The term “foreign influence” has been coined by various federal agencies, but there is no consistent definition. Generally, the term refers to a set of actions taken by a foreign entity against a US party/parties, by which the foreign party positions itself to obtain an advantage intended to It’s not for him (possibly in an illegal way). “Foreign influence” is often used to illegally acquire U.S. intellectual property and technology, compromise U.S. computer systems, and/or influence U.S. research to benefit foreign provocateurs.

Since 2018, federal agencies have significantly increased their investigative focus on US universities in response to Congressional concerns that the misuse of sensitive IP and the acquisition of certain emerging technologies could potentially compromise national security.

Federal concerns fall into four main areas, which affect basic institutional functions:

In response to a bipartisan, growing federal concern, many agencies have issued guidance documents and/or new requirements on identifying undue foreign influence. Please see ORED’s “Guidance Regarding Foreign Influence and Research” for more information on sponsor notifications and reporting requirements.

Many employees and contractors of the United States federal government, military personnel, government officials, and others charged with maintaining public safety and public welfare need access to classified information in the performance of their duties. Yes, they need to get and maintain security. Clearance, However, many applicants are denied a security clearance due to a variety of concerns, including what is known as “foreign influence.” In this article, we’ll discuss a common reason for the denial of a security clearance application, and the facts needed to understand Guideline B: Foreign Impact of the Director of National Intelligence’s Adjudicative Guidelines. The DNI serves as a management role for the entire executive branch’s personnel security program.

What is Guideline B?

When discussing the decision-making guidelines for security clearance review, the Security Executive Agents Directive (SEAD) 4 outlines the concerns regarding Guideline B as follows:

“Foreign connections and interests, including, but not limited to, business, financial, and property interests, are a national security concern if they result in divided loyalties. If they create conditions in which any A foreign person, group, organization, or government may be manipulated or induced, or otherwise pressured or coerced, to assist a foreign person, group, organization, or government in a manner inconsistent with U.S. interests if it is of concern to national security. may lead to foreign interests.”

Simply put, when evaluating someone for security clearance, the government is concerned that any relationship, whether personal or business, with foreign nationals, regardless of whether the contact is an individual, group, or organization. , or from the government, the basis for concern is whether the individual remains vulnerable to coercion, exploitation, or pressure, and the ability to manipulate or induce them to disclose sensitive national security information. This last case considers the applicant’s foreign contacts in China.

 The applicant is a US citizen and was born in Hong Kong. In 2013, the applicant received an unsolicited email from a woman codenamed “Ms. M.” The applicant admitted to government investigators that he had a romantic relationship with Ms. M. from 2013 to 2014. I was, but the only contact they had was through video chats and photos. Ms. M revealed to the applicant that her father had been murdered and her uncle was trying to kill her to get the inheritance. Ms. M stated that she was hiding in a refugee camp in Togo under the protection of the local ministry. Ms. M told the applicant that she needed money to leave Togo, and the applicant gave her the money. agreed. After sending his money, the applicant did not hear from Ms. M for several months until he contacted her from Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 2017. In 2018, the applicant received another unsolicited email from a woman named “Ms. H. The petitioner also continued to have a romance with her. Ms. H also requested money from the applicant, for which she paid $10,000.

However, the transaction was blocked as it was suspected to be fraudulent. The government used these two incidents in an attempt to show that the applicant could be taken advantage of by his foreign connections. Of particular concern to the Government was the applicant’s brother, a Chinese national who is a technical officer of the Chinese Government. Judge Carol Ricciardello found that, based on the applicant’s ties to China and his questionable interactions with Ms. M and Ms. H, there was an increased risk of coercion, persuasion, and duress. Judge Ricciardello further found that the petitioner did not present any mitigating circumstances, therefore petitioner should not have access to sensitive and confidential information.

The carrier? Do not hold foreign assets. Do not become deeply involved in foreign contacts. Work to bring your next of kin to the United States; Do not vote in foreign elections; And do not use the benefits provided by a foreign prince. Be active in your local community in the United States, have evidence of community building, and express your ethnicity, as opposed to past national, and cultural pride here in the United States.

What do I do if my clearance is rejected or revoked?

