Cleared 20 years now clearances stuck in adjudication limbo - LONG story but NEED HELP PLEASE!


#1

Many thanks in advance for someone who can help. I have worked as a contractor for 20 years and have NEVER had one issue whatsoever, so I feel like I am in uncharted waters.

I was recently terminated from a large contractor where I was an employee for the past four years. I was on a contract that I was not a good fit for, and subsequently was moved off of that project. As the contractor began the process of reassigning me to a different project, I was told that there was an “issue with my clearances.” Apparently a random audit of my time card was performed that were submitted between winter 2014 and winter 2015 where the government found discrepancies between what they believe I worked, and what I actually worked. I was contacted by an investigator in the spring of 2016, and promptly replied. When I met with the investigator, I was asked to explain these differences in the reporting. I answered honestly--- from memory, reaching back to a period more than two years earlier--- to the best of my ability. My answers mitigated a large portion of the hours, but the investigator asked me to provide additional substantiation from that of my co-workers or others that would prove my whereabouts. I of course complied with the investigator’s request, but my co-workers from that time could not provide information for a time period that was so long ago (nearly 2-1/2 years ago). As an FYI, my explanation for the unaccounted time has to do with badge-in/badge-out procedures, and the unavailability of security officer personnel to provide access when my PIN was not functional. (I do have full explanations for the outstanding discrepancies. For example: My PIN was not functional for entry to a SCIF, and the on-site security officer was not present. On numerous occasions I would have to call a co-worker to let me in the office, thus my badge didn’t capture my time worked in that building.) Upon emailing the investigator with my additional responses, I was told the investigator had everything she needed, and I thought the matter was rectified, since I knew I was telling the truth. (Note: after having met the investigator, I immediately changed my badge-in/badge-out processes to make certain my presence was accounted for at all times during the work day.) However, the government seems to feel that not all of the discrepancies were accounted for, and apparently my clearances are currently in an adjudicated state. Because of that, the contractor I was employed by felt as if they could no longer market me as a cleared person and therefore terminated me. I have never received any previous disciplinary actions of any sort in my 20 years of service; I also do not have any financial or personal issues. I have received awards of merit as well.

Here are my questions:

1) How long will it take for my clearances to be adjudicated or cleared up?
2) What are the chances they will be adjudicated favorably versus receiving an LOI/SOR?
3) If I am to receive an LOI/SOR, how long will it take for me to receive that notification?
4) Here's the big kicker: I applied for uncleared work with a great company. I was offered a job, but was told that since the job would involve work with the Department of Treasury, I would need to obtain an MBI. I am currently going through that process. What are the chances my current "limbo state" of my clearances will impact this job?

Many thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide!


#2

Your situation seems peculiar based on what you have written and some things are unclear:
- were you in a cleared status and at what level when this stuff occurred?
- if you were in a cleared status, were you given formal notice that it was suspended or revoked?
- what type of investigation was started? Was it a clearance reinvestigation or upgrade? Or was it an internal agency investigation?
- There is no more MBI. The Tier 2 replaced that type and if you only had a Secret clearance you woul dhave to undergo a full background investigation based on the SF85P.

Without knowing more it is difficult to advise!


#3

Thank you, Marko. I am greatly appreciative of your expertise and ringing in here.

Let me try to clarify based on the items you listed in your reply:

-were you in a cleared status and at what level when this stuff occurred? YES, currently in a cleared status. I have a TS/SCI w/full poly
- if you were in a cleared status, were you given formal notice that it was suspended or revoked? I was not given any notification, just a verbal that "it appears there are issues with your clearances" which leads me to believe "my file" is sitting somewhere in limbo
- what type of investigation was started? Was it a clearance reinvestigation or upgrade? Or was it an internal agency investigation? I have no idea what type of investigation was started with respect to my timesheet inaccuracies. I only met with an investigator who asked me questions about my timecard--- and then I followed up with her via email. No notification about my current clearances, other than the verbal from my former employer, beyond that. If you are referring to this new investigation for an MBI, then that is being conducted for a Dept of Treasury spot.
- There is no more MBI. The Tier 2 replaced that type and if you only had a Secret clearance you woul dhave to undergo a full background investigation based on the SF85P. The company I am hoping to work for now has called this an MBI clearance--- so if that is incorrect, I am only going by what they have said. To date, I have not been asked to fill out an SF85P, but I have filled out an F306 and will shortly have to complete an e-QIP.

