Canceling Investigation - Am I Screwed?

Hello everyone,

I have a question regarding my situation. I was going in for an internship requiring a clearance and had been long in the process, when I panicked and withdrew from the investigation.

Here’s why I canceled:

I am a Jew. I have lived in the United States since I was one years old and love my country and wanted to serve it. Thus, I applied for an internship and have been in the clearance process for about 1.5 years now, when I one day reflected upon Jewish history. You see, Jews have been living in various countries and thought life was all nice and dandy, until one day it wasn’t and had to flee due to rabid (and sometimes murderous) antisemitism. This includes Spain, where there were large Jewish communities until they were expelled in 1492, Arab countries where Jews lived for centuries until they had to flee from there in the 1950s, Germany and Eastern Europe (Poland and Russia), where things were relatively nice and tolerant until the Germans, Poles, and Russians turned on those Jews living among them, and etc. For example, most of the Jews who live in the USA today are descendants of those Jews who fled the pogroms and intolerance in the Russian Empire.

And I see this situation playing out in Europe today. Synagogues have been burnt down and Jews have been harrassed on the streets. A Kosher supermarket in paris and Jewish day schools have been subjected to attacks. Many stopped wearing Kippahs due to fear of attack. Antisemitism has been rising dramatically during the past decade there to the point where French Jews have been fleeing France for Israel, Quebec, and the USA like no tomorrow. (for those who didn’t know, France has the highest Jewish population in Europe). Some have even immigrated to the UK when it was in the EU precisely for that reason. Ironic since there is a French common saying, “Happy as a Jew in France.” Not happy anymore. A once tolerant place turned intolerant quickly. Typical story.

This gets me back to the topic of clearance. I thought, “I love the USA and it’s my home. But what if in (not now) but maybe significantly later, it becomes so rabidly intolerant that I have to flee? What if it went the way of Europe? What then? Would I be trapped due to the fact that I had a clearance - decades from now? Would I be able to flee for safe haven?”

As one phrase I heard in a documentary goes goes, “The Jewish imagination is a paranoia confirmed by history.” And well, I became extremely paranoid. You have no idea how terrible it felt.

I panicked. I didn’t want to be trapped. Thus, I rang up the organization, and in a completely panicked tone told them, “I am young but I don’t know if my future will be 100% in this country or take me someplace else. Please stop the clearance process.” They of course, canceled it for me.

Since then, I have done extensive research talked to a bunch of people (who I have not met previously) who hold a clearance (including one NSA guy - who for some reason was able to publicly say that he works for the NSA) and read forums online.
They told me that the USA has a “freedom to leave” - i.e. that Americans who were clearance holders have been allowed to live and work abroad in countries that are friendly to the USA and close allies many many years after serving in their positions - provided that they maintained American citizenship and did not divulge any classified secrets or information of course - and that they personally knew people who did it. Thus, if things would go bad, leaving would be an option. G-d forbid I would ever need to do so.

This leads me to the topic of applying for another clearance, specifically TS/SCI. I am looking at a couple of jobs that I absolutely love - but not within the same organization - I was applying with. My concern is that the organization I was applying with for my clearance and then withdrew from most likely recorded the call. Would what I said in the call, word for word, bite me back later and disqualify me from receiving a clearance? And let’s say I apply for a clearance and have an interview, and I am asked about why I canceled the clearance, would telling the truth about being sure about an option to “flee the country” make me seem disloyal - and torpedo my chances? And what then? Am I screwed? Should I just assume that I would get a denial and not bother to apply for a clearance at all? Would the “whole person concept” mitigate this if I applied for a clearance and told the interviewer the truth about my situation?

This is assuming that my other history is completely clean, that I disclose everything and all foreign national contacts, and etc.

I would greatly appreciate any and all help you may give. I genuinely don’t know what to do.

You think you might flee the country in the future but you want access to the country’s secrets?

Where would you flee to? Israel?

Where do your loyalties lie?

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Without getting too political or off track, I’d like to offer a few thoughts. Full disclosure, I’m an immigrant, minority, and have a pretty solid grasp and respect for Jewish history so I hope that this doesn’t come across as insensitive or ignorant.

I think that you may have a hard time establishing your loyalty to the United States based off of your statements and the act of canceling a clearance request on the basis of your above statement. Those of us who have “foreign ties” or are accused of having foreign loyalties need to make it explicitly clear that nothing can get in the way of our loyalty to the United States.

While I’m not questioning your patriotism or your concerns about antisemitism (which is a serious issue globally), I do think that it’s important for any current or potential clearance holders to be “all in” when it comes to trusting our government.

As a side note, If you’ve ever expressed serious interest in making Aliyah or joining the IDF then expect issues. Moreover, if you really do feel that way then it’s clear your loyalties are not with the US even if they are with one of our closest allies.

TLDR: Make sure that you are comfortable being 100% loyal to the USA if you want a clearance. Don’t have one foot out and another in.

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mamaBaloney, I feel that there are more glaring issues in your situation that don’t involve loyalty to the U.S. Paranoia perhaps? Mental health, maybe?

