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What are the responsibilities of someone who possessed a security clearance but is no longer employed by the DoD?

I currently work for the US DoD, but I am planning to become fully self-employed in the relatively near future. People with a clearance have some responsibilities such as reporting all foreign travel, submitting documents for review before they are published, and reporting close associations with foreign nationals. I have done a lot of research online on this topic and am familiar with the responsibilities when someone has a clearance, but I have not been able to find any clear answers on if those responsibilities are still applicable if your clearance has become inactive or expired. I have asked my FSO, but they were not particularly helpful...

I intend to do a lot of international travel, and I don't want to wake up one morning to find a Blackhawk hovering outside my house and being asked why I hadn't told anyone I went to Ireland.

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    Hey, don't ask random people on the intertoobz about your legal and security obligations. Ask a security officer at your company. Why should you ask an expert? Blackhawks. – O. Jones Feb 27 at 19:19
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I have done a lot of research online on this topic and am familiar with the responsibilities when someone has a clearance, but I have not been able to find any clear answers on if those responsibilities are still applicable if your clearance has become inactive or expired. I have asked my FSO, but they were not particularly helpful.

It goes without saying, the NDA you signed when you received your clearance, does not expire when your clearance is not renewed or you no longer have a need to know. When you leave your job you will be expected to be debriefed, and you should be notified of your expectations with regards to the information you know, when that happens.

Once you no longer have a need to know, your clearance should immediately be revoked, you are no longer required to notify your security manager (FSO) of your travel. I will go ahead and repeat the fact, even though you are no longer required to report your travel, you are not allowed to disclose anything you are privy to.

I intend to do a lot of international travel, and I don't want to wake up one morning to find a Blackhawk hovering outside my house and being asked why I hadn't told anyone I went to Ireland.

This does not happen even if you hold a security clearance. If you do international travel without notifying your FSO, then that security incident would have to be reported, and your clearance could be impacted. Since you no longer plan on having a security clearance that requirement is no longer required.

What are the responsibilities of someone who possessed a security clearance but is no longer employed by the DoD?

You are required never to reveal any information that is classified. You are not required to report your international travel, since you will be self-employed and I assume you will NOT hold a security clearance once you leave the DoD, you wouldn't have anyone to report the travel to anyways.

Once you have actually given up your security clearance, you will be told what expectations if any there will be, including reporting contact with foreign government representatives. At the end of the day, any requirements after you leave the DoD, will really depend on the amount of knowledge that you have been privy to. The best person to ask specific questions, with regards to your specific knowledge, really is your Facilities Security Officer (FSO).

With regards to a CAC (Common Access Card), there are lots of DoD employees with a CAC, that do not have a security clearance.

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    There was one additional point when I was debriefed at the end of my last job. You're still required to report any suspected attempts by someone to pump you for information about classified work. You can do so by contacting a facilities security officer (either at your former employer or any other DoD contractor) or your local FBI office. – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Feb 28 at 12:07
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If you quit your previous job your security clearance goes inactive. You do not have to report any sort of travel any longer as your security clearance is no longer in effect.

However, if you plan to activate it again, be sure to jot down where you went, and if you made any sort of foreign contact outside of your immediate family. You will need to report foreign travels (within 10 years if I remember right) you made outside of work requirements when you apply for a security clearance.

I intend to do a lot of international travel, and I don't want to wake up one morning to find a Blackhawk hovering outside my house and being asked why I hadn't told anyone I went to Ireland.

Ireland isn't exactly a hostile country. Perhaps during the 70s and 80s and maybe early 90s but now no. In reality if you are actively working with the government, what they would do is temporarily revoke your clearance and mark you for investigation on why you didn't report a recent visit. If you work for a contractor company, they would probably fire you rather than wait for the outcome of the investigation. You're not going to get arrested or thrown in jail. It will, however, tarnish your repurtation forever and you'll never hold a government/contractor job as your records would have a mark on it. It may tarnish outside of that too because companies will question why you got revoked and it will look as bad as having a criminal history. However, none of that applies here because you no longer have an active clearance.

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  • I don't know, Ireland might be pretty hostile during a rugby match with England. Do you know if what you say applies immediately after leaving the job, or does the 2-year 'grace period' for reactivating a clearance change that at all? – Domition Feb 27 at 15:38
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    Your FSO would give you all the information as you leave during the exit interview. Your clearance goes inactive relatively fast. Like within a day or so kind of fast. You're still bounded by NDAs and such. You're married to the government forever, so to speak but you're "free" from reporting travels until you apply for a new security clearance or reactivate your current one. – Dan Feb 27 at 15:45
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    You also may still be bound by a "pre-publication" review clause in your security agreement. This means that anything you want to publish that may in any way be related to the work you did MAY still have to reviewed by the cognizant agency (whoever granted your clearance) – SteveSh Feb 27 at 16:00
  • Your clearance goes inactive relatively fast. Like within a day or so kind of fast. You might want to clarify what you mean by this. You lose access the instant you turn in your badge, and you're subject to a new background investigation (generally) if you haven't done cleared for for 24 months. I don't know what you mean by "inactive" within a day or so. – pip install frisbee Feb 27 at 16:21
  • @pipinstallMonica Depends on whether you're a contractor, government civil, or military. For civil or military, you still retain your base access and access to the non-secure parts but for contractors you're basically revoked throughout. – Dan Feb 27 at 17:31
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You are still legally held accountable for any information you may have learned while holding a clearance. So if you were to apply somewhere that does not require a clearance in the future you can't put something like 'worked on super secret program X' or 'traveled to secret location y to work on z'. The secrecy requirements are lifetime and do not expire if you leave, and if whatever you worked on does become public I still would not talk about it or how you were involved in it without talking to a lawyer that specalized is that kind of work.

Like the above answer says you no longer have anyone to report travel/foreign contacts...etc to but you should still keep track in case you ever want to get back into DoD work.

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