CNN reported that there are over 4 million people in the United States with military security clearance. In the military, having security clearance is a stamp of trustworthiness that grants you access to classified information critical to national security. However, this privilege comes with the responsibility to maintain a standard of conduct in line with the clearance’s requirements.
Certain crimes weigh heavily against your security status and can lead to the revocation of your clearance. Losing your clearance not only affects your current position but can also have long-term consequences on your military career. Understanding which crimes can put your security clearance at risk is essential.
Crimes related to honesty and integrity
Crimes that call into question your honesty or integrity, such as fraud, perjury or embezzlement, can disqualify you from holding a security clearance. These offenses suggest that you might not be trustworthy with classified information. If the courts convicted you or you are under investigation for such crimes, you may find your clearance under review and possibly revoked.
Substance abuse and related crimes
Substance abuse is another serious concern. Drug-related crimes, including possession, use or distribution of illegal substances, can result in the loss of your clearance. The military views substance abuse as an indicator of poor judgment and reliability, which is important when handling classified material.
Violent behavior and criminal conduct
Violent crimes such as assault, domestic violence or other acts that harm or threaten the welfare of others can also jeopardize your security clearance. Such behavior raises questions about your ability to exercise self-control and good judgment. Acts that suggest a pattern of misconduct or instability can be particularly damaging to your clearance status.
Foreign influence and espionage
Crimes involving foreign influence, such as espionage, treason or unauthorized communication of national defense information, are among the most severe. Engaging in activities that could link you to foreign powers or suggest loyalty issues will almost certainly strip you of your security clearance.
You must take any charge against you seriously, as it can affect your military career and future. If you commit a crime, you run a high risk of losing your security clearance. Always uphold the law and the military’s code of conduct, not just for your career’s sake but for national security as well.