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These concerns illustrate that you have some other issues you might have to address before even considering a clearance.
Several minorities have clearances… I don’t recall ever hearing anyone express such a concern. You are a US citizen, and therefore have rights in this country. You don’t seem to believe that you will be safe in this country, if anything ever happens. Like others said… there is an issue of loyalties here, and probably some other issues i.e your paranoia. All in all, it would result in a clearance denial because you seem to have foreign preference (that’s one issue). See SEAD 4 for Adjudicative Guidelines.

A clearance = responsibilities towards the United States for life. Ask yourself if you can and if you are comfortable guarding secrets for life. I’d personally suggest staying away from this world…

Actually, it wasn’t on a forum. I met him personally, face-to-face, and have reason to believe he wasn’t misrepresenting himself.

To strike a more middle of the road approach…I acknowledge what the posters above stated. But you did not state a preference for another country, just that if oppression presented itself here you would feel compelled to leave…the oppression…not specifically the country. Wanting to live abroad isn’t a disqualifier. The motivations of living abroad can be. I am well traveled, and will continue as long as I am blessed to afford traveling. One day I may find shangrila and want to settle in that location. Cost of living, idyllic life, etc. There was a time when there were huge “ex-patriot” (loaded word warning) communities abroad. Specifically Mexico, and there were many RV parks filled with Americans. Currently they reduced due to cartel wars and previously off limit American citizens becoming targets. So life indeed does change under circumstances. Many a Hollywood personality claimed they too were moving to Canada believing they could not live in America due to persecution, and intolerance. Short answer: if you have established connections in differing areas around the globe, expect each to be scoped and probed. Being willing to relocate due to persecution is one thing, wanting a backup plan to run too and establish loyalties with another country…is questionable. Defining exactly what you would label as persecution may not pass muster with a BI. I’m not downplaying antisemitism or racism or ethniism at all. Depending on what life threw at you to date, how you were raised, what communities, etc…you could have a miserable experience and despise America for her warts. Or you may be enthralled by the idealism of America and understand there are bad people in every group, and you will stay no matter what. Watching the Balkans break up with inter married families turning on each other…being familiar with the Hutu and Tutsi situation…life indeed can turn on a dime. Just because you think it is imminent and folks are out to get you…doesn’t mean they aren’t…

Thanks for the response.
I didn’t state any particular country, nor did I ever think of one apart from the USA. I am a dual citizen but have been living in the USA since 1 years old, so I am an “accidental dual citizen” - if you will.

I love the USA and only had a relatively positive experience here and I don’t hate america for any “warts” (as you used that term). But as you yourself said, things can turn on a dime. So how would that affect me in this investigation?

I declared all my foreign national contacts when applying completely. That wasn’t a problem.

So how would this affect me? How do you see my situation?

This is the problem with “panic” . . . You took action while in a panic when you should have been doing the research that you did after. This alone doesn’t reflect well on your fitness for a cleared position. Our recent history is replete with clearance holders who decided that a new administration was going to be the end of the world and then, in a panic over the issue, released secrets.

The entire world does, as you note, have a history of anti-Semitism. Most of the current batch that you are talking about, in France and other EU nations, can be traced directly back to the continuing conflicts in the middle east. I’m not going to go farther down that path but I easily could.

As for this country, think about it: If things got that bad here, where would you go? I expect that the rest of the world would already be awash in blood.

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So I’m going to be very blunt. As an American citizen who values their clearance and national security, you should not be applying to work for a country that you don’t have plans to stay with. While I am sensitive to the issues that you have, my first thought is National Security. All of this won’t matter anyway, as an investigator I am going to ask you why it canceled. Then I’m going to go and get the record. Your background doesn’t matter if it is clean or not because you have the biggest flag there is…someone would question your loyalty to the US.

Edit: fixed the last sentence. But I would be curious to know where does your allegiance lie?

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The questions of primary loyalty and foreign preference are legitimate. But does the United States—as the country currently is—have your loyalty? Get that clear in your own mind.

(Yes, given sufficient changes in government policy and law, leaving would be appropriate, and it’s not crazy to act today to keep open that possibilty. By similar token, it’s legitimate to discuss a hypothetical future government turned tyrannical and when a Jeffersonian response is called for, and even to suggest that the means for such response must be maintained, all without falling afoul of “calling for violence against the United States”.)

And what do you answer when I ask you if you are willing to renounce your foreign citizenship as a condition of access to classified information?

How about relinquishing your foreign passport?

Standard questions.

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I am a Canadian citizen but immigrated here to the USA since I was 1 years old. I am willing to relinquish any foreign passports or citizenships if desired to do so by the USA. That is not a problem for me.

Does that mean that I didn’t screw my chances up? Would people understand the concern over the hypothetical situation? Would my having exited a clearance investigation precisely for this reason be viewed negatively?

The USA. It’s my home

Am I completely screwed? Should I stay away from a clearanced job because I would run a high risk of failing the investigation?

Honestly, I have no idea.