Applying for public trust after bungled SF-86

I have a couple of questions about applying for SF-85P (public trust). But to ask them, I have to give you some history about my situation, so this might get kind of long. I am looking at jobs working for gov contractors only, not direct government employment.

Some years ago (about 2005) I submitted an SF-86 for a Secret clearance. Well, I messed it up pretty badly. My company (a DoD contractor) let me withdraw the SF-86 when it became clear that it was in trouble … no statement of reasons or final decision were ever issued. Details about that in this thread: Thinking of getting an attorney consult

I know that 15 years (2005 to 2020) is considered a long time. I’ve been clean for that long. But because of my dishonesty on the prior SF-86, I’m not very confident of passing any SF investigations, regardless of which type. The SF-85P asks whether you’ve ever been investigated before, so it seems that it they would consider that old application relevant. And it seems a pretty safe bet they’ve still got that old info somewhere.

Now, I feel like I’ve got some reason to try to avoid getting a denial of clearance … I feel I do have something to lose. To wit:

Even when I apply for purely unclassified, civvie jobs in the private sector, one of the questions that the company usually asks on their application is: “Have you ever had a security clearance revoked, suspended, or denied?” I’d like to be able to answer “no” to that question, and I don’t want to lie on the form.

Additionally, I was told something back in 2005 by an attorney that did security clearance cases: If you get turned down for a security clearance, your name goes on a list of people who have been denied. He also said that this list is accessible to companies that do classified work, whether or not the specific position you’re applying for requires it. (Maybe someone out there can confirm or deny that.)


Knowledgeable people on these boards say the SF-85P is not a security clearance. So by the literal letter of the law, getting denied public trust is not a denial of clearance. I could apply for a job, turn in an SF-85P form, and if it gets denied, I don’t get the job. But then it seems like I could apply for a different job in the private sector. When they ask whether I have been denied a clearance, I say no, that’s it. The SF-85P wouldn’t follow me around like an SF-86 denial.

Unless I’m missing something. There’s admittedly a lot about this stuff I still don’t know.

So I guess my questions are:

If I submit an SF-85P and it gets denied, would I go on that list of people denied clearance (or any other such list)?

Would a future employer have a way of knowing I got denied SF-85P, unless I told them?

If I apply for an SF-85P and get turned down, can I still answer “no” to the question of whether I’ve ever been denied a security clearance? Maybe that’s kind of more an employment law question, but maybe this situation has come up before, and somebody has an answer.


Section 23.2
“Have you EVER had a security clearance eligibility/access authorization denied, suspended, or revoked? (Note: An administrative downgrade or administrative termination of a security clearance is not a revocation.)”

You don’t need to interpret and pretend to be SCOTUS. You simply answer the questions in their literal form.

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