Reasons for Security Clearance Failure! What to do next?

Reasons for Security Clearance Failure

Reasons For Security Clearance Failure
Reasons For Security Clearance Failure 6

It is extremely useful to know the reasons why you might fail a security clearance, especially considering that some jobs require you to have a security clearance in the UK, including many IT jobs. Whether you work as a contractor or a full-time employee, these clearances are often required because you typically have access to confidential information while you’re at work.

When you are trying to get a security clearance, you have to go through a specific process. The first step is to fill out some paperwork with the information necessary to prove you’re trustworthy.

Before doing so, you may be curious about the things they look for after receiving your application. If you get denied, there are usually five reasons why, and they are as follows.

1. You have some kind of criminal record.

If you have a criminal record, this is a red flag for authorities completing your security clearance. That being said, the crime committed is to present a potential threat to count against you.

Regarding criminal records, here’s what they look for the most:

  • The severity of the offense
  • How many times have you committed a crime?
  • What, if any, risk it poses will affect your credibility and your reliability.
  • Details of the offense; for example, the reason you committed the crime.

Naturally, it’s never a good idea to hide the facts about any crimes you’ve committed, even if you think they’re minor. If you hide something and they find out about it later, it will affect their perception of you and possibly cause you to fail security clearance.

Always be upfront when listing and describing your criminal record. Doing otherwise will only make things worse for you.

2. Incomplete application or missing information

The security clearance application must be filled out completely. This is a more common reason for failing security clearance than you might think.

You also need to include any documents they ask for, such as birth certificates, utility bills, or anything else that proves your identity.

Even if you accidentally leave something off the application, it can count against you.

You will also be asked questions and will be expected to answer any of them that are considered safe to work with.

The best advice regarding this application is to make sure it is filled out before submitting it. Otherwise, it may mean automatic rejection by the examining authorities.

3. Differences in your employment record

Other reasons for failing security clearance may be that vetting officials will look for gaps in your employment record and require you to explain why if you have any. This is especially true if you have a long gap between certain jobs.

Not that this gap itself can cause your security clearance to be rejected. Instead, officials are more concerned with why the gap exists.

If there are gaps in your employment records, it’s a good idea to let them know what you were doing during those periods.

If you were in school, for example, they probably wouldn’t be too concerned about the difference.

Just like the recommendation mentioned above, it’s a great idea, to be honest and detailed with any questions you ask.

4. Problems with your accommodation

If you have recently moved to the UK, your security clearance will likely be refused.

This is because you have to have lived in the country for four out of the last five years to pass security clearance.

It’s not a reflection of your character, of course, so if you’re rejected for this reason, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

5. Financial instability or problems

Some people believe that if you have debt, your security clearance will be denied.

However, this is not the case.

When the examiners look at your financial information, they will look at how well you are managing the debt.

Again, be forthcoming with information so they can get a complete picture when it comes to your finances.

In other words, they are trying to find out if you can be trusted with any kind of financial asset.

If they think you can’t be trusted, you’ll fail security clearance.

6. Spouse or adult partner’s Social Security number is missing.

If the marital status reflects married or if in the same relationship as a spouse, provide the spouse’s SSN.

7. Information on missing relatives

Provide information for any person required to be listed within the categories of relatives, living or deceased, including full name, date of birth, place of birth (city, state, or country), current residence, and citizenship. Do not provide information about relatives who are not on one of the following lists: mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, foster parent, child, stepchild, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or stepsister. Brother, half-sister, and father. father-in-law, mother-in-law, and the Guardian. For any relative who is a U.S. citizen or citizen born outside the United States, information on proof of citizenship, including document identification numbers, from any or all of the following documents must be provided: Must provide: U.S. passport (a passport if the subject was issued; “Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a United States Citizen” (FS-240); Certificate of Citizenship.

8. You have a criminal history.

If you have ever been arrested or convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, be prepared to have your security clearance denied. If you can demonstrate that enough time has passed and that your behavior has changed, however, the federal government may be willing to disregard your criminal history.

Never lie about what happened in the past People doing background checks have access to all the information they need to know about your criminal history. If you’re anything but honest, you could trigger a denial of your security clearance.

