Posted abroad? Marriage can cost you your wind up
One of my favorite scenes from any movie is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. We find out that a beautiful Austrian archaeologist named Elsa had an intimate relationship with Indy and her father (separately). She is seized at this moment by a Nazi, who threatens to kill her if Indy does not deliver a precious journal that will lead them to a holy relic.
“Oh yes?” says Indy’s father, who is by no means in love with her. “Go ahead!”
Indy, however, who has developed feelings for her, yells, “Wait!” and hand over the book.
There is a lesson here for American personnel working overseas. Love is a tricky business in the customs clearance community, but it’s especially tricky if you fall in love while you abroad. And if you want marry a man or a woman born abroad? Then things become really complicated.
A brief introduction to love and marriage abroad
If you are abroad and love a certain person, there are some general best practices for preserving your permission while navigating the rocky rapids of romantic relationships. In all areas of the clearance world, if questions arise, the fate of your clearance is agency by agency, assignment by assignment, security guard by security guard. What your umpire ate for breakfast can determine whether you walk away with a TS / SCI or a canceled job offer.
Another issue for the permission holders (in this case) is the nature of love – something humanity has grappled with ever since the first cave man met the first cave woman. If Shakespeare failed to crack the code, chances are a guy from Counterintelligence and Defense Security Agency understood everything.
Namely: when does an adventure become a romantic relationship? When Does Dating Become A Relationship? When does a relationship become cohabitation? (Oh, don’t act like keeping a separate address means you don’t live together. If you keep a toothbrush in there and can rummage in the fridge without asking, you’re more than dating.) does cohabitation become a commitment?
Of course, we do our best as human beings to make things official. Every young relationship has a conversation from the start that begins, “So what are we, anyway?” And at one point, what we are is de facto committed, if only in deed and not in word. You just know. (Marriage, at least, involves some paperwork, but even then if you found out tomorrow that your marriage certificate contained a clerical error and you weren’t legally married, would you move out as if it had all been? a long sleepover?)
What is the intelligence that the community is dealing with here is difficult, especially if you to fall in love abroad, and above all if love blossoms in the desire to marry. To get to the bottom of it, I spoke with two experts, both of whom are regulars at ClearanceJobs: Sean M. Bigley, a security clearance defense lawyer, and Kel B. McClanahan, national security attorney and law professor at George Washington University. Here is what they had to say.
A relaxed adventure? No problem. Occasionally.
Casual adventures and unconditional relationships can be risky business while stationed overseas, Bigley says, as they open the permit holder to blackmail, coercion, and general manipulation. He explains that while single clearance holders serving overseas are usually a smart, global bunch, they sometimes inadvertently appear as targets for foreign intelligence when looking for the wrong kind of romantic company.
“I am not a doctor of love,” he said, “but the best advice I can give to license holders serving overseas is precisely this: take it easy and be patient. common sense.
It is vital, he says, to report your relationship to your facility security officer. First of all, it is simply necessary. Anyone who romantically interests you will need to be vetted: at the very least, security guards will verify that your potential lover is not on the watch list for terrorists or a known foreign intelligence agent. Second, doing the right thing now can pay dividends down the road, if the relationship progresses.
… But unlike marriage, casual dating is always somehow expected.
Often, says McClanahan, casual encounters are just taken into account in the equation life for a worker made redundant abroad. As he puts it, “If they started taking the security clearance away from every man or girl who started dating a stranger abroad, no one would ever go any further.
Much, he says, is shrouded in outdated notions of human sexuality. “There is an attitude that ‘boys are going to be boys’ and’ we can’t stop our people from dating when they’re abroad. “” He says there’s some belief that authorized US personnel working overseas are going to get their kicks somehow, and that’s sort of OK, but the line is drawn at marriage.
How are you with the murder of your partner?
Which brings us back to Indiana Jones and her father.
“You have to report the person you are dating to security,” says McClanahan. “I mean, you just have to – you can’t not do it.” They might do an occasional record check to see if the person you’re dating has a name they recognize. And all of this might put you under scrutiny, but nothing too strenuous.
Once you cross the line from dating to cohabitation, or even engagement, everything changes. “Security will see this as a bond of affection that can now be used by foreign entities to compromise you,” says McClanahan.
No, he explains, by the man or the woman you want to marry, but by Someone, as Indiana Jones learned.
McClanahan explains, “If I’ve been dating a girl and we’ve been dating for two weeks, and someone says, ‘If you don’t give us any secrets, we’ll kill her,’ security guards think I’m going. react differently than if she is my wife or my fiance. It might be true, it might be wrong, but as a psychological argument this is what it boils down to. How much does a relationship like marriage versus dating compromise you and put you under pressure?
Shaken not moved
If you have reported any romantic interludes you have had with a foreign national, and kept your security guard informed of the status of any current relationship you have established, you could be clear. (But you couldn’t; it might, for some security guards, be a character flaw.) As the romance grows, the scrutiny of your agents will also increase, but in the best-case scenario, you shouldn’t have any difficulty. You followed all the rules.
Wedding, Bigley says, means more intensive control over your other half, as well as your new in-laws. “The same rules and guidelines apply, but it’s starting to become more of a game of Russian roulette, especially when we’re talking about large and extended families, or relatives who work for foreign governments, and potentially risky countries like the United States. China, Iran or Russia. ”A license holder marrying a foreign national, he explains, will want to do everything to strengthen his ties with the United States (for example, by closing any bank account in the foreign and selling any foreign property) in order to minimize ties to the spouse’s country of citizenship.
McClanahan’s advice is succinct: “Report it and update your CV. You might not need it, but you could.
In the end, it makes you wonder about James Bond. All the while, we figured he was having issues engaging with the women he meets on his glamorous international assignments. But maybe it’s always been a lot simpler than that. Maybe it was easier to bring back some buns in the hay with Vesper Lynd, Tiffany Case and Strawberry Fields. What if Bond’s playboy ways were just because he was afraid to settle down and risk losing his clearance?