Need ideas to max chances of Interim Secret Granted

I’ve looked over the forum and don’t see this posted, so I’d like to add the topic. I’m a new hire to a job that depends upon a favorable outcome of both the interim and final secret clearance. The assistant FSO at the company is quite negative about the odds of an Interim. I’d like some feedback here. Details:

  1. I held a secret clearance from 75-83. I was completely honest to all questions on this submission.
  2. A felony was in involved this time that I explained truthfully as being coerced to plead guilty by a County Attorney to Aggravated Assault-non Dangerous to receive probation for a DUI auto accident with no serious injuries. I say “coerced” because I faced an plea offer of probation, or if I lost at trial, facing a min mandatory sentence of 10 years and I was 55 at the time of the accident with two toddler children. Later, that county attorney was disbarred by the State Bar for “Defiling the Public’s Trust” while in office as he up-charged many people to invoke MMS and get a guilty plea. Some time later the conviction was vacated by the Court (annulled, set-aside). Arizona does not allow expungment of anything, so all is there to see. The accident happened in 2005. My Court reversed the conviction in 2016.
  3. My finances are fine. My credit score is in the 700s.
  4. I haven’t traveled outside the US in 20+ years, and when I did it was to Peru or to Japan on business.
  5. I just passed the CPA exam at age 68 and received my CPA license. I do not mention this on the fs86. Maybe I should?

In any case, this FSO seems like a very young person without a great deal of experience. I’m not sure whether to take her negative responses that seriously or not. Other than the above, my life is pure vanilla. Honorable Navy discharge, married 17 years, two teenagers now, own a home, no significant debts. No other arrests. Na da.

Feedback on maximizing my chances of an interim from you pros would be most appreciated!

Thank you!!

They don’t hand out interims the way that they used to. Even at that, I think that you are going to have a problem. You can get cleared but you will have little chance to provide an in depth explanation of the DUI charge. The fact that it wasn’t expunged doesn’t matter because you would still have to report the charge. You have to report the charge even if you are found not guilty.

The adjudicators are going to want to look at the facts of the case against, not the result.

Your FSO may be young and may be inexperienced but he is likely on the ball about the this one.


Thanks for the feedback, Ed. It is appreciated. Just to be clear, there was no DUI charge. The only charge was a felony indictment: Non-dangerous Aggravated Assault. (An oxymoron when you think about it). My thoughts on the disbarred prosecutor was that he was trying to build himself a political resume, so he put as many people behind MMS indictments as possible to built up an Eliot Ness sort of image. It backfired on him in the end. You’re right, I won’t get to say much about it on the form. My concern is that without an interim I won’t be able to keep the job. I’m an accountant, no one knows why a clearance even matters. This is standard DoD support work for the Army, not NSA or CIA stuff. The contract and the financials aren’t classified. Company just wants everyone to have a Secret so here I am.

I just received my CPA license. I wonder if adding that to the form as an attachment will have any effect? That’s a matter of Public Trust. Just a follow-on thought. Thanks again for the response.

I believe your outcome is more than fair. I am not an adjudicator, but I have see many cases like this. Your positives are the incident you described is 13 years ago. No current issues. As long as it is all reported on the SF86, you have a favorable chance. The question ask if “convicted” of a felony EVER. If you were convicted, answer appropriately. Also, the other EVER question is charged with an offense involving alcohol or drugs. Make sure the questions are answered appropriately. If an investigator interviews you, just be honest and provide all details.

Just a side note: My response was pertaining to a favorable adjudication. I would be unable to comment on chances for Interim.


Ed is right, they don’t give out interim like candy anymore. Even those with a spotless record may not be able to get interim. What are the criteria for interim? I don’t think anyone knows except perhaps those who work for DoD CAF.

Regarding to your situation, I presumed that you did list the charge/conviction at the time when you had the clearance eligibility and it was favorably adjudicated. Nonetheless, I think your chance of favroable adjudication is better than getting interim clearance probably because of the charge and conviction. I understand the the conviction was annulled and vacated by a court, but this will probably need an adjudicator to look at it. Anyway, let us know how it goes down the road.


@EdFarmerIII, @Northstar, @Awoodhull thank you for the feedback on this. I appreciate the support. It took a few years for the world to see this County Attorney for what he was and the State Bar to take his legal license to stop what he was doing to people. It took longer for the court do the right thing and vacate a conviction plea (there was no trial) that should never had been. I imagine there was quite a backlog of unwinding his rein of wrong doing.

I did a foolish thing and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It blew me from a six-figure income, the happy father of two young daughters, and a successful 30-year career to Medicaid with no income, no career, and no way to care for my family at the speed of light one evening 10 years ago. What happened was a fluke and not a habit, but still mine to own. This clearance is the last hurdle I hope to climb to recover from this thing. It’s been a struggle, but I am whole again for the most part. Hopefully I can language this event in a way that makes the adjudicators see it as such rather than a lifestyle issue that wasn’t. Your supportive comments are very appreciated. (If anyone is curious about such a man, Google: “Andrew Thomas Defiled Public Trust” and the Internet is full of his dirty deeds and disbarment.)

What’s going to happen is that the investigator is going to want to know what happened to precipitate this entire event. You don’t say here what happened to put you in this position in the first place. The circumstances causing your arrest are just as, or more, important as the arrest and the plea. Sorry to say that your being coerced into a plea doesn’t mean that you were innocent. Perhaps you should have been charged with a lesser crime? The adjudicators will want this information and it will fall to an investigator, and you, to document it.


on SF 86, there is a comment section in which you can add your comment there. Also, you are almost certainly will be interviewed by a background investigator… during which time you can bring documentations (ie: police report, legal documents, and newspaper articles about the prosecutor). The investigator will relay that information to the adjudicator.

Now, even if you were charged with felony… the passage of time should be in your favor (a mitigation factor). Additionally, this showed to be an one-time incident rather than a pattern (another mitigation factor). Also, you seemed to accept responsibility that led to the charge, which is another pro. I would recommend you to check out Adjudicative Desk Reference to help you.

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I think 13 years mitigates this as evidence is there of a life well lived. You took a horrible situation and made it better. Report it, include your mitigation and the entire story. The CPA license proves you are hardworking but really doesnt’ add much in the SF86. Your credit score, owning the home, and no other criminal issues tells the much bigger story. So likely a no go on interim, and the clearance will need an adjudicator…but I believe based on info provided, it should be approved.

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To be clear, your investigator will not be concerned about the prosecutor but will be focused on you.

Often Subjects waste time during their interviews trying to convince me (needlessly) about someone else versus simply giving the requested details. The behavior/charge is looked at, not the motivation by others.

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Concur with BI. Bringing up the conduct of the prosecutor, makes me as an investigator (previous life) notice you went off topic. I ask for info on item A. You want to answer questions on Item B. I didn’t ask about item B, but you clearly do not want to answer item A. So stick to direct answers. If the investigator asks more about the case, maybe provide some amplification…but the ones I have worked with and dealt with at this level are focused on cutting through the noise and getting to the heart of the matter…the Item A they are asking about.

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@backgdinvestigator, @amberbunny, @EdFarmerIII Thank you. Msg received and will concentrate on the questions asked unless otherwise directed.

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