Hi all, was hoping to get some thoughts/advice regarding my situation. Sorry for the wall of text. As you can tell from the title, it’s not the best position to be in. I’m a civilian working for the DoN. To put it simply:
2009 – Initial secret clearance granted
~September 2017 – Marijuana use – 1 puff (was drinking at a party and thought I was handed a tobacco cigarette)
September 2018 – Ate an edible – was going through some “unique circumstances” – more on that later
February 2019 – Filled out updated SF-86, noting both instances, but didn’t provide detail, just the dates and the fact that I had no interest in using again.
June – Received notice from my FSO that my command intended to suspend my access. My FSO (who has been extremely helpful through this whole process) helped me craft a letter going into detail with both situations as well as mitigating factors. For the more recent usage, I was going through a time period where our family home was destroyed in a natural disaster (was displaced for a while), my dad’s mental illness progressed to the point of needing fulltime care, as well as some members of his family (who I had known and been closed to all my life) turned on my mom and me including personal attacks/accusing us of causing his illness, etc (I was careful to turn this into an excuse however). I also got many reference letters from current/former coworkers/supervisors as well as friends including clearance holders, all of whom were made aware of the drug use and most of them noted so in their letters. This local issue was resolved in a couple weeks in my favor. The letter I wrote later became the basis of an SF-86C I submitted; my FSO also forwarded all the reference letters they received.
July – Had a phone meeting with investigator. Very polite and easy to talk to. While he did bring up the marijuana and it was discussed (also asked if I would use again, if any of my family knew, and if I felt this could be blackmail material – answered no to all), he spent a lot more time regarding my foreign contacts (my wife is not a US citizen so obviously all of her family, some friends, bank account, etc). For what it’s worth the country is not a hostile one. He asked me for a couple more references who were aware of my drug use and that was that.
Aug – Investigation closed. As far as I know, my references were not contacted.
So, at this point I’m just playing the waiting game. I’m not terribly worried about the 2017 incident, as at this point I think time can mitigate it. The 2018 incident, while just over a year ago, is still “recent” based off DOHA hearings I’ve been reading. I did make use of the “or’s” in AG 26 (a), to focus on “was so infrequent” and “happened under such circumstances that is unlikely to recur” and I have seen decisions that eliminated the “happened so long ago” in their mitigation determinations. And of course, relying on the DOHA hearings can be problematic as they are only for contractors who received SORs and responded, not those who were adjudicated without one, and of course no civilians.
My FSO has said they’ve seen a couple recent cases with uses similar to mine. One was revoked (but they also did not self report), and one was approved, though it took a couple years and that employee did receive a SOR and responded to it with a lawyer. There are also a few still in process.
I’ve also added to mitigation that we do no longer associate with the people who supplied the drugs, I’ve taken more healthier steps to stress management (as well as cut off a good chunk of family out of our lives), and I’ve been seeing a drug counselor that I found via DON CEAP. The incidents I mention above are the only two times I’ve used drugs. I hope the fact that my command did not suspend my clearance would be looked at favorably as well.
I’ve been applying for jobs here and there, and had an interview for one (still determining if I would take it or not), but I haven’t gone full blown into it. What do you all think? Is my case hopeless or is there a chance? And of course, as time goes on the time mitigation becomes more in my favor. A big thank to you in advance to anyone who reads through this and responds!