, contract, license, grant, or other benefit. The other agency or licensing organization may then make a request supported by written consent of the individual for the entire record if it so chooses. No disclosure will be made unless the information has been determined to be sufficiently reliable to support a referral to another office within the agency or to another Federal agency for criminal, civil, administrative, personnel, or regulatory action.
6. To contractors, grantees, experts, consultants, or volunteers when necessary to perform a function or service related to this record for which they have been engaged. Such recipients shall be required to comply with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended.
7. To the news media or the general public, factual information the disclosure of which would be in the public interest and which would not constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
8. To a Federal, State, or local agency, or other appropriate entities or individuals, or through established liaison channels to selected foreign governments, in order to enable an intelligence agency to carry out its responsibilities under the National Security Act of 1947 as amended, the CIA Act of 1949 as amended, Executive Order 12333 or any successor order, applicable national security directives, or classified implementing procedures approved by the Attorney General and promulgated pursuant to such statutes, orders or directives.
9. To a Member of Congress or to a Congressional staff member in response to an inquiry of the Congressional office made at the written request of the constituent about whom the record is maintained.
10. To the National Archives and Records Administration for records management inspections conducted under 44 USC 2904 and 2906.
11. To the Office of Management and Budget when necessary to the review of private relief legislation.
Five Myths About Background Investigations (credit to http://www.911jobforums.com/showthread.php?t=51141) I find myself answering posts about BI's all over the place without overcoming some of the "shared misconceptions" that happen around here so I thought I would put some of this in one place, where I can link it or more folks might see it. Besides, I might have some misconceptions and others can add or correct.
1. Backgrounds Take Forever
No. Very rarely does a BI take more than a couple of weeks to complete (I'm being generous, in terms of real work maybe four or five days). There can be factors like workload on the investigator(s) or the rare complication for an individual, but most are assigned and completed in 30 days.
Aha, you say. "Been checking weekly and they have told me my BI is not completed and it has been 6 months". Best way I can answer that is that applicants and agencies are using the term background investigation a little differently. Applicants hear pending BI and think minions are scrambling about doing something. Agencies are more likely referring to a place in the process than activity. You are pending BI when you get to that part of the process where the BI is the next step. May go quickly, may stop and start, may not start for a long term in the sense of real work being done. Agency is trying to time completion of the BI to making a selection and offer so that it is fresh.
2. If BI's were done faster, I would be hired faster
Not exactly. Again the agency is thinking of moving applicants through (with some exceptions) a process with a view to putting say 35 to 40 in a training program. If you were done first, you might well wait for the other 34 to 39 and as noted, if done to soon, it would have to be freshened up. Sometimes there is a chance that an applicant can jump up on a start date because someone drops out at the last minute, but generally your moving through like a herd and it is last steer in before first steer goes to the next pasture.
3. If agencies shared BI's, the process would be faster and cheaper
Maybe a grain of truth in this, but only a single grain. In terms of moving you as an applicant it will not go faster, because as noted, very very few places you are going to move alone. Plus the BI is both suitability and security clearance so you would undergo the suitability pretty much anyway. Also, as noted, BI's have a shelf life. Pretty much going to get updated every 5 years or so in your career and depending on your last update, easier to just fresh you up when you start with whatever agency. Anyway all benefit here would go to the agency, not to the applicant. You're going to stay "Pending BI" until the agency is ready for you and several dozen of your best friends to move on.
4. There are a couple of minor issues that I can clear up with the BI investigator
Maybe, but mostly not. What you should count on if such things exist and you have not listed them and explained them in the paperwork you are likely to be non-selected. May well get a call, and you may explain away, but on the inside of the BI/Suitability it will go down more as "Found a record that the applicant served a one day suspension for being late. The applicant did not report this disciplinary in the documentation provided. Contacted the applicant who confirmed that it was in fact them." (and then went on with a bunch of explanations none of us care about.) Good news, if any, is I know a number of folks who "forgot" or "thought it wasn't important" and got turned down, reapplied with more full disclosure and got hired - a year or so later than they would have been. Forgetting to report evidence or exculpatory information is a really bad move for Fed LE officers, so agencies like to get it all documented and spoon fed to them. Failure to disclose what the agency sees are requested information is far more fatal to applications than whatever it was -- even if it was minor crapola to begin with.
