A security clearance revocation can hit hard, both personally and professionally. Whether you are in the military or with a federal agency, you rely on your clearance to fulfill your job and support your family.
With all that you endured obtaining your clearance, such as filling out the SF-86 and having your history sifted through with a fine-toothed comb, you now find yourself facing a security clearance revocation.
Do you have to accept this fact or is there something you can do to get your security clearance reinstated?
The good news is that you do not have to go through this process all on your own. Yes, there is an appeals process, and it can be lengthy and complicated. You can increase your chances of getting your security clearance back by calling the experts at Security Clearance Law Group. We can stand beside you through this arduous process to potentially mitigate the findings and get you back in good standings with the DoD.
You are also not alone.
Intelligence officer John Brennan, political consultant Sandy Berger, nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee, and American whistleblower Edward Snowden are just a few high-profile cases where a security clearance was revoked.
And a revocation can happen for a number of reasons.
Why Are Security Clearances Revoked?
Security clearances are revoked for a variety of factors. You may have acted in such a way that called into question your allegiance to the country. You may have retained associations with questionable people, such as those connected to terrorist groups. Certain circumstances can also call into question your ability to hold a clearance, such as a DUI.
Of course, a simple job change could also cause your security clearance to be revoked. However, if you left a job and your security clearance is still “current,” once you secure a new job requiring clearance, your designation should be reinstated.
What if Your Security Clearance Was Merely Suspended?
A suspended security clearance is a bit trickier than a revocation. With a revoked security clearance, you can appeal the process fairly quickly, as long as you act fast. With a suspension, on the other hand, there is no appeals process, nor is there a definitive timeline for resolving the matter. The agency will then continue to research the actions, circumstances, or associations to come to a final determination: to reinstate your clearance or revoke it outright.
Consequences of a Revoked Security Clearance
The most significant and apparent consequence of a security clearance revocation is that you no longer have access to classified material. This can, in turn, affect your job, even leading to termination. You may experience a reduction in pay or even a demotion. If you are in the military, you may be discharged.
What if You Feel the Revocation Was a Mistake?
If your security clearance has been revoked and you don’t agree with the decision, there are steps you can take to potentially reverse the decision.
Intent to Revoke
If the federal agency you work for suspects you of wrongdoing, you may be issued a Notice of Intent to Revoke. This letter may be accompanied by a Statement of Reasons. Receiving a Letter of Intent (LOI) and Statement of Reasons (SOR) gives you an opportunity to dispute the revocation, which must be done within 15 days. This is a very short window and requires you to file a written response to the Department of Defense Consolidated Adjudications Facility (DODCAF) that responds to all the reasons listed in the SOR. If the department feels that your reasons are sufficient to mitigate the concerns to national security, your clearance may be reinstated.
If not, the DODCAF will send you a Letter of Notification (LON), whereby you have the opportunity to appeal.
Appealing a Revoked Security Clearance
You have sixty days to complete the Notice of Intent to appeal, whereby you are given a decision between two possible outcomes. You can opt for a personal appearance at the DOHA, where a judge will make the final decision, thereby forwarding his or her recommendation to the Personnel Security Appeals Board (PSAB).
The other option is to file a direct appeal to the PSAB, which you have thirty days to complete. After receiving your appeal, the PSAB will make a final determination before forwarding their decision to the DODCAF.
If the PSAB determines that your appeal sufficiently mitigates the concerns that put your revocation into consideration in the first place, your security clearance will be reinstated.
What if Your Appeal is Denied?
If an administrative judge or the PSAB advisory panel decides that your appeal is insufficient, you will have to wait one year before reapplying.
It should be noted that neither judges nor the PSAB have the authority to reverse a revocation decision in the face of a suspected threat to national security. If the concern is valid, those issues will have to be resolved before a reinstatement of your clearance can be considered.
Instead, DOHA judges and the PSAB will address the reasons your security clearance was revoked to determine if you were in fact granted due process.
The decision to reinstate your security clearance will be based on an assessment of whether the decision to revoke your clearance was the case of unfair targeting or arbitrary reasons. In doing so, the board will do research to determine if the decision to revoke applied to others at your grade or in your department.
Furthermore, the board will decide if the agency that revoked your clearance followed the necessary protocols and if their reasons are sufficient in explaining the reasons your security clearance was revoked.
Finally, judges and the PSAB will look for evidence of discrimination or reprisal.
If it is found that your security clearance was revoked for arbitrary reasons, was an act of discrimination, or that the agency failed to comply with protocol, your security clearance may be reinstated as part of the appeals process.
How to Increase Your Chances of a Reinstated Security Clearance
Whether your security clearance was recently revoked, or you are about to appeal the revocation, we encourage you to avoid going through this process all on your own. Appealing a revoked security clearance can get complicated, and one wrong step could mean the loss of employment.
You can improve your chances of getting your clearance reinstated by calling Security Clearance Law Group in Carlsbad, California. As security clearance attorneys, we have vast experience helping clients respond to LOIs, handle SORs, and navigate the appeals process. We can help you make the right decisions that can have big impacts on your career. We can stand beside you if you decide to stand before an administrative judge. And we can help you with the appeals process step-by-step.
With all that you have riding on a security clearance designation, we invite you to call our office today for a free consultation. Call now in Carlsbad and San Diego and let’s discuss your security clearance reinstatement.