9. Security violations

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 a positive attitude towards payment of security obligations.

10. 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

  • 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.

11. Your potential for foreign influence

When you hold security clearance as a federal employee or contractor, your allegiance to the United States must be unquestionable. It is for this reason that people who can be considered to be under foreign influence are denied security clearance. Risk factors for denial therefore include friends, colleagues, and travel plans that check with investigators.

12. Your personal conduct

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 safety forms and releases, or to provide complete and truthful answers to investigators, security personnel 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 authorities 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.

13. You have bad credit or significant debt.

You might not think that your financial situation should affect whether or not you get a security clearance, but there’s a good reason. The federal government considers people who are struggling financially to be security risks because they are more likely to accept bribes or be manipulated into providing access to sensitive or classified information.

14. Educational information missing

Provide the full name and address of the school and a person with knowledge of the applicant. If the most recent degree is outside the scope of the investigation (7 or 10 years), provide information regardless of how long ago the degree was earned.

15. Job information is missing.

List of all jobs; add the company that is submitting the clearance application as the current employer. Applicant must be eligible for all full-time work, paid or unpaid, consulting/contract work, all military service duty stations, temporary military duty stations (TDY) of more than 90 days, self-employment, other paid work, and unemployment. All periods should be listed.

16. Missing references (character, residency, employment, or education)

The applicant must include the names and full US addresses and phone numbers of at least three individuals. It must not be a relative, spouse, ex-spouse, or anyone listed elsewhere on this form. The applicant must also add a work or home address using the drop-down boxes provided as well as the zip code and current phone number(s). If unemployed or self-employed, the applicant must provide the identity and contact information of a person who can verify unemployment or self-employment (spouse, parents or siblings as a validating reference). can use).

17. Personal reference information is missing.

Provide the names of at least three people and include full US addresses and phone numbers. It must not be a relative, spouse, ex-spouse, or anyone listed elsewhere on this form. The applicant must also add a work or home address using the drop-down boxes provided as well as the zip code and current phone number(s).

18. Incomplete description of employment record

Provide additional employment details such as layoffs; Quitting after being told you will be fired. Terminate employment by mutual agreement for unsatisfactory performance, and/or receive written warnings; Being officially reprimanded, suspended, or disciplined for workplace misconduct, such as violating a security policy.

“There is a strong presumption against granting security clearance.”

Dorfmont v. Brown, 913 F.2d 1399, 1401 (9th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 499 U.S.

905 (1991).

                    i.            Who needs a security clearance?

Anyone who works in a position that requires access to classified information.

Need a security clearance? For a sense of what kind of information can be classified, a

See Executive Order 13526.

Protected Information: (1) military and intelligence information; (2) Scientific

technical, or economic matters related to national security; and (3) information about

Foreign relations and foreign governments.

In general, almost all military personnel and defense contractors will require security.

Clearance Attorneys may also need a security clearance if they intend to work for: DOJ,

Any US Attorney’s Office, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland

Security, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Federal Reserve, etc. A 2011

A report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence estimated that there were

About 4.2 million people in the U.S. have security clearances. While

The majority of security clearances are held by government employees, more than 1

Millions of clearances are held by private contractors. Thus, there is not even one

A security clearance may still be required for intent to work for the federal government.

Its working condition

                 ii.            What types of security clearances are there?

 Most classified information comes in three security levels. Most restrictively

At minimum restrictions, they are: top secret, confidential, and confidential. Accessing a level

Also provides access to all information below that level. For example, someone with a secret

Clearance may access classified and classified information, but not top secret information.

There are also access controls that go beyond the usual Top Secret/Secret/Secret.

trichotomy, known as SCIs and SAPs, although these will not be discussed here.

The application process and legal standards are the same regardless

Security clearance sought. Thus, the applicant must still have access to the secret level.

Demonstrate the same level of trust and confidence as the applicant for the top secret.

Level Access If an applicant is found ineligible for Top Secret clearance, he or she is.

Ineligible for secret or secret clearance. The main difference between

Different clearance levels are subject to thorough background investigation, and

Period before reinvestigation.

For Secret and Secret security clearances, standard investigation is included.