5. The process wastes a lot of money
Absolutely wrong. The process is expensive and not entirely perfect, but it saves tons on removing persons who will not be successful before the next and much bigger expense of training. The whole process of recruiting, testing, clearing, training and probation is costly. But not compared to what it costs to carefully enforce and apply the standards. Invest thousands wisely at the beginning and you are far more likely to get a multi-million dollar asset to the US. That being each of you. Don't do it and by the time you get through disaster, loss and litigation you would arrive where a lot of folks who run this process are. Doing this right is the inexpensive way to do the right thing.
Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information
(or What Can Keep Me from Getting a Clearance? [and thus, a job])
1. Introduction. The following adjudicative guidelines are established for all U.S. government civilian and military personnel, consultants, contractors, employees of contractors, licensees, certificate holders or grantees and their employees and other individuals who require access to classified information. They apply to persons being considered for initial or continued eligibility for access to classified information, to include sensitive compartmented information and special access programs, and are to be used by government departments and agencies in all final clearance determinations. Government departments and agencies may also choose to apply these guidelines to analogous situations regarding persons being considered for access to other types of protected information.
Decisions regarding eligibility for access to classified information take into account factors that could cause a conflict of interest and place a person in the position of having to choose between his or her commitment to the United States, including the commitment to protect classified information, and any other compelling loyalty. Access decisions also take into account a person's reliability, trustworthiness and ability to protect classified information. No coercive policing could replace the self-discipline and integrity of the person entrusted with the nation's secrets as the most effective means of protecting them. When a person's life history shows evidence of unreliability or untrustworthiness, questions arise whether the person can be relied on and trusted to exercise the responsibility necessary for working in a secure environment where protecting classified information is paramount. 2. The Adjudicative Process (a) The adjudicative process is an examination of a sufficient period of a person's life to make an affirmative determination that the person is an acceptable security risk. Eligibility for access to classified information is predicated upon the individual meeting these personnel security guidelines. The adjudication process is the careful weighing of a number of variables known as the whole-person concept. Available, reliable information about the person, past and present, favorable and unfavorable, should be considered in reaching a determination. In evaluating the relevance of an individual's conduct, the adjudicator should consider the following factors:
(1) The nature, extent, and seriousness of the conduct;
(2) the circumstances surrounding the conduct, to include knowledgeable participation;
(3) the frequency and recency of the conduct;
(4) the individual's age and maturity at the time of the conduct;
(5) the extent to which participation is voluntary;
(6) the presence or absence of rehabilitation and other permanent behavioral changes;
(7) the motivation for the conduct;
(8) the potential for pressure, coercion, exploitation, or duress; and
(9) the likelihood of continuation or recurrence.
(b) Each case must be judged on its own merits, and final determination remains the responsibility of the specific department or agency. Any doubt concerning personnel being considered for access to classified information will be resolved in favor of the national security.
(c) The ability to develop specific thresholds for action under these guidelines is limited by the nature and complexity of human behavior. The ultimate determination of whether the granting or continuing of eligibility for a security clearance is clearly consistent with the interests of national security must be an overall common sense judgment based upon careful consideration of the following guidelines, each of which is to be evaluated in the context of the whole person. (All of these are listed in the paragraphs below. Clicking on the links will take you away from the HonorFirst.com web site.)
(d) Although adverse information concerning a single criterion may not be sufficient for an unfavorable determination, the individual may be disqualified if available information reflects a recent or recurring pattern of questionable judgment, irresponsibility, or emotionally unstable behavior. Notwithstanding the whole-person concept, pursuit of further investigation may be terminated by an appropriate adjudicative agency in the face of reliable, significant, disqualifying, adverse information.
(e) When information of security concern becomes known about an individual who is currently eligible for access to classified information, the adjudicator should consider whether the person: (1) voluntarily reported the information;
(2) was truthful and complete in responding to questions;
(3) sought assistance and followed professional guidance, where appropriate;
(4) resolved or appears likely to favorably resolve the security concern;
(5) has demonstrated positive changes in behavior and employment;
(6) should have his or her access temporarily suspended pending final adjudication of the information.
