Federal security clearances are based on classified information and the potential or perceived threat to national security interests. Most federal jobs require a certain level of security clearance, even when the position does not directly involve sensitive information. It can be revoked for many reasons — not just for criminal actions, but for “bad behavior” or a change in your personal circumstances.

Losing your clearance could result in the loss of your current position or any hope of advancement. It may be withheld from working for any government agency or federal contractor. If you are facing disciplinary action or an investigation that could jeopardize your security clearance, seek legal advice immediately.

Grounds for cancellation of security clearance.

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All federal agencies follow decision-making guidelines, which establish 13 possible grounds for denying or revoking a federal security clearance:

Allegiance to the United States – affiliation with or sympathy for terrorists or overthrowing the government

Foreign Influence – Association with foreign nationals or businesses that may lead to coercion.

Foreign Preference – A conflict of interest due to dual citizenship, service in a foreign military, or receiving benefits from another country.

Foreign Activities – Involvement with any foreign person or organization engaged in disseminating or disseminating material related to U.S. defense, foreign affairs, intelligence, or secure technology.

Criminal Conduct – Conviction for a serious crime or multiple lesser crimes; Allegations or admissions of criminal activity

Security Breaches – Willful breaches, unauthorized or negligent disclosure of confidential information

Misuse of information technology – unauthorized access (hacking), malicious coding, blocking system access, removing hardware or software, disabling security measures

Personal Conduct – A broad scope, such as association with known criminals, obstructing clearance investigations, giving false information, or reports from past employers or neighbors of unsavory behavior.

Sexual Conduct – Criminal acts, sexual addictions or sexual activities that compromise the employee or show a lack of judgment

Financial Concerns – Unexplained wealth, heavy debt, gambling addiction or a pattern of being irresponsible with money and financial obligations.

Alcohol use – alcohol-related events, clinical diagnosis of alcohol use, relapse after treatment

Drug Involvement – Drug related events, diagnosis of drug addiction, drug use after rehabilitation

Psychiatric conditions – failure to comply with prescribed treatment for emotional, mental or personality disorders; A pattern of events or high-risk, aggressive or unstable behaviour.

Take steps to protect your rights.

As the list indicates, the conduct does not have to be criminal or directly related to employment to justify revoking your clearance. The government’s argument is that if your integrity is compromised, your access to classified information can be exploited. This risk may seem far-fetched to you, but the Defense Security Service and other federal decision makers are serious. Without skilled legal representation, you could quickly lose your clearance, your job, your career, and your federal pension.

As a federal employee, you have ways to fight revocation or reinstate your security clearance. However, there is a short window to invoke your due process rights and no margin for error.

The employment law attorneys at Passman & Kaplan practice almost exclusively in the federal system. We can advise and defend you in investigations, disciplinary proceedings, security clearance revocations and appeals of adverse employment actions. Speak to one of our experienced lawyers as soon as possible.

Main Reasons for Denial or Cancellation of Security Clearance

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There are many reasons why a security clearance may be denied or revoked. However, personal conduct, drug involvement, and security breaches are three of the reasons we often encounter in our work. For each of these reasons, federal regulations identify factors that will generally result in the denial or revocation of a clearance, and certain factors that may result in the clearance process being unfavorable. . Here’s what you need to know about these factors as well as how to mitigate the situation.

Reason #1: Personal Behavior

Personal conduct is “behavior involving questionable judgment, unreliability, unreliability, lack of candor, dishonesty, or unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations that may indicate that a person is in possession of confidential information.” cannot properly protect.”

This type of personal conduct usually results in an improper determination of security clearance:

Refusal to undergo or cooperate with required security processing, including medical and psychological testing

Refusal to complete required security forms and releases, or to provide full and truthful answers to investigators, security officials, and other representatives in connection with personnel safety or reliability determinations.

