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Top Secret Clearance

 
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Has anybody with naturalized U.S. citizenship ever obtained a top secret clearance? I was naturalized 20 years ago. A company is interested in recruiting me. However, we are uncertain about my elegibility for a top secret clearance. Is it possible?
[ March 23, 2004: Message edited by: Daniel Gee ]
 
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I think so. A friend of mine at MIT talked to the NSA about a job. They're the most paranoid of all government agencies. He was a French citizen. The NSA said he could be hired because "France is not a hostile country." (I guess they never traveled there under a US passport. :-p)
No harm in asking (call the FBI maybe?). Go for it.
--Mark
 
Daniel Gee
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The company that interested in recruiting me receives the Department of Defense (DoD) contracts. Does DoD have more stringent requirements than NSA?
 
Mark Herschberg
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I believe clearance is clearance is clearance. There's one ranking system across all government agencies and military branches. But again I note that, AFAIK, the NSA is the most paranoid of all government agencies, so that may be some indication.
The easiest way to answer this question is to call the FBI (or maybe Homeland Security these days), and ask.
--Mark
 
Daniel Gee
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Thanks, Mark. I have called up the Department of Defense. There is no problem for naturalized citizens to obtain a top secret clearance for employment.
 
Mark Herschberg
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Always go to the source. :-)
Good luck pursuing the job.
--Mark
 
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Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
I believe clearance is clearance is clearance. There's one ranking system across all government agencies and military branches.


DOE has their own.
 
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To answer you question truthfully about a TS clearance, the answer is: it depends.
See FOREIGN INFLUENCE AND FOREIGN PREFERENCE
 
Daniel Gee
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Thank you for the reference that you provided. I think the "FOREIGN INFLUENCE AND FOREIGN PREFERENCE CONSIDERATIONS IN NATIONAL SECURITY CLEARANCE DECISIONS" refers to "security" clearance. It is not that difficult to obtain a security clearance. My question is regarding a "top secret" clearance. At least, the DoD already told me that naturalized citizens are not barred from getting a top secret clearance. As to whether an individual gets cleared or not, of course, depends on what that person has done and has being doing.
 
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what about the pay?
is the pay for top secret military or government job good and better than standard commercial jobs?
 
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Originally posted by Daniel Gee:
Thank you for the reference that you provided. I think the "FOREIGN INFLUENCE AND FOREIGN PREFERENCE CONSIDERATIONS IN NATIONAL SECURITY CLEARANCE DECISIONS" refers to "security" clearance. It is not that difficult to obtain a security clearance. My question is regarding a "top secret" clearance. At least, the DoD already told me that naturalized citizens are not barred from getting a top secret clearance. As to whether an individual gets cleared or not, of course, depends on what that person has done and has being doing.


Just to make things a little clearer, the link referenced in a post above regarding "security" clearance, applies to Top Secret Clearance as well. Security clearance and top secret clearance are not completely seperate things. Top Secret Clearance is one of the types of security clearances. From what I understand, the higher the level of security clearances, the more strigent the requirements and the deeper the background check. For example, I have friends that are officers in the U.S. Army, and they explained to me that all Army officers must hold secret clearance. But that process is fairly quick. It usually includes a background check, including criminal history, a credit check, and I think a few references. On the other hand, I have a buddy who works for a MUCH more secretative agency, and his background check to well over 6 months and involved a polygraph. That level of clearance was Top Secret, SBI (Special Background Investigation) if I recall correctly.
Jon
 
Jon McDonald
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Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
I think so. A friend of mine at MIT talked to the NSA about a job. They're the most paranoid of all government agencies. He was a French citizen. The NSA said he could be hired because "France is not a hostile country." (I guess they never traveled there under a US passport. :-p)
No harm in asking (call the FBI maybe?). Go for it.
--Mark


Did he have dual citizenship or was he only a French citizen and not a U.S. citizen? If he was not a U.S. citizen, I wonder whether he was applying for a job that required secret or above security clearance. The reason why I say this is that IIRC, NSA uses DOD security clearance, and secret and above security clearance cannot be granted to a non-US citizen, without a waiver from the Secretary of Defense. While France is not a hostile country, there have been cases of espionage against people in the U.S. acting as agents for friendly countries (the Jonathan Pollarad case being the most obvious). I would seriously question whether the NSA would allow a person with no alliegence to the US to work for them and access to Top Secret information simply because the nation that they had alligence to was not considered hostile at this time.
Jon
 
Daniel Gee
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The company is very discouraged and no longer considers my candidacy after they learn the following:
According to security advisor, while in principle I am clearable (naturalized 20 years ago), the chance that I shall not get a "top secret" clearance is high.
The company simply cannot afford this kind of risk. By the way, I am not from a hostile country to the U.S.
 
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Discrimination on the basis of national origin is illegal. Unless they turned up something in your past that would make you ineligible ( e.g. drunk driving, an arrest record, or financial troubles ), you should have an equal opportunity with every other competitor.
Henry Kissenger was born with German citizenship. IIRC, he held a number of high level positions in the US including National Security Adviser to the President and Secretary of State.
 
Jon McDonald
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Originally posted by Daniel Gee:
The company is very discouraged and no longer considers my candidacy after they learn the following:
According to security advisor, while in principle I am clearable (naturalized 20 years ago), the chance that I shall not get a "top secret" clearance is high.
The company simply cannot afford this kind of risk. By the way, I am not from a hostile country to the U.S.


From what I understand from friends of mine who deal in this area, the standard for top secret clearance is very high. I've known naturalized U.S. citizens that have gotten that level of clearance, but the bar is definately raised. If you are a naturalized U.S. citizen, they also want to see things along the lines of renouncing your citizenship to your native country. In addition, if you have close ties to relatives in your native country, that can be looked down on. They would look into things like when was the last time you visited your native country. They really start digging deep into your past once you get to the top secret level.
Jon
 
Daniel Gee
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I am completely clean (no bad record). All my families are in the U.S. The last time I visited my native country was 11 years ago.
The issue is that the company cannot take chance. All the people at the JavaRanch may believe what I say about myself because there is no risk on your part. From the viewpoint of the company, there is risk involved.
This job opportunity is gone for good even I firmly believe that I will pass the screening. There are problematic naturalized citizens and all the people in the group get penalized. Tough luck, that is it.
 
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