This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.
By John V. Berry, Esq.
Billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, was recently videotaped smoking marijuana on the Joe Rogan talk show. According to reports, Mr. Musk holds a security clearance as part of his CEO role at SpaceX, a major government space contractor.
As a result, news reports first indicated that the U.S. Air Force has started an investigation into Mr. Musk’s alleged drug usage due to his holding of a security clearance.
Later, news reports indicated that there was not necessarily an investigation but that the U.S. Air Force was attempting to evaluate what to do about the issue. The question is whether or not the same rules governing every other clearance holder involving drug usage will apply to Mr. Musk if he did smoke marijuana.
My suspicion is that the answer will be no.
We often represent and defend individuals who have engaged in one-time or other minor illegal drug use (yes, the federal government still considers marijuana an illegal drug no matter where it is consumed).
Many individuals who engage in minor drug use may still lose their security clearance over even one usage, depending on the circumstances. The ultimate result will likely highlight the distinction between high level individuals and other clearance holders (the other 99%).
This sort of double standard was recently seen at the White House where the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, apparently had so many foreign contacts that he had to amend his clearance submission (SF-86) multiple times (something that isn’t usually permitted for others).
The type of contacts that Mr. Kushner admitted to having, if they had involved just about anyone else, would have barred them from obtaining a security clearance.
We often represent individuals from Pakistan, Egypt, India or Taiwan, where having just a few relatives from their home country, or owning small amounts of property in that country can disqualify them from holding a security clearance.
It seems that there are now two sets of rules for security clearance holders and applicants. Those that are important or well-connected and then the rules for the rest of us. I find this to be troubling and very wrong.
In a case like Mr. Musk, it might usually take a year or perhaps over a year, for a person to be able to mitigate having engaged in even a one-time drug use issue. The point of having a system for adjudicating security clearances is to have ensure that everyone, a billionaire, the son-in-law of the President of the United States and Jim Jones (a GS-13 civilian employee for the Department of the Army) all live by the same rules.
Hopefully, the next President will see fit to take action in order to make the security clearance rules apply equally to all of us regardless of wealth or position.
We represent federal employees and government contractors in security clearance cases. We can be contacted at www.berrylegal.com or by telephone at 703-668-0070. Please also visit and like us on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Good Thursday evening, Arlington. Today we published 6 articles that were read a total of 7916 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today…
Plans to redevelop a local YMCA may have too many apartment units and not enough community benefits, county planners say. The YMCA is proposing to tear down its existing facility…
A 3 BD/2.5 BA condo that sold for $2,374,500 and a 1 BD/1 BA condo that sold for $145,000 are included in Most and Least Expensive.
A woman was groped, followed and pulled to the ground by an unknown suspect in the Lyon Park area, police say. The incident happened last night (Wednesday) around 5:30 p.m….
With holiday season around the corner, it is easy to put your health on the back burner. If you are looking to get back on track during the holiday season, we are here to keep you accountable. At Aspire Higher Training, we offer 1-1 Personal Training for ALL fitness levels, Semi-Private Group Training, Sport Specific Training and Injury Prevention/Post Physical Therapy Training. Monica and her team of trainers are available across Arlington, Va.
If you don’t have access to a gym, no problem, we are located in South Arlington, but if you want to workout from your home/apartment gym, we also offer that flexibility. We make it as convenient as possible. Before getting started, we offer a free 15-30 minute consultation call to see how we can best help you towards your health and fitness goals. Let’s gets started on your health and fitness goals today by setting up a call at your earliest convenience: https://www.aspirehigherfitness.com/contact
Hello Everyone — You are invited to the final meeting of NAACP Arlington Branch NAACP for 2022
When: Dec 12, 2022, 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: 2022 General Membership Meeting — NAACP Arlington Branch
Register in advance for this webinar
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
7:00 pm Meeting Opens.
7:30 pm Installation
8:00 pm Presentation/Q&A; by Dave Schutz on Ranked Choice Voting
8:30 pm Final Remarks and Comments by Newly Elected Members
9:00 pm Meeting Adjourns
Installation Official Robert N. Barnette, Jr. President, Virginia State Conference NAACP The President of the Virginia State Conference NAACP will serve as the Installation Official and provide remarks for our newly elected officers at the general membership.
Join us as we celebrate the holiday of Chanukah! Enjoy delicious Latkes, hot cocoa, donuts and more!
Clarendon Menorah Lighting and Community Celebration
Experience the festival of lights!!
*Lighting of a giant 9 foot Menorah