Lying is never really the answer when it comes to the security clearance process. And if contracted by the federal government, lying about your hours / timesheet is generally a no-no, as well. Accurate timekeeping relies heavily on the integrity of the person filing hours worked, but if supervisors are not paying attention there is always a possibility of an employee taking advantage to claim hours worked when they actually did not.

A recent Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals case highlighted the danger of getting fired for this practice. Below are the highlights of the case.


A 28-year-old defense contractor working as a cleared systems engineer was counseled numerous times in 2017 and 2018 by her supervisor for failure to maintain a consistent and predictable work schedule. In 2019 her performance appraisal included another caution stating continued issues with her work schedule could result in disciplinary action. Alas, the contractor did not heed the warnings and the supervisor noticed she was missing from their secure workspace on numerous occasions. The supervisor reported this to Human Resources, who requested an audit of the contractor’s badge swipes for the days in question. The audit revealed discrepancies in her claimed hours worked versus time badged in, and when questioned about it, she initially claimed she “piggy-backed” in with others. The problem with this excuse is it is a security violation to do that, so even if it were true, she would be admitting to numerous security violations. Eventually she admitted she was not present during over 100 hours claimed for pay.

The DoD revoked her eligibility for a clearance, and she appealed to DOHA in writing, expressing her remorse for serious ethical mistakes, claiming she was inexperienced and underchallenged at work. Of course, this tact did not go over will with the judge in this case, and no mitigation was applied to the personal conduct concerns – clearance reinstatement denied.

Whether timesheet discrepancies or following your customer site’s entry and exit protocols, claiming that you are an inexperienced employee after multiple warnings will never fly as a mitigating factor with DOHA.

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Marko Hakamaa served in various military police positions with the United States Army worldwide for 22 years before retiring in 2006 as a Master Sergeant. Afterwards, he transitioned into the civilian workforce as a contractor background investigator for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) before entering civil service as a Security Specialist in 2009.