Have secret clearance and got arrested

Okay, this is incredibly hard for me to write and I’ll try to be brief. I’m a civil servant for the DoD with no criminal history with a secret clearance. I don’t know if it matters but I’m a veteran and my current job has taken me to Afghanistan before.

Two months ago, my teenage daughter said she would create a scene if I tried to take her cell phone away after she was being disrespectful and I told her to give it to me. An incident ensued and for legal reasons I can’t say more. A neighbor saw this and called the police and I was arrested for felony family violence, a very serious charge.

My daughter, who wasn’t hurt, and I have reconciled. She’s been working with my lawyer, who is confident that we can beat this case. CPS is involved. I’m out on bond and I wasn’t ordered out of the house.

We have to have a secret clearance to work where I do. We rarely need them except for some TDY locations, which I won’t be forced to go to. This means people at work are pretty ignorant about what we have to do if something like this happens.

Anyway, when this happened I asked a couple of coworkers, my lawyer, and our union rep if there was some obligation to report this. They all said no. I’ve been waiting for 2 months to be indicted and it still hasn’t happened, yet. I was going to self-report this incident when my clearance is re-investigated.

I thought the matter was settled until my court date but I saw some stuff on the internet this weekend that said I should have immediately reported this arrest to our security manager.

So with that out of the way, here are my questions:

  1. Is it true that I have to report an arrest even though there’s been no conviction?
  2. If I should have reported it and I report it now, what is probably going to happen? Am I going to be immediately fired because I took too long?
  3. What will probably happen if I wait until I’m re-investigated to report this incident?

So basically, I’ve never been in trouble before and I’m freaking out. I really need this job and am trying to do the right thing but I’ve got to think about my family. My son has a chronic illness and we really need the health insurance.

Please be honest, though, I want to know how screwed I am.


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I’d say you need to report this first thing Monday morning. I know an investigator would want all kinds of details but the FSO may just need the basics.

I don’t think you are screwed but neither are you out of the woods.

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You should have been briefed in your initial and annual security clearance holder training about reporting requirements. See section under other reportable activities:


Okay, thanks for letting me know. If I talk to an investigator, are they going to give that information to the police? Because I really like my job but I don’t want to jeopardize my court case.

I know that this may sound ridiculous but everyone I talked to at work said they didn’t think I needed to say anything yet. We don’t have secret material at work. It’s only for some of the TDYs we go on.


If you have a DoD clearance - then everyone at work must not like you. You have at least an annual briefing involving the requirement to self-report.

This is simple. Listen to the professionals who have years of experience in the personnel security world and get ahead of this issue - or listen to the non-security personnel tell you to further dig yourself into a possible termination for non-compliance with security rules.

The day myself or one of my fellow agents call you for an interview is too late to try and self-report. Also, two of the questions you will be asked is why you did not report the incident in the required time period (if you say supervisor, union rep, and coworkers told you not to - be prepared to fess up the names) and when was your last security briefing (often we already have the answer as part of the case prep).

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Allow me to take over this thread if I may… so this person DEFINITELY needs to report this info to their security manager as soon as possible.

How does that work now in the age of continuous evaluation? I think before CE, this kind of incident would not have been investigated right away. But now? Is this the sort of thing that triggers an investigation?


The charge is working its way through NIBRS and a Subject interview will be scheduled… that is the old method - with CE there might be additional field work , to include getting the police and CPS records.

In other words, do the clearance investigators try to help the police or is the information they have just kept for internal use?

Okay, I now understand the rules. But after I tell them, what will happen next? And are they going to talk to the local police and tell them I waived my 5th Amendment rights? Do I have to risk going to jail to save my job?

The 5th Amendment does not apply to administrative proceedings. The background investigator will not share your information with the police, they will only contact them to obtain the incident information. Statements made under the threat of disciplinary action are considered involuntary and are not admissible in a subsequent criminal trial. (Garrity v. New Jersey).

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Like everyone here has said, report it immediately.

You strike me as conscientious person which makes something like this seem a lot worse than it probably is. And of course it seems a lot worse than it is because you’re the one involved in it. This too shall pass and you’ll be a better person for it.

The investigator will get the police report but that’s it. Some law enforcement agencies will not provide domestic-related police reports to investigators. The investigator will certainly not provide any info to police.

Believe it or not this kind of situation and arrest is not unusual. Many parents have difficult adolescent kids (or even normal adolescent kids that can be difficult at times) and the crazy scenarios involving law enforcement called to the house and overcharging by prosecutors is shocking. I can think of quite a few cases (even higher-level clearances) with similar scenarios, and in a few of those cases they tacked on even more serious (worse-sounding) charges.

Just explain the details of what happened to the investigator and the seemingly positive resolution with your daughter, etc., and promising outcome to this case.

I’m positive everything is going to turn out okay for you in the end.

Good luck!

Go Nats!


This absolutely is a reportable offense. You’re supposed to report it to security within a certain timeframe. It’s definitely not two months! You sign a security briefing yearly telling you what are reportable offenses! Getting arrested no matter the nature is reportable. You trying to hide it makes matters worse. Not that it was intentional. Your lawyer and your union and co-workers were absolutely wrong! An open court case is not always cut and dry. With CE, it’s hard to mitigate. Be prepared for a Subject Interview and the investigator will ask you why you didn’t report it

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Thanks for replying everyone. I figured people would like to know what happened.

Well, I remembered that I know someone who does investigations part time and called him last night and he confirmed everything people here were saying. Until recently I’d never had any experience with law enforcement or law in my life. Nor have I ever worked in intelligence.

So I go and talk to our security person. He was pretty cool about it. Asked me about what happened and asked to do a couple of minor things. I had to inform the commander. That was fun. But like a lot of people on here he was nonplussed by it and said it wouldn’t affect my employment. He appreciated me telling him about it, said he knew it couldn’t have been easy, and like a couple of people on here said he told me I am not the only person on the base who has legal trouble.

He also said that was why we do training on this stuff…

And I got confirmation from my lawyer that what FedPerSec said is absolutely true; what you tell an investigator isn’t admissible in court.

So basically, I’m good. I wish I’d done this this right away because I’m more afraid of losing my job than I am of this court case. I’m a pretty straightforward person and I don’t like keeping secrets or hiding and this was eating me up inside, keeping me up at night, etc.

I’d never heard of this webpage until yesterday. I know it may seem unbelievable to people who work in security every day, but we really don’t need our clearances for anything except sometimes on TDY and often not even then. And a lot of us are unaware of the new CE system rules. It is, however, a requirement that we have a clearance and if we lose it we can be fired.

We had a training last Friday which vaguely mentioned self-reporting criminal activity. So, I was searching the internet all weekend and found out that crap, I screwed up. So basically, as soon as I found out that I had to report it, I did without hesitation.

I’m pretty sure I can get out of this case without this on my record. There no telling what will happen if I do get a record but I’m good until this is settled.

Hopefully this is useful to someone lurking on the board who is in the same position I was.

Thanks for taking the time to walk me through this.

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