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.