In 2017, the U.S. Federal Government expanded its rules concerning the reporting requirements for security clearance holders. Known as Security Executive Agent Directive-3 (SEAD-3), these requirements were created with the intent to strengthen national security assets such as information, personnel, facilities, and technologies.
Anyone who has a security clearance, can access classified information, or who holds a sensitive position in federal employment is subject to the requirements of SEAD-3. These requirements obligate such individuals to report personal behavior that could adversely impact national security assets.
Individuals must specifically report the following behaviors or activities to the security officer of their department or agency:
- Foreign Travel
- Foreign Contacts
- Foreign Activities
- Activities of Others That May Be a Security Concern
Individuals covered by SEAD-3 are required to report their foreign travel. When their travel is “unofficial,” such as for leisure, they must submit an itinerary to their agency head and wait for approval before leaving the U.S. Covered employees may also be required to receive a defensive security and counterintelligence briefing.
Unplanned day trips to Canada or Mexico must be reported within five business days of one’s return to the U.S. Travel to Puerto Rico, Guam, or another U.S. possession or territory doesn’t need to be reported as they are not considered to be foreign travel.
Should an emergency arise that requires overseas travel, such as the illness or death of a family member, covered employees should verbally advise their supervisor of the emergency travel and provide relevant specific information before departure.
Foreign Contacts & Activities
If you are an employee covered by SEAD-3, your agency’s leader or designee will determine the specific reporting requirements for contact with a foreign national.
Generally speaking, covered employees must self-report unofficial contact with people who are known or suspected to be a foreign intelligence entity.
Federal employees with security clearances must also self-report continuing association with known foreign nationals that involve the following:
- Bonds of affection
- Personal obligation
- Intimate contact
- Exchange of personal information
Regardless of how or where the contact with a foreign national occurred, it must be reported. That means personal contact, telephone calls, snail mail, email, social media, and other Internet communications with a known foreign national must be reported.
After an initial report is filed, updates regarding the continued unofficial association with known foreign nationals may be required if there is a significant change in the nature of the contact. Limited or casual contact with foreign nationals in public does not require reporting.
Activities of Others That May Be a Security Concern
Covered employees are not only responsible for reporting their own behavior. SEAD-3 now requires them to report the activities of other covered employees that could be potential security or counterintelligence risks.
These activities include any of the following and more:
- Unwillingness to comply with rules, regulations, or cooperate with security protocol
- Alcohol abuse
- Illegal use or misuse of drugs or any drug-related activity
- Unexplained affluence or debt
- Metal illness (apparent or suspected) when there is reason to believe it could impact the covered employee’s ability to protect sensitive information
- Criminal conduct
- Misuse of government property or information systems
Do You Need Legal Assistance?
Breaching any provision of SEAD-3 can put your security clearance and federal employment in jeopardy. If you are under investigation or need to defend your interests before an administrative court, reach out to Claery & Hammond, LLP for supportive legal counsel.