A decision on your access to a security clearance should be issued within six months following your initial application.
In the event that your application is denied – either during the initial application or revoked or suspended upon review – you will be issued a notice referred to as a Statement of Reasons that outlines the specific reasons, disqualifiers, or areas of concern that determined the decision.
You will also be issued information regarding your right to appeal and the procedures for doing so. Once notified of the government’s intention to deny your clearance, you must provide a response within a timetable as short as 45 days. When filing or responding to an appeal, you must submit a thorough brief that emphasizes the mitigating factors contained in the record and cites relevant legal precedents.
In addition to the list of conditions used to disqualify applicants, the adjudicative guidelines also include a list of conditions used to alleviate security concerns and, ultimately, grant you access to a clearance. The mitigating factors differ depending upon the reasons for denial or revocation, but can relate to infrequency of the act, the completion of counseling programs related to the disqualifying factor, or length of time lapsed.
Each individual’s situation is unique and requires a thorough review of the circumstances specific to your case. There are a host of mitigating factors that could prove your eligibility for access to classified information and ultimately grant you a security clearance.
There are numerous reasons why a candidate may be denied a clearance or why a current employee’s clearance may be revoked. The following list describes areas of issue that may need mitigation during the investigation. The attorneys at Tully Rinckey PLLC are available throughout the application and appeals process to help determine if you have any mitigating factors.
Throughout the investigation, including completing the SF-86 form, you will be asked about any previous or current drug use or involvement. It is important to be completely honest in detailing past use, including the abuse of prescription and non-prescription drugs as well as the consumption, purchase or selling of illegal drugs. Any illegal drug use during periods of time that you hold a security clearance, no matter the level, puts your clearance in jeopardy.
Financial Debt, Affluence & Gambling Addiction
There are three financial considerations taken into account: debt, affluence, and gambling addiction. While almost all security clearance candidates hold debt in one form or another, the government scrutinizes the cause and amount of your debt as well as payment history. Due to the sudden downturn in the economy, many candidates or cleared professionals find themselves buried under mounds of credit card debt, failed car payments or even home foreclosure. All three greatly jeopardize your ability to obtain and retain a security clearance.
Financial affluence is the sudden or unexplainable purchase of goods or services beyond your sources of income. Purchases made out of one’s means are subject to intense scrutiny and investigation. Finally, gambling addiction in any form will be investigated. While moderate gambling is socially acceptable, gambling beyond one’s means or a compulsive need to gamble are grounds for denial or revocation.
The attorneys at Tully Rinckey PLLC have decades of experience representing security clearance applicants and those facing revocation due to debt and foreclosure issues. Our lawyers are available 24/7 to help determine mitigating factors in your specific case including positive repayment histories, treatment for addictions and reasons for previously unexplained purchases.
In a highly globalized age, it is rare to find individuals without foreign contacts or relationships. While having outside contacts and/or dual citizenship are not complete grounds for denial or revocation, background investigators will scrutinize your relationships, both personal and financial, to governments and persons outside the United States. It is highly important that all foreign information, including travel, is accurately disclosed to determine allegiance to the U.S. and susceptibility to foreign control and influence.
If you or your company has numerous foreign investments or contacts, the attorneys at Tully Rinckey PLLC are able to identify mitigating factors including any necessary business arrangements required to obtain clearance. In many cases involving dual-citizenship, having an experienced attorney at your side may be necessary to negotiate a positive settlement.
In certain circumstances, your sexual behavior and history may be analyzed to determine its criminality, your sexual compulsion or potential vulnerability to coercion. Behavior that may be deemed reckless including having multiple partners or obtaining partners illegally or through payment will be thoroughly investigated. Sexual orientation is not a disqualifying factor and any discriminatory conduct by deciding officials may be utilized during the clearance appeals process in your favor. If you believe that you are being discriminated against due to your sexual orientation, the attorneys at Tully Rinckey PLLC may be able to help. They understand your legal options and are available 24/7 for consultations.
The downloading or use of pirated music, movies, television shows or software is taken very seriously by the government. Also, use of employer computers to view or download pornographic material may trigger allegations under criminal conduct, personal conduct, and sexual behavior guidelines.
The mishandling of sensitive or classified information at previous jobs will be scrutinized as it questions your ability to handle any sensitive material with the government. While there is no clear number of illegal downloads that reaches the threshold of “disqualifying,” it is very important to be honest throughout the investigation process into your use of pirated and pornographic materials. More importantly, now that you are aware of the seriousness of downloading illegal materials, avoid any illegal downloads in the future.
The attorneys at Tully Rinckey PLLC, are experienced in representing clients who have a number of disqualifying factors. We are able to give you honest guidance throughout the application process as well as aggressive representation during denial or revocation hearings.
The application process for access to a security clearance is involved and thorough.
Our attorneys are available to provide assistance, advice, and counsel from the initial application and interview stages to aggressive representation in the event of denial of revocation of a clearance.