If you are issued a notification of intent to deny or revoke your clearance under Guideline B, Foreign Influence, or Guideline C, Foreign Preference, you should still seek the assistance of an experienced, knowledgeable security clearance attorney. It is possible to obtain or hold a clearance. Applicants should not attempt to address these concerns without the assistance of an experienced security clearance attorney. The security clearance decision process is highly empirical, and you bear the burden of proof in eliminating a security concern.

To follow guideline B under safety concerns

When it comes to access by a US citizen, the government has good reason to need to protect classified information if that citizen has regular or prolonged contact with foreign nationals or even a foreign government. Because of its political and economic position in the world, the United States is a major and ongoing target for all kinds of attacks, from industrial espionage to violent attacks against its citizens and interests at home and abroad.

  • There are several different circumstances that can flag a clearance application as having security concerns, and even disqualify the applicant. According to SEAD-4, these conditions include:
  • An immediate family member, or a person with whom the individual has close ties of affection or responsibility, is a citizen of, or is resident or present in, a foreign country;
  • sharing living quarters with a person or persons, regardless of their citizenship status, if there is a possibility of foreign influence or pressure;
  • relatives, associates, or associates connected with any foreign government;

failure to report, where required, associations with foreign nationals;

  • unauthorized association with a suspected or known associate or employee of a foreign intelligence service;
  • Conduct that may make the individual vulnerable to coercion, exploitation, or pressure from a foreign government.
  • Indications that agents or nationals of a foreign country are acting to increase the individual’s vulnerability to possible future exploitation, coercion, or pressure.
  • A substantial financial interest in a country or in any foreign-owned or operated business may make the individual vulnerable to foreign influence.

How to potentially mitigate the security concerns of foreign influence.

Although you must disclose any and all close or continuous contacts with foreign nationals, groups, organizations, or governments on the Standard Form 86 (SF86), Questionnaire for National Security Positions, there are a number of mitigating factors. are to be considered, even if you have regular or prolonged contact with foreign nationals. Per SEAD-4, situations that may reduce security concerns include:

A determination that immediate family members (spouses, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters), spouses, or partner(s) are not in a position to be agents or exploiters of a foreign power. A foreign power that may compel the individual to choose allegiance to the person(s) involved and the United States.

  • Contacts with foreign nationals are the result of official business in the United States.
  • Contact and correspondence with foreign nationals are infrequent and infrequent.
  • The individual has promptly complied with applicable agency requirements regarding immediately reporting contacts, solicitations, or threats from individuals or organizations from a foreign country.
  • Foreign financial interests are minimal and not sufficient to influence the individual.

How ‘Foreign Influence’ Can Affect Your Security Clearance

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If you are working in any capacity for the federal government and have been issued a security clearance, maintaining that security clearance is critical to maintaining your employment.

As for the federal government – and understandably so – its biggest threat is foreign influence affecting the people who work for it. After all, what else does the government do for the people if they are being manipulated by foreign powers? As a result, foreign influence protection concerns are among the main reasons security clearances are revoked or never granted.

What counts as a security concern of foreign influence?

Generally, a foreign influence security concern is any pressure point that a government employee may have that a foreign power could harm the United States.

Foreign influence can range from a debt owed to a creditor in another country to relatives living abroad.

Below are some specific issues that are considered foreign influence protection concerns:

  • Contacts with foreign relatives, colleagues, or friends
  • With foreign groups or governments whose interests may conflict with the federal government.
  • Failure to report foreign contacts
  • Substantial business or financial interests in a foreign country
  • Unauthorized association with a known or suspected foreign intelligence agent
  • Sharing accommodation with persons from a foreign country

Again, the federal government’s primary concern is whether the security clearance holder could be manipulated by foreign actors into providing classified information or otherwise harm the federal government’s interests. .

Will I be denied if my family is abroad?

Although family living abroad is considered a security concern from foreign influence, it is not treated equally in all situations. The situations of greatest concern are those where the security clearance holder’s relatives are living in a conflict zone or are nationals of an enemy such as Russia or China.

What do I do if my clearance is rejected or revoked?

