Lied about past drug use on SF-86!

So this is something that has been on my conscience for nearly 30 years. Back in the 1986/87 timeframe, while in the Navy (at the age of 20) and holding a Secret clearance, I took acid on two or three occasions (but not more). I was young and immature. I’ve NEVER taken illegal drugs again.

I’ve continued to hold a Secret clearance as both a member of the Navy reserve and through civilian jobs. However, each time that I’ve completed by SF-86 (n=3), I did not honestly answer the question regarding the use of illegal drugs while holding a clearance.

At some point I’m going to need to complete another SF-86. As well, I’ve been looking at new jobs/positions that require TS clearances. I’d like to work another 10-15 years in the military/DoD sector.

All other factors asides what is potential impact of now reporting my false SF-86 statements? Can likley to be adjudicated (and what the process to do that)? Should I report this now or wait to complete another SF-86?

FYI, I’ve never abused alcohol, have good finances, no run-ins with the law, etc.

At first I was embraced about the drug use, but now I’m absolutely ashamed of the dishonest reporting.

Thank You,

One of the questions on the SF-86 asks if you have ever used illegal drugs while holding a security clearance. Since you have lied in the past I can only assume adjudicators will not look favorable at these continued lies, however, I’ve never been an ajudicator and don’t know the ajudicative criteria for Secret clearances with DOD. I do know that honesty and integrity is looked at closely when adjudicating cases. This is a probably a question for Marko to answer. If I were you, I’d definitely report this on your next clearance investigation and tell the investigator why you’ve left it off all these years on each consecutive clearance. If anything, report it to rid your conscience of the guilt and let the chips fall where they may. If you are not currently using illegal drugs, you don’t need to report anything at all to anyone. That’s my 0.02.

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The actual drug use itself is not an issue as it is mitigate by time. The question you need to ask yourself is this: Based on your chosen career path, is there a possibility of having to undergo a polygraph in the future in order to obtain or retain a higher level clearance? If so, it will come out and most likely not be looked upon favorably. If not, then only your conscience is the only problem as the issue will never be discovered if it hasn’t been up to now. If you do decide to disclose now, then the issue is the fact that you have been dishonest about it over the course of three investigations in which you had the opportunity to disclose it. That being said, if this is the only issue and you present it the way you did here, there is a better then even chance that an adjudicator will look at the big picture (whole person concept) and mitigate it.

Marko, I appreciate the information and advice. So if I were to disclose the issue, from an adjudication prespective, would it be better to do that now or wait until a new SF-86 is required?

Disclosing adverse information before required always is better then waiting until you have to (e.g., on a PR) or are confronted.