Clearance may be denied or revoked as a result of such personal conduct:

  • Reliable, unbiased information provided by peers, employers, co-workers, neighbors and other acquaintances
  • Knowingly conduct any personnel security questionnaire, personal history statement, or investigation, determine employment eligibility, award benefits or status, determine security clearance eligibility or reliability, or determine fiduciary obligations; Willful concealment or concealment or falsification of facts on similar forms used to do so.
  • Knowingly providing false or misleading information to an investigator, security official, medical authority, or other representative in connection with determining the safety or reliability of personnel.
  • Concealing personal behavior or information that may increase your risk of coercion, exploitation, or duties, such as engaging in activities that, if known, could damage your personal, professional, or community status. May influence or make you a victim of blackmail.
  • A pattern of dishonesty or rule violations, including breach of contract between you and the agency
  • Association with persons involved in criminal activities

Minimizing personal behavior

However, the following conditions may reduce or mitigate your personal conduct concerns:

The negative information was unsubstantiated or not relevant to judgment, credibility, or reliability

The information falsification was an isolated incident and not recent.

You voluntarily provided accurate information.

Evidence of prompt, good-faith efforts to correct falsehoods prior to confrontation

Omission of facts was based on incorrect or insufficient advice of authorized officials and complete and accurate information was promptly provided.

Evidence of positive efforts to significantly reduce or eliminate the risk of coercion, exploitation, or coercion

Refusal to cooperate with security processing requirements was based on the advice of legal counsel or other officials and after knowing that your cooperation is required, you provided complete and truthful information.

You will no longer associate with persons involved in criminal activities.

Reason #2: Drug involvement

The government may deny, suspend or revoke your security clearance based on improper or illegal involvement with drugs. Disqualifying drug involvement may include the use of a drug, such as marijuana, that is legal under state law but illegal under federal law. Misusing prescription or other legal drugs can also prevent you from getting clearance.

These terms may disqualify you from accessing Confidential Information:

  • Drug use
  • Possession of illegal drugs
  • A diagnosis of drug abuse or dependence by a medical professional
  • Assessment of substance abuse or dependence by a licensed social worker
  • Failure to successfully complete a prescribed drug treatment program.
  • Recent drug involvement
  • Expressed desire to continue drug use

Reducing drug involvement

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However, prior drug use does not necessarily prevent you from obtaining clearance. The following conditions may reduce your concerns about drug involvement:

  • Your drug involvement was not recent.
  • Your drug involvement was isolated.
  • You have expressed an intention not to abuse drugs in the future.

You have satisfactorily completed a prescribed drug treatment program, without relapse to abuse, and received a favorable evaluation from a reputable medical professional.

Reason #3: Security Breaches

The government may deny or revoke your clearance for noncompliance with security regulations that raise doubts about your trustworthiness, consent, and ability to protect classified information.

Here are the conditions that may disqualify you from obtaining or holding a clearance:

  • Unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.
  • Violations that are intentional, multiple, or negligent.
  • Reducing security breaches

These provisions can reduce concerns based on security breaches:

  • Violations were inadvertent, isolated, or infrequent.
  • Violations were caused by improper or inadequate training.
  • You have demonstrated positive attitude towards payment of security obligations.

How can a lawyer help me appeal a clearance decision?

A negative security clearance determination can have devastating effects on your career. An experienced employment attorney can discuss your rights, draft a response to a letter of intent, or represent you in an appeal of an adverse determination.

What are the reasons for your security clearance being revoked?

Anyone who works in any level of government intelligence, and many other military personnel, need a security clearance for these jobs. If you have a job that requires a security clearance, revoking that clearance can be devastating to your career and your family.

If you are being investigated for a security breach or if you have reason to believe that you may be subject to such an investigation, it is important that you protect your rights. Understanding the possible reasons for clearance revocation is a good start to protecting yourself and maintaining your security clearance.

Reasons for cancellation

According to the Department of Defense’s Defense Industrial Personnel Security Clearance Review Program, a person’s security clearance may be revoked for the following reasons:

Loyalty to the United States: If there is anything on the record that could reasonably call into question your loyalty to the United States, including foreign influence or foreign preference, this is strong grounds for revoking your security clearance. may be the basis.

Sexual Conduct: There are several examples of sexual misconduct that can lead to annulment. Criminal sexual behavior, pornography and repeated, high-risk sexual behavior are all examples that indicate a lack of self-control and confidence to maintain a security clearance.

