Interned in Russia, Would I get a Secret Clearance?


I’m currently applying for jobs most of which require some type of clearance or at least ability to get a clearance. The only thing I am worried about is that I interned at Russia Today in Moscow for the summer of 2014. The internship was set up by my graduate school (JHU SAIS) and pertained to my degree. I was studying international relations. I had/have no previous relationship with Russia - no family, no personal ties, nor friends from russia and definitely no business ties. I don’t even speak Russian.

I was offered the internship and chose because it was right after russia annexed Crimea and as a student of IR and I thought it would be interesting to view such an important conflict at the source, and to especially how it was being framed behind the scenes at their media station. I actually ended up working on their cultural program aimed at showing expats things to do in Moscow (I went to museum openings, the dance practice for the visiting Royal British Ballet etc) and not on the global news. I did learn a lot just by observing the people around me, my interactions with them, and their perceptions of what was happening in the world.

That was a lot of information to simply say that though I have absolutely no ties to russia, and the internship was a formal set up through my US school, is the fact that I interned at Russia Today enough to deny my clearance should I go through the process? Not sure if it has any bearing, but my dad, who is retired military, current GS, has TS +SCI + Poly etc, and my brother is current US military and has some type of clearance, and I’m roommates with girl who has a TS clearance.

I’ve had tons of foreign travel. I have foreign friends. I maintain foreign connections via social media. I lived abroad for roughly 9 years in several countries. I disclose everything. As long as it is on the up and up, have zero fear. I think it was a wonderful idea to take advantage of before anything else in life tied you down to geographically. Don’t worry about it, own it and speak to every facet of it.

Why would an intern in Russia make you ineligible for a clearance? As you stated you have no ties to the country. It may lengthen the investigation, but shouldn’t be a reason for denial. If it makes you feel better, my wife is a naturalized Russian and I was granted a TS/SCI eligibility…

Rather than just interning in russia, I was thinking it would be the specific organization RT that might be worrisome and this is just because of reactions I’ve gotten from friends who said that would automatically disqualify me. Now they have no actual knowledge so I was hoping others could give clarification.

Hey, man. I strongly recommend you to enroll in some courses. It’s fun and besides, you’re already in the country what stops you from learning the language. There’re great language schools in Moscow. I found the greatest joy in this russian language school Moscow . You can’t miss the opportunity of seeing the world from a completely different angle through the signs of new language, expecially given the opportunities you have.