1st Attempt at Secret Clearance - Should I bow out?

Hi everyone,

I have been reading through the discussion threads for the last couple of days and I am hopeful some of you can provide some valuable feedback.

Let me start by saying, laying all your sins and transgressions on the table is extremely tough, but I found a bit of comfort in seeing I am not the only one.

Here it is…

I may be receiving an offer to join a company in a position that will require I get a Secret Clearance and I would like to request honest feedback on whether I should continue on or back out gracefully. I have never received, nor have I ever applied for, a Clearance of any kind. My past is pretty messy (I will detail below), which I’m finding throughout this discussion board isn’t totally uncommon. That being said, it doesn’t make the thought of putting this information out there any less nerve wrecking…lol

Between the ages of 18 and 24, I made a series of bad decisions that I am incredibly embarrassed of and have spent a 2nd lifetime trying to get away from and now I will need to relive them (such is life).

  1. Under age possession of alcohol - (1994)
  2. Shoplifting (case of beer) - (1995)
  3. DUI - (1995)
  4. DUI - (late 1997 or early 1998)
  5. General Discharge from the military (misconduct)
    a. The already mentioned DUI in 97, bounced checks (not alcohol related), and improper use of corporate AMEX card (not alcohol related) were the reasons for my discharge.
  6. There was one more arrest stemming from a warrant for an unpaid ticket/fine (the original ticket was not alcohol related)- (1998)
    a. I was taken into custody for the warrant while consuming alcohol legally, but not certain if the alcohol consumption was captured in the arrest file and/or charges. I can’t find the arrest anywhere when I do search, so have to keep digging on this one.

Obviously, these issues are a lifetime ago soI have the benefit of time on my side. I have never been diagnosed with an alcohol problem, don’t do drugs, and have had zero incidents since. I am hopeful the steps I have taken potentially mitigate all concerns.

  1. I completed/satisfied all sentencing requirements for all charges.
  2. I started, and have maintained, a career in the same industry for last 21yrs, with stellar reviews. I started as an operator and have worked my way up into the engineering ranks.
  3. While I still drink, it is done so responsibly and very seldom leads to intoxication
  4. I’ve gotten, and remained married, for the last 17yrs.
  5. I have 5 children and 3 grand children that consume a large portion of my time.
  6. I am youth sports coach for my children
  7. I have obtained both an AA degree and BS degree respectively
  8. My finances are and have been stellar for many years with 0 bounced checks, delinquencies, and/or inappropriate use of corporate credit card (which I’ve held for 7 years).

I know this is a ton and I just barfed it up all over you guys, but I truly appreciate any advice you may have. I really do want to move forward and accept this position if offered, but I am not of fan of getting a denial either.

Thoughts on moving forward?
Should I bow out gracefully?

Why worry? All you can do is keep moving forward and see what happens.

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All this stuff is more than 20 years in the past and you have clearly put yourself on a more stable and responsible path since then.

Make sure you read the questions carefully and provide the details for the “Have you EVER…” questions as the “In the past (five,seven,ten) years, have you…” are not relevant.

Based on what you have said I do not see a reason why you should be denied… of course I don’t call the shots on such things but the past 20 years are more relevant and will carry more weight than the time before that.


Thanks for the response sbusquirrel! I greatly appreciate it.

Do you recommend or is it expected that I go into all the details of my general discharge on the SF 86, and is it safe to assume the shoplifting is alcohol related as it was the item that was taken?

Thanks Harpoon! I appreciate the feedback.

If you want to list details about the General Discharge, due so briefly, two or three sentences. I would list the shoplifting as alcohol related, better full disclosure although that is not really the spirit of the question.

I don’t think your history is a show stopper by any means.

No problem at all. Most of this stuff you don’t even need to list as out of the scope of the questions. The alcohol/dui you do need to list as they are “ have you ever” so don’t try to omit. Not even a bad case in most investigator’s Or adjudicators eyes.

Thanks for the response fed-investigator, it is greatly appreciated. This process can be pretty crazy for a newb!

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I’d have no issues submitting you for a clearance. How does current credit look? Once 10 years pass, particulars for events at age 24 and younger, they are diminished in negative value. Are they part of the whole person? Of course. But you nailed almost every mitigation. More than 10 years old…married, achieved education, prospered, kids, work ethics…

I would say youthful indiscretions and slower maturity date than some but once you arrived…you weren’t looking back. Speak to all that is required. Alcohol offenses will require talking too. Other stuff? Not required.

I’ve gotten several folks with 2 DUIs cleared TS SCI with poly. Even some with several bankruptcies.

I agree stick with it .

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