Personal Conduct: This is a catch-all category for conduct not covered elsewhere in this section that may indicate a lack of confidence to hold a security clearance. Common rule-breaking behavior, dishonesty and association with known criminals can all result in revocation.

Financial Considerations: If you are not trustworthy with your finances, chances are you will not be considered trustworthy when it comes to national security.

Alcohol Consumption and Drug Involvement: Excessive drinking increases the likelihood of reckless or impulsive behavior that can pose a security risk. A relationship with drugs is not only illegal but also raises questions about reliability and credibility.

Emotional, mental and personality disorders: Psychological problems can suggest irrational behavior that poses security risks. Although a mental health diagnosis is a strong case for this type of revocation, it is not necessary.

Criminal Conduct: Obviously, a person convicted of serious criminal activity can present security risks, so this is a common reason for clearance revocation.

Security Violations: This is perhaps the most obvious of all the reasons for revocation of security clearance. When a person violates security regulations, that person is at greater risk of compromising security.

External Activities: Concerns related to this category include dealings with other countries and foreign entities that may compromise national security.

Misuse of information technology systems: Most of these cases involve unauthorized use of information technology systems, which usually means viewing pornographic material on a work computer, sending sexually inappropriate emails or other people’s messages. Unauthorized viewing of correspondence.

Clearly, there are many reasons for cancellation. Considering how broadly some of these reasons are written, almost anything that gives your superiors reason to think you might be a security risk will result in revoking your clearance. shall have reasonable cause.

Loss of security clearance

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If you have a security clearance, your federal job may require you to handle classified information in order to perform your duties. While getting security clearances can be difficult, losing them can be surprisingly easy. You can lose your security clearance because:

● Misuse of confidential information,

● Prior or current drug use,

● Any arrest, including major traffic violations such as a DUI or reckless driving ticket,

● Questionable personal behavior in the office or in public, such as gambling debts or unprofessional work behavior,

● Untreated mental health conditions that may affect your ability to perform your work duties.

Most federal employees will be given the ability to appeal their agency’s notice of intent to suspend or revoke their security clearance to your agency’s security clearance appeals board. When you appeal the notice of intent to revoke your security clearance, your agency may issue you an indefinite suspension from your job without pay. You may appeal this indefinite suspension to the Merit Systems Protection Board.

If your security clearance has been suspended, you receive a proposed indefinite suspension, or if you receive a notice of intent to deny or revoke your security clearance, more about Contact us to learn how we can fight for your security clearance reinstatement. Return to Duty Paid status.

How does this affect your position?

Most federal employees who lose their security clearance may not be able to perform the duties of their full position without access to classified information. In some cases, the offense for which a security clearance is revoked may also prompt an investigation or suspension, demotion, reassignment, or termination from federal employment. This is common for federal employees who mishandle classified information or engage in other misconduct that calls into question their eligibility to obtain a security clearance.

Federal employees should expect to receive a proposed indefinite suspension from federal employment without pay if their security clearance is suspended, or if they intend to deny or revoke their security clearance. Notice is received. You will have the right to respond in writing to the Notice of Intent and you will have the right to argue your case in person before your agency’s applicable security clearance appeals panel or at an evidentiary hearing.

When responding to a notice of intent to deny or revoke a security clearance or to a proposed indefinite suspension related to your employment, you should be consulted or guided by a qualified security clearance appeals attorney during your appeals process. And legal opinion should be consulted. With a federal security clearance appeals attorney behind you, you have a better chance of getting your security clearance reinstated and keeping your job.

Top-rated and award-winning federal employment attorneys

John P. Mahoney, Esq. At The Law Firm, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, our team of federal employment and security clearance appeals attorneys understands the importance of maintaining your federal security clearance to maintaining your federal employment. Suspension, denial, or revocation of your security clearance may adversely affect your ability to maintain your federal employment. We can represent you in responding to notices of intent to deny or revoke your security clearance and represent you in personal appearances to make best efforts to maintain your clearance.

Losing your security clearance will cost you your job, your income, and your reputation.

