Secret Clearance Suspension

Just found this forum. I got a quick question.
I’ve held a secret clearance with USCIS for a little over two years now. I applied to CBP and did the polygraph. The polygraph administrator explicitly stated to me that use of marijuana includes “hotboxing”, essentially any head change when exposed to marijuana. I live in California and pot use is everywhere. I don’t smoke pot anymore, been about graduate school in 2010. I did admit to being exposed to marijuana and getting headaches from it. I was deemed unsuitable for CBP and that path ended. I am still with USCIS, but just received an email stating that my clearance is suspended until OSI makes a determination. I applied for another position within USCIS, was given a job offer, accepted, and had an onboarding date. First the onboarding date was canceled, then I received the above mentioned email about the suspension of my secret clearance.
What options do I have? I’ve attempted to contact my supervisor and upper management, as well as OSI and Personnel Security Division. I have not received and answer and, honestly am freaking out about my future.
A little about me: 10 years fed service, honorably discharged from the Navy, have a grad degree.
Any advice or knowledge of a situation like this.

Just to be sure I’m understanding this correctly, your post is saying that your poly experience with CBP and subsequent suitability determination lead to your other, separate employment suspending your clearance you’ve held for two years in order to investigate?

You can learn all sorts of interesting stuff on these forums.


Yes, and management from supervisor to the field office director is saying nothing.

How long ago was the last time you were exposed to marijuana?

Did you speak to anything about marijuana use on the SF86 you filled out for CIS?

Did you get any kind of SOR or notice yet that explains why your clearance was suspended? Is it for drug use or are they alleging you lied on your SF86?

As for last exposure, I live in San Francisco, CA. Since it legal here, it’s everywhere. I have no received a SOR yet. Just that my clearance is suspended until OSI/Personnel Security makes a determination.
I’m still employed, but my work scope was diminished.
The suspension was for admitting use of illegal drugs.

So you were suspended for using illegal drugs, not being around them?

Unless you are in positions were drugs are being used, like a party, I don’t see how living a normal life would expose you to enough marijuana to give you headaches.

Hot boxing is far more than just being exposed accidentally. One definition I found says that hot boxng is the practice of smoking marijuana in an enclosed space (e.g. a car or a small room) in order to maximize the effect.

You don’t have many options but to sit and wait. I’m not sure why you told them you were exposed to weed if you weren’t engaging in weed. You cannot do drugs while possessing a security clearance. Sometimes I go to concerts and smell weed in the air. That’s not me, so I wouldn’t report that. Unfortunately, you’ll just have to wait it out.


With the weed hotboxing thing, when did it occur? Is this something you admitted to happening while you have been cleared with USCIS or are we talking years ago? I’m trying to understand if the issue is misconduct as a cleared employee or are they saying you were dishonest during your previous investigation?

What is “hotboxing” and “head changing”? Those are new ones for me!

It may be legal in CA, but under federal law it’s still a no-no.