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Honesty is the best policy in the security clearance process

Just about everyone has at least one minor indiscretion in their past. When it comes to obtaining a security clearance, a Pennsylvania applicant may believe that omitting that fact from the application could give him or her a better chance at receiving a clearance. Unfortunately, this strategy could cost such an individual a security clearance.

Under Guideline E: Personal Conduct, omissions are as good as lies. Failing to include a piece of potentially damaging information would be cause for denial of a security clearance. It may not even be the information omitted that causes the denial.

More than likely, it would be the lie instead, depending on the transgression. The situation could be saved by coming clean as quickly as possible. If the applicant can do so before the information is discovered through the background investigation, it may become a nonissue.

For instance, a man failed to disclose minor drug use during college on his application. He was denied a security clearance and appealed. Before the investigator could ask any questions, he came clean about the issue and gave the investigator the evidence that he had made the decision to disclose the information beforehand. The judge overseeing the appeal determined that had he waited until the investigator questioned him, it would have been too late to repair the damage done by the omission.

When it comes to applying for a security clearance, Pennsylvania residents should understand that honesty is always the best policy. The federal government does not expect anyone to have lived a blameless life, but it does expect the truth. Before doing anything, it might help to discuss the transgression and any consequences it may bring with an attorney experienced in this particular field of law.

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