The security clearance process has triggers that allow you to appeal a clearance revocation. That’s particularly important when a revocation comes after successfully maintaining a clearance/cleared role for 30+ years.

That was the case with this subscriber to the ClearanceJobsBlog:

This may be repetitious, but it is very unique to me, and I need some help. History: 30 years with the national guard, 20 years with a secret. Left the guard and started contracting a few years later and started the process to get a TS/SCI. Was issued TS/SCI and worked for 2 years. Advanced to a position requiring polygraph so I took the poly. Received the email stating I passed the poly and was issued my administrative credentials/Tokens for access to the networks I was to work on. Two months later I was stopped midday, and ordered to debrief, return my CAC and was walked from the building. Not even able to get my coffee mug from my desk.

That was 5 months ago.

The only paperwork I have ever gotten was the memo I signed for the debrief. It stated why my “SCI” was being suspended and listed items which I want to put in context.

During the poly, I was asked about drug use, and I told them I participated in the Florida Medical Marijuana. My VA Psychiatrist told me it was OK to try so I did. I used the program for 30 days before my VA MD told me I tested positive for Marijuana. She told me since I am on an opioid, I cannot do the marijuana, so I stopped the medical marijuana. I did NOT have my TS at the time but told the Poly guy that I was not sure of the dates so I might have, I did not know.

On the Memo, it stated I lied about use of illegal drugs.
I want to be able to contest this from what I’m told, if I don’t have a job which requires a clearance, that the COF will never even look at my case, let alone ask me for information about it. And no one will hire me when I answer “have you ever had your clearance revoked” as yes.

HOWEVER, I got a contractor to sponsor me for my old position but 3 weeks after they send me the offer letter, they rescinded it saying it was going to take too long to go through the weeks of my clearance so again, I will never get to challenge this.
I called a lawyer who deals in this, and he said I have to wait for the COF to actually adjudicate before we can challenge but again… if they never look at my case, I will never get to appeal it.

Someone please help me understand the process and explain how I can get my life’s work back.


Unfortunately, breaking federal law while maintaining a security clearance – which was disclosed in the polygraph examination – is strictly prohibited. Many agencies are relaxing the reins on if you used marijuana prior to obtaining a clearance. But knowingly going against federal rules and regulations is the bigger issue.

AmberBunny comments:

Yep. Catch 22. Legal at state but not federal level. If you answered questions saying no to non prescribed MJ…I can see them looking at it as hiding. Do you honestly maintain in 20 cleared years you never once heard about this prohibited use? That is where it strains credulity. Once you get the revocation or intention to revoke letter, by all means appeal. It is an uphill battle to make folks believe you did not know this was wrong in the eyes of the fed. Granted, your security managers may not have always been on point in their briefings but somewhere down the line you did know MJ was not allowed, right? I feel you on loss of clearance, job, etc. Nobody wants that. You get nothing by letting it go. You might get a break in an appeal.


While you received a memo from your employer, it sounds like you have yet to receive a Statement of Reasons for loss of access. A SOR is the explanation for denying or revoking an individual a security clearance based on the 13 adjudicative criteria. It is also the mechanism that provides you an opportunity to appeal the decision.

To better position yourself with a positive outcome:

  1. Be timely in your response.
  2. Understand the denial fully.
  3. Mitigate, confirm or deny each fact in the denial. Take additional steps like receiving letters of recommendation from the VA.
  4. Rely on the facts and avoid emotional responses.
  5. Ask for assistance from a security clearance attorney.


Much about the clearance process resembles the Pirate’s Code: “more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.” This case-by-case system is meant to consider the whole person, increase process security, and allow the lowest-risk/highest-need candidates to complete the process. However, it also creates a  lot of questions for applicants. For this reason, ClearanceJobs  maintains – a forum where clearance seekers can ask the cleared community for advice on their specific security concerns. Ask CJ explores questions posed  on the ClearanceJobs Blog forum, emails received, and comments from this site.

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Katie Helbling is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