Advice needed...Have Secret but was denied Top Secret

Hello all! I am new here. I currently have a Secret clearance with the DOD. I was going through the process of a Top Secret clearance with the ATF. I received my letter yesterday that stated the process was stopped. There was no reason listed. I don’t understand at all. I have never been arrested, credit score is in the 700s, no IRS issues, clean driver’s license. What could have happened? The only real debt that I have is student loans, which are a lot. I did disclose that I had tried CBD oil with no THC, but that is legal. The CBD oil is the only thing that I can think of that stopped the process. I thought if I was honest it would be ok. Since I was not technically denied a Top Secret (no where in the letter does it say that, it just basically states that they are stopping the investigation) will this affect with Secret clearance? What do I need to do to prevent it from affecting my Secret?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I am stressing out over here! Thanks in advance.

The process was “stopped” you were not “denied”. They don’t have to give a reason and you have no appeal. There no way to guess why this happened. It could just be that you are no longer being considered for the position.

Keep in mind that we have heard from a number of people lately who lost their secret clearance when they were denied a TS by another agency. If they were going to deny you over the issues you have mentioned they may have done you a favor by avoiding the denial.


Thank you so much for your reply. The letter says that I was “found non-compliant with one or more Agency Specific Questions and there was a determination to discontinue my personnel security process. The basis for discontinuation was not otherwise sufficiently extenuated or mitigated”.

In your opinion, does this sound like it was just stopped for whatever reason and technically I was not denied the Top Secret. I could care less about that job, I just don’t want to lose my Secret clearance. This security clearance mess is stressful!

Yes, your last sentence above is the absolute truth, and I doubt very much that the situation will ever change.

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Yea this doesn’t sound like you were denied a clearance, they stopped the process because they didn’t find you suitable. Which to me sounds like the drug thing, how long ago was it?

There’s nothing unclear when you are denied and there is nothing unclear here . . . You were not denied a clearance.

I was honest and told them I took it April 2018. I bought the bottle from my massage therapist who raved about all the health benefits from it. It is 100% legal, but I guess the initials CBD sets off red flags. I literally only took it a few times and still have the almost full bottle (which I disclosed to them). I figured I would just tell them in the beginning so they didn’t find it out later. I don’t care about the job and not getting it, I don’t want to screw up my current job and clearance.

Thanks so much for all of your replies. I feel so much better now.

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post; I really do appreciate it! Ya’ll have a great day!

It absolutely could be an inexperienced FSO or HR even (worse). We have no way of understanding if there is or isn’t THC in the CBD. I think cost would indicate one way or the other. A field test would help. I would expect a need to wait a year for this to get beyond the perception of THC use. But as stated above being stopped…is better than being denied. I would stay away from those types of oils for this very reason. If it is in no way illegal, it should not harm your clearance eligibility but you may be dealing with a lesser trained person. I think the senior BI folks here could give insight to what they are seeing regarding these substances. Honesty is always the best policy as is full disclosure (I used to call this over reporting). It is possible you "over over reported something not required to report…and it is misunderstood. Hence why I changed how I convey my point.

Thank you amber bunny. I feel like I probably over shared and should have just kept my mouth shut about it, but I didn’t know if they pulled financials and it would have shown on my bank statement. I was trying to be over honest I guess. I certainly am not lighting up a doobie on the weekends or anything like that. I read about the health benefits and thought I would give it a try, lesson learned the hard way, lol. I appreciate your response. I don’t want it to hinder a possible future Top Secret but I’m so scared to apply for a job that requires one now. I have sent in a FOIA request just for peace of mind.

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What is CBD oil?
Is it on a DEA schedule?

CBD oil is the oil from the hemp and/or pot plant. There are some that doesn’t include the THC (part that shows up in drug test). It has a lot of medicinal purposes and I thought I would give it a try. I only took it a couple times and was honest on my Top Secret app. That is the only thing that I can think of that would make them stop the process.

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As stated; Stopped is not denied. Breathe