How long should I wait before applying for federal jobs or jobs that require clearance if I received a suitability denial not a clearance denial? Based on the history below will I ever be eligible for clearance with any federal agency or contractor? What if I wanted to apply to CIA or as an Foreign Service Officer?
My main questions are listed above. The following post is going to be long. So thank you in advance for bearing with me if you read all the way through it. I’m going to categorize issues rather than go in chronological order. Please note I am from a low income background. I didn’t know many people with security clearances prior to applying. A few people encouraged me to lie. I did not and told the truth. I even corrected mistakes in my subject interview after I noticed them reviewing my SF86.
I applied for a paid internship with the Department of State interviewed thinking I wouldn’t get the interview. I received an interview and took if for the experience and a month later received an offer. I submitted an SF-86 and sat for an interview with an investigator two months later. Last month (about 8 months after submitting the SF-86) I received an early termination letter based on suitability. The letter stated it was not a clearance denial. I appealed within the given time frame, however the they decided the termination was final.
I lived in China from 2013-2016 and Hong Kong from 2016-2017. I moved back in 2017 to attend graduate school. This is important and relates directly to all of the following issues.
Drug Use – This was the reason listed on the suitability denial. Use, unbecoming or illegal conduct, and inability to prove substantial rehabilitation. My subject investigator actually didn’t spend a lot of time on this area, she never asked who I used with or anything like that. Mostly she just wanted a time frame. I regret that I used drugs and it makes me sick to think that I’ve potentially screwed up my future. I can’t change what I did. I take responsibility for those choices. They were terrible choice but choices that I made nonetheless. I haven’t used in a year and intend to never use again.
Prior to moving to China I NEVER used drugs. I ways always a good two shoes and pretty straight laced. I was never a cool kid and to be frank didn’t have a lot of friends or expansive social circles. Suddenly in China I had an instant social circle. Most people make terrible decisions in high school or undergrad those years came really late for me. I completely regret it and feel ashamed to think about it. All of my use was social and occurred at parties with people I no longer have contact with.
Over 2 years starting in late 2015 -2017 I experimented with the following:
Ecstasy – 2 times between. Last use 2016
Cocaine (snorted)- 3 times. I originally listed 2 on my SF-86 and corrected this later in the subject interview. Last use 2016
Marijuana (smoked) 6-9 times. Most of my use was in China/Hong Kong and ended in April 2017. The biggest issue here is about a month prior to getting an interview I smoked pot in the states in a place where it was legal. This was late 2017 and was a 1 time incident. I forgot to list this on my SF86 because I forgot about that incident. I did correct it in the subject interview without being prompted.
I have not used anything since and it’s almost a year at this point. I never intend to use drugs again. I have changed my social groups and don’t talk to anybody I used drugs with overseas. The person who supplied stateside I’ve met exactly one time. I’ve never seen her since that incident.
Obviously hindsight is 20/20 and now after reading this site I know I never had a chance. Again I’m from a low income background and there aren’t many people to advise me on this matter.
Other issues: None of these were listed as a reason of denial.
Taxes- I failed to file taxes in 2013, 2014, and 2015. When I found out the issue, I filed 2016 and 2013-2015 within a month in April of 2016. I had 2017 taxes filed in early March of this year. I never owed the IRS any money though. Basically, I there was a miscommunication between my mom and I. I thought she was helping me file taxes stateside and she thought I had filed them in China. My mother and I didn’t have the strongest relationship during this period we would talk maybe once every 3 months. Dad passed away ages ago, so there was no possibility of going to him for help.
Foreign Contacts: I had several but none of them would have been people I used drugs with. My subject interview spent most of our time on this area. However, nobody to my knowledge was a spy or involved in government. Mostly I just listed a bunch of English teachers. At the time of SF-86 I was still dating my now-ex. They were a foreign national (not Chinese) and we dated for 3 years. We broke up around the time I received the first suitability denial letter. They were from a poor rural family in his home country and didn’t have any government contacts to my knowledge.
I traveled to several countries outside of China.
How likely am I to receive clearance in the future? Is there any chance I can start applying for internships again before I graduate? Am I just completely ■■■■■■? How can I prove substainal rehabilitation?
I’m proud I told the truth. I regret doing drugs and am terrified I’ve screwed my future up. I’m also super frustrated because now that I’ve started my program I’ve run into military people who have suggested lying is the way to go and federal employees who have clearances and do things they shouldn’t or have lied to get clearances. Please note I do not hang out with these people regularly.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and respond.