Will one bad reference torpedo my clearance

Hello All, I am in the running for a full time background position on the OPM contract. I am currently a police officer and I have a TS/SCI clearance through the FBI as I am on the JTTF full time. OPM is doing a whole separate clearance investigation on me for this job. I am an upstanding person, no alcohol abuse, drug abuse, lying, bad credit, or negative employment references. My ONLY concern is a former friend who I use to room with and we parted ways on bad terms within the last year. The investigator wants to speak with him as he knew me at my previous address, but I am afraid this guy will try to kill my chances with this job. Will one bad reference kill my eligibility for a clearance? Thanks in advance for any advice or responses.

Also, I did tell my investigator that we parted on bad terms just due to personal stuff, nothing illegal, in an effort to prepare him for a possible bad reference.


It probably not. I will let a background investigator chime in on this (there are good ones here). However, I believe that if there is a derogatory provided by a source (reference), then the investigator will need to find a second source that will verify/collaborate the information.

No one thing is going to deny your clearance. Before your clearance is denied, you will be afforded the opportunity to refute or respond to derogatory information. Someone not liking you is not grounds for clearance. They would have to say something relevant to 13 adjudicative guidelines.


Investigators hear it all and adjudicators look at you as a whole person. If that’s your only issue, then you’re doing pretty well.

1 Like

I’m sure that the investigators and adjudicators have seen plenty of people try to scuttle applicants chances and recognize what is happening. You will have a chance to tell your side.

When does one have this chance to tell his/her side? That certainly wasn’t the case at all for me.
Within the IC, at least, it appears that “one strike and your out” is the rule.

I didn’t say that “your side” will always win out . . . But, in the situation that is being discussed here, I can’t imagine what this ex-friend would say that wouldn’t be discussed in a subject interview.

Face it . . . It’s not “one strike and your out” but if you pop up to second base, you don’t get another chance.

When you receive an SOR.

The investigator towards the end of the investigation will talk to you about discrepancies and issues. Your references I don’t believe are meant to be arbiters of clearance issuance. If what the reference says is untrue then you have nothing to worry about.

No it will not. One of my ex-friends brought up a bunch of crap issues about me while they were being interviewed. Because of it, I had a second personal interview in which the investigator asked me about the allegations. I believe that it also is the reason why I was sent an interrogatory for a psych eval. It took three years to get my TS… And I fully believe that I would have gotten it a lot sooner had that person not been interviewed. Did cause some major headaches though.

My own experience indicates that a BI in which derogatory references are “developed” will essentially bar most IC employment permanently.

I certainly was never provided any such opportunity to refute derogatory matters “developed” during my BI.