Personal Conduct & Security Clearance

When an individual applies for security clearance, he or she will be under the utmost scrutiny until a decision is rendered. While the applicant is being investigated, every aspect of their life will be closely examined, including their “personal conduct.”

Essentially, if an applicant’s personal conduct raises questions about their judgement, personal ethics, honesty, and reliability, and their conduct demonstrates a lack of trustworthiness, it can lead to a security clearance denial.

If a person fails to provide truthful answers during the background investigation, their ability to protect classified information will be questioned. If the applicant is less than candid, or if they fail to cooperate during the security clearance process, they will inadvertently raise “red flags,” possibly yielding an adverse decision.

What Conduct Leads to an Adverse Decision?

If an applicant engages in the following behaviors, there is a strong possibility that their security clearance will result in an unfavorable clearance action:

  • Refusal to cooperate with the background investigation.
  • Refusal to meet with the security investigator.
  • Failure to fully complete security forms.
  • Failure to cooperate with the medical or psychological evaluation.
  • Failure to complete security releases.

Additionally, if the applicant fails to provide honest and open answers to questions from security officials, investigators, or other officials, the applicant can be disqualified from receiving a security clearance.

Additional Issues That Can Lead to Disqualification

When an applicant knowingly provides untruthful information in any way, or when investigators learn of a history of poor conduct at work, either can lead to disqualification. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Deliberately omitting information.
  • A pattern of being dishonest.
  • A pattern of breaking the rules.
  • A history of disruptive or violent behavior at work.
  • Deliberately concealing relevant facts.
  • Deliberately providing false or misleading information on the personal history statement or personnel security questionnaire.
  • Deliberately giving an investigator, security official, government representative, or medical doctor false or misleading information.

Mitigating Circumstances to Be Considered

Even though there are numerous ways that an applicant’s personal conduct can disqualify him or her from security clearance, there are conditions that can minimize a person’s security concerns.

For example, if the applicant made an immediate, good-faith effort to correct an omission or falsification before they were confronted with the facts, this would improve their circumstances. Or, if the individual’s failure to cooperate was caused by poor advice from their superior or a security official, that too could mitigate the security concern.

If your security clearance was denied due to your personal conduct, contact Claery & Hammond, LLP to take advantage of our free case evaluations and nearly three decades of collective experience.

Call today for the experienced legal advice and representation you need!