I have no clue where my clearances are sitting and how to get them out of this limbo. Can I/should I contact OPM? JPAS? DISCO? I have received no formal notification, either written or verbal, from any official government person that my clearances are in adjudication, only verbal "snippets from my former employer that there are issues with my clearance, and because they couldn't place me in a cleared position, I was terminated. One of the biggest annoyances--- and boy, there are many!--- is that because I am no longer employed, I don't have access to an FSO/SSO who can help me figure out what's going on.

Again, I have NEVER had to go through any of this. Every single one of my reinvestigations were completed on time and I have had no issues EVER. Whatever help you can provide is so greatly appreciated!


#4

Something is definitely not right if you were terminated because of not being cleared even though you had a TS/SCI and were not given any notification. I would seek legal advice from a firm that deals with security clearance denials. As far as the Treasury job, they should not be conducting a new investigation if your lats investigation for the TS was withing the last 5 years.


#5

Thanks again for your help. I have a law firm that only deals with security clearance issues but they can't do anything until I receive an SOR. So, the big question is.... when will I receive an SOR? Who heck knows! I'm stuck in the worst limbo ever. Now I don't know if this is going to hold up--- or even destroy--- my chances with the Treasury job. Where can I make the most "noise" to get my investigation either closed favorably (clearances fully active/reinstated) or unfavorably (receive an SOR) as fast as possible? At this point, I don't have anyone who I can contact who can give me any info... my past employer owes me nothing and hasn't responded to emails/inquiries, and while I have told my future employer about this potential snag (and they have said they don't think it will be a problem), I can't get anyone to give me a solid answer.


#6

I'm surprised your security clearance attorney hasn't submitted Privacy Act requests on your behalf to every possible government agency that might have any information related to the time card investigation and your clearance status. Also some states have laws requiring employers to provide current and former employees access to their personnel records. I doubt seriously that you will receive an SOR since you no longer have any affiliation with the government agency that granted your clearance.


#7

@catwoman123 - allow me to chirp in with some observations. First, based on your postings, I assume that you were employed at an intelligence community (IC) agency when this all happened. That is an entirely different ball of wax to contend with. However, since you terminated employment, they have no need to continue investigating or adjudicating your eligibility. Therefore, expect no SOR. They can close your case as a loss of jurisdiction or no longer requires access. Regarding reciprocity, I worked at the Army adjudication facility for 29 years and I railed against the lack of reciprocity frequently. However, the Executive Orders, Directives, manuals, etc allow for new investigations if there are issues subsequent to the prior investigation. So the Treasury Dept has the authority to initiate a new investigation. Good luck.


#8

I truly do want to thank you for your reply @billlove74. Yes, I was employed through a contractor at an IC. They terminated my employment due to the fact that they considered me unmarketable with my clearances up in the air. So, I am in the most wicked state of limbo ever. How do I get my clearances adjudicated? Do I have to have a sponsor "take me on" and advocate on my behalf to get these adjudicated? I can't figure this out to save my life. I'm a single mom that has NEVER had any issues of this nature and I'm so in the dark because I don't have an employer who can help and I feel like I have this scarlet letter on my chest that no one is even giving me the chance to explain... much less find out information about my OWN personnel status. (Yes, I know I sound angry! It's not directed towards anyone but this dang process!)

As for the new job, I was fingerprinted recently and should have an e-QIP to fill out shortly. I have no idea what to expect, I'm just hopeful that I don't get discounted for this position because of this "red flag" that I haven't even been given due process to clear up.

