The Defense Security Service (DSS) will only grant you a security clearance when a proper investigation has been completed. The purpose of this investigation is to conclude that granting you security clearance is in the nation’s best interest. If certain matters cannot be resolved by the investigator, the file will be sent to the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO), whereby an adjudicator may issue a set of questions for you to answer. These questions are known as interrogatories.
Why were interrogatories sent to you?
Contractors are frequently asked to respond to interrogatories as part of the interview process. In rare cases, full-time government employees may also receive a list of questions the applicant needs to answer before a security clearance can be issued.
Responding to these questions is critical if you hope to receive clearance from the DoD.
How to respond to interrogatories During the Security Clearance
During the investigation process, you should expect to have your entire life examined much like an open book. Investigators will dig into your financial, personal, and criminal histories to get a clearer picture of who you are, what your character is like, and to determine if you are a security risk.
Interrogatories are issued as part of the process to further assess your security clearance eligibility when certain factors exist, such as family members who reside in a foreign country (Foreign Influence), bad debts (Financial), prior drug use (Personal Conduct), and minor convictions (Criminal Conduct).
When responding to interrogatories, it is critical that you:
Always Tell the Truth
This is not the time to “forget” to mention something questionable about your past, nor is it wise to mislead investigators in any way. For example, if you used drugs back in college, all instances of that drug use, including the drugs you took, who you took them with, where you took them, and other details must be explained in full or else a red flag could be raised if a discrepancy in your story is later discovered.
Remember, no one has the right to security clearance. Just because you obtain clearance doesn’t mean it can’t be revoked later if a current or past security issue is ever discovered. Examples include a prior arrest, unreported drug use, and employee misconduct. Being truthful on your interrogatory questions and laying your entire past bare is always the best policy.
Being vague will only raise red flags that could get your clearance denied or later revoked. For example, if you have foreign siblings, be extremely clear about your current involvement with those relatives so that you successfully mitigate any concerns regarding foreign influence. It is best to provide more information than less, as the latter will only lead to greater scrutiny on your character and history.
Once again, the burden of proof is on you to prove your security clearance eligibility. In addition to being truthful and crystal clear about all security clearance issues, you might want to provide documentation, such as bank records to show that you are working on your financial difficulties. The more evidence you can provide, the higher the likelihood of you obtaining the security clearance you need.
If you are able to answer the questions completely and truthfully, you may receive a security clearance without the need to attend a DOHA hearing.
If the questions are insufficient, and the issues with your application are still not resolved, a Statement of Reasons (SOR) will be sent to you.
These are complicated matters that require the services of experienced security clearance attorneys. Security Clearance Law Group can help you respond to interrogatory questions and all other issues you may encounter in the investigation process. Call now to discuss your case.