Secret to a TS - Drug Use Impact

Hello All,

I spent about five years in the military with a secret clearance as demanded by my MOS, until I was honorably discharged about a year and a half ago. Shortly after I was discharged, I obtained a prescription for marijuana usage for a general anxiety condition I had been diagnosed with while in service. The hope was that I would see better results than the medicines I had been prescribed previously. The marijuana wasn’t particularly helpful to my condition and I ceased usage within a short period of time; a few months. Now, I have been hired into a contracting position that requires a TS/SSBI and my investigation is currently ongoing. My concerns are as follows:

How will this usage affect my investigation? As mentioned I have ceased usage and have no intention of resuming or hiding these details, but the fact remains that I -did- use. Am I automatically disqualified or does the potential for mitigation exist?

How does this affect my current security clearance? I possess a Secret, though it was inactive until I was hired to this position. What is the likelihood of it being revoked?

Lastly, and perhaps a bit more distant to the immediate topic: I am still in the IRR for another few months. Is there a chance of this impacting my service record and discharge status? If this is the case and I quit this position, as I have been considering, does this halt the ongoing investigation?

Thank you.

In regards to the first part of your scenario, you said your investigation is underway, so I assume you submitted the SF-86 and fully disclosed the drug use. If you have not yet undergone the security interview, then that is another opportunity to provide your side of the story to answer the questions of what was used, how it was obtained, for how long and how often, purpose, effect, and future intent. All information will be considered and mitigation applied.

It also sounds as if you were not in access at the time your were using, so that would not count against you. Only when your clearance is in active status does the issue of drug involvement while holding a security clearance come into play. It should have no effect on your IRR status. As far as the current investigation being completed, the SF-86 was submitted and there is a record of an investigation being initiated. Regardless of whether it is stopped before completion or not adjudicated because of loss of jurisdiction, the information will be available to any future requests for a background investigation. As long as you have been honest with full disclosure there is a good chance of mitigating the issues.

You’re correct in your assumptions. I had previously figured that the situation would play out in a manner similar to what you stated; with my being questioned on the usage before a decision was made. It was only recently when a coworker and I got into a discussion on the topic that I began to really wonder what the potential fallout would be. He painted a much more grim outcome.

At any rate, thanks for the reply. I appreciate it.

I have recently (within the past week) applied for a TS/SCI security clearance and I have some worries that I hope you can help me with. I served in the Army national guard for 9 years as a blackhawk crewchief, completed 2 combat deployments, received numerous decorations, and received an honorable discharge after completing my service last March. During this time I was asked to fill out three different sf86 questionnaires for a secret clearance, the last one being in 2010 or early 2011. I was never actually granted a clearance because our admin personnel never turned in the paper work on time. I was young (20-23) and careless and did not list any drug involvement in any of these forms because I was convinced that I really didnt have any real situations to report (you can actually view these forms and see that I did not seem to take them seriously, a real sign of immaturity). In my most recent application (I am now 27), I put more thought into my past and tried to be as specific as possible about these instances. This led me to list some instances that I honestly did not feel were problems until I think back on them now. In 2007, while vomitting in the bathroom of a bar from having a few too many drinks, an old high school acquaintance (whom I do not associate myself with) found me and told me to take a white powdery substance… insisting it would make me feel better. After taking it I asked what it was and he told me it was cocaine. This was a one time instance and for the longest time I thought it was a joke since I did not notice any of the commonly associated effects of this drug, and nothing showed up on a drug test I took later that month, which is why I did not list this instance on any application until now. Also, in 2010, I used a form of Adderall to help me study. This drug was given to me by a friend and I thought I was using it for the right reasons because I believed I was having a concentration issue. I used the drug maybe 5-6 times and I whole-heartedly did not believe I was abusing this drug. Now I realize that I was abusing it because it wasn’t prescribed to me. I have zero other drug related instances to report, and I was never trying to deliberately fool the system. I was just negligent. This is why I decided to list these issues now, because I do not want to intentionally or unintentionally hide anything that is on my conscience.

My question is this: Do I even stand a chance? Consider that I was young, and since my last application I have had combat deployment to help me mature and earned an engineering degree. Also consider that I voluntarily disclosed this information, knowing that it would hurt me, but also knowing it was the right thing to do. Should I wait to see if I get denied a clearance or should I play it safe, turn the job down, and have the clearance halted to let some time pass? I have recently graduated as an Aerospace Engineer, and being denied a clearance can drastically effect my employment opportunities.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

First of all, I applaud your honesty and willingness to try to right the ship. Regarding your situation, without seeing your current and previous SF-86s, I cannot tell you how it may be viewed, but an experienced adjudicator will be able to look at the information and put certain pieces of the picture together and mitigate some of the issues. However, that being said, there may still be a sufficient amount of concern to issue a statement of reasons to you identifying the issues, to which you will be provided an opportunity to provide your side of the story in order to provide additional mitigation. Either way, best to go through with the process because will at least be out in the open and later on down the road, providing no new issues come up, it can be mitigated by time.

I’ll be hoping that enough time has passed already, and that I get that experienced investigator who is willing to invest a little time and trust in me. Thank you very much for your reply.

I had a question and hopefully some of you can help me out. I received a TS a couple years ago and then recently separated from the Army and went back to college. While there I tried cocaine once. Would that inhibit me from going back into a contracting job that requires a TS when i graduate in a year and a half? When i go for one of those jobs do I have to renew the clearance and disclose the drug use? Will that get me denied?

I doubt that it would result in you being denied a security clearance but a separate issue is whether a contractor would eliminate you as a result of their pre-screen. Some companies are better than others.

The big factor in your favor is that you will have put nearly two years between you and this one incident by the time you graduate, maybe a little less if you are fortunate enough to get an offer before you graduate. Another factor is that they do tend to allow for youthful indiscretion to some degree :wink: but don’t use that as an excuse to continue your experiments :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Thank you! Do you know if I already have a TS, would there have to be a re-investigation? Side question, when are polygraphs required? I never did one but my friend said he had to for some of the work he did.

I think with the drug issue, there would almost certainly be a new investigation, but I’ve been wrong before.

The requirement for a poly seems to vary from agency to agency. If you work as a contractor, you may be able to work on this program without a poly, but if you get assigned to that program, it requires a poly.

Try not to think about the poly too much. You will hurt your brain.