Denial due to minimal drug use, and being stupid in poly

I had a TS/SCI w/ CI Poly (DOD) for 4 years, and just got out of the Army and my contracting company put me in for TS/SCI w/ FS (IC). One of the questions about filling out forms was flagged during the poly. I was nervous because when I was 16 or 17, I tried pot a total of 2 times. When I joined the Army, at 27, the SF86 said ‘in the past 7 years’ and I wrote down no, the truth.

But throughout the years I forgot, and before the FS I started getting really nervous, because I had thought that at that time, the form said ‘have you EVER’, so after messing up on that question, and the polygrapher asking me what was going on, I admitted all of it, and we updated my SF86 with the drug usage (even though it was over 10 years ago).

I just got my denial, and waiting on the SOR.

My contracting company also has given me 2 weeks to find billable uncleared work or I’m being let go. All my experience is in cleared work. I’m working on getting a commercial position, but it’s not a guarantee.

Do I retain legal counsel? Will the shutdown slow things up?

How screwed am I?

If you know you have an SOR coming, get counsel. As for the shutdown - who knows.

Keep your chin up, think positive.

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Well as some folks like @Marko always say, wait til you get the SOR and read it carefully to see exactly what the reasons were.

Also try to find out the status of your current clearance. You may still have a DoD clearance that you could use on other contracts. See if you can get some info from your employer’s security office. It sounds like they have already decided you don’t have a clearance though.

Sorry to hear about your situation. I hope things get better. Do you mind to write how much time was it between your poly and the denial please?

Thanks and good luck!

Sorry to hear about the problems . . . It seems like another situation of someone getting caught up in the complexity of the process, not due to their actions and just goes to show, again, how important it is to pay attention and understand as much of the process as you can.

My guess would be that your SOR will indicate that you were not forthcoming about the drug use or about admitting it. It seems like you were simply tripped up by the length of time covered in the question. I would certainly get advice from a lawyer. Most will do a free consult and I’m sure you can find someone with clearance experience in your area. Since you have already been tripped up on process and understanding, I would absolutely consult with and consider retaining counsel.

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According to my security person, I don’t currently have a clearance, but am ‘clearable’. She’s saying I have no clearance now, but I’m able to apply to other agency positions and go through the process.

It was about a month and a week.


Well, nobody has a clearance. We have clearance eligibility. Trying to not put too fine a spin here. It seems like semantics but the thought of carrying your clearance to go elsewhere isn’t a real physical thing to carry away. You have a BI, and eligibility. Meaning there is no reason to not trust you or they didn’t find a reason to not trust you. The important part of that is sponsorship. A cleared company going on record stating you will have access to classified and require that status. You are fortunate the company will carry you on overhead and try to find an uncleared position for you. They will only do that for a short while. As a contractor our value comes from our billable hours. If the company cannot make money off billing us to a customer…we simply cost money.

How you capture these events is crucial. I’ve had 4 Poly’s, full scope, hated every one. They are hard, high pressure, anxiety driving, confusing…and not unlike talking to a DI or TI pouncing on every misstatement. Personally I am not a fan of questioning a minor difference in MJ use from age 17. If you used at that age, you used. If you said so, move on. Sounds like they got their teeth in a technicality and would not let it go. But you mentioned being stupid in the Poly. If they tested you by leading you down a few paths and you agreed because you felt you were getting traction…but they were diametrically opposed paths…they see that as deliberate deception and lack of candor. Trust me you aren’t winning over a polygrapher. No matter how much they soften in tone and affectation. So agreeing with them so they seem to back off…not my cup of tea. I am honest and stick to it no matter how much they mock to get me off point.

If your SOR speaks to mere inconsistency of a minor number from 10 years prior I would certainly seek an appeal and use a lawyer. But make sure you understand exactly what they claim is the issue. Personally, I don’t think you are on the right track believing it is the inconsistent use of MJ from 10 years prior. It is easy to get confused on that section, is it 7, is it 10 (for TS SCI Full Scope it would be 10 even if form suggests 7) I now make sure I speak to certain things my polygrapher said should be on my form and I write "included as amplifying info as directed by Polygrapher). It would be ludicrous to try and recall any disconnect between my many SF86’s. But I do know we lost employees for not telling the truth on the initial SF86, but being truthful on the TS one 4 years later as we try to upgrade.

A simiilar thing happened to a friend of mine. His JPAS record was somehow flagged because the denial showed up as an incident. When he tried to get a job again he had to basically go through the whole process again. I bring this up not as a 100% prediction of what will happen to you but as an example of what might happen.

We had a number of people (contractors) cleared at the Secret level who went for SCI requiring full scope poly. Some of them got denied; these folks supposedly kept their clearance but could no longer work on programs for that IC customer. Fortunately we had unclas work for them. But the guy I mentioned in the previous paragraph left to go to another company and that’s when he got tripped up. But I think it all got resolved now.

I just got the SOR…it has nothing to do with anything I wrote lol.

Too much illegal downloading.

I was unaware downloading stuff was considered a ‘major crime’

WTF, right?

As is discussed often . . . Crimes are crimes and illegal downloading shows a resistance to following the rules to the letter of the law.

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It is a major source of concern especially now with all the recent incidents. I guess they are worried that you have demonstrated a pattern of this behavior and may be likely to continue.

Did this ever come up in your interviews with investigators?

Interesting. Is that something they asked you on the poly?

No, it never came up before the FS polygraph.

It wasn’t one of the ‘questions’ but the polygrapher was fishing for anything by asking me what came to mind when she asked each question.

So I have another question.

Can I still appeal if I’m unemployed? Friday is my last day here. Does losing my ‘sponsoring employer’ make me not eligible for an appeal?

Did the downloading occur while you had a clearance or in the past? Getting a SOR for filesharing seems pretty harsh.

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Yes, some of it happened while having a clearance. But most of it was prior
to having one.

I found a recent case that involved copyright infringement. As long as it wasn’t software you downloaded and the value downloaded did not exceed $1000 in a 6 month period it shouldn’t be a problem.

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Wow, you’re the best, thank you so much.

I’ve just started writing a draft response to the SOR, and this will come
in very handy.