SCI denied after passing FS poly

So I’ve had TS/SCI since 2009ish from the military. I did 8 years, got out, and became a contractor. I got a job that only required a CI poly but I was still talking to a company that wanted me for an SCI position, requiring me to take an FS poly. The first 3 times were inconclusive and on the third one I admitted to having a brush with weed right after I got out of the military but before I had accepted a job elsewhere. I didn’t smoke it, I just had it for a bit and then decided against it. This resulted in my access being pulled. So the company brought me back for a fourth FS poly and I passed. It finally posted after about a month, and a few days after it posted I was told my access reinstatement has been denied. What happened? I personally know people who have done far worse and are currently working. I have yet to receive any information about why I was denied. I want to appeal and I’ve looked at the resources on ClearanceJobs about the process, but I don’t know where to start because I don’t even know why this happened in the first place.

sorry, just to clarify, I had a TS with a CI poly from the military. As a contractor I had only recently taken and passed the FS poly.

When was your brush with weed?

Last May. Knowing that, the customer still brought me back for another FS. I had already passed the Ci portion and they just needed to clear up the FS portion. I was told by the poly examiner that I passed and I’ve confirmed that it has indeed posted.

So strange you were subsequently denied even after passing. Can you find out why? Perhaps one of our experienced investigators in this forum can opine as well…

I’m trying to find out why but this happened yesterday so on the weekends there’s really nobody I can ask. I’ve asked some friends about this and given them the whole rundown and they think it’s a mistake. The customer I’m currently serving through this contract is the one who said I’d been denied reinstatement, but they are not the customer for whom I did the poly. So I’m thinking maybe something in some system got crossed and I’m not showing up or something like that. I’m not too well versed on the ins and outs of JPAS and all that.

What does it mean to “pass” a poly? I think that’s the question you need to look at. I suspect that it only means that the operator determined that you were being honest.

So, the poly that you “passed” showed that you had a minor issue with grass that you failed to previously report. It’ likely that the grass isn’t your problem.

My successful FS poly has posted in JPAS. I confirmed that with my company and the agency SSO. The operator did determine that I was being honest and it was adjudicated and approved, if that was the right words. Bottom line, my poly is good.

Ed is right, you can pass a poly and still be denied. The operator can tell you that you passed, but when all the notes and added information gets to whoever makes the final decision, it can be denied.

Same happened with me, passed the FS, and got denied a few weeks later for illegal file downloading.

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Well I haven’t illegally downloaded any files. The only other thing I can think of is that I finally mentioned that I have a step brother who I haven’t spoken to in 10 years. He was my step brother when I joined the military, didn’t mention him then, and I served 8 years without any problems. But he’s not foreign, I don’t even know where he lives. My step dad doesn’t talk to him. He may as well not exist at all when it comes to my family members. I’m fairly certain this is about the weed though. But it was such a nothing that I didn’t even think about it the first couple times I took the poly. A friend of a friend gave me an extremely small amount, about the size of a nickel, and said “congrats on getting out of the military.” I took it home, didn’t do anything with it, and chucked it. That’s it. I even told the examiner that I wasn’t lying about the involvement, but it seriously didn’t occur to me because it was so brief and I didn’t do anything with it. I compartmentalize for a living so it just wasn’t on my mind.

I don’t think that you are paying attention to what you are being told . . .

It took multiple SF86s and three polys before you admitted to the drug issue . . .

Only one SF86, but yes, three polys. I should have my SOR this week so I’ll know for sure what the issue and can provide mitigating factors or corrected information. I just can’t believe that me not mentioning something that small would lead to a denial. In the year since I applied for this job I haven’t even been contacted by an investigator and none of my references have either.

Right . . . Sorry . . . The incident was after the first SF86 . . .

But, the incident was in the last few years and, yes, they are serious about anything that you don’t self-report. Remember, it was a small incident to you but it also shows that you were hanging around with people who believed that this was an appropriate gift for getting out of the military AND you had a clearance at the time and should have known better than to have accepted it.

I’m not trying to tear you apart. If you want to mitigate this and get your SCI you have to start by recognizing just how seriously the lawyers on the other side are going to take this issue. It isn’t just the drugs, it’s that you didn’t self-report, it’s that it took until your third poly before you came forth. This indicates, to them, that you knew that you had done wrong.

You have to mitigate more than just accepting a gift and throwing it away.

Right. And thanks for all the feedback. I did have a chance to write out my version of events back in March 2018 in which I made sure to specify that hanging out with those people was not usual behavior and that the person who gave it to me was an acquaintance, not a friend. I also said in that statement that I knew it was wrong.

I’m hoping I get the chance to explain further that I don’t associate with them and that my lack of self reporting was due to honestly not thinking about it. The poly that posted to JPAS this month was all questions beginning with, “are you withholding…” and it seems to have been sufficient since it was adjudicated.

I’m also not sure why my family and friends and I have not even been contacted by an investigator since I started this process in June 2017. When I went through investigations in the military that always happened early on.

References are not always contacted, the same with family. I would guess that the investigators simply didn’t see anything that those people could add at this point.

So I’ve been told that my SOR will arrive today by certified mail. Does anyone have any experience with the appeals process? More specifically, if it is the weed thing and that I didn’t mention it before, what sort of mitigating circumstances could I cite that would help my appeal?

Wait and see what it says . . . The package will include the guidelines as a reference and each subject in the guidelines outlines a set of mitigating factors that you can use, if they apply.

If you want, reach out to me on that famous social media site and will be happy to talk to you about how I put together my defense. I’m not a lawyer, I don’t play one on TV and I didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night . . . But, I will be happy to provide the insight that I can.

So my SOR finally arrived yesterday, 17 days after being sent from somewhere it takes me 5 minutes to drive to. Guidelines H and E for “being involved with” illegal substances and “deliberately withholding information.” I’ve been talking to a lawyer and he likes my case. Considering that quite a bit of what the adjudicator cited in their reasoning was taken out of context or were from conversations that happened outside the actual interview, and the fact that it all pretty clearly falls into the “event was so minor” category, he thinks I could successfully appeal.

I’m wondering if I should even bring up PTSD. It’s something that I think is typically associated with people in intel, but my career has been centered around some pretty dark stuff. I’ve had to watch and listen to some really awful things and honestly, it’s part of the reason I thought about trying weed. I don’t know how the appeals panel will feel about that. I do have 3 friends who have decided to not continue service in intel because they suffer from PTSD and have chosen to treat it with legal medical cannabis, but they’ve had to sacrifice their careers. One of those tried to kill himself before starting treatment with cannabis. I know the policy, but it’s just not right that we lose ~20 vets a day and some of those have to choose between treatment and a job.

Unless you are successfully being treated for PTSD, I wouldn’t bring it. It would become one more issue for concern. You only need to address the issues on your SOR. As long as you have told us everything, I think that you have a pretty good chance of being successful in an appeal.

This is one of those cases where I think that the adjudicator kicked the ball down to the judge. It seems pretty clear that an appeal will be successful but the adjudicator either isn’t allowed or doesn’t want to take the risk of making a decision.

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Yeah that makes sense. And I think I have a good chance to appeal as well. My situation falls pretty squarely into the “incident was so minor” and “infrequent” categories.

I’ve been speaking to a lawyer but they are expensive to the tune of $8000. Also, I think I messaged you on that famous social media site today, but I can’t be sure.