A Secret Service agent’s security clearance is in jeopardy following his arrest in a recent undercover online sexting by Delaware State Police, but that may be the least of his worries.
Lee Robert Moore, a 37-year-old who is part of the White House security detail, turned himself in to federal authorities in Maryland on Nov. 9 after trying to solicit a teenage girl for sex.
He faces state charges in Delaware of sexual solicitation of a child under 18 and providing obscene material to a person under 18, according to Philly.com. He is charged separately in federal court with an attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor.
Moore used a social media app called Meet24 to send a naked photo and request to meet with a girl he believed to be 14 years old, according to USA Today. The person he communicated with was an undercover law enforcement officer. Several conversations occurred while Moore was working in the uniformed division of the Secret Service.
The Secret Service placed Moore on administrative leave on Nov. 6 and suspended his security clearance.
Besides being against the law, this sort of criminal sexual behavior is a red flag for officials who investigate applicants for security clearance. Guideline D of the Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information addresses sexual behavior.
The concern is that sexual behavior involving criminal offenses “indicates a personality or emotional disorder, reflects lack of judgment or discretion, or which may subject the individual to undue influence or coercion, exploitation, or duress can raise questions about an individual reliability, trustworthiness, and ability to protect classified information,” according to the guidelines.
Although Moore faces jail time, as well as the loss of his job and his security clearance if convicted, applicants for security clearance who have committed similar offenses in the past could be prevented from ever obtaining security clearance, to begin with, a security clearance lawyer Catie Young said.
“Questions regarding your sexual behavior are part of the security clearance application process,” Young said. “Criminal sexual behavior or a pattern of compulsive, risky, or self-destructive behavior could prevent you from obtaining clearance.”
Sexual behavior that renders a person vulnerable to coercion or exploitation, as well as sexual behavior that shows a lack of discretion or judgment could raise security concerns and disqualify a person from being eligible for security clearance.
However, past sexual behavior, even if it meets the previously mentioned criteria, doesn’t prohibit an applicant from getting a security clearance in every case. If you have a history of sexual behavior that you believe might interfere with your ability to gain clearance, you should consult with a security clearance attorney for advice on how to address the subject in your application.
“Your behavior may date back to your teenage years, and you haven’t exhibited that behavior in 20 years or more,” Young said. “That would be a condition that could mitigate the government’s concern.”
An attorney who specializes in security clearance law can assist in providing supplemental information that explains your past situations and decreases your chances of past behavior being held against you. Call today if you would like to schedule a consultation with an experienced security clearance lawyer.