Again, many thanks for your help. I am entirely frustrated, disappointed and completely scared as to how quickly my career could be floating away.


#9

I'm by no means an expert in these things but from what I've been reading here over the past few months, it seems that once you leave a cleared job, any existing clearances become inactive. Since you were in some sort of process of an investigation due to the time card discrepancies, it seems reasonable that the investigation has been terminated and there will be no further information provided. There is no FSO you can reach out to so I think it's safe to assume your clearances are now inactive. It doesn't seem that this should have any impact on your new job since that job doesn't require a TS/SCI clearance. It may delay a new investigation but with the delays we're all experiencing, it might not have a large impact... or maybe any impact. With the stress you're experiencing, you might want to retain an attorney if the new employer indicates that they have reservations about hiring you but I doubt that hiring an attorney in an attempt to pry information out of the government regarding your current status is worth the cost. From the various articles I read here, it seems we have no rights to any information on our clearance status other than what our FSO can find out and that's usually minimal as well.


#10

I agree you will not get a SOR since the clearance was not revoked. But I have seen contractors fired and walked off my location (by me) turn around and get hired right away by another contractor, at higher pay, and all they did was "cross over" the inactive clearance that is valid for 2 years. I would expect your old company quickly ended sponsorship of your clearance. We do that here immediately. If another company tried to cross you over (if you are in scope of having a BI and poly within the past 5 years) you might see it come back as "Unadjudicated information," which is a broad term. In those cases Clearance folks tell me to initiate the clearance as an "initial" and as soon as it is listed as "in progress," immediately cross it over. Seems to be a work around folks use with success.
It can be a heartless world on the contractor side. Companies will cut ties in an instance if they feel the government no longer wants that person on contract. It isn't supposed to work that way. But it can and it does.


#11

@catwoman123 This is not unusual given that you were a contractor with the IC. Question: did you engage in any activity prior to the adverse actions that could be a protected disclosure (ie. disclosing a violation of law, rule, or regulation)? I take it your time-card investigation was conducted by an OIG. How much time was left unaccounted for?


#12

Thanks @amberbunny and @Andrew_Bakaj for your recent comments. I have received somewhat of an update after reaching out to my state senator. I will include as much as I can below:

"(Agency) granted (contractor) access to SCI in (month and year), based on sponsorship by (Sponsor Company). In (summer of 2016) the (agency office of IG) advised S&CI that (contractor) had submitted false labor charges. However, in (fall of 2016), prior to S&CI taking any action concerning (contractor's) security clearance, (Sponsor Company) withdrew its sponsorship of (contractor). As a result, S&CI was no longer authorized to make a determination of her eligibility for continued access to SCI due to non-sponsorship. She was debriefed from SCI access on (fall of 2016). If (contractor) is sponsored for access to (Agency) SCI in the future, a decision concerning her eligibility will be made at that time."

Now that I do have a sponsor/employer who is interested in me and a firm contract on which to go, the million dollar question is how long could it take to get a response, be it positive or negative? And what are the chances that it will be positive and my clearances will transfer over easily?


#13

Well at least that is something. But I have a question:

Do you mean the US Senator from your state? Some states also have state senators who meet in their state's capitol, but I doubt they would have much clout in such matters.

As to how long it could take to get a response, seems like everything is moving incredibly slowly right now.

Thanks for the update. It all sounds rather Kafkaesque to me


#14

This is not unusual in my experience, and I currently have a case that is not completely dissimilar right now (of course, the facts drive the train). You have multiple issues: You're a contractor that had been read out but now have a sponsor. So, because you were read out, there was a loss of jurisdiction. That is not the current issue since you have a sponsor, so the clearance may, eventually, be adjudicated (unless your sponsor withdraws). You have an IG investigation into "false labor charges." This often turns into a fraud investigation. Key question: Did you have counsel present when you met with OIG??? Was there a referral to the AUSA (you won't necessarily be privy to that, and each OIG has a different policy on those thresholds; some have 100% referrals)? Is the IG investigation over (and you may not be privy to that)? If not, adjudications may hold pending the outcome of the investigation. What Agency within the IC? If it's one I'm familiar with, there are other issues that come into play. Is the new contract with the same Agency or a different one? What company? Are we talking cross-over clearance issues, etc. etc. I have a lot of questions and, given the OIG investigation, there are other issues that you need to take into consideration.