When you need a security clearance to work, you can expect a thorough background check.

Almost every aspect of your life: any investigations you’ve been subjected to or, in addition, yours

Financial habits, any history or conviction of drug abuse, drugs, and more. This is to determine whether the government wants to trust you with potentially damaging secrets about national security and/or whether you should be allowed to enter a military base, such as Tinker. Air Force Base, Fort Sill. . , Venice Air Force Base, or other secure locations in Oklahoma, such as National Guard Armories.

Security clearance is easy to lose, but hard to get. Your security clearance is your ticket into the military or military access for contractors. Denials and revocations of federal security clearances are based on the perceived or perceived risk a party presents to national security interests and classified information. Most federal employees, military, and civilian contractors are required to obtain and maintain a security clearance to perform their jobs. There are many reasons for revoking a security clearance, including “misbehavior” or perceived threats to security.

Losing your security clearance will result in termination of employment and you will be barred from employment.

Advance in your career. If you are facing disciplinary action or your security is being investigated.

The clearance will likely be revoked and you should take immediate action to appeal and try to save yourself.

What are the security levels?

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Security level clearance is determined by the State Department’s Bureau of Human Resources.

They determine the level of clearance granted to a person, which consists of three different levels.

Levels: 1) Secret, 2) Secret, and 3) Top Secret. Other levels of clearance exist, e.g

public trust; However, Secret, Secret, and Top Secret security clearances are the highest.

A lot of use.

A secret security clearance is the lowest clearance a person can obtain. To receive this

A clearance allows an individual to access classified information that could harm the nation.

Security Secret Security clearance is the next level and is applied where there are possibilities.

National security was seriously damaged. The hardest clearance to get is Top Secret.

Clearance, as it applies where national security is likely to be seriously harmed.

How do I upgrade my security clearance?

To upgrade from Secret Clearance to Top Secret Clearance, you must have one of these.

the following:

  • PCS or TCS orders that you require a Top Secret clearance.
  • A memorandum signed by an O-5 or higher officer stating that you need top secret.
  • Clearance due to employment requirement
  • You have changed your MOS that requires a Top Secret clearance.

When does my security clearance expire?

Security clearance must be renewed every five years for top secret clearance every ten years.

for secret clearance, and every 15 years for secret clearance.

How do I renew my security clearance?

To renew your clearance, you must do so within 30 days of the expiration date. to do so,

The individual must complete the Electronic Questionnaire for the Investigative Process (eQip).

Application online.

Within 30 days until expiration, download and complete the ATC application for PSIP.

Investigation worksheet and send it along with your birth certificate or passport to prove it.

identity. You do not need to redo your fingerprints to renew your security.

Once the clearance is received, it will be processed, and you will receive an email to complete it.

eQip application. You have 5 days to do this, and if you miss this deadline the application will be terminated.

Who is subject to security checks?

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In addition to the applicant, sometimes a security check may be required for the spouse.

the person. Background checks are done only with the family member’s permission, but

Especially for top secret clearance, they have to do this or the application may be rejected. This is to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest or issues in the applicant’s family that may affect the work in which the applicant wishes to participate. A history of alcoholism or a long criminal record may be grounds for denial of an application.

Facility Security Clearance (FCL)

Some companies selected for a federal contract may also apply for a security clearance if they need access to sensitive information. This is called facility security clearance.

What is facility security clearance and how do I qualify?

The security clearance facility is a government-run contractor.

Eligible for access to classified information — This means companies, academic institutions, and

Other entities engaged in providing goods or services to the US government involved.

Any confidential information. These security clearances are granted at three levels:

Secret, Secret, or Top Secret, and are given to contractors when access to classified information is necessary for them to perform their contract.

What do I need to do to get a facility security clearance?

The Defense Counter Intelligence and Security Agency (“DCSA”) is the security agency therein.

The federal government that conducts background checks and provides security clearance.

There are four necessary steps to obtain an FCL: 1) Sponsorship, 2) CAGE Codes, 3) Telephone

survey, and 4) the DCSA form. For all information, refer to National Industrial Security.

Program Operating Manual.

Do I need a security clearance sponsor?

