Clearance Question

Hi All,

I have three questions that really bother me lately:

  1. If I am not qualified for a clearance or Public Trust position in another federal agency, will that jeopardize my current DoD Secret clearance. My record is unchanged from the last re-investigation about 8 years ago.

  2. If I am nominated for a TS within my current organization and somehow not qualified for it, will that impact my current S clearance? My record is clean for the past 12 years. I had a Probation Before Judgement event, which I reported on my last re-investigation as it was still on probation at that time, and I had that expunged in 2,01,1 right after my last clearance renewal. The last day of my probation is around April 2,01,0.

  3. I see that the SF-86 is updated and the mental health questions has no time limit on them. On my last eQUIP, I disclosed the ongoing probation of the PBJ as well as the counseling I received to help my case. During the subject interview, I also disclose my misdemeanor conviction in 2.00,2 and the court-order evaluation I was given for that and showed the counselor’s letter indicating that I did not counseling or mental health treatment. My disposition paper for the second case is a carbon copy and blurry. There were checkboxes for paying fine, supervised probation, stay out of trouble, no contact with other parties involved, but I can’t make out whether or not there is a checkbox for ‘court order counseling’ or not. Basically, that box is unchecked and the box below (No contact with others) was checked once but there is a few blurry dots in that box making it look like either that box was either checked twice to show the seriousness of that order or checked once but the carbon paper didn’t catch the complete check.

I did have counseling to help my case and it did but I still can’t figure out if I needed or not. I asked the probation officers and they said they said the ‘court order’ box looks completely unchecked to them but they don’t know what the actual orders were. I went to the court house to inquire and they said they no longer have the paperwork as it was expunged and the ‘court order’ box looked unchecked to them.

My questions is: Do I report this as I actually had counseling anyway to help me case? If I list it down, it will look like I am admitting that I have two court order counseling events and will make the explanation harder that I probably only had one. In addition, will counseling(s), both court order and volunteer as part of a case, hurt my clearance. Neither event required treatment and only two sessions were required for the later event and a position evaluation on the first event.

My gut tells me that I should have no problem as information had already been disclosed in different context before and the government is fully aware of my two incidents and all mater involved. Therefore, not reporting the second counseling session, although possibly not required, may show intent to hide something. But I don’t necessary agree with over-reporting unless it’s foreign travel, foreign contact, or foreign influence.

Thank you very much for any help out there.

The adjudication is normally the same for Secret and Top Secret - the difference is the thoroughness of the investigation for Tier 5.

Normally, having reported the issues previously don’t disqualify you - you might have to provide some details and the current status. Mental Health treatment is rarely an issue unless your doctor says it is (then we ask very detailed questions) or your provider tells us you don’t follow the treatment plan.

From my personal observations in the military - being denied a TS impacts your Secret because information was discovered during the TS investigation that was not previously reported or financial issues were found.

What about those who are being upgraded to TS from S with disqualifying factors already disclosed on the SF86 like me? I feel like I will be denied the TS due to a recent dui charge to reckless driving conviction 2 years ago. All of the issues have been addressed and disclosed for my Secret but Im curious to see how this applies for TS. This is my only concern.

Thank you investigator.

The issues were reported and documented as they happened. Then they were discussed during the subject interview for the re-investigation 8- years ago. Everything was mitigated satisfactory to the background investigator and adjudicator as I was granted S continuation without trouble.

Neither case resulted in court order counseling or treatment. That is the best of my interpretation based on the disposition paper. The first issue has the judge’s memo ‘do as counseling evaluation say’ and the counselor at work (not a doctor) said I did not need it. I went to AA and Anger Management anyway and was politely told I didn’t need them as the incident was an isolated episode caused by young age and being at the wrong place wrong time with wrong mindset. Those were animus meetings so I don’t have records of anything. In fact, I lost the note the counselor gave me but I did show it to the investigator 8 years ago. I am trying to contact my lawyer back then to see if he still keeps a copy though I don’t think that is an issue due to time and previous reporting.

My concern stems from the fact that the new SF-86 focus on court order mental health and this is up to interpretation. Although I didn’t have court order counseling, the way the disposition papers and the nature the case did involved counseling, although via my own initiative because I want to be better or keep my job.

In addition, I am concern that if I apply for DoS or DHS, things that are acceptable at DoD may be interpreted differently. Is there such as thing as negative reciprocity in which denial over DoS or DHS cause me to lose my DoD S clearance.



I am also concern about this. According to DoD security personnel who processed and adjudicated my re-investigation more than 8 years ago, I have fully mitigated all security concern with both the passage the time, maturity development, community contribution, and staying out a trouble and severe ties with anyone that may put me in situations that cause more trouble. That was more than 8 years ago and everything continues to improve so I MUST be good now for the S level at DoD. But what about TS, which should be the same as S but with longer period of time and I should be fine for it since it has been more than 12 years since I last got into trouble and that was expunged via PBJ. Or how about DHS or DoS or other federal agencies that require similar background check for S or Public Trust levels, which also only go back 7 years like DoD S.

