Contesting a Security Clearance Denial

Filing an appeal for a security clearance denial involves navigating complex processes and understanding the potential outcomes. An attorney can provide support at each stage by helping prepare documents, gather evidence, and build arguments. They may even represent their client’s interests at a hearing. With the proper preparation and guidance, applicants whose clearance has been denied may pursue a more favorable outcome.

Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys at Claery & Hammond, LLP by calling us at (877) 362-3176 or contacting us online today.

Exploring the Security Clearance Process

The security clearance process allows the government to assess whether an individual can be trusted with sensitive information vital to national safety.

The process goes beyond filling out a lengthy questionnaire. It will also involve a comprehensive background check into the applicant’s history of personal conduct.

Through the security clearance process, applicants are assessed based on their past behaviors and attitudes to determine whether they should be given access to government secrets. Depending on a person’s suitability, they can receive the necessary clearance or be denied it.

Understanding the Possible Reasons for a Security Clearance Denial

A security clearance application might be denied for several reasons. The adjudication process uses the “whole-person” concept that considers all available information to determine whether someone will be responsible with sensitive data.

Being granted security clearance is essential for positions requiring access to confidential data. However, not all individuals are successful in their application.

Common reasons why a security clearance might be denied include the following:

  • Financial matters: Debt is one of the primary issues. This can include delinquency with credit card bills, taxes, or student loans.
  • Dishonesty: When applying for a security clearance, all information provided must be accurate, complete, and truthful. Any dishonesty or lack of disclosure can result in a denial.
  • Foreign dealings: Applicants who engage with foreign governments will need to provide further details about the transactions when applying for security clearance. They might be subject to closer scrutiny. If an applicant has ongoing contact with certain foreign countries or entities, their application for security clearance might be denied.
  • Criminal conduct: A conviction for serious crimes or multiple convictions can lead to an unfavorable security clearance decision.
  • Substance abuse: Misusing drugs and/or alcohol may affect a security clearance application, as it can demonstrate poor judgment that could put the safety and confidentiality of sensitive information at risk.

Appealing a Security Clearance Denial

Contesting an unfavorable decision on a security clearance application can take some effort. After the decision is made, the applicant will receive a document outlining the reasons for the denial. With this information in mind, the applicant may submit an appeal to the appropriate appeals board.

The applicant can request a written appeal. Through this method, they would explain why they feel the decision is unwarranted and should be reconsidered.

Alternatively, the applicant can request a formal hearing with an administrative judge. At the proceeding, the applicant can explain the facts in person. They may also provide supporting documents and call witnesses if necessary.

Analyzing the Potential Outcomes of an Appeal

The administrative judge will review the information the applicant provided. If they affirm the denial, the individual is barred from applying for security clearance again for 1 year.

The Role of an Attorney in Filing an Appeal

Appealing a security clearance denial can be challenging and time-consuming. However, the potential for a better outcome may increase when relying on the insights from an experienced lawyer. The attorney can prepare forms, develop compelling arguments, and provide representation at hearings.

If your security clearance has been denied, contact our team at Claery & Hammond, LLP by calling (877) 362-3176. We represent clients nationwide.