Contractors are required to be sponsored by a government contracting activity or approved by another.

Company to apply for security clearance. A contractor cannot sponsor himself. The process starts with the FCL Sponsorship Application Form at NISS.

What is the CAGE code?

DCSA uses CAGE codes to track basic facility information. CAGE stands for Commercial.

and the official agency code assigned to the contractor. If your company does not have

A CAGE code, contractors can register with the System for Award Management database.

It is important to obtain this code before starting the FCL process, as without it a contractor may face delays or even closure of their application.

What is a telephone survey?

You will be contacted to schedule a telephone survey, and contractors may prepare themselves for this.

By reading the FCL Orientation Handbook, which will be provided in the welcome email.

Contractors should review their legal documents and have someone familiar with the legal.

Company structure available on call. The main point of this survey is to identify

Contractor’s key management personnel.

Personal Security Clearance (PCL)

What is Personal Security Clearance?

A personal security clearance is an administrative determination by a certified decision maker that an individual needs access to classified information in the course of his or her employment to perform his or her duties that could be harmful to national security.

Who issues the PCL?

An applicant cannot apply for security clearance on his own. Instead, an employee or candidate

Those who need access to classified information for work will get it through them.

The employer, who initiates the process. The employer must have the employee fill out an electronic

Complete and submit the questionnaire, signature pages for Investigation Processing (eQip).

Fingerprints for initial application.

How do I apply for security clearance?

Who can apply for security clearance?

First and foremost, an applicant cannot initiate security clearance on his own. Typically, this is done by the federal agency employer that applies for the employee. Federal agency

Determines if a person is in a position that requires a security clearance, and if so they conduct a background check.

Common types of agencies that require a security clearance include:

  • Intelligence Community
  • Federal law enforcement agencies
  • Diplomatic agencies
  • Civilian military agencies

Should I lie on my security clearance application?

No, even if something is embarrassing or potentially harmful, do not lie on your application.

When asked a question. Honesty, candor, and thoroughness are very important factors, and lies

About anything that could cause your application to be rejected. If you are honest, so is he

Embarrassing or damaging information may not affect your application, but lying will

It will almost certainly be about.

How long does the process take?

It depends on the applicant’s circumstances and the subject and level of security clearance.

That they are asking for.

What if my application is rejected?

If an application is denied, there is an opportunity to appeal the denial. except for

Upon notification of denial, you will be informed of the reasons why your application was denied, and you will have the opportunity to address those reasons in your appeal.

What is the Security Clearance Appeal Process?

First, when an application is denied, the applicant is given a statement of reasons or a “denial letter.” It tells the applicant the government’s exact concerns and gives the applicant an opportunity to respond in writing to those concerns and potentially reverse the denial.

If the applicant is quick to respond and responds effectively, they may still be granted security clearance without the need for a formal hearing, saving a lot of time and money. On the other hand, the applicant can lock himself into a story and defense with his answer. This means that if they make a mistake, it is more difficult for a lawyer to correct mistakes later on and on denial. Mistakes at this stage can be very costly.

An administrative hearing will be held after the response to the statement of reasons.

The applicant may indicate whether he wishes to have a hearing in person before an administrative law judge, or whether the judge needs to rule only on the applicant’s file and written response. If the applicant chooses to go in person, the hearing is usually scheduled 4-8 weeks later in Washington, DC or at a federal building near the applicant. This hearing is very formal, and applicants will usually choose to hire a lawyer to help them prepare and defend their appeal before the judge, and poke holes in the government’s case.

If the judge denies the petitioner a hearing, the petitioner may still appeal. An appeal is limited to challenging a judge’s decision on a very narrow range: usually technical matters, such as whether the judge was biased or erred on a point of law. Questions of fact are generally not heard on appeal.

Transfer of Clearance

Can my clearance be transferred from one federal agency to another?

Sometimes. Cooperation between federal agencies allows a person to transfer their security.

Clearance from work with one federal agency to another. This means that the background

An investigation conducted by the first agency is recognized in the second agency, and

The other agency will then issue a security clearance to the person.

