Mitigating a USG Job - Foreign Influence and DOHA

I’ll be brief.

Did a full Peace Corps tour in Eastern Europe (not Russia) before being picked up as a Linguist by a US DOD Contractor. My Secret clearance has been stuck in DOHA for a while, and the initial denial came from excessive foreign influence. I submitted my SOR in April during peak COVID and opted out of a hearing because DOHA said video calls were impossible and borders around the world were closed.

Peace Corps encourages their people to functionally farm foreign contacts, so I had quite a few that were impossible to not report. What I have done is cut off contact with all but two of them since wrapping up in 2018, and I explained in my SOR that my contact was close and continuous with only those two (who now reside in the EU).

Relevant Disclosure: I am married to a foreign national and have a stepson. The wife owns an apartment the size and comparative value of a shoebox.

I have no foreign bank accounts, property holdings, assets, or anything of the sort, just a temporary residence permit for the country in question. Save for the shoebox, my wife has no significant assets.

Department Counsel is going to be writing me soon, so other than walking through the DOHA guidelines point by point and explaining why 1) the contact list is a thing of the past and was a required part of the PC job, 2) no one in my small family even knows I got this job other than the wife (I just say I’m a freelancer, which I am), and 3) that I am an American-born US nth-generation citizen who plans to bring the family stateside in a few years, what’s there to be done? I’m over-generalizing here for the sake of brevity.

I’ve seen several cases where even naturalized citizens originally from much more problematic countries were granted more serious clearances, so I am trying to be optimistic. I’d rather be procedural, though, so I’d be grateful if anyone had any input of any kind.

Thanks in advance.

I have been asked about joining the peace corps in interviews with certain IC agencies and DoD contracts. They usually tell me it is an absolute no go if the service was within the past 4 years. They usually fail to explain why this is as I always answer ‘No’ to that question but it is ironic they are looking for Linguists, but frown upon individuals who learn a language, abroad. You could sell the shoebox, and demonstrate you have no financial ties to a foreign country. You mention it is not Russia, but what country is it? This could matter a great deal especially if said country has a lot of Russian influence or influence from another not so friendly country.

The reason why the IC won’t take you within 4 years of the peace corps really has nothing to do with security or foreign influence concerns

It is because the government wants to keep a wall between the two functions. If foreign governments believe that the peace corps was a front for the IC it could damage the program beyond repair and put their staff in danger

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abc123 caught the important points in his/her answer, but I’m not under the impression that this “wall” has any effect or sway on private contracting companies. Also, this is a very anti-Russia country that the US has a strong and demonstrated recent history of collaboration with. US boots were on the ground here pre-COVID, as well as boots from many other Western allies.

Your wife and stepson live in the foreign country and not in the US with you?

22 CFR § 305.6 explains the legality of the Peace Corps policy of barring former CIA and some intelligence community personnel.

Peace Corps policy: If you ever served in the CIA, you are ineligible for Peace Corps.

General intelligence community policy is former Peace Corps members may be employed with an intelligence agency after 5 years have passed since last PC service date. https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP78-00300R000100050008-9.pdf

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I’ve been riding out COVID in-country with them, so no.

I think your current residence in a foreign country may be part of the issue. I’ve never heard of anyone applying for a clearance while residing in a foreign country. (unless they are residing there on US government duties or perhaps temporarily for education)