Rumor or Reality #5: If I am great at my job, the government will overlook clearance concerns

Rumor! Even the most competent person can intentionally or unintentionally compromise national security. Thus, excellent performance or the importance of an individual’s work, alone, will not mitigate security concerns. Most DOHA decisions simply conclude that, despite one’s contributions, their clearance is denied or revoked, but this 2003 DOHA Appeal Board decision hits the nail on the head:

An applicant’s trustworthiness and reliability does not turn on whether the applicant possesses professional abilities. It is entirely possible for: (a) an applicant to be trustworthy and reliable without possessing any professional ability or talent; (b) an applicant to be untrustworthy and unreliable despite possessing a professional ability or talent; or (c) vice versa. Furthermore, the negative security implications of falsification do not turn on whether an applicant possesses a professional ability or talent.

That is not to say that performance and contributions are irrelevant—if favorable, they should be presented for consideration in the “whole person analysis” (that’s government lingo for “we recognize that you are a human being and potential issues should be taken in context”). Bottom line? Good performance and demonstrated good judgment, reliability, and trustworthiness in one’s duties are relevant, but a favorable decision will require more than that.

See the full Rumor or Reality series here.