Reasons for Security Clearance Denial (Adjudicative Guidelines)

Many jobs in the United States require a person to obtain classified, secret or top-secret security clearance in order to have access to the information he or she needs to do the job. Obtaining a security clearance requires filling out a detailed application form (SF-86).

The SF-86 is submitted it to the prospective employer. The employer then submits the application to the federal government, who will then either approve or deny the security clearance. There are many reasons for an applicant to be denied an interim security clearance.  The following is a list of potential issues that may arise related to either obtaining a security clearance or keeping the one that you already hold:

  • Psychological conditions
  • Financial considerations
  • Handling protected information
  • Foreign influence
  • Foreign preference
  • Personal conduct
  • Drug involvement
  • Criminal conduct
  • Use of technology systems
  • Sexual behavior


Foreign influence, such as having relatives in another country, and foreign preference, such as maintaining dual citizenship almost always appear on a Statement of Reasons together. Drug involvement and criminal conduct may appear together in cases of being arrested for illicit drug use, while sexual behavior and criminal conduct may appear together in cases of being arrested for rape or sexual molestation charges.

It is not always made completely clear on a Statement of Reasons as to why a security clearance application was denied, in which case, it may be necessary to obtain the government’s records pertaining to the investigation under the Freedom of Information Act.

If you are having issues with your current security clearance or have received a Statement of Reasons regarding a security clearance application call the Security Clearance Law Group today at 858-345-1720.  Our experienced attorneys will walk you through the process and potentially represent you in the defense of your right to hold a national security clearance.