How to beat a SOR

Hello all, I have been accused of lying by my adjudicator even though I told the truth.

What is stated in the sole charge is that I have no regard for the truth and there is no further explanation other than the exact same details about an ESI and TESI which I fully agree with? Am I supposed to lie so that I can pass now? Does anyone (especially such as Marko Hakamaa) have any insight on how I’m supposed to answer this?

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No one can advise based on the information you provided. This is what is sounds like: you obviously failed to disclose some type of information on the application that came out during the interview. Reread the letter closely and compare your answers on the application.

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what are they claiming you lied about ?

Although you provide very little information I will try to get the ball rolling . . .

I assume that your SOR states a denial based on Guideline E: Personal Conduct. Since you agree with the state as it is made, you need to document the mitigating factors that apply to your case. The SOR included a copy of the Adjudicative Guidelines which lists the mitigating factors.

If you want much more help here, we can almost certainly get your through but you will need to provide more specific information and you will need to write better. You’re going to have to be able to put together a cogent written argument in order to prevail. If you can’t do that, I would recommend the help of a clearance attorney.

If there were some way to private message here, I would be happy to help you develop your argument in private.


Yes, I literally missed the EVER question in regard to specifically underage drinking numerous times and that’s literally everything (I have no reason to kid anyone about this, I find it somewhat offensive, actually). This stuff happened 10, 11 and 12 years ago. I noticed it well after the application and I honestly can’t remember if he asked about it during the ESI (he might have, but, I think I remember being relieved he didn’t). The thing about these things is that they were not categorized as misdemeanors (lesser still), and, while I seriously didn’t notice on the application, I guess I could have brought them up before he asked because I did notice that question before the TESI in all frankness.

Marko, thank you many times over for your assistance, I’ve read a lot about you. I’m approximately 30 years old now for reference.

I simply don’t want to disclose too many details because this is a public forum and I feel my case is somewhat unique, what I will say, reluctantly, is that this is an SSBI alone and I am certainly at the mercy of this adjudicating officer. Otherwise, I have debts, I have payment plans setup for each one (four total) and I’m currently unemployed (I can’t make the payments, but, I have documented evidence of the aforementioned payment plans and payments). I can handle the rest in regard to the debt, what seems both off-putting and slightly discriminatory is the adjudicators willful use of discretion to call me dishonest.

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I’m fine with you only disclosing limited information as long you understand that this hamstrings our ability to give you specific help . . .

Keep in mind that the more general the charge, the easier it is to dispute. If they say, “The applicant lied about (this specific issue)” and you didn’t tell the truth about that issue it’s hard to argue with. If they say, “The applicant has no regard for the truth,” you are free to show that, while you may have had a lapse (which can include simple errors) on one point or question, you do NOT have a general issue with the truth.

I’m not sure that I explained that well but I hope that you get my point.


The charge reads as follows: “Criminal or Dishonest Conduct: disregard for the truth and history of not meeting financial obligations”

My questions are these: 1. Will I pass with just proof of payment plans or do I need to make payments on my debt in collections? 2. I saw a psychiatrist recently, could that play a role in mitigation and am I basically needing to mitigate via criteria E. personal conduct?

I hope this helps clarify everything, by the way, these are VERY SMALL debts.

If they are very small debts, get them paid off. Just getting into an agreement isn’t enough, you have to make payments.

You need to address Guidelines E and F. Criminal or dishonest conduct? This doesn’t sound like the issue is only about what you may have said about the event in question but about the event itself? If you are not comfortable telling us everything here (and I understand if you are not) I would strongly recommend meeting with a clearance lawyer and explaining everything in order to get serious, practical, advice.

Ok, so, it’s a total of four underage drinking charges, I didn’t list the one that went along with the battery charge because I wasn’t convicted of that particular underage drinking charge (the charge was dropped). For the other three, I didn’t notice the EVER question.

For the debts, there are four, three of those four will certainly NOT be paid off within the allotted time frame. Do you think I have to make payments on all four in order to pass then?

On underage drinking, if it was 10 or 12 years ago, it shouldn’t turn out to be a problem. People misread or make errors all of the time on these forms but time should mitigate that. On the financial stuff, you need to be making payments. Yes . . .

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Ed, honest to goodness I just let you know everything because after reading this forum for many months now without saying anything, and, not to mention you know what you’re talking about, well, I honestly can’t afford not to tell you everything. The last underage drinking charge was 9 years and 11 months ago and they only get further away dating to 2007. I had a misdemeanor DUI in February 2012 and that’s the very last thing on my record.

Ok, what about a psychiatrists positive evaluation of me? Is that going above and beyond unnecessarily?

Lastly, I need to make payments on all four accounts to pass, correct? I have documented payment plans setup ready to turn in already.

How many times do I need to say that you need to be making payments? You asked and I answered.

I don’t think that you need anything from a psychiatrist at this point. You have never been asked or required to be evaluated?


Marko, I apologize for my sketchiness as for one I’m remembering in concentrated fragments (if that makes any sense to you), secondly, I wanted to protect my identity, however, I see now maybe I ought to be taking the risk of divulging the appropriate amount of information so that I pass.

Moreover, I was unemployed during my SF-86, during my ESI and my TESI (expedited) and I have only taken an internship which has already ended and pays well below the city minimum wage, additionally, I’m practically homeless. Is my unemployment and struggle finding employment sufficiently mitigating to submit this document as is? I last made payments perhaps toward my debts in collections perhaps 2 1/2 months before my SF-86 application.

Oh, yeah, for whatever it’s worth, the investigator/special agent told me numerous times that my finances would not impede my passing this investigation. I’m not sure how or if I should approach the aforementioned

You won’t find the answer you are looking for here. An adjudicator views the whole picture, applies mitigation and then based on the guidelines, comes up with a decision. If you have not mitigated the issues you will not be granted a clearance. Only the adjudicator has all of the information and you were given notice as to what the issues are.

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Oh, ok sir. Thank you.

Looking at the whole picture…I don’t think it is a matter of any one item. It is a series of items. Whole person concept. Likely, they see the battery charge and three other drinking under the legal age charges. They see the “scheduled” payment plan but no payments (due to no income). You aren’t sure if he asked about the issues, but recall feeling relieved he did not. That speaks to feeling pressure to address, somewhat knowing it should be discussed. The investigator may have already known of the arrests and you had the chance of bringing it up and mitigating it by merely speaking to it. As Ed pointed out it is long in the tooth data, but the SOR isn’t about the drinking charges, it is about not speaking to it. Two different issues entirely. The first is easily mitigated…the belief you are not honest…puts a burden on you to prove otherwise. So you are fighting the battle of the sum equaling more than the parts. I do recommend a clearance attorney. They can help you from saying things that may make the case worse even if it is honesty. I’m not saying they will lie or ask you to lie, but certain bells need not be rung, and other ones need rung. The attorney knows the difference between the bells.

I’m a little bit confused, are you saying that my four debts in collection may be mitigated with payment plans alone?

I do see where the “disregard for the truth” comes into play, I literally did forget one of the charges. I think I actually overlooked the other EVER question on the form, in the event I didn’t which makes little to no sense because the charges are so minor then I’m basically saying I had a lapse and that I have no general issue with the truth. Either way, I’m pretty much ready to payout to make sure.

I thought you stated that the debts were small, now your saying you will not be able to have them paid off in the allotted time frame? What do you consider a small debt, and why cant you pay them off, or start making payments?

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