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The Consequences of Hiding Information When Submitting the Standard Form 86

The Consequences of Hiding Information When Submitting the Standard Form 86

If you are pursuing a job with a federal agency or are seeking to join the military, your process for obtaining national security clearance will begin by filling the Questionnaire for National Security Positions, also known as Standard Form 86 or SF-86. 

When completing the form, you will find that the questionnaire will inquire information about your history and background. It will also ask you to provide personal references, individuals who can attest to your character. By undergoing this background examination, the agency conducting the investigation will be able to determine if you are an honest and trustworthy person, or if they will be jeopardizing the nation’s security by allowing you access to sensitive information. 

How a Lie or Omission Can Affect Your Ability to Attain Access to National Security Clearance

If you have committed a blunder many years ago, such as tried an illicit substance or stolen something from a store, you may be wondering if you can avoid putting that information in your SF-86. After all, you were never caught, much less charged with the unlawful action. When undergoing a background investigation for national security clearance, however, you will come to find out that it is very easy for investigators to find out and thereby characterize your persona. 

If you lie or hide important information on Standard Form 86, the Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, will likely refer to the United States Criminal Code, Title 18, §1001. Under this code, you potentially face fines and imprisonment, no longer than five years, for withholding information or making false claims in your application. 

When making an omission on SF-86, you should know that this information could eventually be discovered, and this could be perceived as lying in your application. 

Standard Form 86 and Your History of Drug Use

There are many national security clearance petitioners who become tempted to conceal their history of drug use, especially if the drug use occurred many years ago. Although an action occurred a long time ago and also did not lead to a criminal record, the drug use will need to be reported thoroughly.

If the history of drug use involves the consumption of marijuana or another type of drug, being forthcoming might be rewarding, as an applicant may not always be disqualified based on their history of drug use. Lying or omitting, on the other hand, will almost always result in being denied access to national security clearance. 

Hire the Legal Support of a Skilled Attorney

If you were denied access to national security clearance, you will be given the opportunity to contest the decision. The appeals process, however, is a sensitive and complex matter that may require the support of an experienced attorney. Consider obtaining legal counsel before filing an appeal. 

The attorneys at Brett O’Brien Law, LLC are exceptionally experienced in the field of national security clearance denials and revocations. The firm understands that a denial can result in the loss of a job; therefore, the law firm will act quickly and diligently to help you resolve the matter. Consider contacting the National Security Law Firm today for more information. 

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About the Author:

National Security Law Firm

Brett O’Brien specializes in security clearance appeals.  He has dedicated his career to learning the entire security clearance process from start to finish.  He started his journey by working for the federal government before entering private practice.  His extensive experience working for the federal government includes over eight years advising clients on revoking and suspending an employee’s security clearance, reporting derogatory information, representing clients in their response to a Statement of Reasons (SOR), and using his Army Reserve duty to support the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA).  His work at the DOHA allowed him to learn the... View full business profile here: National Security Law Firm

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