I get a lot of love letters here at ClearanceJobs. The vast majority of requests can be directed back to the more than 7,000 articles we’ve already written, addressing everything from polygraph questions to how to determine if you’ve actually ever had a clearance.
Every so often we hit upon a novelty or nuance that has not yet entered the posterity of a post on the ClearanceJobs news site. This week I was asked if it’s possible to obtain a security clearance if one has an outstanding, non-extraditable warrant.
The obvious answer is – no, you cannot get a security clearance if you have any kind of an outstanding warrant, including the non-extraditable kind. The obvious question is – what kind of person with a warrant would be working in the national security field?
Reasons for a Non-Extraditable Warrant
Believe it or not, warrants can be issued for a number of far from nefarious issues – including something as basic as a speeding ticket. Driving across the country and caught going 80 in a 75, but don’t believe you should have to pay the ticket? It may be easy to ignore those court notices, but it won’t be easy to argue your case to a security clearance adjudicator.
If you find yourself in the situation where you discover a warrant during the course of a security clearance background investigation, your chances of obtaining a security clearance aren’t necessarily sunk. If you admit that you forgot about the ticket or have another plausible reason you didn’t pony up the money until now – and if you take immediate steps to pay any fines and get on the right side of the law – you may be able to mitigate the national security concerns.
If you’re a rebel without a cause, on the other hand (including a gentleman I discovered on a forum who noted he would rather never drive through the state of Ohio than pay a ticket he thought he was wrongfully issued) – your chances of obtaining a clearance are not good.
Not shockingly, the government likes rules-followers. Classification guidelines are nothing if not an exercise in making sure you know how to follow process and procedures – even ones that make no sense to you. If you are unjustly issued a ticket, by all means – fight the man. But do it through the legal procedures of the court (ignoring court notices is not following lawful procedures, if you’re wondering). If you fight the law, and the law wins, pay you fines, count your losses – and you can still feel free to never drive through the state of Ohio ever again.
Your non-extraditable warrant will come back to haunt you. And if an issue comes up between periodic reinvestigations, you can bet that continuous evaluation will catch you. So, sorry Carl – you cannot get a security clearance with a non-extraditable warrant. You can, however, address the issues that caused the warrant to be issued, and get your clearance career on track.