An overview of running applicant name and fingerprint records through FBI databases

All applicable government records, a credit check, and written inquiries from schools;

Employers, and local law enforcement agencies. Will also investigate for top secret clearance.

Includes face-to-face interviews with applicants, current and former neighbors, spouses,

Teachers, employers, and others. The purpose of these interviews is to develop.

Derogatory information that may justify denial of security clearance. Some agencies, eg

As with the CIA and NSA, polygraph tests and psychological evaluations are also required.

Finally, the government periodically conducts reinvestigations for anyone who is looking for it.

Maintain a security clearance. For secret clearance, there is a reinvestigation period.

every 15 years; Secretly, it’s 10 years; And for top secret, every 5 years. gave

A reinvestigation will normally only cover the time since the last investigation, but

Otherwise, it is the same as the initial investigation.

               iii.            How does one get security clearance?

A person cannot apply for a security clearance unless they are actually employed.

Access to classified information is required. Employer must sponsor.

The process of obtaining an application security clearance begins with filling the 127-

Page Questionnaire (SF-86). That questionnaire, along with fingerprint card and

The release forms are handed to the employer, who then forwards the package to Central.

Facilitate decision-making for action.

Once the applicant’s case has been submitted for hearing, the applicant can begin.

Conduct of discovery. Depending on whether the case involves a private contractor or a

Government servant, Government may or may not be represented by a department.

Advice. The petitioner may appear at a hearing before an administrative judge.

Witness and document evidence, make opening and closing arguments, and be.

Represented by a lawyer. After the hearing is complete, the AJ will issue a written decision.

Either an initial determination (in the case of a private contractor) or a proposed one

Judgment (in case of Government servant).

In private contractor cases, either the government or the contractor can appeal.

Adverse decision of the DOHA Appeals Board. In the case of Government servants, because

AJ’s decision is merely a recommendation, with no right of appeal. Instead, a separate one

The Appeals Board reviews the AJ’s recommendation and then makes a final decision.


Decisions of the Appeal Board cannot be further appealed. Any other agency or

The court has the power to review the merits of the security clearance decision. other than that,

Once an applicant is denied a security clearance, there is a one-year cooling-off period.

before he can reapply for security clearance.

                iv.            Who makes the law?

Security clearance law is a unique field. The courts and the legislature are the majority.

Instead, almost all legislation in this field comes from Executive Orders, DOD.

directives, and DOD regulations. Decisions of the DOHA Appeals Board serve this.

Creating precedents by interpreting and applying active equivalents of case law

Guidelines and Regulations.

Procedural aspects of the security clearance law are governed by DOD directives.

5200.2 and 5220.6. The first directive applies to both federal and private employees.

contractors, while the second directive applies only to private contractors. DOD has.

Also promulgated regulations to implement both directives, referred to respectively as DOD.

Regulations 5200.2-R and 5220.6-R. Together they constitute the Guidelines and Regulations.

Backbone mechanism of security clearance decisions.

 The actual law comes from the Adjudicative Guidelines. These guidelines have been compiled.

The reasons for which a person may be denied security clearance (called

conditions of disqualification) as well as reasons for overcoming specific disqualifications

(called mitigating factors).

                  v.            Who is eligible for security clearance?

Anyone who is a citizen of the United States and is employed in a position that requires access.

Classified information is eligible for security clearance, as long as it is

Not disqualified under any judicial guidelines.

In security clearance cases, an administrative judge is required to decide whether

Granting a security clearance to an individual seeking access is “clearly consistent with ․

national security interest.” To reach this conclusion, an administrative judge uses

The concept of the “whole person”. This means disqualifying conditions and mitigating factors

The whole is evaluated rather than piece by piece. Although the government tolerates

Burden of production to show that certain disqualification conditions apply, which is beyond doubt.

Eligibility is resolved against the applicant (ie the applicant has the burden of persuasion).

Decisional guidelines provide basic principles for decision making. each one

The guideline lists a specific “concern” and then enumerates examples of “disqualifications.”

Conditions” as well as “mitigating factors.” If there is an applicable disqualifying condition.

Under any of the individual guidelines, then that person will not be granted security.

Clearance unless there is proof of mitigation.