If you’re denied a security clearance or revoked because of concerns about foreign influence, you can appeal the decision. This can be done with the help of an attorney who is experienced in security clearance matters, such as one of us at Claery & Hammond, LLP.

Guideline B: Foreign Influence

Contact with foreign nationals is a leading cause of denial, suspension, or revocation of security clearance in the United States. The primary concern agencies have regarding national security decision-making guidelines B – “Foreign Influence” is whether you have contact with a foreign national and/or your financial interest in a foreign country. This may lead you to compromise confidential or sensitive information. Thus, Guideline B focuses on: (1) your relationships with foreign nationals; and (2) your business, financial, and property interests in foreign countries.

With today’s global economy, it can be nearly impossible not to have some form of foreign contact. However, not all contact with foreign nationals will raise security concerns. In determining whether your contact will raise a national security issue, the agency will consider whether your contact is close and ongoing, as well as whether the foreign national is such an individual or Not with whom you are bound by “affection, influence, common interests.”, and/or responsibility.” See 32 C.F.R. 147.4, Guideline B, Foreign Influence. A foreign national is defined as any performed as person who is not a citizen or national of the United States;

The agency will also examine whether your contact with foreign nationals or any financial interests (such as business or property interests) you hold in other countries creates a potential for “coercion, exploitation or pressure.” keep.” Additionally, in determining whether there is a security issue, Guideline B also directs agencies to consider the identity of the country in which the foreign contact/interest is located to determine whether that country is known to target US citizens; Acquire classified information, or being associated with a terrorist threat.

Guideline B: Foreign influence continues.

As can be seen, the decision-making guidelines have the potential to influence many individuals. For example, individuals who are naturalized citizens, have friends or family members living abroad, live with noncitizens, or have foreign business interests may be affected by Guideline B.

Examples of foreign influence that may disqualify someone include:

  • family members or close friends who are not US residents or citizens;
  • Contacting foreign individuals, groups, or governments could create a potential conflict of interest.
  • failure to properly report affiliations with foreign individuals, groups, or governments;
  • The existence of counterintelligence information indicates that an individual’s access to classified information could pose a threat to national security.
  • living with persons affected by a foreign government;
  • having substantial business, financial, or property interests in the foreign country;
  • association with known or suspected foreign intelligence agents;
  • Any indication that foreign persons are attempting to increase an individual’s vulnerability to future coercion, manipulation, or inducement. And

Engaging in conduct that may subject an individual to foreign coercion, manipulation, or enticement.

Mitigating Conditions – If an applicant’s conduct raises concerns about foreign influence, each of the following conditions, as applicable, may mitigate any security concerns: Is:

  • Demonstrate that contact with the foreign national is minimal and infrequent.
  • Demonstrating that the foreign national does not work for a foreign government or agency.
  • demonstrate that the country in which the foreign national resides is an ally of the United States;

Demonstrate that any contact with a foreign national was due to official business or orders of the US government;

  1. Demonstrating that you have promptly complied with all foreign contact reporting requirements. And
  2. Disclosing that the amount of your assets in a foreign business or property is small.

Discussion – Guideline B: Foreign influence continued

Section 19 of Standard Form 86 (SF 86), for example, asks:

Have you had close and/or continuous contact within the past seven (7) years with a foreign national with whom you, your spouse, or partner had affection, influence, common interests, and/or Or responsibility? Include spouses and relatives, who were not previously listed under Section 18.

As can be seen, this question has two requirements: (1) that there be affection, influence, common interest, and/or responsibility between the foreign national and the applicant or the applicant’s spouse or partner; The relationship exists. and (2) that the foreign national and either the applicant or the applicant’s spouse or partner have had close and/or continuous contact within the past seven years.

Thus, if a bond of affection, influence, common interest, and/or responsibility does not exist, the applicant need not list the foreign national, regardless of whether their contact is close and/or close. or ongoing. Furthermore, whether a bond of “affection, influence, common interest, and/or responsibility” exists depends entirely on how the applicant or their spouse or partner relates to the applicant. feel In other words, an applicant need not anticipate how the stated relationship will be interpreted by the adjudicator. However, the recent addition of the term “common interests” to the phrase was intended to broaden the relationships that were subject to coverage.

ongoing contact

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In relation to the “close or ongoing contact” requirement, “ongoing contact” is relatively easy to define. If you or your spouse/partner were in contact with a foreign national in the past few years and you expect to be in contact in the future, contact will likely be continued.