(f) If after evaluating information of security concern, the adjudicator decides that the information is not serious enough to warrant a recommendation of disapproval or revocation of the security clearance, it may be appropriate to recommend approval with a warning that future incidents of a similar nature may result in revocation of access.
Guideline A: Allegiance to the United States
3. The Concern. An individual must be of unquestioned allegiance to the United States. The willingness to safeguard classified information is in doubt if there is any reason to suspect an individual's allegiance to the United States.
4. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:
(a) involvement in, support of, training to commit, or advocacy of any act of sabotage, espionage, treason, terrorism, or sedition against the United States of America; (b) association or sympathy with persons who are attempting to commit, or who are committing, any of the above acts;
(c) association or sympathy with persons or organizations that advocate, threaten, or use force or violence, or use any other illegal or unconstitutional means, in an effort to:
(1) overthrow or influence the government of the United States or any state or local government; (2) prevent Federal, state, or local government personnel from performing their official duties;
(3) gain retribution for perceived wrongs caused by the Federal, state, or local government; (4) prevent others from exercising their rights under the Constitution or laws of the United States or of any state.
5. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(a) the individual was unaware of the unlawful aims of the individual or organization and severed ties upon learning of these; (b) the individual's involvement was only with the lawful or humanitarian aspects of such an organization;
(c) involvement in the above activities occurred for only a short period of time and was attributable to curiosity or academic interest; (d) the involvement or association with such activities occurred under such unusual circumstances, or so much times has elapsed, that it is unlikely to recur and does not cast doubt on the individual's current reliability, trustworthiness, or loyalty.
Guideline B: Foreign Influence 6. The Concern. Foreign contacts and interests may be a security concern if the individual has divided loyalties or foreign financial interests, may be manipulated or induced to help a foreign person, group, organization, or government in a way that is not in U.S. interests, or is vulnerable to pressure or coercioon by any foreign interest. Adjudication under this Guideline can and should consider the identity of the foreign country in which the foreign contact or financial interest is located, including, but not limited to, such considerations as whether the foreign country is known to target United States citizens to obtain protected information and/or is associated with a risk of terrorism.
7. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include: (a) contact with a foreign family member, business or professional associate, friend, or other person who is a citizen of or resident in a foreign country if that contact creates a heightened risk of foreign exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion; (b) connections to a foreign person, group, government, or country that create a potential conflict of interest between the individual's obligation to protect sensitive information or technology and the individual's desire to help a foreign person, group, or country by providing that information;
(c) counterintelligence information, that may be classified, indicates that the individual's access to protected information may involve unacceptable risk to national security; (d) sharing living quarters with a person or persons, regardless of citizenship status, if that relationship creates a heightened risk of foreign inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion;
(e) a substantial business, financial, or property interest in a foreign country, or in any foreign-owned or foreign-operated business, which could subject the individual to heightened risk of foreign influence or exploitation; (f) failure to report, when required, association with a foreign national;
(g) unauthorized association with a suspected or known agent, associate, or employee of a foreign intelligence service; (h) indications that representatives or nationals from a foreign country are acting to increase the vulnerability of the individual to possible future exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion;
(i) conduct, especially while traveling outside the U.S., which may make the individual vulnerable to exploitation, pressure, or coercion by a foreign person, group, government, or country.
8. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(a) the nature of the relationships with foreign persons, the country in which these persons are located, or the positions or activities of those persons in that country are such that it is unlikely the individual will be placed in a position of having to choose between the interests of a foreign individual, group, organization, or government and the interests of the U.S.; (b) there is no conflict of interest, either because the individual's sense of loyalty or obligation to the foreign person, group, government, or country is so minimal, or the individual has such deep and longstanding relationships and loyalties in the U.S., that the individual can be expected to resolve any conflict of interest in favor of the U.S. interest;
(c) contact or communication with foreign citizens is so casual and infrequent that there is little likelihood that it could create a risk for foreign influence or exploitation; (d) the foreign contacts and activities are on U.S. Government business or are approved by the cognizant security authority;
(e) the individual has promptly complied with existing agency requirements regarding the reporting of contacts, requests, or threats from persons, groups, or organizations from a foreign country; (f) the value or routine nature of the foreign business, financial, or property interests is such that they are unlikely to result in a conflict and could not be used effectively to influence, manipulate, or pressure the individual.