There are a total of 13 different Adjudicative Guidelines, labeled A through M as follows:

A. Loyalty to America.

B. Foreign influence

C. Foreign Preference

D. Sexual behavior

E. Personal Conduct

F. Financial Considerations

G. Alcohol consumption

H. Drug involvement

I. Psychiatric conditions

J. Criminal Conduct

K. Handling Protected Information

L. Outside Activities

M. Use of Information Technology Systems

Although the guidelines appear to be varied (and the list will only grow over time)

All of these relate to three broad areas of concern: loyalty, reliability, and vulnerability. I

Thinking about how specific factors affect a security clearance request, and what

While mitigating terms may apply, it is helpful to think of problems in terms of all three.



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The question of loyalty is concerned with whether an individual is undivided.

Loyalty to America. A person who is not loyal to the United States, or who has one.

Divided loyalties between the two countries, cannot be trusted to protect classified information.

Guidelines A, B, C, and L all deal with an individual’s loyalty.

Under Guideline A, a person can be disqualified for any conduct that calls him out.

Loyalty in question. Disqualifying conditions include showing sympathy for one.

Hostile organization (eg, al-Qaeda), participation in certain organizations (eg,

Communist Party), or advocating the overthrow of the US government.

Under Guideline B, a person may be disqualified for having regular contact.

Sharing, or owning living quarters with foreign family members, foreign nationals

Substantial assets abroad may disqualify a person under Guideline C.

Holder of foreign citizenship, serving in a foreign military, or possessing a foreign passport.

 Finally, Guideline L, although not directly a question of fidelity, affects fidelity.

Because it disqualifies a person whose foreign employment or service gives rise to a dispute.


Since these guidelines are about loyalty, situations need to be mitigated.

To show the individual that despite the negative facts, he remains loyal to her.

United States For example, if the disqualifying condition is foreign relatives, the mitigation

The condition would be that the person has little or no contact with foreign relatives.

Have deep and longstanding ties with relatives or friends in the United States.


Reliability refers to an individual’s trustworthiness and consistency of behavior.

Individuals who demonstrate a lack of honesty, poor judgment, or failure to comply.

Rules and regulations cannot handle reliable classification information, even if they are.

Otherwise loyal and not prone to coercion.

In many ways, the question of reliability is the most important question in security.

Clearance Law. Guidelines E, F, G, H, I, J, K, and M directly affect reliability. Instructions d

And F touch reliability at least as a secondary concern.

Guideline E is a unique guideline. Generally, Guideline E cases arise when a person

leaves something on his safety questionnaire (127 page Form SF-86), and

Subsequent investigations revealed that the disappearance. Where there is a disqualification condition.

As a result of any omission or misrepresentation in the security questionnaire, the individual

It must be shown that the misrepresentation or omission was inadvertent or at least not.

culpable (eg, that the individual relied on the wrong advice of counsel).

Additionally, the individual should promptly correct a mistake or misrepresentation once made.

He becomes aware of the problem. Guideline E also serves as a “catch-all” provision.

Allowing the AJ to disqualify any individual for factors that are not required.

Disqualification under any of the other guidelines

Guidelines G, H, I, and J deal with alcohol, drug, and psychiatric problems.

disease, and criminal behavior. With the exception of guideline I, these guidelines often

Overlap For example, a DUI conviction may be considered under a disqualifying factor.

Either Guideline G or Guideline J, and may be disqualified under a marijuana conviction.

Guideline H or Guideline J. It is important to keep in mind that guidelines are

concerned with the underlying conduct, not the formal consequences of a criminal charge.

Thus, the Guidelines may apply even if no criminal prosecution was pending.

Guideline K cases typically involve the negligent or intentional disclosure of securities.

information. Protected information does not need to be classified. Guideline K cases

may arise in the context of an employee of the Company disclosing the Company’s trade secrets,

or a lawyer who violates a client’s confidence. Guideline M cases specifically deal with

Information technology systems. An employee who misused a company computer, eg

Accessing pornography at work or downloading copyrighted material may result in disqualification under s.

Guideline M.

Finally, while guidelines D and F are primarily concerned with an individual;

Threats of coercion or pressure are also related to an individual’s credibility.

