Concerned about Reinstating Clearance

I have a Secret clearance, which is currently labeled “loss of jurisdiction”, as I am no longer employed by my last company. In seeking a new job, I found out that my last company had submitted an incident to DSS regarding something that honestly, I had done in a non-malicious way. Before leaving the company, I wanted to save some spreadsheets that I had used at work, because there were Excel formulas that I didn’t want to have to recreate…I intend to continue working in the same field, so my thought was that work should be very similar. To save the previously mentioned items, I sent them to my personal email. When the company told me about this and asked me to delete all of the things that I sent via email, I did so immediately and showed them proof via screen shots of the deletions. My prospective new employer says they cannot move forward with the hiring with this incident flagging my record. My question is can this be mitigated, and how do I show that I really am an honest person?

Can you research company policy and determine if it was actually a violation of rules or just something they did not like. Were any of these classified? Or sensitive company info? Competitor info?


As I recall all employees sign an agreement to not share proprietary information. None of the attachments (what I wanted to save) nor the emails they were attached to were classified. The information in the spreadsheets was estimation (dollar amounts for a project), job status on a couple of projects, and scheduling. I was in a rush to save the spreadsheets before having to turn in my company computer, and didn’t pay attention to the emails’ subject line of “proprietary information”. Totally my fault, but done in innocence. When the company asked me to delete the files, I immediately did so and showed proof of deletion with screen shots from personal computer.

I suspect that, on top of what you stated, there was concern about you taking spreadsheets with dollar amounts for a project, job status on projects and scheduling. I’m almost certain that the contents of the spreadsheets, including the formulas, would be considered proprietary information. Most companies take issue with ANY emails, particularly those with attachments, to a personal email system. This is even more of an issue when you are on your way out the door when you do so.

I think that you are going to have a very difficult time mitigating this poor judgement.

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That would be highly competitive information. It could place a new company at advantage over the previous. company. The natural assumption is you were taking it for competitive advantage. That said, loss of jurisdiction simply means nobody is sponsoring your eligibility. If you did not sign a write up it may not be a reportable offense moving forward other than did you leave under unfavorable circumstances. I would certainly speak to it as best as possible on next SF86 and speak frankly with the BI person. It is up to them to determine if it was merely oversight or equivalent to Mr Snowden. Regardless they will capture in writing and submit for adjudication. That is where a true determination is made

Excel formula’s are one thing. Taking company information is another. Glad the system is working as intended.

Excuse me . . . Excel formulas most certainly can be considered proprietary information. It is, in effect, computer code which can implement the companies planning for the future and provide deep insights into their expectations.

No, without the data, its just formula’s. There is no way to pull or gain anything from excel formula’s without the data.

That’s an idiotic statement . . . Of there is plenty to learn from formulas, why do you think that computer source code is so well protected? Formulas are computer code plain and simple. Sure, what you can get from a simple spreadsheet might not provide very much information but they can also be used to implement corporate policies and/or make predictions of future revenue, profits or schedules. Companies take the protection of this information very seriously even when NOT classified. But, working in a classified environment, this is even more serious.

No, without the data, its just formula’s. There is no way to pull or gain anything from excel formula’s without the data.

Id like to chime in…

To put it short: You are wrong. You can reverse engineer the formulas to obtain the intended output. Formulas and equations are company secret which can be used against the company in a competitive manner (or god forbid national security). More so the formula can be brute force simulated. While the data is useful, the formula provides more context. In research obtaining these formulas takes up 80% of the time where as generating data is the grunt work.

Ex. That formula can be used to reverse engineer a specific frequency for an antenna. It can determine the frequency range and limitations of a system and how an adversary can create an anti-jamming system based soley on the design. Why? Because this formula is inherited by the design which is essentially hard coded (dimensions, material properties etc) and so… the design must be changed. Whether software or hardware both are costly. To give you a hint software changes are the most expensive in any industry.

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Excel has limited capabilities and can only do so much. I get what you are saying though.

Excel formulas are not computer source code, that is a idiotic statement. .

Ah . . . Really . . . OK . . .

Math formulas cannot be trademarked, patented, or copyrighted. Source code are different as it is an implementation of a bigger picture. The individual formulas in an Excel file are harmless. Copying the actual Excel file is the violation.

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OK . . . I guess 35 years of IT, including ten years working cleared software jobs for the Navy hasn’t taught me anything . . .

Information doesn’t have to be “trademarked, patented, or copyrighted” in order to be considered “proprietary” or to be considered theft when it is removed from a business computer.

If you choose not to believe me, ask your security officer or give it a try . . .

Over and out . . .

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I’m not arguing the fact that he copied Excel files from work is wrong. It definitely is since it’s from a work computer and the Excel file itself would be considered proprietary.

I’m arguing the fact that you stated that formulas are proprietary. To say that the “For /F “Delims=” %%! in (‘Dir “%sourceDir%” /b /s /a-d’) do ()” on a .bat file is considered proprietary and I can’t recreate it at other places just because I used it at work is absurd.

Right . . . Last time . . . Spreadsheet formulas ARE proprietary information. If that’s the extent of what you are doing in a spreadsheet, you don’t seem to be much of a danger. Excel formulas can be used to calculate revenue/cost/profit basis for anticipated projects or contracts. They can be used to calculate the division of labor costs for new or existing projects. The way that a business calculates it bids for contracts can be VERY valuable information to competitors, investors and others.

That’s just one example . . . Like I said, go talk to your security office and see what they have to say . . . This is besides the point that question is about removing ANY files from your company computer WHILE YOU HAVE A CLEARANCE . . .

This conversation is absurd.