Guideline C: Foreign Preference
9. The Concern. When an individual acts in such a way as to indicate a preference for a foreign country over the United States, then he or she may be prone to provide information or make decisions that are harmful to the interests of the United States. 10. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include: (a) exercise of any right, privilege or obligation of foreign citizenship after becoming a U.S. citizen or through the foreign citizenship of a family member. This includes but is not limited to:
(1) possession of a current foreign passport;
(2) military service or a willingness to bear arms for a foreign country; (3) accepting educational, medical, retirement, social welfare, or other such benefits from a foreign country;
(4) residence in a foreign country to meet citizenship requirements; (5) using foreign citizenship to protect financial or business interests in another country;
(6) seeking or holding political office in a foreign country; (7) voting in a foreign election;
(b) action to acquire or obtain recognition of a foreign citizenship by an American citizen;
(c) performing or attempting to perform duties, or otherwise acting, so as to serve the interests of a foreign person, group, organization, or government in conflict with the national security interest; (d) any statement or action that shows allegiance to a country other than the United States: for example, declaration of intent to renounce United States citizenship; renunciation of United States citizenship.
11. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(a) dual citizenship is based solely on parents' citizenship or birth in a foreign country;
(b) the individual has expressed a willingness to renounce dual citizenship; (c) exercise of the rights, privileges, or obligations of foreign citizenship occurred before the individual became a U.S. citizen or when the individual was a minor;
(d) use of a foreign passport is approved by the cognizant security authority; (e) the passport has been destroyed, surrendered to the cognizant security authority, or otherwise invalidated;
(f) the vote in a foreign election was encouraged by the United States Government.
Guideline D: Sexual Behavior 12. The Concern. Sexual behavior that involves a criminal offense, indicates a personality or emotional disorder, reflects lack of judgment or discretion, or which may subject the individual to undue influence or coercion, exploitation, or duress can raise questions about an individual's reliability, trustworthiness and ability to protect classified information. No adverse inference concerning the standards in the Guideline may be raised solely on the basis of the sexual orientation of the individual. 13. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:
(a) sexual behavior of a criminal nature, whether or not the individual has been prosecuted; (b) a pattern of compulsive, self-destructive, or high-risk sexual behavior that the person is unable to stop or that may be symptomatic of a personality disorder;
(c) sexual behavior that causes an individual to be vulnerable to coercion, exploitation, or duress; (d) sexual behavior of a public nature and/or that which reflects lack of discretion or judgment.
14. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(a) the behavior occurred prior to or during adolescence and there is no evidence of subsequent conduct of a similar nature; (b) the sexual behavior happened so long ago, so infrequently, or under such unusual circumstances, that it is unlikely to recur and does not cast doubt on the individual's current reliability, trustworthiness, or good judgment;
(c) the behavior no longer serves as a basis for coercion, exploitation, or duress; (d) the sexual behavior is strictly private, consensual, and discreet.
Guideline E: Personal Conduct
15. The Concern. Conduct involving questionable judgment, lack of candor, dishonesty, or unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations can raise questions about an individual's reliability, trustworthiness and ability to protect classified information. Of special interest is any failure to provide truthful and candid answers during the security clearance process or any other failure to cooperate with the security clearance process. The following will normally result in an unfavorable clearance action or administrative termination of further processing for clearance eligibility:
(a) refusal, or failure without reasonable cause, to undergo or cooperate with security processing, including but not limited to meeting with a security investigator for subject interview, completing security forms or releases, and cooperation with medical or psychological evaluation; (b) refusal to provide full, frank and truthful answers to lawful questions of investigators, security officials, or other official representatives in connection with a personnel security or trustworthiness determination.
16. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying also include:
(a) deliberate omission, concealment, or falsification of relevant facts from any personnel security questionnaire, personal history statement, or similar form used to conduct investigations, determine employment qualifications, award benefits or status, determine security clearance eligibility or trustworthiness, or award fiduciary responsibilities; (b) deliberately providing false or misleading information concerning relevant facts to an employer, investigator, security official, competent medical authority, or other official government representative;
(c) credible adverse information in several adjudicative issue areas that is not sufficient for an adverse determination under any other single guideline, but which, when considered as a whole, supports a whole-person assessment of questionable judgment, untrustworthiness, unreliability, lack of candor, unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations, or other characteristics indicating that the person may not properly safeguard protected information; (d) credible adverse information that is not explicitly covered under any other guideline and may not be sufficient by itself for an adverse determination, but which, when combined with all available information supports a whole-person assessment of questionable judgment, untrustworthiness, unreliability, lack of candor, unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations, or other characteristics indicating that the person may not properly safeguard protected information. This includes but is not limited to consideration of:
(1) untrustworthy or unreliable behavior to include breach of client confidentiality, release of proprietary information, unauthorized release of sensitive corporate or other government protected information;
(2) disruptive, violent, or other inappropriate behavior in the workplace; (3) a pattern of dishonesty or rule violations;
(4) evidence of significant misuse of Government or other employer's time or resources;
(e) personal conduct or concealment of information about one's conduct, that creates a vulnerability to exploitation, manipulation, or duress, such as (1) engaging in activities which, if known, may affect the person's personal, professional, or community standing, or (2) while in another country, engaging in any activity that is illegal in that country or that is legal in that country but illegal in the United States and may serve as a basis for exploitation or pressure by the foreign security or intelligence service or other group;
(f) violation of a written or recorded commitment made by the individual to the employer as a condition of employment; (g) association with persons involved in criminal activity.
17. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(a) the individual made prompt, good-faith efforts to correct the omission, concealment, or falsification before being confronted with the facts; (b) the refusal or failure to cooperate, omission, or concealment was caused or significantly contributed to by improper or inadequate advice of authorized personnel or legal counsel advising or instructing the individual specifically concerning the security clearance process. Upon being made aware of the requirement to cooperate or provide the information, the individual cooperated fully and truthfully;
(c) the offense is so minor, or so much time has passed, or the behavior is so infrequent, or it happened under such unique circumstances that it is unlikely to recur and does not cast doubt on the individual's reliability, trustworthiness, or good judgment; (d) the individual has acknowledged the behavior and obtained counseling to change the behavior or taken other positive steps to alleviate the stressors, circumstances, or factors that caused untrustworthy, unreliable, or other inappropriate behavior, and such behavior is unlikely to recur;
(e) the individual has taken positive steps to reduce or eliminate vulnerability to exploitation, manipulation, or duress; (f) association with persons involved in criminal activities has ceased or occurs under circumstances that do not cast doubt upon the individual's reliability, trustworthiness, judgment, or willingness to comply with rules and regulations.
Guideline F: Financial Considerations
18. The Concern. Failure or inability to live within one's means, satisfy debts, and meet financial obligations may indicate poor self-control, lack of judgment, or unwillingness to abide by rules and regulations, all of which can raise questions about an individual's reliability, trustworthiness and ability to protect classified information. An individual who is financially overextended is at risk of having to engage in illegal acts to generate funds. Compulsive gambling is a concern as it may lead to financial crimes including espionage. Affluence that cannot be explained by known sources of income is also a security concern. It may indicate proceeds from financially profitable criminal acts.
19. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include: (a) inability or unwillingness to satisfy debts; (b) indebtedness caused by frivolous or irresponsible spending and the absence of any evidence of willingness or intent to pay the debt or establish a realistic plan to pay the debt.
(c) a history of not meeting financial obligations;
(d) deceptive or illegal financial practices such as embezzlement, employee theft, check fraud, income tax evasion, expense account fraud, filing deceptive loan statements, and other intentional financial breaches of trust;
(e) consistent spending beyond one's means, which may be indicated by excessive indebtedness, significant negative cash flow, high debt-to-income ratio, and/or other financial analysis; (f) financial problems that are linked to drug abuse, alcoholism, gambling problems, or other issues of security concern.