However, the regulations do not define what constitutes “close” contact. In most intimate relationships, the parties have mutual knowledge of personal information, such as personal history and family history. Honesty is required when answering any questions on the SF86. However, if you do not know personal information about a foreign national and if you are in doubt about whether a bond exists, be careful before listing them on the SF86. The mere listing (or non-listing) of foreign nationals may affect the granting of clearance. On the one hand, failure to list a foreign national that the applicant should have listed on the SF86 would be construed as a dishonest attempt to attempt to conceal the such a relationship. On the other hand, listing a foreign national that the applicant should not have listed on the SF86 will make it difficult to disprove later that a “bond” exists.

In addition, you should never reach out to foreign nationals to obtain information about them in order to answer any of the questions in section 19 of the SF86. Instead, always check the “I don’t know” box if you’re not sure about the answer to any of these questions. The reason for this is simple: if your contact with the foreign national is found to be of concern, the more you know about the person, the harder it will be for you to later claim that you have no close relation.

For applicants who are naturalized citizens, in determining whether an applicant is able to resist foreign influence, adjudicators may consider whether:

  • The applicant applied for U.S. citizenship as soon as eligible;
  • Demonstrates interest in permanently residing in the United States;
  • observes American holidays;
  • participates in their local community; And
  • Mixes with people outside their ethnic group.

How does foreign influence affect security clearance?

Concerns about foreign influence can be a major issue in security clearance cases for government contractors, members of the military, and federal employees. Unresolved issues involving foreign influence are one of the most common grounds for denial of security clearance. When security concerns related to a foreign influence arise in the context of applying for or attempting to maintain a security clearance, it is important for the individual to obtain legal advice and possible legal representation so that the individual can maintain his or her security. To provide the best opportunity to retain or gain. A clearance individual should hire a security clearance attorney for advice or representation in this type of case.

What is the security concern of foreign influence?

The security concern of foreign influence, as defined below, is pressure from a foreign country that could potentially result in the loss or disclosure of classified information. Security clearance decision-makers try to limit the U.S. government’s concerns about potential foreign influence.

Foreign connections do not mean one cannot hold a security clearance. Thousands of federal employees and government contractors retain their security clearance even if they have immigrated to the United States and have relatives who still live in other countries. The key, when the issues involve a security clearance, is to try to demonstrate that the security clearance holder’s ties to the United States are stronger than those of the foreign countries in question. There are several security concerns about the foreign influence that could potentially be mitigated if substantial evidence is presented.

Decisional Guidelines B – Foreign Influence

The Decision-Making Guidelines (contained within Security Executive Agent Directive 4) (SEAD 4) govern security clearance issues involving foreign influence. Guideline B in paragraph 6 sets out the following security concerns regarding persons with foreign influence concerns:


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Foreign connections and interests, including, but not limited to, business, financial, and property interests, are a national security concern if they result in divided loyalties. If they create conditions in which a foreign person, group, organization, or government may be manipulated or induced to assist in a manner inconsistent with U.S. interests or otherwise be pressured or coerced; If possible, they may pose a national security concern. Foreign Interest A review of foreign contacts and interests must consider the country in which the foreign contact or interest is located, including, but not limited to, whether it is intended to obtain classified or sensitive information to U.S. citizens. Targeting is known or associated with a threat. of terrorism.

Although there are too many different types of foreign influence issues to list them all here, they may include:

  1. Contacts with foreign family members, friends, colleagues, or other people create a potential for coercion.
  2. Contact with foreign groups or governments creates a potential conflict of interest between the protection of classified information and the desire to assist the foreign group or government.
  3. not reporting required foreign contacts;
  4. Counterintelligence information indicates that an individual poses a threat to national security interests.
  5. sharing a residence with persons who may cause foreign pressure to disclose classified information;
  6. substantial business, financial or property interests in a foreign country;
  7. Unauthorized contact with a suspected or known foreign intelligence agent;
  8. Information indicating that foreign persons are attempting to pressure the security clearance holder or applicant.
  9. Engaging in conduct outside the United States could subject one to foreign manipulation.

