Security Clearance Lawyer Explains Reforms in New Law

A new law outlining security clearance reform provisions is explained by security clearance lawyer John Griffith.

It’s been a tough few years for the government when it comes to embarrassing and tragic events involving people who hold security clearance. But officials are hopeful recent reforms signed into law will help eliminate security breaches and keep dangerous people from obtaining clearance.

President Barack Obama signed the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 on July 7.

This new law requires ongoing monitoring of employee backgrounds to determine their eligibility for access to classified information, according to a FEDWeek article. It also requires the creation of certain procedures for sharing security information among stakeholders that could be derogatory. Under the new law, government contractors with access to classified information must develop and operate security plans that are in line with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s intelligence community network standards, evaluate them from time to time, and help prevent insider leaks.

The bill also includes additional protections for intelligence community employees who turn whistleblowers. However, the whistleblower protections do not extend to employees who work for government contractors. The bill puts into law a series of procedures that were created in 2012 by a presidential policy directive, the FEDWeek article states.

Regarding insider leaks, the bill calls for ongoing monitoring of intelligence community employees and contractors, and requires that information be shared within the intelligence community, according to the Access blog. Agencies are required to share “potentially derogatory security information” about employees and contractors that could impact their security clearances. These provisions expand the current security evaluation program, which crosschecks intelligence community members’ behavior while on the job with information about their personal lives to detect unauthorized leaks.

So what does this mean to you if you’re trying to obtain a security clearance for your job?

“Probably nothing at this point, but it’s a sign of the scrutiny you may find yourself under once you obtain clearance,” says John Griffith, who specializes in security clearance law.

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The government also has come under scrutiny for the manner in which security clearance background checks are conducted and the speed in which those investigations have been completed by companies under contract with the government to determine candidates’ clearance eligibility. The end result of this scrutiny, the government hopes, is better and more thorough background checks before granting security clearance to an applicant.

“It’s becoming more important than ever to consult an attorney who specializes in this area of law if you are applying for clearance,” Griffith says. “An attorney can guide you through the application process and review your application to make sure all information is provided thoroughly and accurately.”

Your ability to obtain security clearance could stand in the way of you getting certain jobs and being able to earn a living for yourself. When your livelihood is at stake, hire an attorney to help you through the process to ensure it’s done right the first time. And if you receive a Letter of Intent to deny or revoke your clearance, this definitely is the time to contact an attorney for assistance in formulating a response that clearly explains any mitigating circumstances that could persuade an administrative judge to grant your clearance.

Contact our office today if you have questions or would like to schedule a complimentary consultation.