The Web’s Worst Recommendation for Safety Clearance Holders

The Internet’s Worst Advice for Security Clearance Holders

A few years in the past, my grandfather offered encyclopedia units for a residing. When you’re sufficiently old to recollect them, you additionally recall a world with out the web – a world the place these encyclopedias or the native library supplied solutions to life’s most perplexing questions.

The times of the encyclopedia had been numbered with the appearance of serps like Google. And whereas most individuals would agree that the web has vastly improved the human situation, it additionally created a maybe unexpected downside: false data masquerading as legitimately sourced.  What the encyclopedia lacked in user-friendliness, portability, and comprehensiveness, it did not less than have in authority. The web, however, is crammed with huge portions of data from apparently credible sources, a lot of it contradictory and false. Just like the “pretend information” phenomenon, the problem for the person is making sense of all of it.

Information and opinions about safety clearance points aren’t immune from this downside. Scour the web and one will discover all method of data doled out by the ill-informed or these merely in search of to make a fast buck. Listed here are a couple of examples that show the outdated adage “don’t imagine what you learn on the web.”

“Don’t Ever Search Psychological Well being Therapy or Counseling”

As I’ve written beforehand, one of many longstanding myths about safety clearances is that itemizing psychological well being remedy or counseling on one’s SF-86 ensures a clearance denial or revocation. It doesn’t. In reality, it doesn’t even normally create a hiccup.

The reality is that statistically solely a tiny fraction of people that search psychological well being remedy or counseling ever expertise safety clearance issues. These are excessive instances involving diagnoses like bipolar dysfunction, schizophrenia, and suicidal ideation or makes an attempt – and even a few of these instances may be mitigated if the affected person demonstrates efficient administration of the situation with medicine and compliance with remedy.

Paradoxically, it’s the particular person who wants remedy however fails to hunt it who might run into extra critical safety clearance issues. In any case, safety clearances are all about managing danger – and a person residing in denial and with an untreated situation is unpredictable. Ignore the ill-informed feedback in sure on-line boards and get psychological well being remedy or counseling for those who want it.

“The Authorities Doesn’t Care About That”

If a query on the SF-86 explicitly asks, for instance, for those who’ve consumed unlawful medicine – together with marijuana – over the last seven years, answering “no” on the premise that the marijuana wasn’t unlawful the place you consumed it’s a artistic interpretation that is likely to be a good way to legally thread the needle in different contexts. The issue is just this: marijuana is illegitimate in every single place in america below federal regulation and federal regulation trumps state regulation. Sorry to burst any bubbles on the market, however smoking weed in Colorado doesn’t get one off the hook.

Marijuana use is clearly one in every of many examples of potential difficulty areas coated in the course of the safety clearance background investigation course of. However the level is that any interpretation of a query is barely nearly as good because the interpreter. Don’t depend on armchair consultants in web dialogue boards to opine about what the federal government considers materials to a query – particularly when the penalty for false statements (albeit not often used) may be prosecution.

“You Can ‘Beat’ the Polygraph by _______”

Within the darker and seedier corners of the web exists a handful of self-proclaimed polygraph wizards hawking recommendation and steerage – for a value – on how one can ‘beat’ a polygraph machine. To be clear, this writer is not any fan of the polygraph; I’ve seen too many careers destroyed by false statements obtained by means of coercion and junk science that doesn’t maintain up in courtroom. Nonetheless, the polygraph stays a required a part of the safety clearance course of for a lot of authorities workers and contractors, and any proof that an examinee is using counter-measures or studied how one can beat the machine can be seen with rapid suspicion.

Perceive that the polygraph is NOT a “lie detector,” its merely a machine that registers physiological responses to questions which are then interpreted by a human. There are a number of the explanation why a person may need a sure physiological response to a query – therefore why polygraph technical calls, standing alone, can’t be used to disclaim or revoke a safety clearance. However there may be usually just one motive why somebody researches or seeks out recommendation on how one can beat the polygraph: they’ve one thing to cover. Which do you assume appears worse to safety officers?

“Simply One Puff Gained’t Matter”

President Clinton may need been capable of get away with the “I didn’t inhale” protection, however constitutional officers (the President, Vice President, and Members of Congress) don’t want a safety clearance. When you’re studying this text, presumably you do.

Only one puff of marijuana nonetheless counts as marijuana use, and the “not inhaling” protection can be seen as splitting hairs – even when true. Recommendation on the contrary on the web is dangerous recommendation that can get a clearance holder caught working below it in additional bother than one who merely disclosed the previous use truthfully. Like a lot else on the web, the recommendation is barely nearly as good as its supply. Recklessly counting on sources of recommendation who aren’t certified to provide it affords one no safety in opposition to costs of intentional dishonesty.


This text is meant as basic data solely and shouldn’t be construed as authorized recommendation. Seek the advice of an legal professional relating to your particular state of affairs

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