When we advise clients on these issues, we do so with compassion and understanding. Just because someone was born in another country or has relatives abroad doesn’t mean they can’t have a security clearance.

How to potentially mitigate the security concerns of foreign influence.

In our security clearance practice, we often represent and advise individuals on foreign influence concerns that arise in the course and scope of obtaining or obtaining a security clearance. . In general, if concerns of foreign influence are raised, it is important to demonstrate that the relationship is not as bad as it appears and that individuals in the United States invest abroad. is more or more valuable than the investment. Every case is different, so having a lawyer for these matters is important.

Under SEAD 4, there are many potential mitigating factors for psychiatric conditions. Paragraph 8 states:

8. Conditions mitigating security concerns include:

(a) the nature of the relationship with the foreign person, the country in which the person is located, or the position or activities of the person in that country is such that it is unlikely that the person would be placed in a position of choice; between the interests of a foreign individual, group, organization, or government and the interests of the United States;

(b) there is no conflict of interest, either because the individual has a low sense of loyalty or obligation to a foreigner, or to a group, government or country, or because the individual has such deep and long-standing ties and loyalties; are the United States, that the individual may be expected to resolve any conflict of interest in favor of the US interest.

(c) contact or interaction with foreign nationals is so infrequent and unusual that there is little likelihood that it would create a risk of foreign influence or exploitation; (d) the foreign contacts and activities are on the business of the United States government or are authorized by the head of the agency or a designee;

(e) The individual has promptly complied with applicable agency requirements regarding reporting contacts, solicitations, or threats from individuals, groups, or organizations from a foreign country. And

(f) the value or normal nature of the foreign business, financial, or property interests is such that they are unlikely to result in a conflict and are effectively used to influence, manipulate, or coerce the individual; Cannot be used.

Countries of concern to the United States

Although ties to any foreign country may be a concern in an applicant’s security clearance review, there are tiers based on how closely aligned or hostile the foreign country is to the United States that governs security clearance matters. are part of consideration. For example, foreign relations with countries such as Russia, China, Iran, Afghanistan and Taiwan are considered more serious than foreign relations with Britain, France, Germany, Australia or Canada. There are also countries that fall in between, such as Thailand, Pakistan or India. We rarely see security clearance cases involving countries like the UK or those with close ties to the US.

Examples of Foreign Influence Cases Affecting Security Clearance

The following are summaries of sample Guideline B cases before the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) involving foreign influence concerns. Many of these types of cases can be mitigated, but must be treated seriously because many security clearances are denied based on possible foreign influence.

1. ISCR Case No. 20-00307 (Oct. 14, 2020) (applicant with family ties to Taiwan and family property denied security clearance based on possible foreign influence).

2. ISCR Case No. 19-01883 (September 30, 2020) (security clearance granted to applicant with relatives in Iraq).

3. ISCR Case No. 19-02305 (App. Bd. Sept. 9, 2020) (applicant from Israel denied security clearance).

4. ISCR Case No. 19-02375 (August 6, 2019) (Applicant mitigated security concerns related to his brother residing in Pakistan and was granted security clearance. In addition, he denied any financial assets in Pakistan. have addressed concerns).

5. ISCR Case No. 19-01510 (March 3, 2020) (petitioner mitigated security concerns arising from his family’s ties to Iraq and his outstanding debts)

Every case involving Guideline B is different, but we have found that many cases can be mitigated with preparation and effort to demonstrate that the security clearance holder or applicant is from the United States as opposed to foreign countries. is strongly connected.

Some points in cases of foreign influence

In our foreign influence cases, depending on the type of foreign influence case, some general tips are as follows:

  • For some cases, it is necessary to show that the individual has more assets in the US than in any other country (or that they have a joint family);
  • In other cases, it is necessary to explain, in full detail, the nature of ties to relatives or other contacts in foreign countries.
  • In some cases, it is important to note that the foreign contacts in question have no knowledge of what the security clearance holder does for a living or that they have a security clearance.

