These conditions may disqualify you from access to classified information: Drug abuse. Illegal drug possession. Diagnosis of drug abuse or dependence by a medical professional.
Top secret clearance holders must have no significant financial concerns. If the background check reveals a considerable amount of debt, missed payments, tax evasion, collection judgments, check fraud, foreclosures, embezzlement or bankruptcies, your application might be rejected.
Credit and criminal history checks will be conducted on all applicants. For a Top Secret security clearance, the background investigation includes additional record checks which can verify citizenship for the applicant and family members, verification of birth, education, employment history, and military history.
Although security clearance background checks can be intensely thorough, the government can't view your emails, Internet browsing history, hard drive data, and other virtual assets without a subpoena or warrant.
But don't lose heart – 20-30% of all interim security clearances are denied, but that is vastly different than the figure of final clearance denials, which hovers around 1%.
No branch of the military has a set amount of debt that is the breaking point for security clearance. You could owe $5,000 or $50,000 and be granted or denied clearance. It's all a matter of how you deal with the debt. Responsible behavior in tackling your debt problems is considered a positive.
The four main types of security clearances for national security positions are: confidential, secret, top secret and sensitive compartmented information.
Credit scores are not specifically mentioned in the Code of Regulations as being examined by the Diplomatic Security Service. So when it comes to obtaining your security clearance, there isn't a clear “cut off” point or range for acceptable credit scores.
Polygraph tests accompany some Top Secret or TS/SCI clearances; however, they are not required to obtain either type of clearance and are not part of the clearance background investigation.
Under certain circumstances, an applicant's spouse or cohabitant may be subject to a security check. If you are processed for a Top Secret level clearance, a national agency check will be run on your husband or wife; however, this check would be conducted with their permission.
References are less likely to be contacted for a Secret security clearance, but if there are issues, references may be contacted to verify issues. Likewise, if you're less likely to need a personnel subject interview for a Secret clearance determination – unless there are issues an investigator needs to clarify.
Persons who have used drugs in the past may be approved for access to classified information. In accepting a security clearance, however, government employees and contractors also accept an obligation to remain drug free in the future.
The Department of State official site lists three federal clearances from lowest to highest. They are, respectively, Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret.
In general, expect a CONFIDENTIAL or SECRET clearance to take between 1 and 3 months. A TOP SECRET will probably take between 4 and 8 months. However, some individuals have been waiting for the results of their TOP SECRET investigation for more than one year.
They run a credit check and run your name and SSN through NICS. If there are problems you'll be asked to provide more information. You don't have to provide the information (such as bank statements) but the clearance process will stop if you don't provide it.
Bankruptcy or Debt
Although there isn't a minimum credit score to obtain employment in government, it isn't favorable if you have accumulated debt or have filed for bankruptcy. For the government, this means that you're unable to comply with financial obligations and are considered grounds for disqualification.
Generally speaking, a good debt-to-income ratio is anything less than or equal to 36%. Meanwhile, any ratio above 43% is considered too high.
In today's volatile job market, it's important to remember that being let go from a contract or fired for company reasons (not punitive ones) clearly has no bearing on your security clearance eligibility.
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Security clearance background investigators do not check your browsing history, read your emails, surveil your every move, bug your telephones, or photograph you commuting to work. That's just not feasible, or allowable.
"All personnel who have a security clearance or complete a Personnel Security Background Investigation for a security clearance are giving authorization to be subject to scrutiny of their social media to look for character, trustworthiness, reliability issues and foreign contacts," said Bullard.
It depends. If your spouse is the only person who can verify certain periods (overseas coverage, social coverage, etc), then your spouse will be interviewed. Interviewing spouses is not preferable but it is sometimes necessary, depending on the circumstances. They interviewed my husband for my "public trust" clearance.
“The best references are individuals who have knowledge of you over a long period of time, if possible, and who know your work ethic through direct observation.” Strong references can also describe the best of your personality traits—such as reliability, honesty, and dedication.