(g) failure to file annual Federal, state, or local income tax returns as required or the fraudulent filing of the same; (h) unexplained affluence, as shown by a lifestyle or standard of living, increase in net worth, or money transfers that cannot be explained by subject's known legal sources of income;
(i) compulsive or addictive gambling as indicated by an unsuccessful attempt to stop gambling, "chasing losses" (i.e. increasing the bets or returning another day in an effort to get even), concealment of gambling losses, borrowing money to fund gambling or pay gambling debts, family conflict or other problems caused by gambling.
20. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include: (a) the behavior happened so long ago, was so infrequent, or occurred under such circumstances that it is unlikely to recur and does not cast doubt on the individual's current reliability, trustworthiness, or good judgment; (b) the conditions that resulted in the financial problem were largely beyond the person's control (e.g. loss of employment, a business downturn, unexpected medical emergency, or a death, divorce or separation), and the individual acted responsibly under the circumstances;
(c) the person has received or is receiving counseling for the problem and/or there are clear indications that the problem is being resolved or is under control; (d) the individual initiated a good-faith effort to repay overdue creditors or otherwise resolve debts;
(e) the individual has a reasonable basis to dispute the legitimacy of the past-due debt which is the cause of the problem and provides documented proof to substantiate the basis of the dispute or provides evidence of actions to resolve the issue; (f) the affluence resulted from a legal source of income.
Guideline G: Alcohol Consumption
21. The Concern. Excessive alcohol consumption often leads to the exercise of questionable judgment or the failure to control impulses, and can raise questions about an individual's reliability and trustworthiness. 22. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:
(a) alcohol-related incidents away from work, such as driving while under the influence, fighting, child or spouse abuse, disturbing the peace, or other incidents of concern, regardless of whether the individual is diagnosed as an alcohol abuser or alcohol dependent; (b) alcohol-related incidents at work, such as reporting for work or duty in an intoxicated or impaired condition, or drinking on the job, regardless of whether the individual is diagnosed as an alcohol abuser or alcohol dependent;
(c) habitual or binge consumption of alcohol to the point of impaired judgment, regardless of whether the individual is diagnosed as an alcohol abuser or alcohol dependent; (d) diagnosis by a duly qualified medical professional (e.g., physician, clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist) of alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence;
(e) evaluation of alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence by a licensed clinical social worker who is a staff member of a recognized alcohol treatment program; (f) relapse after diagnosis of alcohol abuse or dependence and completion of an alcohol rehabilitation program;
(g) failure to follow any court order regarding alcohol education, evaluation, treatment, or abstinence.
23. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(a) so much time has passed, or the behavior was so infrequent, or it happened under such unusual circumstances that it is unlikely to recur or does not cast doubt on the individual's current reliability, trustworthiness, or good judgment; (b) the individual acknowledges his or her alcoholism or issues of alcohol abuse, provides evidence of actions taken to overcome this problem, and has established a pattern of abstinence (if alcohol dependent) or responsible use (if an alcohol abuser);
(c) the individual is a current employee who is participating in a counseling or treatment program, has no history of previous treatment and relapse, and is making satisfactory progress; (d) the individual has successfully completed inpatient or outpatient counseling or rehabilitation along with any required aftercare, has demonstrated a clear and established pattern of modified consumption or abstinence in accordance with treatment recommendations, such as participation in meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar organization and has received a favorable prognosis by a duly qualified medical professional or a licensed clinical social worker who is a staff member of a recognized alcohol treatment program.
Guideline H: Drug Involvement
24. The Concern. Use of an illegal drug or misuse of a prescription drug can raise questions about an individual's reliability and trustworthiness, both because it may impair judgment and because it raises questions about a person's ability or willingness to comply with laws, rules, and regulations. (a) Drugs are defined as mood and behavior altering substances, and include: (1) Drugs, materials, and other chemical compounds identified and listed in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, as amended (e.g., marijuana or cannabis, depressants, narcotics, stimulants, and hallucinogens), and (2) inhalants and other similar substances;
(b) drug abuse is the illegal use of a drug or use of a legal drug in a manner that deviates from approved medical direction.
25. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:
(a) Any drug abuse (see above definition); (b) testing positive for illegal drug use;
(c) illegal drug possession, including cultivation, processing, manufacture, purchase, sale, or distribution; or possession of drug paraphernalia; (d) diagnosis by a duly qualified medical professional (e.g., physician, clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist) of drug abuse or drug dependence;
(e) evaluation of drug abuse or drug dependence by a licensed clinical social worker who is a staff member of a recognized drug treatment program; (f) failure to successfully complete a drug treatment program prescribed by a duly qualified medical professional;
(g) any illegal drug use after being granted a security clearance; (h) expressed intent to continue illegal drug use, or failure to clearly and convincingly commit to discontinue drug use.
26. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(a) the behavior happened so long ago, was so infrequent, or happened under such circumstances that it is unlikely to recur or does not cast doubt on the individual's current reliability, trustworthiness, or good judgment; (b) a demonstrated intent not to abuse any drugs in the future, such as:
(1) dissociation from drug-using associates and contacts; (2) changing or avoiding the environment where drugs were used;
(3) an appropriate period of abstinence; (4) a signed statement of intent with automatic revocation of clearance for any violation;
(c) abuse of prescription drugs was after a severe or prolonged illness during which these drugs were prescribed, and abuse has since ended;
(d) satisfactory completion of a prescribed drug treatment program, including but not limited to rehabilitation and aftercare requirements, without recurrence of abuse, and a favorable prognosis by a duly qualified medical professional.
Guideline I: Psychological Conditions
27. The Concern. Certain emotional, mental, and personality conditions can impair judgment, reliability, or trustworthiness. A formal diagnosis of a disorder is not required for there to be a concern under this guideline. A duly qualified mental health professional (e.g., clinical psychologist or psychiatrist) employed by, or acceptable to and approved by the U.S. Government, should be consulted when evaluating potentially disqualifying and mitigating information under this guideline. No negative inference concerning the standards in this Guideline may be raised solely on the basis of seeking mental health counseling. 28. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:
(a) behavior that casts doubt on an individual's judgment, reliability, or trustworthiness that is not covered under any other guideline, including but not limited to emotionally unstable, irresponsible, dysfunctional, violent, paranoid, or bizarre behavior; (b) an opinion by a duly qualified mental health professional that the individual has a condition not covered under any other guideline that may impair judgment, reliability, or trustworthiness;
(c) the individual has failed to follow treatment advice related to a diagnosed emotional, mental, or personality condition, e.g. failure to take prescribed medication.
29. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(a) the identified condition is readily controllable with treatment, and the individual has demonstrated ongoing and consistent compliance with the treatment plan; (b) the individual has voluntarily entered a counseling or treatment program for a condition that is amenable to treatment, and the individual is currently receiving counseling or treatment with a favorable prognosis by a duly qualified mental health professional;
(c) recent opinion by a duly qualified mental health professional employed by, or acceptable to and approved by the U.S. Government that an individual's previous condition is under control or in remission, and has a low probability of recurrence or exacerbation; (d) the past emotional instability was a temporary condition (e.g., one caused by a death, illness, or marital breakup), the situation has been resolved, and the individual no longer shows indications of emotional instability;
(e) there is no indication of a current problem.
Guideline J: Criminal Conduct
30. The Concern. Criminal activity creates doubt about a person's judgment, reliability and trustworthiness. By its very nature, it calls into question a person's ability or willingness to comply with laws, rules and regulations. 31. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:
(a) a single serious crime or multiple lesser offenses; (b) discharge or dismissal from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
(c) allegation or admission of criminal conduct, regardless of whether the person was formally charged, formally prosecuted or convicted; (d) individual is currently on parole or probation;
(e) violation of parole or probation, or failure to complete a court-mandated rehabilitation program.
32. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(a) so much time has elapsed since the criminal behavior happened, or it happened under such unusual circumstances that it is unlikely to recur or does not cast doubt on the individual's reliability, trustworthiness, or good judgment; (b) the person was pressured or coerced into committing the act and those pressures are no longer present in the person's life;
(c) evidence that the person did not commit the offense; (d) there is evidence of successful rehabilitation; including but not limited to the passage of time without recurrence of criminal activity, remorse or restitution, job training or higher education, good employment record, or constructive community involvement.
