Reference for someone getting a clearance, questions

A former roommate from college asked if I would have any issues being a reference for his security clearance process. I’ve been trying to google/find out what it entails but wasn’t able to find much online. If my post violates any rules let me know and I’ll take it down.

Essentially, a former roommate from college (graduated 4 years ago) asked if they could use me as a reference of some sort. I’m not sure if it’s as a personal reference or ‘I lived with this person at some point in time’ type deal, except it’s for a ‘Secret’ clearance. The issue is that he and I did drugs several (4-5) times in the past after graduating, but nothing in the last few years. Now, he said he’s got to list the drugs and my name on the form he has to fill out and that if I was contacted by someone, to tell the truth, but I’m worried about getting myself in trouble.

So, the info I’m looking for is: Should I expect to definitely be contacted? What sort of questions will they ask me about him? Will I get in trouble for him listing me? What happens he says one thing and I say another? (E.g. He says we did drugs 5 times, but I only remember 4?) Will they ask for exact dates? What if I say the wrong date since it was a few years go? Will the investigator contact my employer? Will they ask me to give names of other people I’ve done them with? Could the info I give be used ‘against’ me (I know that’s not the right term) if I were to apply for a clearance later on?

Any help/info is much appreciated

Thank you

Background investigators really only care about the subject we are assigned. If you did drugs with the subject and we need a verifier for that activity then it would greatly benefit your friend’s clearance if you were to be open and honest about the situation and what happened. No criminal charges will come against you unless you reveval some kind of criminal organization that would be on a scale that I haven’t seen before. FIs are not LEOs and we won’t pass them along any criminal behavior of sources or subjects unless it is under a very unique set of circumstances, which does not sound like what you’re describing here.

I would just advise you to be honest with the FI since he or she may or may not already be aware of the situation and is just trying to obtain coverage for it.

-You may be contacted, you may not. There’s a couple factors that an investigator will consider.
-The questions will be generally answerable (no one will provide absolute specifics on this forum)
-You’re not the one being investigated
-Just do your best to answer what you can and honestly
-The investigator will make all reasonable attempts to contact you

All above being true…I would recommend making sure your old roommate understands you will be honest. If drugs were taken you will be asked about that. If it is more than what he spoke to on the form and you will not be privy to that information…he may regret asking you to vouch for his character.

You will be asked about his personal habits, friends, associations, finances, criminal behavior, ethics, integrity, loyalty to the US, etc. I am NOT telling you to get your stories straight. I am saying be honest. If doing that doesn’t line up with what he is portraying…then there is a problem for him. Listen carefully to the questions asked and make sure they break down the multi part questions so you aren’t saying yes to one aspect of a question but not to other parts. Some investigators run through the questions quite rapidly. Don’t speculate. Only speak to what you know.

I recently got my secret clearance (Still waiting for my TS) they didn’t touch any of the references or did a personal interview. I think you should be fine.

I have a question. I had a security clearance done on me about a year ago, and was granted it recently. I’m the application I stated that I did marijuana a few times and they asked me some questions about it, one being who was it I did it with. I gave the first and last name of a friend of mine. And now that friend wants to get into the same field as me, where they will apply for a clearance. Will his name from my investigation somehow come up in his investigation and will they know about it? Or is just his name not enough information to go off of? Or will they even look into his name at my application? Or am I just tripping?

I would certainly advise him you had to give his name and remind him how you answered the question. Should he get denied based on his answers, he can request to see the file. I know as recently as last week when I was interviewed as a reference I was explicitly told they could see my name unless I requested anonymity and then had to sign a form. Cut him a solid and make sure he is as honest as you were. Assuming of course you were honest.

Yeah you’re right. I’m just wondering if they would search his name, find it in my investigation and use that in his investigation. I know they search the clearance database for any previous investigation but to me it doesn’t seem likely they’d see your name in a different investigation, without any other information such as date of birth or address or anything. But I just wanted to be sure