Churning May Affect Security Clearance

There have been two reports now of security clearances in jeopardy or denied due to excessive credit card accumulation:

Hi Everyone. First of all, thank you so much Derp and your team for writing these fantastic articles! I got into some serious churning 3 years ago because of you guys! Great job. Just wanted to give EVERYONE a huge heads up and warning in regards to Churning that personally affected me. During a job interview that required top security clearance, they failed me during the polygraph and in person interview for having “Too many credit cards”. They hammered me hard on that portion and despite paying EVERYTHING off on time and despite me explaining the process behind “churning”, they labeled this behavior has excessive and a behavior not “fit” for an agent position.
I was on my final stages of becoming and obtaining my dream job but never knew this could possibly have affected me. Knowing four different languages, graduating from Boston College + commissioned officer, I was certain that I would be golden but having too many credit cards was what ultimately disqualified me from being offered my dream job.
Just wanted to give a warning to everyone who plans on working at an agency that requires a top secret clearance, especially in an “agent” position.
I cannot give out the specific agency but nevertheless, I will be enjoying this rest of the year with my wife, the great benefits of SCRA/MLA. Now time to travel to Southeast Asia with all the points that i accumulated throughout my active duty career!

-Reader Marcus on 11 October 2019

The other datapoint is here on reddit. You think it’s time to give up the game? Looks like churning is off limits to the entire line community that actually needs TS clearance.


5 thoughts on “Churning May Affect Security Clearance

  1. says:

    Sounds like fake news. Your worst fake story being there’s a lot of fellers with TS and who went thru TS process not long ago.
    Better focus on Amex lifetime language offers

  2. Dave says:

    That sounds like agency-specific standards. I had my reinvestigation early this year at around 25 open cards. The investigator never brought it up and I even volunteered the information in case it became an issue. Never heard anything back and clearance is still intact.

  3. I really hope this is NOT true. If it is, the DoD should put out something to the masses (like they recently did for people investing in marijuana companies). Until that happens, I am skeptical. Either way, thank you for bringing this to our attention. A message from big government could be forthcoming. Anyway, back to the post. One of these two supposed cases involves someone in Canada and a Canadian agency. This one is a person in the USA. Again, if this is true, my assumptions (dangerous, I know) are:
    1) The interviewer has NO idea what churning is.
    2) The interviewer knows what churning is, but is misinterpreting the message of being “far more aggressive” in regards to the recent crackdown and more scrutinized monitoring of the financial status of service members. Then again, this person isn’t a uniform wearer anymore.
    3) Everything is legit and the standards for this agency (a couple come to mind) are much higher than what we have to abide by.

    For number three, “Failure to live within one’s means, satisfy debts, and meet financial obligations may indicate poor self-control, lack of judgment” is part of the verbiage for the security clearance guidelines. I could see how they would tie this to opening a bunch of credit cards, although, I don’t agree with it. Hear me out, we have access to more debt than most, if we slip up (one mistake away, right), we are going to be in more debt than most, which would make it harder to satisfy the debt and meet our financial obligations. Poor self-control, ehh, probably true if looking at it through the lens of we want all the bonus points and rewards we can get. Never mind, our credit scores are higher than many non-churners.

    Last point, section 26 of the SF-86 is the Financial Record section. 26.4 states, “In the past seven (7) years have you been counseled, warned, or disciplined for violating the terms of agreement for a travel or credit card provided by your employer?” Some churners have mistakenly violated the terms of agreement by either trying to bend the rules or they straight up fly too close to the sun pushing the limits to the max. I didn’t see anything else in section 26 that would be a concern for churners.

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