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Financial privacy and a spur of the moment trip are some of the casualties of having a security clearance. Setting certain guidelines for yourself will help you keep security clearances.

Honesty is necessary during any inquiry or investigation on clearances. Any misrepresentation may be worse than your misconduct and cost your clearance or job.

Foreign contacts

Clearance holders should report any foreign contact immediately. This is not required for chance encounters but for close or continuing contacts. When in doubt, however, err on the side of safety and report the contact.

Credit and finances  

Finances are a major issue. In addition to completing standard questionnaires, clearance holders must submit an annual financial form at most agencies. Current and outstanding loans, child support, alimony, gifts of money, real estate, investments, and all other financial information should be disclosed.

Accuracy is essential. Any numbers that do not comply with government information is suspicious to agencies.

Know what is on your credit report. Repossession, bankruptcy, and extensive collection activity will bring additional scrutiny. These items do not necessarily terminate a clearance, but you should document these matters and know that these are on your report if asked by an investigator.

Also, try to resolve as many of these negative items if a periodic reinvestigation is forthcoming and document all your communications with collectors. Take the initiative in reporting financial matters when you undergo continuous evaluation. All financial difficulties or issues must be reported to your security officer as they come up.


Do not use recreational drugs or abuse prescription drugs. If this occurred, seek help and report it. In an initial background investigation, be transparent and do not omit any information.

Misusing government systems  

This conduct will spark inquires, terminate your clearance, and cost you your job. If you intentionally or unintentionally misused these systems, report it immediately.

This activity includes using pornography on the system, excessive personal use, uploading or installing unapproved software, gaining access to another unauthorized system, violating copyright laws, using a personal email address for work, operating a personal business at work and on a government system and peer-to-peer downloading of movies, music, software and media.

An attorney can advise a member of the military or a civilian employee on clearance issues. They can also assist with clearance inquiries and procedures.