How to Fight a Security Clearance Statement of Reasons

Last month, we explored some of the most common reasons for military security clearance denials. This month, we’re diving even deeper and looking at the Statement of Reasons (SOR) for these denials and, more importantly, how you can fight them.

What Is a Statement of Reasons (SOR)?

A Statement of Reasons usually comes in the form of a package, the contents of which include notice of intent to deny or revoke security clearance eligibility to the applicant seeking it. The SOR package will include a detailed summary of the issues / security-related concerns, along with supporting evidence/information, that led to the denial or revocation. Also included in the package should be: instructions on how to respond to the SOR, adjudicative guidelines, and a list of the information used to make the denial.

To review the criteria that may have led to your denial, read our blog from last month: Why Was My Security Clearance Denied?

If you’ve received an SOR, you should be made aware of the following; but, in case you weren’t, we’ve broken it down below:

  • You have only 10 days to sign the Statement of Receipt.
  • You have the right to legal representation.
  • Any advice you receive from the Security Professional (SP) working on your case should not be taken as legal advice.
  • If you currently have access to classified information, your clearance may be suspended during this period.

Although it probably goes without saying, we’d be remiss if we did not impress the seriousness of this situation. Receiving an SOR can have career-altering repercussions if not handled correctly. As such, we strongly urge you to seek counsel from an experienced security clearance legal team.

How to Respond – Yes, There’s a “Right” Way!

The number one piece of advice we give to anyone who has received an SOR is to hold off on responding until you have thoroughly read and reviewed the contents of your package. Again, we highly recommend involving an attorney to help you prepare your response and to protect your best interests.

If you choose to respond, you must do so within 30 days of the date on which you signed the Statement of Receipt. And, remember, that receipt must be submitted within 10 calendar days of receiving your SOR package.

While the process is designed to allow subjects to represent themselves, doing so means you are solely responsible for the quality, timeliness, and substance of your response. As such, it would be wise to involve a lawyer who can guide you on the proper way to respond before you sign your name to anything.

When preparing your response, remember: Honesty is the best policy.

What to Include in Your Response

Your response should directly address every security clearance concern or issue that was listed in the SOR. To do this, consider including the following:

  • Statements attesting to your reliability and trustworthiness. These can come from your commanders, supervisors, co-workers, or even your friends, and they should speak to your sound judgment.
  • Court records and transcripts of testimonies provided under oath, if applicable.
  • Documentation that refutes, corrects, or otherwise mitigates any and all concerns cited in the SOR, e.g. release from wage garnishment, verification of your successful completion of a substance abuse program, copy of a negotiated plea bargain, etc.

In preparing your documentation, make sure all supporting documents are presented in the order in which they are cited within your response.

The Final Step

Once you’ve fully prepared your response, you will need to sign and date it before sending it off. The entire response, including all documentation, should be included in a single envelope (or package, depending on size).

If you work with a member of our legal team, we will also conduct a final review of the package to ensure it includes all of the necessary information before you send it off. From there, it’s a waiting game while the DoD CAF reviews your response and all of the supporting documentation provided.

If you are issued a favorable decision, your security eligibility will be restored. If not, we can help you appeal the decision. Click here to read more on appealing a security clearance denial, and call us to schedule a consultation: (877) 362-3176.