Additionally, in some cases it may be necessary to explain that foreign contacts are infrequent and unrelated to a foreign government.

These are just a few examples of foreign influence security concerns. As I mentioned, every case is different, and the strategy for each may be different.

What types of foreign contacts cause concern?

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 The real reason for any foreign contact concern, and what potentially disqualifies the concern, is when it is “a high risk of foreign influence, exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion.” causes.” [2] When determining whether an applicant should receive a security clearance, adjudicators (who initially decide whether clearance is granted or issue a statement of reasons) (should go) try to determine which of an applicant’s foreign contacts are the strongest connections and the most frequent. From there, decision-makers evaluate individual relationships to determine whether they pose a potential security risk. Some notable indicators of foreign influence cases include:

Immediate family members abroad, especially if there is regular and frequent contact or if the applicant provides material important to the family member.

regular travel to foreign countries to visit family members, friends, or colleagues;

Engaging in foreign business ventures, or relying on foreign friends and family to help develop a business in the United States;

  • having a foreign national as a spouse, romantic partner, or partner;
  • holding stock in foreign-owned companies, particularly in the defense sector and in shell companies for government control of foreign industry;
  • Regular or unexplained sudden travel to foreign countries, especially for religious training or visiting tax havens;

Prolonged contact to arrange marriages or adoptions.

The following case highlights how some of these factors are considered in the decision-making process and the important role played by the foreign state itself.

 ISCR Case No. 19-00831

July 29, 2020

 The applicant and his family fled Soviet Russia in the early 1990s and subsequently settled in the United States. A statement of reasons for apprehension arising as a result of foreign influence was issued to include the applicant in the following list of immediate family relations.

  • The applicant’s oldest child maintains dual US and Russian citizenship to allow for convenient travel to and from Russia while visiting the applicant’s family;
  • The applicant’s mother was a citizen and resident of Russia, received a pension from the Russian government, and with whom the applicant spoke approximately once a week.
  • Applicant’s half-brother was a citizen and resident of Russia who provided Applicant with millions of dollars in financing for a failed business venture and with whom Applicant spoke by phone approximately two to three times per year.
  • The applicant’s mother-in-law and father-in-law both sought asylum in the United States after fleeing the Soviet Union due to religious persecution and were naturalized citizens.

Applicant attempted to mitigate these concerns with evidence of his cultural integration into his community, such as coaching soccer and actively participating in his homeowners association. The administrative judge found this evidence persuasive. The judge gave additional weight to the applicant’s reasons for leaving the Soviet Union, the applicant’s length of stay in the United States, and the long-term, significant relationships the applicant had developed as a U.S. citizen. The judge granted the applicant security clearance, but Defense Department lawyers appealed the judge’s decision.

The appeals board sided with the Defense Department lawyers. It asserted a “strong presumption against the grant or maintenance of a security clearance” [3] and asserted that the administrative judge failed to adequately consider the nature and history of the government of the foreign state involved. Russia has had (and maintains) a documented history of international interference, human rights abuses, and a robust cyber-espionage program that includes surveillance of domestic and international communications. Russia has been repeatedly cited for its use of illegal electronic and telephone surveillance, corruption in corruption, and violent coercive political tactics to achieve its broader geopolitical and homeland security goals. The possibility that the Russian government might seek to take advantage of the applicant’s multiple family bonds placed him at a significant risk of coercion and manipulation.

The Appeals Board recognized that the applicant had presented detailed evidence demonstrating his loyalty to the United States and his participation in civilian life. However, the evidence provided by the applicants was not sufficient to overcome the heavy burden of persuasion that exists in cases of foreign influence and contacts with a known enemy state. The applicant’s security clearance was denied.

 How can I reduce these concerns?

 If avoiding foreign influence and security clearance Guideline B altogether isn’t an option—after all, you don’t have to choose your family or where you were born—the guidelines offer some ways to notes that one might try to minimize potential security concerns, but other supporting evidence may be useful.

Foreign contacts

Contact with foreign nationals is one of the main reasons security clearances are denied, suspended or revoked. Agencies are concerned about whether there is anything about your communication that could lead you to compromise confidential information.

