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Security Clearance Denial Appeals: Beginning Steps To An Appeal

In the United States, there are many types of jobs in the federal government that require security clearances to perform essential functions. Obtaining a security clearance is a very long and detailed process that requiress certain documents, background checks, and more. Obtaining a higher level clearance will require even more in depth investigations and other stringent requirements. For some government workers, this could be an even greater obstacle when attempting to advance in their respective fields.

If you have applied for security clearance and your application was denied, this can prevent you from getting a job promotion.

Fortunately, a denied application is not final. For one, the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office, as well as the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals, mutually adjudicate in favor on about 96% of all cases received. In the event that you are part of the percentage who has been denied, you should know that you have the legal right to an appeal. By filing an appeal, you could have an overturned decision. The following information highlights the beginning steps of the appeals process.

Statement of Reasons

When an application for security clearance has been denied or withdrawn, the rejecting authority will need to provide written reasons for the decision. This written document is formally known as a Statement of Reasons. Denied applicants will then have the opportunity to challenge the Statement of Reasons by submitting a written statement within the time period specified in the document. It is crucial to submit the rebuttal in the appropriate time as many lose the clearance entirely by submitting it late.

Once the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals has received the rebuttal, the organization will send a document referred to as a File of Relevant Materials. Here, the petitioner will have chance to provide a written response of the following:

  • Explanations,
  • Objections, and
  • Rebuttals

Other applicable counter arguments that serve to defend against the application denial can also be submitted. In the event that the petitioner’s rebuttal has been effective in disproving the allegations, the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals will withdraw the Statement of Reasons and will either grant the petitioner’s clearance or the agency will continue the processing the security clearance application. If the organization’s decision states that the information provided was insufficient, the organization will assign the case to an administrative judge to hear the case.

Seek the Legal Support of an Experienced Security Clearance Attorney

Nearly 70% of all applicants that respond to a Statement of Reasons will request a hearing. During this hearing, the petitioner will be able to state his or her case, and challenge the reasons for the application denial.

Because a security clearance appeal is a very sensitive matter, it is strongly recommended that petitioners consult an attorney that has experience in the matter. This will give the petitioner the best opportunity at a favorable outcome.

The law offices of Brett O’Brien Law, LLC specialize in security clearance denial appeals. The firm has many years of experience in working for the federal government, including advising clients on matters regarding security clearance appeals. Security clearance appeals demand legal aptitude and attentiveness, seek the support of a qualified attorney today.

About the Author

Brett O'Brien, Esq.
Brett O'Brien, Esq.

Brett O’Brien specializes in security clearance appeals. He has dedicated his career to learning the entire security clearance process from start to finish. He started his journey by working for the federal government before entering private practice. Learn more about Brett here.

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