Security Clearance and Career Transition Dilemma

Hello everyone,

I’m hoping to gain some insights and guidance on navigating a challenging situation regarding my security clearance and career transition. Here’s a brief overview of my circumstances:

I currently work as a DoN Police Officer and hold a Secret Clearance. However, I’m facing financial difficulties due to a recent divorce and the responsibilities of child support and alimony payments, among other obligations.

Recently, I met a wonderful woman through online dating who is from China. Despite initial reservations, we’ve developed a strong relationship, and she shares my pro-American values. Importantly, she has no affiliation with the communist party and is interested in becoming a US Citizen.

She has already visited me once and returned to China. However, I hesitated to disclose our contact initially for fear of jeopardizing my clearance and subsequently my job.

In addition to personal challenges, I’ve been exploring a career transition into the tech industry. I’ve been targeting positions in the private sector that don’t require a clearance. However, a recruiter recently contacted me about a job opportunity that requires a clearance at the Public Trust level.

I’m concerned about the potential impact of my foreign contact on obtaining the clearance, as well as the financial risks associated with accepting a position that may require interim clearance and the possibility of it falling through.

Here are my specific questions:

  1. What are the potential effects of my foreign contact on obtaining a clearance at the Public Trust level?

  2. Should I accept the position if offered an interim clearance, considering the financial risks involved?

  3. Do I have any chance to redeem myself if I choose to disclose my situation to my current employer while exploring other career options?

I greatly appreciate any advice, insights, or personal experiences that you can share to help me navigate this challenging situation. Please feel free to respond here or reach out to me privately if you prefer. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

You need to report the romantic relationship with a foreign, no less Chinese, national immediately. Your financials might be an issue if you are falling behind on your payments and not reporting the delinquencies. You’ve hit two of the three biggest issues and by not reporting you will hit the third, personal conduct.

While not mentioned, you are required to report your change in marital status.

Go see your security manager and get this all in the open.


I’m no expert so this is based on my observations:

Weird one. Since technically, Public Trust is not a clearance, you would actually be better off if you did not have a Secret clearance already. But unfortunately, not reporting foreign contacts initiated while having a clearance is one of the bigger No-nos. As @backgdinvestigator said, that should be reported immediately.

While the financials are potentially a concern, your foreign contact and the fact that you haven’t reported any of this stuff yet are probably your bigger issues right now. You should speak with an attorney to get better advice and maybe your security manager and/or the CSO for the position you’re considering.

Put it this way, you probably have less chance if you don’t disclose. Not only that, but if they do find it on their own, you risk getting your current clearance revoked.

Personally, I would go straight to a clearance attorney ASAP. I would consider it a good investment.

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Pacific Command contractor charged in espionage case (

Happens over and over and over again. For goodness sake, find someone online or in real life who is an actual US citizen. I hate to come off as paranoid, but SERIOUSLY!!

Either drop out of having a cleared career or drop the Chinese girlfriend. It’s not like she’s gonna TELL you she’s grooming you for espionage.

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I appreciate your input, but I must express my disappointment with the tone of your response. Your suggestion to “drop the Chinese girlfriend” comes across as disrespectful and unwarranted. My personal relationships are not up for debate, and insinuations of espionage based on nationality are unfounded and offensive.

Regarding the job offer requiring Public Trust clearance, I’m seeking practical advice on navigating the situation, not judgment based on stereotypes. Contrary to your assumptions, my fiancee has no interest in my work or involvement in espionage activities. She shares my love for this country and respects its laws and values.

Moving forward, I’d appreciate constructive contributions that focus on the actual issues at hand rather than perpetuating baseless assumptions. Thank you.

I stand by my comment. Was I forceful? Yes.

You admitted in your post that you hesitated to disclose this relationship. She has visited you (I assume stateside since you mentioned she returned to China, but I could be wrong). Yet you did not disclose, or disclosed after the fact.

Huge. Red. Flag.

You can get our panties in an uproar, it’s no skin off my back.

Ok, my constructive contribution?

  1. Yes, your undisclosed foreign contact, which is of a “strong relationship” will be an issue that will be discussed. It may be a disqualifier, but that is up to an adjudicator and/or agency guidelines
  2. Only you can determine if the risk of accepting a position if offered an interim clearance is worth it. As an aside, your financial issues, depending on what exactly they are, may negate an interim clearance. Your foreign national contact may also disqualify you from an interim.
  3. Personal observation, you want to know if you have any chance to redeem yourself IF you choose to disclose your current employer. It’s not really a choice. You hold a clearance. You are required to disclose contacts with foreign nationals, as well as financial difficulties. I am concerned with your use of the word “IF”.

My personal experience: I had severe financial issues as a result of walking out of a long term marriage. I managed to keep my clearance, but it was a lot of hard work and documentation on my part. I had a foreign national living in my residence for 2 years. Preapproved by the agency and I disclosed this relationship (he’s like a son to me and addresses me as “mum”) when it first occurred. I continue to list him on my paperwork even though he moved back to his home country and we now exchange only FB greetings throughout the year.

Best of luck.


But that is exactly what the investigators and adjudicators will do as well. If you’re going to proceed with this, then know that going in. They will probably assume you are hiding something and that your innocent foreign national contact is not so innocent. That is how the adjudicators operate. It’s not like you get Due Process here. You will probably end up having to prove there is NOT something nefarious going on.


I spoke with an attorney today and am prepared to take the appropriate action going forward. I appreciate all the feedback, both professional and otherwise.

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Step 1: report romantic coupling. Now.
Step 2: ask yourself honestly what she sees in you, is she mirroring your responses and feelings? Classic Intell move. As men we are suckers for it.
Step 3: get financial counseling, get spending under control. If under water, report that too.

Any chance the offer is related to her?

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Thank you for your input. I want to assure you that I have taken immediate action based on the advice of legal counsel to report my romantic relationship in full compliance with clearance requirements.

Regarding your concerns about my financial situation, I should clarify that while I mentioned facing “financial difficulties,” I meant that I’m managing with limited resources, not that I’m falling behind on payments. In fact, I’ve been diligently managing my finances, even with the added responsibility of supporting my ex-spouse, who doesn’t currently work.

As for questioning what my fiancee sees in me, I appreciate your perspective, but I trust my judgment in relationships. I’m confident in our mutual respect and love for each other, and I’ll continue to make decisions based on what’s best for us.

Thank you again for your feedback.

To be clear there are plenty cleared people married to non US citizens, or foreign birth. Ive seen the cleared member denied access to SCI material based on that. I wish you well. I sincerely hope you are not being “worked” or targeted. Just know it does possibly impact cleared work. If Uncle sugar is uncomfortable they will not clear.

Run, don’t walk to your security manager. These are important issues. What you failed to mention is how you met a Chinese woman. What dating site was that and what contacts did you have?

I addressed this in my previous response. I have reported the required information and will happily provide additional details such as the specific dating site upon further questioning. Thanks for chiming in.