Is it worth applying for a secret clearance with my history?

Hi quick question that I’m hoping you can answer with your expertise. I’m applying for a secret clearance and I’m kind of scared regarding a few red flags. I used to smoke marijuana on a weekly basis and sometimes daily from high school (2017) and through my college years (Dec 2022) I did it as a substitute to alcohol and honestly just because I enjoyed it and it never affected my work or success in school. I did however stop at the end of December of 2022 knowing I’ll be applying to jobs when graduating in may. I’ve also experimentally tried cocaine, acid, and shrooms like once or twice during high school and college, last usage being 2019(Shrooms and LSD) and 2020 (coke). I ended up getting a position with a defense company and at first fhey never required a security clearance so I thought I was okay. But the department im in requires a clearance and if I don’t get it I will probably have to move to a different department or role within the company. My main question is whether my usage and frequency is too much of a red flag. I would also like to add that I took a hair follicle test for this company in June and passed since I had stopped smoking over 6 months at that point. And now it’s almost 9 months without smoking so I’d like to just ask you as an investigator if that still raises red flags. Like I said I stopped before being asked to get a security clearance and I plan on never smoking again until it is a federally legal substance. I have no desire to smoke again and it proves my dependency is past me. I want ti tell the truth and not lie so please let me know your opinion. In addition tot his red flag I have 2 other things that might show up on the radar. I drive with a suspended license when I was 16 or 17 in either 2017 or 2018. I had gotten it suspended because of having 3 traffic violations and got my license revoked for 3 months. I drove still like an idiot and got it taken for a year. My other violation is getting an underage drinking citation in 2019 and i literally only blew a 0.02. There was no DUI involved but just ticket and appearance in court. They erased this fully from my record since it was my only violation with the law. But ever since all these instances I have never gotten in trouble with my driving or with the law in general. Can you please help me out and let me know if I have any chance of passing this clearance ?? Is it even worth it ? I’m just sad my idiotic mistakes years ago have caught up to me and it’ll be the reason I don’t get to work on some very interesting and amazing stuff I’m passionate about. It’s too bad because I would never be bribed or I would never give up this privilege of having classified information. I follow the rules even when I don’t agree with them. And I just don’t know how I can submit my SF-86 and be able to say this without sounding crazy. Please help me or atleast give me your professional opinion. Thanks in advance.

Im not an adjudicator, but if you dont try then you have already failed. Everyone(most) has issues. Any other issues? Financial? They take the whole picture, not just one or two things. If you are already in the give it a shot and be truthful. Put all that behind you.

Investigators are not adjudicators, so we would not be able to say yes or no. What I will tell you, and I think most agree, is to be sure to disclose everything. IE, the question reads “ever been CHARGED with any offense related to alcohol or drugs” (I’m paraphrasing). Even if your record was erased, expunged or downgraded to a non alcohol related offense, you WERE charged and must disclose it.

It’s what we call an “ever” question so you will be answering YES to that one each time you complete an SF86, unless they change the wording in the future.

You have a pattern of exercising bad judgment in recent years. (no judgement intended) You are also young and have demonstrated (I hope) better judgement since 12/2022, which was only 10 months ago. So it’s a toss up. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

You can also wait 5 years, don’t engage in ANY drug use, and try then when these things, while still needing to be disclosed, are not in recent history.

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Thanks for the motivation, I’ll apply and cross my fingers. I have no fincancial issues, unless having $6k in student debt is a problem? None of my family has financial problems either. The only other thing I can think of is, I am a dual citizen since my family is Egyptian. and i have like 10+ family members as foreign contacts. My grandpa was in the Egyptian military but he retired like maybe 25-30 years. But no one else has any association with political office or military. God I wish they would just drug test me every 6 months so I can prove to them I have changed. I only smoked marijuana because it affected me much less negatively than alcohol. But then again even if I was smoking in a recreational state or had a med card, this would be a problem. Kinda hypocritical to expect people to the law, but not their state law only the federal law. I truly regret everything bad I’ve ever done. And I just feel sad and empty at the moment.

thank you so much I appreciate you taking the time to explain this to me. I hope that it helps me that, actual convictions I’ve faced, are almost 5 years ago. When I was in high school. I see my recent usage of marijuana as a problem but hopefully by the time I apply it will be a year without smoking. I guess like you said it is a toss up, and maybe my honesty and explanation can help me out as well. I made some bad decisions but overall I usually make good decisions, whether it’s working hard in school, not doing hard drugs (other than the very few times I did, which I never went out and purchased them ever, or had any desire to do them again). I just wish I was able to paint the full picture of who I am as a person to the investigator and the judge. I really feel like the system is wrong for not considering how young I was. Like how can it seem that I will be bribed in the future from my history? I don’t know guess I have to suck it up and see how this clearance goes. I will be very honest and ho

Respectfully Larry, I disagree. Yes, read the questions, and answer honestly. Section 22, which deals with police activity/records goes back 7 years, regardless of the age of the individual at the time. Section 22.2 goes into the “ever” questions, including charges “involving” alcohol, drugs, firearms and explosives. Section 23 deals with drug use, goes back 7 years for any use. Instructions even state that drug use is illegal under federal law, even though permissible under state law. Neither section give the “not before 18” exemption. That age exemption is noted in the instructions for residences, education, and employment, with some clarifiers. Investigators DO investigate prior to one’s 18th birthday, normally to provide at least 2 years of coverage, or to address issues.

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Again, a nickle for everytime I’ve heard, “but that was before i was 18!”…

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Or the “but that ( DUI, gun charge, possession charge, etc) was 15 years ago and I didn’t think it mattered anymore”…

I had one Sub years ago, undergoing his reup. He had 5 (yes 5) DUIs over about 15 years, albeit 20 years prior. He failed to list them as “it was soooo long ago” Ever means ever.

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Yeah I never got a DUI or a gun charge thankfully. And I was planning to list both of my altercations with the law obviously, that is record they can find easily and it never mentions anything about not listing incidents before 18. I just thought they would consider the fact this was over 4-5 years ago, when I was in high school, and that I have never gotten convicted of anything since. But reading everyone’s comments, I’m guessing the investigator will not really understand all my circumstances and the recent usage of drugs. Thankfully I will still keep my job and just try again in a year or two.

Just so I’m clear. It’s not the Investigator’s role to understand your circumstances. It is their role to report what you tell them. Your side of the circumstances. Facts, and the why, how, where, what, etc. Activity in the last 5 years is considered “recent” That’s just a fact, not an investigator’s opinion of what is recent.

An adjudicator is the one who decides if the facts support granting a clearance.

If you decide to move forward with the process, be prepared to fully discuss every incident and why it occurred.

Good luck.