As all clearance’s holder’s should know from their initial security briefing, before engaging in outside employment you need to get approval from your security officer or federal agency before starting to ensure the activity is deemed suitable and there is no conflict of interest with what you do regarding your access to classified information. Well, not only did a couple of DEA agents fail to do this, but they also lied to FBI investigators about it when their involvement came to light. The FBI’s New York Field Office issued a press release charging the two agents with failure to disclose outside employment on their security clearance forms and making false statements. Perhaps the fact that the two were involved in ownership of and employment at an adult entertainment club had some bearing on the case.
The adjudicative guidelines for outside activities cite three particular concerns that may conflict with national security: 1) employment or service with a foreign government, organization, or interest group, 2) foreign or domestic outside activities related to the individual’s area of expertise, and 3) ideological conflict with core concepts of national security. In this specific case, the disqualifying conduct was the failure to fully disclose or report an outside activity when required. Truth be told, their clearances would probably have been denied even if they had disclosed the information as it directly conflicted with their positions working for the DEA. Another aspect of this guideline to note is that the activity or employment need not be a paid position, as volunteering or consulting also falls within the reporting requirements. As always, when in doubt disclose, and if you are being compensated in some manner, ensure you have approval from your company or agency so that it is not a surprise if and when it comes up on a background reinvestigation.