However, not all contact with foreign nationals will be a problem. If you have contact with foreign nationals, employers will look at whether the contact is close and ongoing, and whether the foreign national is someone to whom you owe loyalty, affection, and/or responsibility.

Basically, the employer wants to determine whether your loyalty to the foreign national outweighs your loyalty to the United States and your obligation to protect classified information.

Several conditions that the employer will evaluate include:

  1. The nature of your relationship with the foreign nation
  2. How often and in what manner you have contact with the foreign national.
  3. Whether the person is aware of your security clearance or not.
  4. Whether or not the individual currently or previously works for a foreign government, foreign intelligence, or foreign law enforcement agency.

Additionally, the employer will consider the identity of the country in which the foreigner holds citizenship and resides. This is to determine whether the foreign country targets US citizens to obtain classified information or is associated with a terrorist threat.

Individuals residing in countries with weak human rights and/or terrorist activities are at risk of being wrongly detained or imprisoned. If this happens with a contact you have in a foreign country, the employer is concerned that you may be willing to disclose protected information to that foreign agency in an effort to assist your foreign national contact.

Conditions mitigating contact with foreign nationals include showing:

  • Contact is minimal and infrequent (and therefore you have no sense of loyalty, affection or obligation to the foreign national).
  • A foreign national does not work for a foreign government, foreign law enforcement agency, or foreign intelligence agency, and therefore has no interest in receiving classified information from you.
  • The country in which the alien holds citizenship and resides is an ally of the United States.

Additionally, you’ll want to be able to convince the agency that your loyalties and ties to the United States are stronger than your alleged loyalty to a foreign nation. Ways to show it include:

  • Length of time as a U.S. citizen (if you were not born in the United States)
  • Time to live in the United States
  • Employment in the United States, and specifically with the US government, US military, or US government contractors
  • Attending college institutions in the United States
  • The immediate family in the United States
  • To include assets, retirement savings and/or home ownership in the United States

Foreign financial interests

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In addition to your contact with foreign nationals, the agency will examine whether you have a substantial business, financial, or property interest in the foreign country. If you have a business relationship with a foreign national, have a foreign business, or own foreign property, the agency may be concerned that you are at high risk of foreign influence or exploitation. If this situation applies to you, the agency will want to determine whether:

  • The amount of your assets abroad
  • How dependent are you on these assets for your overall financial situation?

If you have a financial interest in a foreign country, and if it is associated with foreign nationals, you may want to consider selling those assets to reduce the agency’s concerns about your loyalties.

Notify your FSO of any contact.

Finally, if you already maintain a security clearance, and if you interact with foreign nationals, you must report this before your next updated security clearance. If you fail to do so, the agency may assume that you have intentionally failed to disclose the contact as intended and therefore have divided loyalties.

Requirements for security clearance and what happens when it is revoked.

Getting and maintaining a security clearance is now more difficult than ever. Obtaining government security clearance for a facility or individual employee is often a challenge. Dealing with any security clearance matter requires knowledgeable legal counsel and experienced representation – preferably a Washington, DC security clearance attorney. The attorneys at Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig know what’s needed and provide high-quality service backed by years of legal experience, particularly in the field of government contracts.

Basically, a security clearance is a determination by the United States government that an individual or business can be trusted with classified information. The term “accessibility” means the same thing as “security clearance” and the term appears in some government documents. The United States issues two types of security clearances: Personal Security Clearances (PCLs) and Facility Security Clearances (FCLs).

Several federal agencies issue security clearances: the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the Department of Energy, and the Central Intelligence Agency. The Department of Defense issues more than 80 percent of all clearances. Except for the Department of Energy, agencies have three levels of security clearance: Secret, Secret, and Top Secret. The Department of Energy’s “L” and “Q” access levels are roughly comparable to the Top Secret and Top Secret levels.

What do they look for when you get a security clearance?

The guidelines listed here apply to anyone who needs access to classified information. Thirteen areas of life are considered when someone applies for security clearance or seeks continued eligibility for security clearance. Those thirteen ideas (“A” through “M”) are:

Loyalty to the United States: Any individual seeking security clearance must have unquestionable loyalty to the United States.

