Dishonest on SF-86 about Drug Use

Thank you for the advice in advance,

I am a sophomore in college and am currently being investigated for an Interim Top Secret clearance with a large defense contractor that requires a polygraph. I said I had never used drugs before on my SF-86 which was not truthful.

I had used marijuana a few instances before back in the summer entering high school (I used to hang around some bad influences and have broken ties with them once I entered high school) and did not smoke any marijuana throughout high school. However, I did take Adderall maybe 2-3 times my junior year of high school to help study for a variety of exams. In college, I took a Focalin once my freshman year to help study for finals. After freshman year, I acquired an internship that didn’t require any sort of drug testing so I thought it would be okay to use marijuana throughout the summer without thinking of future consequences. I smoked around once a week over this past summer.

Since then I have discontinued all drug use and will not use any in the future. I submitted my SF-86 5 months ago and I’ve been nothing but remorseful of my decision to withhold the above info. Not only do I feel absolutely dreadful about this decision, I also don’t want to be denied further clearance in the future due to an untruthful SF-86. To be honest, I was scared I would be barred from employment if I included that I had used drugs in the past. As I read more online I realized that was a huge mistake and there are plenty of instances of people being granted clearance despite having past drug use.

Do you all have any advice on what steps I should take moving forward? I am thinking I want to contact my security manager and outline what I have said here but I don’t want to be rash. I also don’t want to lose such a great opportunity to something as foolish as lying on an application.

Thanks again

You probably aren’t going to pass a polygraph if they ask if you have ever used drugs or lied on your SF-86. You’re best option is to be honest, which you probably won’t be cleared due to recent drug use even if you tell the truth.

As our Futurama loving member above stated, you’re not going to pass the polygraph. If you makes you feel any better, admitting the drug use probably would have eliminated your chances of getting through this clearance investigation anyway. While your youth works in your favor, the use was very recent (last summer) and there has not been enough time to show that you are not likely to repeat the mistake.

Submitting a false SF-86 will be more difficult to mitigate in the future, but again, youth and inexperience will work in your favor. If you are denied a clearance this time, you will be barred from applying a again for at least a year.

Advice for now? You can pull your application and prevent being denied but you can also try to figure out a way forward. You will need to show that you no longer associate with drug users. Even those who just “smoke a little grass”. Counseling might not be a bad idea. I know that you don’t have a drug problem, but it shows that you are taking your mistakes seriously and that you are working to prevent problems in the future.

You have a tough row to hoe . . .

If I am denied clearance, does that mean I would also be fired from the internship or is there still a chance that I can maintain employment?

If the internship requires clearance you would most likely be removed from the internship.

Am I at risk of being prosecuted for this?

The SF-86 specifically informs you that neither your truthful responses or information derived from those responses will be used against you in a subsequent criminal proceeding.

Lying requires commitment. You can’t let that little ethical bug get in your head if you’ve already made the decision to be dishonest!

No . . . You’re not at risk of being prosecuted.

I feel like there’s some legal caveat or loophole there. (I’m not addressing the OP here… and sorry to hijack… it just seems naive to think that the government wouldn’t prosecute you for a very serious matter, e.g., if information suggests you’re a foreign agent or you provided material support, or involved in major trafficking, etc.). I guess what I’m saying or choose to assume is that the information derived cannot be used but it sure as hell can trigger a criminal investigation.

Just thinking out loud, really

you won’t be prosecuted for lying about drug use on the SF-86…The U.S. Attorneys Office won’t waste its resources on petty crap like that.

The preferred punishment for most people caught is losing their job and being barred from Federal employment.

DoD and DHS prosecuted three Subjects for omitting information from their questionnaires - foreign and criminal activities.

Sorry about that - I accidentally combined two entries I was reading.

I acknowledge that. I’m not talking about perjury. What I’m saying is that it’s perhaps naive to think that if there was to be a serious offense discovered, that a criminal investigation would not result.

edit: The context/structure for replies on the board is a bit odd. Not sure if that’s addressed to my comment or OP’s

What ultimately ended up happening? Did you just get denied?