#15

I have crossed over clearances from one company to ours that were working for the same client. Likely, someone in your company notified the client your hours were not lining up with the hours you signed for each pay period. In many cases the culture moves away from the standard but you can be caught in the middle. My current company requires everyone who is an hourly employee to clock in and out for lunch and they have 30 minutes. If you are in a one deep position and often accompany your client boss to off location lunches and work meetings....say "hail and farewells," you are required to comply with company policies even if you are team building with your client. It is a fact of life. So you need protect yourself on both sides. That said, back to your situation, I see no reason why you cannot be crossed over if you have the requisite clearance and access. We cross over folks in 72 hours flat. Even folks leaving somewhat "under fire" in the previous position.


#16

@amberbunny have you ever crossed over anybody awaiting adjudication on a PR? I am looking at this recent document posted by @marko.hakamaa saying that clearances do not expire as long as they are active, it would seem that they should be transferable.


#17

It can be done but there is a hoop or two to jump through. Clearance advised us to submit as an initial, and as soon as it was submitted, contact clearance division and tell them you want to cross it over. Why the rig-a-ma-roll of doing that would be required…I don’t have that answer. But they made clear we should do this in these situations. Same when it comes back showing “unadjudicated information.” A nebulous and unclear way of saying the panel has not yet said “thumbs up or thumbs down” on that package. They normally go through in groups so if you miss one gate your package can easily be stuck waiting for the next load. I suspect right now with inauguration everything is strained and overwhelmed more than usual.


#18

Heard of a guy who left our company in the midst of adjudication with customer "X." Left to go get a job with a company working for customer "Y." Apparently they treated it like starting from scratch (like @amberbunny said, submit as initial) but it went more quickly than that because of the recent investigation and poly. Of course "more quickly" is a relative term these days.


#19

WOW. So many things to update you all on. First of all, I finally started my job at the Dept of Treasury. It seems fine, but it's hard to tell as I'm only two weeks in and JUST received my actual credentials/clearances yesterday.

As for the sponsor/employer who was interested in me with my full security clearances, I lost the original contractor position because of timing, but the main Sponsor said they were still interested in me for another role, and would continue to serve as a Sponsor. However, just today I found out that my clearances have been adjudicated, and they have been denied; this was from the FSO. I will apparently receive certified mail in the next 30 days letting me officially know about this, and outlining my appeal options.

Now, I realize this is the million dollar question, but I'm trying to figure out if I want to hire a lawyer and see this through. Based on the rationale for my denial, which I assume is fraud but don't have the exact wording until that letter arrives, what are my chances of getting my clearances reinstated? I guess I now lose the Contractor who was willing to sponsor me, too, so does that reduce my chances? Having been unemployed for nearly four months, I'm not sure I want to run into any additional expenditures like a lawyer, but I am thinking long term. And in terms of lawyer's fees, what's a ballpark on this?

Interested in any and all thoughts and advice. Many thanks in advance for helping this mom navigate rough waters.


#20

Lots to digest there. However, I review the appeals board and their decisions regularly. I offer encouragement that the pathway is clear and fair. If you have mitigation for the statement of reasons, and if it is rational, relevant and understandable, you can get a clearance denial overturned. It happens frequently. It is in no way the equivalent of a courts martial where there is a 97% conviction rate. Take to heart the available appeal process if one is offered. At a minimum I recommend consulting with a clearance lawyer. They can tell you concisely if the item can or should be challenged. And they can tell you how to structure the appeal, and even represent you if you decide to retain them.

That said the clearance denial isn't something entered into lightly. However it can be based on incomplete information. So if you have any clarifying documentation clearly proving this "fraud" isn't on you....by all means appeal.