Security Clearance denied


I was recently denied clearance for a state investigative department for a non law enforcement role. I’m devastated because I’ve been through months of testing and interviewing. I was told that the investigator saw a disqualification and did not contact my references. My issue is that I have not been told what that disqualification was and have not received an SOR yet. I read in the paperwork that past single use drug usage is usually not a factor and was completely honest. These are the only possible things I can speculate:

I admitted to smoking pot one time in my life in 2017, almost 2 years ago. I also admitted to trying cocaine once in 2016 but that it was a one time deal.

I was also terminated from a retail job 8 years ago ( I was 21) for giving a discount to someone.

Could any of these be reasons? if so can I appeal? If these are the reasons, can I ever apply for clearance again?


When you say “state investigative department” I take it you mean this was for a position with a state agency and not the State Department.

I’d say at least 99% of the discussion here has to do with federal investigations and determinations of eligibility for federal security clearance and public trust. I suspect that the policies differ widely once you start talking about any of the 50 states.

Some people have had luck working with attorneys, maybe there is a law practice in your state’s capitol that could take on the case.


You’re right I goofed, looked into my paperwork and it was actually a Peace Officer level background check (POST) that I failed. I was told thereafter Id have to take a Secret clearance. I know with police checks they don’t have to necessarily send a SOR so I might be screwed. But if I ever go for federal clearance would I have to disclose this? I may never know the reason why.


100 percent sure that your use of Hard Drugs is what did you in.


Understandable but I’ve also known people who have passed and did worse/ more things. is it because of the timing?


NO, not the timing, coke is a serious drug and most agencies that have a PO POST check will not hire you. As I have stated before illegal use of drugs not only affects the user but society as a whole. More and more agencies are going to deny an clearance to former illegal drug users.


It’s a combination of the recency, the particular drug and your age at the time of use.

You are now 29 years old. That puts your drug use past your mid-20’s, well out of “college or youthful experimentation” AND only two years in the past. This shows poor judgement as an adult and you are trying to get cleared for a law enforcement agency.


My ex spouse answered truthfully about one time use of a hard drug (acid) at age 17. She applied for a law enforcement position at age 43. She was denied. They too require a poly and compassionately explained it would be revealed during the Poly and disqualify her there as well…