Effect of Foreign Influence: Having close relationships with persons who are not US citizens may create the possibility of foreign influence that could compromise classified material or create a risk of exploitation, pressure or coercion. Is.

A foreign preference: Has the person applying for security clearance engaged in conduct that might indicate a preference for a foreign nation over the United States?

Sexual Behavior: Does the person requesting security clearance have sexual behavior that indicates criminal or emotional disorders or leaves the person open to potential coercion or blackmail?

Personal Conduct: Has the person requesting security clearance fully cooperated in the process? Has any information been hidden or misrepresented?

Financial considerations: Is the person applying for security clearance financially sound? This presents a potential risk of engaging in illegal activities to generate funds.

Alcohol Consumption: Does the person requesting security clearance drink excessively? Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to questionable judgment, increasing the likelihood of unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.

Drug Involvement: Does the person requesting a security clearance use illegal drugs or be associated with known users? Substance abuse can affect social or occupational functioning, increasing the likelihood of unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.

Emotional, Mental, and Personality Disorders: Does the person requesting security clearance have an emotional, mental, or personality disorder? Such impairment can cause substantial impairment in an individual’s psychological, social, and occupational functioning, increasing the likelihood of unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.

Criminal Behavior and Criminal Record: A record or pattern of criminal behavior raises doubts about an individual’s reliability, sanity and trustworthiness.

Security Violations: Any previous noncompliance with security regulations raises doubts about an individual’s willingness, trustworthiness, and ability to protect classified material.

“Outside” Activities: Certain types of outside employment or outside activities may create a greater risk of unauthorized disclosure of classified information.

Abuse or Misuse of Government Systems: Any failure to comply with rules, regulations, procedures, or guidelines related to government information technology systems to properly protect an individual’s classified systems, networks, and information. Can raise concerns about capacity.

How long is a security clearance good for?

Generally, as long as the person holding a security clearance is employed by a cleared contractor or government agency, and as long as the individual is reasonably expected to have continued access to classified material, The security clearance of personnel of the U.S. Army will remain in effect, provided the individual complies with periodic reinvestigation requirements, which typically occur every five years.

A security clearance is usually terminated when the holder permanently leaves the position for which the clearance was granted. Cleared individuals who no longer require access and do not expect to require access in the future may have their security clearances reduced or withdrawn until they require access again. In such cases, security clearance can be restored administratively.

What about security clearance cancellation?

The standard of proof required to deny a security clearance is much lower than that of a criminal prosecution and even lower than that of a civil case. Even when one is granted a security clearance, there is no guarantee that the person can hold it indefinitely.

If your security clearance is revoked, should you hire a lawyer? Studies have shown that businesses and individuals who are recommended for revocation or suspension are more likely to succeed when represented by an attorney than when they represent themselves.

An experienced Washington, DC security clearance attorney can get you the best possible resolution to your security clearance case. If you need – or need to maintain – a security clearance for yourself and/or your business, you should understand that security clearance matters can be extraordinarily complex. What you’ve read here is only a brief introduction, so don’t hesitate to discuss your situation with an experienced security clearance attorney who knows what it takes to obtain and maintain your clearance.

In today’s highly charged political environment, obtaining a security clearance can be difficult, but one of our experienced security clearance attorneys can help. Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig’s knowledge and experience have a remarkable record of success in helping most clients overcome security clearance challenges, investigate quickly and efficiently, and handle the most complex security clearance denial cases. Whatever your security clearance issue, the legal team at Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig will find the best possible solution.


When a government contractor, federal employee, or military member needs a security clearance attorney for issues related to foreign influence concerns, it’s important to do the process as soon as possible. Our law firm advises individuals in the security clearance process.

 Guideline In foreign influence security clearance cases, the determination of an applicant’s security clearance eligibility is not a judgment of character or loyalty to the United States. Even the most law-abiding and loyal patriots can be coerced or compromised given the right circumstances. The determination in these cases is based on a reasonable forecast of the applicant’s foreign contacts which creates a risk of conflict of interest. Therefore, any ties and foreign interests must be properly presented to security clearance judges or judges.

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