A little bit of background about myself. I am a little over 50 and have 25+ years of experience in the IT field. Never touched drugs, zero financial issues, very good credit rating, no tickets in the last 10 years. I worked for a non-governmental employer for over 20 years (most of it as a consultant and last 5 as an employee). My job responsibility included oversight of all IT systems (in addition to other responsibilities).
One key IT system in the organization was exposed to the internet and had easily exploitable security vulnerability for over 3 years with a patch published by the vendor. I informed my supervisor (both verbally and formally) on multiple occasions and suggested to patch the system. However, my supervisor chose to ignore my advice because of the not-invented-here syndrome. This really bothered me as my supervisor’s poor decisions on other issues were already costing a couple of hundred grand a year to the organization. One day, I informed anonymously about the vulnerability to the head of the organization along with some data that I accessed using this vulnerability. I thought I was being a whistleblower who is exposing poor security culture without realizing that by doing this I probably broke laws. The management panicked and hired a forensic firm to investigate the incident. They also talked about the involvement of Law Enforcement. At first, I thought that I would come out clean on this. However, I panicked once I heard about the involvement of LE. So, I decided to keep quiet.
3 months later, HR came by and informed me that I was being terminated because of unauthorized system access. They did not provide any details. And, further told me that if anyone calls they would only disclose my start date, and end date and position.
I was recently asked to complete SF-86 using the e-QIP system by a government contractor, who would subcontract work to me. I filled out the application and answered “yes”, along with the above details, to the question about unauthorized access to the IT system. I am yet to submit it as I am having doubts about whether or not this will go through.
So, folks, based on above and your experience do I have a chance to get a security clearance. Or, should I look for work that does not require a security clearance?