The fact is, security clearances are very important for federal government employees, contractors, military personnel, private sector employees, and more. Security clearance guidelines, and standards, have changed over the last 10-20 years. The number of people who require access to classified information has also increased. In addition, the government has required many individuals who already have security clearances to upgrade their levels. The process of getting, retaining, and upgrading, your security clearance has become a very complex concern for the US government.
Lawscape is a premier law firm, that serves as your security clearance attorneys for any difficulties, or questions, you may have.
Security Clearance Application Process
Any employee who requires access to sensitive, and classified, information is required to complete an application form known as SF-86, or e-QIP. Providing info on the forms is voluntary, but completing the form truthfully is very important. Once a security clearance application is done, it’s submitted to the DSS, or the OPM, for a review.
Do you need a security clearance revocation lawyer or a Security Clearance Lawyer?
There’s many reasons that might call for this. For example, if your security clearance was revoked because of a mistake, or some other misunderstanding, it could be you need the help of a security clearance revocation attorney to help. If your boss is threatening to status as a cleared professional, or if your entire career is at risk due to the lack of clearance — you will need our help.
Security clearances are given, denied, suspended, or revoked, based on a number of factors, like your personal conduct, financial status, drug use, etc. If you’ve been denied clearance, or you had your clearance suspended/revoked, it’s possible to challenge the decision. Many security clearance proceedings happen differently from government proceedings. They vary depending on the government agency in question. With the help of a security clearance attorney, we can help fight and save your clearance. We can help you keep your career in place.
STATEMENT OF REASONS (SOR) – LETTER OF INTENT (LOI): YOUR RESPONSE | Security Clearance Lawyers
Having Problems with Statement of Reasons (SOR) or Letter of Intent?
Security Clearance Law Group provides assistance nationwide for security clearance applicants who need to respond to SORs and LOIs. If issues arise with your Statement of Reasons or Letter of Intent, our specialist security clearance lawyers will help you through this difficult process and give you the freedom to relax as you wait for a potentially favorable verdict.
Statement of Reasons (SOR) Explained
A Statement of Reasons is a document that details the factual basis for the security clearance denial or revocation. The reason is to lay out all security issues, affording you the opportunity to return a formal response.
An SOR is customarily dispatched immediately following the development of a security concern. Such concerns must be reviewed by the federal agency in question and are then cleared. If they are not cleared, then the matter proceeds by way of the clearance adjudication process.
This SOR is the key document to look at when you are aiming to mitigate the negative security clearance verdict you got.
Letter of Intent (LOI) Explained
The Letter of Intent explains the intent of the agency to deny or revoke a security clearance on the basis of the information given in the SOR. an LOI is tantamount to a warning that a questionable detail came up in your background investigation. The SOR is accompanied by the LOI and either sent to you yourself (for government employees) or sent to your security officer (for government contractors).
Statement of Reasons
Responding to a Statement of Reasons (SOR)
You retain the right to an appeal of your revocation or denial. Step one is to respond to the statement of reasons to either refute the reasons, correct them, or mitigate them completely.
The following are tips to keep in mind to improve your chances of successfully appealing the decision to deny or revoke your security clearance.
You need to reply to the SOR or LOI within an allotted time frame. While you are at liberty to request an extension, you need to demonstrate good cause for doing so, such as being a member of military personnel who got deployed. In most cases, you are given fifteen calendar days from the time of the decision to ask for a hearing with an Administrative Judge. Neglecting to respond in a timely fashion can result in you forfeiting your rights to the security clearance appeals process.
Make Sure That You Understand the SOR
To submit an adequate response to the SOR, you need to fully understand the facts as they are presented. The SOR has guidelines by which your clearance was revoked or denied. The document may detail financial considerations, for example, or issues involving foreign influence. The SOR will tell you the facts directly related to the causes of the adverse decision. Any aspects of the SOR that are unclear should be explained to you by a security clearance expert.
Respond to Every Fact In Full
An SOR is a detailed document. It will spell out in clear and simple wording why you got denied, or why your clearance has been revoked. If you carry debt, for example, or your home is in foreclosure, the SOR would present both of these issues. It is your responsibility in your response to an SOR to confirm, deny, or mitigate each issue. When making an effort to mitigate the facts, you need to furnish documentation to support your explanation, such as receipts showing that the past debt was already paid off.
Stick to the Facts Only
Your initial reaction might be to send an emotional response to the SOR. It stands to reason that your being without a security clearance or experiencing revocation of your clearance can mean serious difficulty for your family. In cases where SOR lists facts that are related to poor decision making, attempting to gain sympathy is a poor strategy. Instead, show them documentation that demonstrates that the behavior has improved. In other words, just state facts, and you’ll likely have a much more favorable outcome.
Don’t Ever Give them Anything that is Not 100% True | Security Clearance Lawyers
If a fact in the SOR is not completely accurate, and the veracity of the allegations or the accuracy of the details is in question, then it is appropriate to deny the allegations outright.
Admitting to anything not that is not completely true alleviates the government of its burden to prove the specific allegations. Therefore, this is a critical detail to be aware of. An allegation that is denied forces the government to move forward by providing hard evidence.