Guideline K: Handling Protected Information
33. The Concern. Deliberate or negligent failure to comply with rules and regulations for protecting classified or other sensitive information raises doubt about an individual's trustworthiness, judgment, reliability, or willingness and ability to safeguard such information, and is a serious security concern. 34. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:
(a) deliberate or negligent disclosure of classified or other protected information to unauthorized persons, including but not limited to personal or business contacts, to the media, or to persons present at seminars, meetings, or conferences; (b) collecting or storing classified or other protected information in any unauthorized location;
(c) loading, drafting, editing, modifying, storing, transmitting, or otherwise handling classified reports, data, or other information on any unapproved equipment including but not limited to any typewriter, word processor, or computer hardware, software, drive, system, gameboard, handheld, "palm" or pocket device or other adjunct equipment; (d) inappropriate efforts to obtain or view classified or other protected information outside one's need to know;
(e) copying classified or other protected information in a manner designed to conceal or remove classification or other document control markings; (f) viewing or downloading information from a secure system when the information is beyond the individual's need to know;
(g) any failure to comply with rules for the protection of classified or other sensitive information; (h) negligence or lax security habits that persist despite counseling by management;
(i) failure to comply with rules or regulations that results in damage to the National Security, regardless of whether it was deliberate or negligent.
35. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(a) so much time has elapsed since the behavior, or it happened so infrequently or under such unusual circumstances that it is unlikely to recur or does not cast doubt on the individual's current reliability, trustworthiness, or good judgment; (b) the individual responded favorably to counseling or remedial security training and now demonstrates a positive attitude toward the discharge of security responsibilities;
(c) the security violations were due to improper or inadequate training.
Guideline L: Outside Activities
36. The Concern. Involvement in certain types of outside employment or activities is of security concern if it poses a conflict of interest with an individual's security responsibilities and could create an increased risk of unauthorized disclosure of classified information. 37. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:
(a) any employment or service, whether compensated or volunteer, with: (1) the government of a foreign country;
(2) any foreign national, organization, or other entity; (3) a representative of any foreign interest;
(4) any foreign, domestic, or international organization or person engaged in analysis, discussion, or publication of material on intelligence, defense, foreign affairs, or protected technology;
(b) failure to report or fully disclose an outside activity when this is required.
38. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(a) evaluation of the outside employment or activity by the appropriate security or counterintelligence office indicates that it does not pose a conflict with an individual's security responsibilities or with the national security interests of the United States; (b) the individual terminates the employment or discontinued the activity upon being notified that it was in conflict with his or her security responsibilities.
Guideline M: Use of Information Technology Systems
39. The Concern. Noncompliance with rules, procedures, guidelines or regulations pertaining to information technology systems may raise security concerns about an individual's reliability and trustworthiness, calling into question the willingness or ability to properly protect sensitive systems, networks, and information. Information Technology Systems include all related computer hardware, software, firmware, and data used for the communication, transmission, processing, manipulation, storage, or protection of information. 40. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:
(a) illegal or unauthorized entry into any information technology system or component thereof; (b) illegal or unauthorized modification, destruction, manipulation or denial of access to information, software, firmware, or hardware in an information technology system;
(c) use of any information technology system to gain unauthorized access to another system or to a compartmented area within the same system; (d) downloading, storing, or transmitting classified information on or to any unauthorized software, hardware, or information technology system;
(e) unauthorized use of a government or other information technology system; (f) introduction, removal, or duplication of hardware, firmware, software, or media to or from any information technology system without authorization, when prohibited by rules, procedures, guidelines or regulations.
(g) negligence or lax security habits in handling information technology that persist despite counseling by management; (h) any misuse of information technology, whether deliberate or negligent, that results in damage to the national security.
41. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(a) so much time has elapsed since the behavior happened, or it happened under such unusual circumstances, that it is unlikely to recur or does not cast doubt on the individual's reliability, trustworthiness, or good judgment; (b) the misuse was minor and done only in the interest of organizational efficiency and effectiveness, such as letting another person use one's password or computer when no other timely alternative was readily available;
(c) the conduct was unintentional or inadvertent and was followed by a prompt, good-faith effort to correct the situation and by notification of supervisor.