Will I receive a secret clearance?

Currently I’m employed by the state of Massachusetts but I’m in the process of applying for a private company that contracts with the Navy and would be required to obtain a secret clearance if I’m hired.

I’m wondering if my situation would allow me to obtain a secret clearance. If not, I don’t want to waste my time or anyone else’s.

Back in June of 2013 when I was 20 I was accused of remotely logging into one of the computers my town’s library has set up for the public to use. The police were involved and they executed a search warrant at my house (the same house I currently live in) and took my computers. That’s the last I ever heard of it. I was never contacted by the police again, no charges were filed, and was never arrested.

In March of 2014 I was hired at the state agency I currently work at and passed a CORI check without issue. In the summer of 2019 I applied for and was granted a Massachusetts license to carry a firearm.

I looked over in detail SF-86 and nowhere that I saw asks for anything related to something like this. Since no charges were filed and this happened over 7 years ago, do you think this is even in scope of obtaining a secret clearance? Should I disclose it? Will this ruin my chances of getting a secret clearance?

The only two other things that I’ll have to disclose on the SF-86 form is I smoked weed on two occasions in 2015 and didn’t like it and never touched it again. Also, one of my friends that I instant message and voice chat with online lives in Montreal Canada. We only talk about once a week via the Internet. He’s just a friend and we ever had any sort of business/money deals.

Probably need to list this. You may not have been arrested but somebody had to go to court to get a search warrant and your name is on that… I don’t think it is going to be a problem given the passage of time (although anything related to computer crime/hacking/goofing off is going to attract attention) but like @Wait4ever says, better to get out in front of it. I’m not sure about the seven year limit or if this is a “Have you ever…” question.

Main thing, there’s going to be a record of that search warrant someplace and it may be very easy for an investigator to uncover

It seems like I should be up front about it just in case. I did look at the SF-86 form in detail and no where does it ask anything that would relate to this though. Just if you’ve been convicted of a crime. But I agree, bringing it up it the best thing to do.

Other than the search warrant, my friend who lives in Canada, and the weed two times in 2015, there’s nothing else that I have to answer “yes” to on the SF-86.

If your opinion, other than just those things, would I receive the clearance?

You’re entitled to due process. I’m pretty sure they can only decline to give you a security clearance if you’re the subject of an OPEN investigation. Someone below said to list it because there could be a warrant with your name on it. You list it because it meets the criteria for an SF-86 prompt. Regardless of what’s on the warrant, if you were not charged, it is because they lacked sufficient evidence to secure an indictment or otherwise charge you.

List it, but note that you were not guilty, as such, you were not charged.

Refusing a security clearance because you were at one point the subject of a criminal investigation would run afoul of your due process rights. Even if they were to decide that, based on the available evidence the police should have charged you, the fact is they didn’t and you were never provided an evidentiary hearing to prove your innocence.

This along with the explanations you gave makes a lot of sense to me. It stands to reason that 8 years later I haven’t heard hide nor hair from anyone concerning it again, I would wager to say it’s no longer an open investigation.

Here’s my opinion as a former BI.

Your issue seems isolated and fairly tame, i.e, you were young and it involved a library (even if PD was involved— Sheriff Andy just justifying his existence).

Since it happened outside of 7 years ago (nb: Section 27– Use of IT— is limited to 7 years) forget about it and don’t list it on the SF-86. Fill out the SF-86 to the letter of the law and don’t provide any additional explanation for anything not specifically asked. Even when asked provide the bare minimum. This rule extends to everything in life. So many people screw themselves by saying too much, while almost no one gets into trouble by being taciturn.

I can tell from your post that you’re intelligent and conscientious. I’d say your chances of getting a secret clearance are better than good. Good luck


Thank you for your take on it, I agree with you.

I did notice that the Use of IT section is limited to 7 years. Do you think I will be questioned on the search warrant? Do you think that will show up in their investigation?

I’m also considering speaking to a clearance lawyer about it all. More to just have an open channel of communication with someone if I have to appeal.

I agree with GoNats.
Very carefully read the questions, especially the EVER ones.
Answer what is required of you on that form. If it’s outside of the scope (time, topic…), don’t list it.
Just be prepared to talk about it during your interview. It will very likely come up.

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Although outside the scope of the SF86, there are still multiple points this could arise in the Investigation.

As others have said, fill out the SF86, honestly and completely. When/if you are asked about the hacking incident, answer openly and honestly.

Time, without repeated behavior is the best mitigator for almost any issue, so your chances remain good.

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Thank you @sbusquirrel, @milkandgin, @GoNats, @rocket, and @fed-investigator for replying to my post and giving me some really great advice. I feel much better about it all now. I was seriously considering just letting the job opportunity pass by.

I’ll continue to monitor this thread in case anyone else has any input.

It’s most definitely not an open investigations. Especially if they gave you back your electronics. If they didn’t give your electronics back, call and ask whether you can have them back. If they say, “no,” the investigation is still open.

Even then, I don’t think DCSA likes to deny clearances based on pending investigations. In part, because once your clearance is denied you have a right to see all evidence they used to determine your ineligibility. The exception is classified information, but even then, the judge has to review the material to determine whether it’s properly classified whether, even if classified, withholding it would prejudice your case. If probably classified, the agency still has to identify the document(s) and describe their contents.

Also, I don’t think local police can classify information. If the investigator finds local police information necessary to deny a clearance, I would assume that information goes to the applicant as unclassified. Even if the local police protocols had protocols for classifying investigation material, I wouldn’t assume that the AJ has jurisdiction to rule on anything but federally classified documents.

@milkandgin Thank you for the follow up!

Just wanted to let everyone know that the interview for this position went very well and I heard back this week that I got job. They said they’ll be sending me an offer letter early next week. If it wasn’t for everyone in this thread, I wouldn’t have pursued this position. I appreciate everyone’s input on it.

Just want to give everyone an update on this.

I received the job offer letter several days after I posted my last post. I accept the position and have been working there ever since (about 4 months). I enjoy my new job and I enjoy feeling like what I’m doing is helping my country.

A day or two after I started I filled out the security clearance application. A month or so later I received my interim secret clearance and just today I received the full clearance. I was never contacted by anyone about it.

I just want to thank everyone on this thread who took the time to give me advice about this. If it wasn’t for you folks, I wouldn’t have even applied for the job. I thoroughly enjoy my new job and if it wasn’t for each of you, I would have missed out on it. Thank you!