Extreme sexual misconduct or financial irresponsibility reflects a failure to comply.

With rules and regulations.

Where the disqualifying conditions call into question the reliability of an individual,

A mitigating factor usually requires the applicant to demonstrate that he or she has

Substantially “reformed” in this way, the AJ will look to see if the conduct was recent (1-3 years etc.).

generally considered recent), whether the problems are recurring, and whether

The individual has received therapy, counseling, or treatment for the problem.


Reasons For Security Clearance Failure
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An individual who is loyal and trustworthy can certainly survive despite this.

Situations where he is easily manipulated or coerced.

than the average person. In such cases, the government will deny security clearance.

Based on the fear that the individual may be blackmailed into revealing the secret.


Guideline B, discussed in the first section on fidelity, is also of concern.

with risk. From a government perspective, one of the problems with

Maintaining close ties with foreign relatives, or owning assets abroad

The country (in addition to the risk of divided loyalties) is vulnerable to foreign contacts.

Subjecting the person to coercion. This concern overshadows the issue of loyalty when

The foreign country is hostile to the United States, has, or is known to have, a poor human rights record.

Engaging in espionage against the United States.

Guidelines D and F, discussed earlier in the reliability section, may also occur.

Considered in the context of weakness.

Where guideline D overlaps with guideline J (eg, where sexual behavior

is a crime), reliability concerns are paramount. But where there is no overlap,

Risk anxiety is usually the most prominent. For example, under guideline D,

The government can deny security clearance to a homosexual person if he has not disclosed this.

The truth to his family members and close associates. Likewise, while adultery is no longer a

Crime, the government can deny a person security clearance based on adultery.

did not reveal this fact to his spouse, family members, or close associates. In these cases, the person is thought to be more easily subject to exploitation by others who know about the person’s secrets. To mitigate the vulnerability concern, the individual must publicly disclose the underlying facts, such that the sexual conduct is no longer a basis for coercion.

Guideline F cases arise when the applicant has a very high income ratio, or

The loan has a history of non-payment. The concern with irresponsible spending habits is that

Someone who is eventually financially overstretched may risk selling confidential information.

To generate funds. Mitigating factors under guideline F generally require the individual to be on.

Demonstrate a loan repayment plan, and a period of continuous and successful efforts.

Payment of debts.

Your options should you fail your security clearance

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Reasons For Security Clearance Failure 9

People get frustrated when they fail UK security clearance, especially if they are not aware of the reasons why they failed security clearance in the first place, but don’t take it personally.

It could be something simple, like they need additional information or documents from you.

Fortunately, there is an appeals process that you can follow if you are denied. But first, they’ll often tell you why you’re being rejected.

The appeal process is done in two stages.

The first is an internal appeal, and as soon as you hear back from them, you can decide what to do next.

The second stage is the final appeal, which goes through the Security Vetting Appeals Panel (SVAP).

You must file this final appeal within 28 days of receiving the results of your internal appeal.

So, what can you do to increase the odds that your UK security clearance will pass? First, learn about the five steps outlined above that are critical to the outcome of your application.

Whatever they ask for in your application, you have to provide them.

Don’t just fill out part of the application and think they’ll accept it – because they won’t!

The more detailed and comprehensive your application, the better off you will be in the end.

If they believe you are hiding something from them, they will automatically reject your security clearance.

Security clearance levels

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Reasons For Security Clearance Failure 10
  • top secret
  • secret
  • Confidential

At the highest level, a compromise of classified information could cause “extraordinarily severe harm” to national security. The information you need for your job determines what level of security clearance you need, and clearance levels correspond to the highest classification of information you are allowed to access. So, if you have a secret clearance, you can work with secret or classified information, but you won’t work with top-secret information.

But even with Secret, Secret, or Top Secret clearance, you can’t access every piece of information classified at that level or below. You must have a mission-related reason for accessing any confidential information. This is called a “need to know”“.

To get a security clearance, you must answer questions about your background and undergo an investigation. Top Secret clearance requires a very strict vetting process.

To read more about applying for Top Secret clearance with access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI), you can see our guide to the process.

Read on to know some common reasons for security clearance denials and rejections.

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