There should be a national reciprocity for clearance. If there isn’t, is there a negative reciprocity, which mean denial at one agency cause negative impact on my current clearance since everyone use eQUIP now???

If it was 8 years earlier, and you were re-cleared once in between I would think it is mostly handled and done. I do think I would recall if the judge ordered me into counseling though. Your attorney may have a record of the event, and may have encouraged the counseling to show you accepted responsibility and wanted to learn possible mitigation in the future. It reads as if you are equivocating, hedging your bet as to what you should or should not say, IMHO. I think this would be apparent and f they interpreted the counseling sessions as something you are not being candid about, it can hurt you.


I have the disposition papers in front on me for both incidents. The first incident clearly says ‘do what the counseling evaluation say’ because that was part of my plea deal that I would get evaluated if I need anger management counseling or treatment. The counselor at work talked to me once and gave me a note that I didn’t need it. The second disposition doesn’t have that box checked but I actually went and got counseling because the judge verbally stated that he would reconsider giving me PBJ if I do that among other things but there was no guarantee that he would grant PBJ even if I did. It was a pure gamble and it turned out very scary because neither ‘counseling’ or ‘PBJ’ boxes were checked and the judge didn’t recall the event 3+ years later. They had to pull the court record tape and he honor his words. That was pure luck as my new lawyer is local and familiar with the process and the judge was willing to work with them. My first lawyer that I went to trial with was a buffoon and pissed off the judge and prosecutor.

Either way, I screwed up and learnt from it. DoD investigator and adjudicator thought all events were adjudicated and grant my continuation. It has been 12+ years since the incident so I know passage of time and other actions mitigated it. But with the new SF-86, there is a burden of mental health issue, which the new form made much worse by requirement a lifetime report instead of 7 years.

I fully plan on reporting the counseling but would like to report them as volunteer act (via adendum) to show mitigation extra effort.

That sounds legit. And I would be clear, the judge mentioned it may help, but left the box unchecked. But I did it anyway to better understand what drives me. I learned from that and never again had a repeat. Feel free to review the court record and tell me if you can determine if it was mandatory. Since the worst case scenario was “yes it was mandated,” and you did accomplish this…you mitigated any potential fallout. So speaking to it is absolutely in your favor. And I agree 12 plus years prior, maturity, etc all in your favor. But you would still not want to have the investigator find it and you did not report it.


Thanks for the clarification. To be clear, both incidents are on record at DoD at numerous level from local management to HR to SF-86 investigative process. As I the SF-86 changed often since my last reinvestigation and I misplaced my copy, I dont recall what was asked or what was the response. But I have the mental health relase form that I filled out for the investigator to speak to to my mental health provider, who evaluated and cleared me to be not a security risk. It has his signature and box checked No to the evaluation, and the dates I seeked counselings. I got the copy from the investigator and it is a zerox copy, I am assuming DoD or the doctor, has the orignal, during the subject interview. For the first incident, it was not repotable as the record went back 7 years only but I brought it up and showed the court disposition as well as the counselor’s note from work. The investigator indicated that the court language says ‘do as counseling evaluation say’ does not mean the same as seek mental health counseling and treatment. In addition, it was my offer to the court, along with community service, to stay oit of jail. Her opinion is that I would need to report it if it was in the time requirmemt (7 years back then) amd the court language was ‘seek or attend mental health counseling.’

Here is my position: i want to report those incident as SF-86 recently changed the requiremtn to lifetime. However, I want to make it clear that I intepret both events as non-court order. I have the disposition paper from both incidents. I clealy see the counseling and PBJ boxes unchecked but there is blemish in the ‘have no contact with…’ and that was court order. It is a carbon copy so Imcant tell if the judge put a bigger check on it to show emphais or his pen didn’t work the first time and he press harder the second time or something pressed against the package to cause the extra few dots right abve the check but still inside the box. Everyone I spoke to (lawyer, PBJ supervisors, court clerks, and security investigator) either said they cant tell or no the box unchecked and given the PBJ box also unchecked but I was granted it tell them that mental health counseling was a recommendation verbally instructed as an incentive to seek PBJ reconsideration but not a requirement or a guarantee that PBJ would be granted upon completion. My PBJ supervisor never request proof of counseling upon clearing my case. Evident was submitted when I went back to court (a request from me) for reconsideration to have PBJ granted and approval for expungement once time limit met.

May I check no on ‘court order counseling’ on SF-86 and provide addendum of counseling to show events took place as a over-reporting effort instead of under repoerting. I will also mention that everything was both reported amd listed before or brought up as non-issue in the past. And I’ll have my mental health evaluation form submitte by my doctor with me for the second incident. I cant find my counselor note from 17 years ago.

I would absolutely defer to the current background investigator as they will determine if your situation was spot on handled correctly, or not. It sounds like you handled it properly. By taking the time to lay out the whole situation to the current investigator, show the documents, show how you sought interpretations from each listed above to make sure you were on track and make sure you show it was outside the reporting requirement back then. If they see you go to great lengths to make it more clear…I believe that puts you in the best light. It may be annoying to lay out the entire situation but at times you need do that. From there, however it is captured on the SF86, is how I would capture it moving forward.