Clearance Suspension


#1

Hello, Can someone help with some answers. I held a TS-SCI until 2018 I made a bad decision that caused my clearance to be suspended. I was working on a form that the instructions stated the document was not classified until it was completed with the secret information. I was under a very tight schedule, so I took the document home on a portable hard drive worked on all the unclassified information on my home computer. Figuring I wasn’t putting classified information on it until it was on a proper secure network. I also had a briefing on the subject to senior government officials. The sipr printer was broke and I had 5 minutes to get it printed I moved a copy to CD and printed on a NIPR Printer which was located in my office which was a Secret location. I gave the briefing everything went well. After the brief my boss found a copy of the document on the printer and asked who printed this, I said I did he said ok and then decided to report me to the IG instead of our security office. Before I new it I had agents at my door taking control of my computer systems, Hard drives etc. Then I was called into and interview and was asked if I had taken a NIPR hard drive I said yes and they asked for it I then informed them it was at my house. The agents went to my home and removed all my personal equipment, hard drives etc. and the agency nipr hard drive.

The next day I had and meeting at which time they said they had suspended my clearance and put me on administrative leave stating my clearance had to be adjudicated to determine if I was going to keep it or if it was going to revoked by DODCAF/DONCAF. I was told it would take 18 months to process everything and that I would have to remain on unpaid administrative leave. So I resigned.

I found another job and when they went to process me for a clearance, I was informed that I could not hold a clearance again and that no government or contractor could sponsor me. I’m not making lite of the situation, but this is the first time in over 30 year of service that I ever had an issue with my clearance or work in general. I was told at the beginning that if the decision was unfavorable, I could appeal and be heard but I never got a decision and never got a chance to appeal.

Can I get a formal decision and have a chance to Appeal what if any recourses do I have to the recent rejection to process my clearance? Any help is appreciated.


#2

There are several issues at play here. Using a portable hard drive in classified space is the first per your post. Those items should not transit a secure space because it always leaves open to question what information is on there and for what purposes. The first time it touched a classified drive…the entire item is considered classified, period. Once you inserted in your home computer…that too became classified. Copying to a CD…that also is now classified. As is the NIPR printer. If you work for a contract company, they are duty bound to report the situation. The IG is an odd place, but regardless the correct people were notified, and they took the correct, though personally painful steps. Same with the suspension and likely a re-investigation requiring adjudication of the infractions and violations. While you were suspended, you resigned. This ended sponsorship of said clearance eligibility. Therefor it likely short circuited the statement of reasons. Which would be a statement as to why they revoked the clearance. Clearly there is a mark in the file now stating you cannot be cleared…but that is not necessarily true. A revocation means you cannot apply for a year. Does not mean you get approved, it means you get the right to apply. This is a series of security violations. Serious security violations. You do not say if they found other evidence on the home computer or portable hard drive. Was this the only time you did this? Have others routinely used that portable drive to accomplish the same thing? All that is possible. What was your standing in the office prior to this series of events? Have you had other infractions or violations? Each of the violations by themselves are reasons to terminate access. They were done deliberately, with intent. None can be called accidental.


#3

Thank you for your response. According to the instructions on the form the document was not classified until it was completed and it was never removed with out of the cleared space when it had classified information also when it was on my home computer and the portable hard drive it did not have classified information on it. The agents were only concerned with removal of secret/classified information that could be of national security risk they did not find anything. The Security office decided that the document was classified regardless of whether it was filled out or not. The printing on the NIPR printer was a true known violation. I have never had any violation or issues with employment in the past this was my very first time. I was a 14 in the it security field. My supervisor and security stated that they were going to use me as an example but my boss said he thought they would give me a short suspension and have to retake IA training. He was wrong as we can see. I just want to go back to work and I’m not having any luck and its been 5 months and I get referred and offered until they do a check and the last job I applied for was a public trust but I have been told that it probably wont get approved. I have spent over most of my life working in the security/Cyber field and know no other job.


#4

It’s going to sound like I’m being but that’s not my intension. I need to get out of the office.

You should NOT have resigned. You should have accepted the suspension allowed the process to go forward and consulted an attorney. By resigning, you allowed them to stop processing and forget about you, leaving yourself in limbo.

You still need to retain an attorney if you want to continue working in cleared industry, even with a public trust. If you can work in private industry go find a job because this is going to be a long haul.

Remember . . . You did EXACTLY what you have been told not to do for your entire career. You do annual training every year telling you not to do what you did. You’re in IT. You should know better. You opened the door and everybody upstairs is very jumpy about this stuff right now.

You are in a tough place. You might get through it. There’s no way to know right now but you need representation.


#5

As much Ed and Amber are right, I do feel for you. It is a tough predicament to be in… I would advise you to apply for cleared Government positions rather than cleared contractor positions. Government agencies are more likely to process your BI than do contractors. Nonetheless, it doesn’t hurt to apply with those contractors, especially known defense contractors. If you truly want to get back in, you might want to consider joining the national guard or military (obviously, it comes with commitment for x number of years and such).

If you get to the point of filling out those Standard Forms, consult/retain a security clearance attorney. It will cost you pretty penny tho. I truly feel for you and hate that you are going through this.


#6

I certainly “feel” you on this. I have no doubt it is common practice in many offices. But the axe fell on you. As Ed said…resigning is what put you in limbo. Getting anyone to tell you exactly what is in the system regarding your situation is where it gets hard. I do recommend a clearance attorney. Maybe a FOIA request to best understand what you can obtain. Possibly they see you as a very high level employee, and a 14 is quite high, that absolutely knew better. When working in the cleared environment is our bread and butter and we do not know another way of life…it is a serious blow to suffer a revocation.


#7

Ed, while I agree with you that OP shouldn’t resign; however, I am not sure staying on the job would result in an issuance of SOR. Federal agencies are notorious for circumventing appeal process (due process) by terminating employee(s) without issuing SOR.


#8

It is far too easy to administratively remove a person just to avoid issuing a SOR. My client can simply infer they are no longer comfortable with a base employee. If they work for us…it is clear we need remove them. Will the government give us anything in writing to support this? Not always. In a right to work state…you can be fired for no reason.


#9

Well . . .

First, I also feel for the OP. I’ve been out of work and I’ve been in a position where I needed to severely alter my career path because of that. I have bounced from private to cleared back to private and now back to cleared over the last 15 years of my 35 year career and I’m only 57. So, I do know and appreciate what you are going through.

Having said that . . . He wouldn’t have been staying on the job. He would have been on unpaid leave while the case was adjudicated. Perhaps they would have tried to dismiss him instead of issuing an SOR but how would that leave him in a worse position than he is in now? What could he do now that he couldn’t do if he were on unpaid leave or if they had fired him.

So . . . @AWoodhull . . . You say that your are “not sure staying on the job would result in an issuance of an SOR” but his resignation assured that no SOR would be issued.

This short circuits his efforts to regain his clearance.

But, the truth is that he put himself into a hard spot and he will have to work his rear end off to get back near where he was. He is not likely to ever reach a GS14 again and private industry may very well be his best bet.