Unintentional false statement in SF-86 and other concerns

Hello CJ Community,

After receiving a CJO for a linguist position with a three-letter agency, my suitability process for TS/SCI clearance has just commenced. I submitted my SF-86 but just realized afterward that I answered one of the “Yes/No” questions regarding the misuse of information technology system incorrectly. I am not sure if others will believe me but I was genuinely unaware that I was committing a crime by downloading PDF books from Library Gensis. It was only through browsing the CJ forum that I realized that downloading copyrighted material is considered a serious potential disqualifier. I was born and raised in China where I received no education on the seriousness of copyright infringement. After I came to the US to study for a PhD, I noticed that not only some of my classmates were using online libraries to download and share PDF books but even one of our professors shared PDF books and book chapters with the entire class via email attachment and Dropbox files. I therefore derived the impression that downloading PDF books is permissible and perfectly fine. Thus, during the past few years while I was completing my dissertation and had the need to browse through a large amount of literature, I downloaded more than a hundred (I still have to check the specific number) PDF books from Library Genesis. I only realized yesterday that LibGen is illegal and was meant to be shut down. Seriously I thought it was some non-profit organization. I read in one of the previous posts on this forum that in order to be considered non-criminal, the total value of the misused media should not exceed $1000 in any 180 days. I think my downloaded amount is probably more than that number. I have never downloaded movies, games or music, only PDF books. I streamed free TV dramas and shows though, but no downloads.

I regret so much about my conduct, but I do not know what I should do now, especially since I technically gave a false statement in my SF-86?

I’m also worried that given my misuse of copyrighted media, I would be given a tough time during the polygraph?

Another concern I have has to do with a particular foreign contact I and my immediate family used to have. This person is a retired Chinese government employee, somewhat high profile. The last time my family had any contact with him was in 2015 so not covered by the scope of the SF-86. Wonder if I should still mention this foreign contact in my interview?

Any advice would be appreciated!

Re: the PDF downloads: it sounds like it’s scholarly articles which are not always easy to place a value on. You could play dumb and tell them you didn’t list it because you didn’t think it met the value criteria and let them tell you otherwise. On the other hand… Did you download them in a way that’s easily trackable to you? If not, the gov doesn’t have a crystal ball when it comes to online habits so… not a great option, but an option.

Thank you for the reminder. I edited my post. Most of the downloads were PDF versions of actual books so it might not be hard to calculate the value… It is said that LibGen runs its Ads through Google so Google has records of every downloads made. I guess that means my downloads would be easily trackable. I’m feeling so awful about my ignorance.

If a PDF of a book is easily available for downloading then there is a pretty good chance it is not copyrighted. Also, with textbooks and such, if you are not getting the most recent edition, the value of older stuff automatically becomes close to zero so I wouldn’t worry about it much if that’s what you were referring to. I may be being too optimistic though, since I don’t know you specific situation, but something to keep in mind.