SECURITY CLEARANCE LAWYERS
Many individuals who apply for government work today — whether government employees, contractors, or military members — are required to go obtain a security clearance as a condition of employment. This is especially true post 9/11, where national security clearances are required for anyone accessing classified information.
Security clearance investigations are extensive. Individuals applying for clearances should expect to have their personal lives, including their financial and criminal histories, reviewed. In doing so, the government is trying to obtain a clear picture of the individual’s character and security risk.
Approximately 4.3 million jobs require a security clearance and more than 1 million investigations and re-investigations are conducted each year. Individuals applying for a security clearances, however, are often denied clearances due to issues related to: Finances, Alcohol or substance abuse, Criminal charges, Sexual conduct, Mental health, Foreign influence, Misuse of technology, Conflict of interest and or Security violations.
Anything from traffic offenses to credit card debt, for example, can prevent an individual from being able to hold a clearance. Examples of other issues that could prevent or delay the issuance of a security clearance include dual citizenship; failing to be truthful when filling out the security clearance application (also known as the SF-86); alcohol, drug, or substance abuse issues; having family member who reside in foreign countries; and psychological problems.
Thus, the security clearance application process should be taken very seriously and care must be taken to answer all questions truthfully, as honesty throughout the process is key. Often times, the failure to obtain a security clearance will lead to the inability to obtain a job within the federal government.
Moreover, as explained above, security clearance applicants must be thoroughly investigated and favorably adjudicated. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that individuals that hold security clearances will be re-investigated on a regular basis. It is therefore essential to retain the proper clearance in order to continue working in a sensitive position as the revocation of a security clearance will often lead to the loss of the individual’s job.
While the investigation resulting in the initial issuance of a security clearance is exhaustive, it does not guarantee that an individual issued a security clearance will be eligible to possess that clearance indefinitely. The government can and will suspend and/or revoke a security clearance for numerous reasons if the individual’s ability to work in a classified environment is called into question. Thus, subsequent financial hardship, such as defaulting on a mortgage, or being charged with a criminal or traffic offense, such as driving while under the influence, could result in the subsequent revocation of a security clearance.