SF85P denied .... No explanation I was 100% honest

I got denied my security clearence and the offer was recinded. I was 100% honest. I did everything right. Even after the interview I was told I blew them away. They were so proud of me etc… Nobody knows what happened including people in the agency. They have no idea why I never got it. I don’t know why… no explanation why I didn’t get it. Any suggestions?!? I did everything right. And they still hold me very high in the agency and talked to me afterwards of how great I was. But why was I denied if I’m such a high valued candidate it just don’t make sense to me at all. It was the SF85P that I filled out. I did everything the interview and I was honest. Yes when I was younger I did cocain , I mentioned it. When I was younger I was stupid. When asked about it I mentioned it. But I was never arrested or anything like that. But now, after everything all I get was an email that they recind the offer. When I asked why, they said “I was not granted a clearence” which don’t make sense… and so I asked why not. Still waiting for a reply.

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How did you know that you were denied? This appeared to be a suitability denial with an agency. With suitability denial, I don’t think there’s an opportunity to appeal the determination, but I would advise you to ask that question to a security manager.

You mentioned that you were entirely honest… about what? It’s difficult to give you an advice without knowing such. Nonetheless, you can submit a Privacy Act request for your background investigation. That will give you some idea.

Are you a contractor or Fed employee? I believe your agency has to inform you of the reasons for a clearance or suitability denial. This gives you the opportunity to clarify or rebut reasons for your denial.

I got an email them recinding my conditional offer of employment. Then when I asked why. “I was not granted a clearence” And they never told me why I was never granted a clearence after that.

Fed employee, and that’s what I thought. But the letter didn’t even come from the city I was working for it came from higher up. And the funny thing is nobody knows why I was denied. Unless it’s ■■■■■■■■. My question is. If they recind a offer, can they re offer me it if someone has ■■■■■■ up? And if not… everytime I need a clearence now I have to say I got denied? It was the SP85P where I got denied. It’s so confusing because. All of a sudden I get an email and they say we wish you the best , and I ask why, and all I got was “you were not granted a clearence” and that’s it… like seriously ??

First of all, use the correct terminology, you were not undergoing the security clearance process if you filled out an SF85P, which is used for Public Trust positions. Secondly, you were found unsuitable during the prescreening process and not denied. Agencies can do this without offering any appeal process, otherwise they would spend a lot of time on unqualified applicants.


So this was from the agency itself? Is there any way to explain and get the job back. Or is it done deal?

You’re done. Time to move on. It was a suitability denial—no clearance involved. It’s harsh and believe me, I know what it feels like. One of the first things I learned about the federal and clearance world is that you’ve never secured a permanent position until you’re actually there sitting at your assignment. Learn from it and you’ll never be surprised if it occurs again.


well, there is always a way to get the job back, but it has to be on limited criteria (prohibited personnel practices). Other than that, there is nothing you can do about that, sorry.

For this reason, it is why I advise others that you should always keep applying even if you have a tentative offer in the bag. As @datesnotrecalled said it perfectly …

This is a harsh reality. Also, I advise others to accept as many tentative offers too. When final offers come through, you will have the leverage. This is frown upon by HR personnel and supervisors, but hey… you must always protect your interest, especially in event of situation like this one.


I have had many “contingent” offers, salary negotiated, letter of intent, etc. All contingent on contract award.If the company does not get the award, there is no job to give me. Because I conduct security interviews after the 7 department managers interview and approve, I also understand the position you are in. The manager wants to hire them…the candidate thinks they have the job. Then they meet me. If they have numerous or even one big disqualifying item, I eliminate them. I don’t know the full situation with the cocaine use. But they may have a hard and fast rule, no cocaine, period. I know a few Law Enforcement agencies that have a no LSD policy, no matter when it occurred. I know friends were honest and then declined base don the one of LSD as a Teenager experience, and they were now in their 40’s.

So yeah contingent upon getting the clearance or contract…same thing. It is meaningless if the award or clearance is not achieved. I have no issue telling the candidate why I cannot submit them. I believe the HR folks may be hesitant to disclose to you their reason.

That’s a possibility, it’s very odd tho, I have asked for a reason on why I didn’t receive a “clearence” from the person who recinded my offer and the answer I got was “I don’t know the reason, I was just told the final decision” With an HR person I never dealt with. I just have a feeling something is wrong. The fact they can’t tell me why. But I guess it’s time to move on.

They don’t have to tell you anything when they rescind an offer. It could just be that they didn’t get a contract that they were hoping for and don’t need you any more. It could be that they found a cleared body to fill the billet . . .

I know it sucks… .especially for a fed position that you have been waiting for… I know a thing or two about public trust positions, which is why I decided against applying for those (especially with Justice Department). Suitability determination for those public trust positions seem very subjective and arbitrary… almost impossible to challenge…

anyway, keep applying and I am sure you will land on your feet.

Not infrequently, and particularly within the IC, the recruiters and the security staff are simply NOT on the same page. Unfortunately, it’s not the IC agency recruiters who make the final hiring determinations, regardless of how encouraging they may try to sound!

Arbitrary is the key word.

I had zero credit issues and a clear criminal history, as well as positive endorsements, excellent rapport with, and encouragement from IC agency recruiters, yet I could never be employed by the IC.

Same happened to me…I am father of two young children and about 3 years ago. I was primarily worked in retail and was fired from 3-5 jobs for wrongful actions on my part like taking cash or money on gift cards etc. However, I am not that person anymore. I didn’t want to lie on the SF85P form in E-QIP database so I told them that I was fired from some jobs and explained what had happened. Agency had denied my clearance the following day, in less than 24 hours and contracting company took their offer back. SF85P case was send to the OPM. However, I am now wondering if this will link to any future opportunity when I need to apply again for a clearance through other agency and will I need to say I was denied a clearance because of this incident, if asked in the future. Any help is appreciate it.

Anony_Mous, SF85P is used for suitability investigations, not security clearance investigations. You were denied based on suitability so you have not yet had a clearance denied, so no, you will not have to report it going forward.

thank you @fed-investigator I appreciate your explanation!

This behavior is pretty recent. I can see why you were found unsuitable.


What is your nationality, and if you are married, what is your wife’s nationality? I have heard that a person was denied because his wife was Russian. Maybe if you have connections, indirect or direct, with enemies of the United States, that would cause you to get denied.