This correlation is limited: a person transferring from one agency to another must have

His agency’s last investigation was completed within the PA.

Validity of security clearance

If I stop working for the federal government, will my security clearance be valid?

Generally, no, a security clearance will be administratively removed upon gaining access.

Confidential information is unnecessary, such as when a person ceases to function in their position.

For the federal government

If I had a security clearance in a previous job, can I get it back?

Yes, but only under certain circumstances. DSS will usually validate the security clearance.

unless (1) the applicant has been out of federal service for more than two years and (2) the applicant’s clearance is based on an adequate and current background investigation.

Experience cases when your application for security clearance is rejected or cancelled. It can

It means losing your job or damaging your reputation. Oklahoma is a must-know.

The military lawyer you hire is dedicated to your cause and specializes in all aspects of security.

Clearance Law in Oklahoma. Cannon & Associates is dedicated to FIERCE Advocacy for military members and will fight for you. Founder John Cannon has been recognized as a Super Lawyer and is a Judge Advocate in the Oklahoma National Guard. Attorney S. Douglas Elliott is a retired BG and former Oklahoma National Guard judge advocate.

Three levels of security clearance

Depending on the level of information you need to do your job, your agency may sponsor you for one of three security clearance levels:

  1. Confidential
  2. secret
  3. top secret.

At any level, a given security clearance allows a military member to have access to items of a classification level that the employee holds or below. Top Secret is the highest clearance granted.

Understanding the clearance process is key to avoiding denial of your security clearance.

“Concept of the Whole Person”

Even if you have made some mistakes, there are some automatic disqualifications in the security clearance process.

According to the National Security Adjudicative Guidelines governing security clearance eligibility, investigators use a “whole person concept” to determine security clearance eligibility.

The guidelines define the whole person concept as “an examination of sufficient duration and careful weighing of multiple variables in an individual’s life to establish that the individual is an acceptable security risk.”

In other words, getting a security clearance depends on your overall dependability and not on one or two mistakes you may have made in the past.

Automatic ineligibility for security clearance

So how many things can automatically disqualify you from clearance? Just one thing: being a persistent drug user or addict.

Passed in 2008, the bond amendment prohibits drug users from holding a security clearance. You can find the bond modification decision in Appendix B of the Guidelines.

Under the bond amendment, adjudicators must find you a current “unlawful user of a controlled substance” or addicted to a controlled substance in order to disqualify you from clearance.

Here’s how the Bond Amendment defines an addiction:

The habitual use of a narcotic drug in a manner that endangers public morals, health, safety or welfare.

Loss of control over addiction

Under the bond amendment, applicants classified as drug users or addicts cannot receive a security clearance waiver.

If you used a controlled substance before but are not a current user or addict, make sure you disclose this information on your security clearance application.

As with everything else in your life, security clearance decision makers may consider this because they examine your “whole person” for clearance, but it will not automatically disqualify you.

Potential disqualification for SCI, SAP and RD programs

The bond amendment also contains criteria for disqualifying individuals from accessing special programs.

Even if you can get a security clearance, the government cannot give you access to some protected data, such as Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI), Special Access Program (SAP) and Restricted Data (RD).

The bond amendment disqualifies the following persons from accessing SCI, SAP and RD data.

Those who have been convicted of a crime and are in prison for more than one year.

Persons dishonorably discharged from the US military

Persons deemed mentally incompetent by a court or agency through formal proceedings

DOD may approve individuals in the above categories for security clearance, but under the bond amendment, it may not grant them access to specially protected SCI, SAP or RD information.

Most Common Reasons for Denial of Security Clearance

DCSA’s Consolidated Adjudication Services (CAS) denied or revoked 2,716 security clearances from October 2021 through July 2022, according to DCSA spokesman Christopher Bentley.

Bentley also provided a list of the most common reasons DCSA denied or revoked security clearances during the same period.

  • Financial considerations – 29%
  • Criminal behavior – 19.4%
  • Personal Behavior – 16.4%
  • Drug involvement and substance abuse – 11.1%
  • Alcohol consumption – 8.7%

Some military members and DOD employees lose their clearances for more than one of these reasons, Bentley said.

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