We strongly recommended that you get the help of experienced security clearance professionals, such as our security clearance lawyers. We can address questions you may have regarding whether you should admit or deny a particular allegation.
No matter what, never cop to a partially inaccurate allegation without being clear about what parts of it are incorrect. Also, it is better not to deny any allegations as a whole without explaining which portions are true.
Ask for the Investigative File
You are within your rights to request a copy of your investigative file at any stage after the investigation has been completed. For optimal results, it is a wise move to ask for the file as quickly as possible, as it can take time for them to honor your request and send it out. This can sometimes take as long as a month or more. You can get the form to ask for the Investigative File by using the proper application issued by the Office of Personnel Management.
Should you be seeking the file after you have received the SOR, use the block in Section Three of the form to request that they expedite your application due to the limited time window you have to respond to an SOR.
Request a Hearing Before DOHA
You have the right to get a hearing before the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA). Your request for a hearing must be made formally or else you will forfeit your right. Once you put in your request, the matter will be assigned to an administrative judge for a clearance verdict based only on the written record.
In a great deal of cases, one has a better chance of a positive result at the formal hearing. This is because you and your security clearance attorney will be afforded the opportunity to speak directly to the judge, thereby responding to all questions directed at you in person.
Unfortunately, numerous applicants waive their right to a hearing before DOHA by simply sending in a written response. In cases where applicants respond on their own without professional assistance, their responses are almost invariably incomplete and generally fail to mitigate the key issues.
For employees of the government, it is always best to get a full record before the Personnel Security Appeals Board (PSAB). This gives you the best chances of success when overturning the clearance action. Judges also view direct testimony much more favorably, making the appeals hearing the most effective course of action.
Get the Help of Security Clearance Lawyers
The federal agency you work for may have a facility security officer. That person’s assistance can be useful, but he or she may not be prepared to provide the proper help you need to respond to the SOR you received.
Hiring a security clearance attorney can be an immensely strong move. At Security Clearance Law Group, our staff of security clearance lawyers can help you respond to the SOR within the given time frame.
Because of the small window you have, you should give us a call the moment you receive your SOR or LOI. Our security clearance lawyers will move quickly to ask for an appeal hearing and defend against your suspension, revocation, or denial.
If You Have Been Denied a Security Clearance
Whether you have been denied in the course of the application process or your clearance has been suspended or revoked, you have a right to know the reason for this.
This is a list of the 13 adjudicative criteria the government employs to deny or revoke security clearances. These are all the reasons why you may have problems with your application.
Allegiance to the United States
Guideline A is about unlawful speech or specific actions intent on influencing, harming, or overthrowing the government, be it local, state, or federal. Allegiance to the country could even refer to words or actions that stop others from exercising their constitutional rights.
Guideline B details the act of living with or having an association with a person in which the relationship creates a heightened security risk of coercion or foreign inducement. It can also refer to a financial interest in a foreign country, business or otherwise.
Guideline C is akin to foreign influence and examines your loyalty to the country. This reason is frequently employed against dual citizens. In other words, dual citizens would be wise to refrain from taking advantage of the benefits of the other citizenship, including traveling on a passport issued by that country.
Guideline D refers specifically to criminal sexual behavior, regardless of whether or not you have been prosecuted. In addition, repeated, high-risk sexual behavior that is indicative of a personality or emotional disorder is included here.
Guideline E could refer to inquiries regarding your judgment, ethics, honesty, and reliability. Personal conduct is commonly employed as a disqualifying condition that can be used against applicants who have lied when filling out their SF-86.
Guideline F may refer to a foreclosed mortgage, debt collection lawsuit, auto repossession, garnishment of wages, tax lien, or bankruptcy.
Guideline G comes up on your SOR if your alcohol consumption is perceived to be a hindrance to your ability to maintain a security clearance.
Guideline H speaks to your capacity or willingness to obey drug rules, laws, and regulations. Use or abuse of drugs can also raise concerns about your mental health and susceptibility to blackmail.
Guideline I examines any mental, personal, and emotional issues that might preclude you from making sound choices and that generally demonstrate untrustworthiness. A diagnosis is not always a barrier to receiving a security clearance. That is why it is critical to respond to Security Clearance & Mental Health Question 21 as truthfully as you can when filling out the SF-86.
Guideline J is any illegal activity where criminal penalties apply. It applies both to actions and inaction that results in a crime, or that results in rights to civil damages or compensation.
Mishandling Protected Information
Guideline K is often invoked when a current security clearance is in question and a revocation is in order. Action may be taken by the government to revoke your clearance if you demonstrate an inability to carry out your duties when handling classified information. Some examples include neglecting to lock a safe on several occasions or demonstrating a flippant attitude toward your duties as a government employee or contractor.
Outside Activities–Involvement with a Foreign Government | Security Clearance Lawyers
Guideline L can include relationships, particularly those of a financial nature, that are in line with a foreign country. If you get regular payments from a government or foreign company, for example, that can call into question your ability to hold a security clearance.
Misuse of Information Technology Systems
Guideline M on your SOR may be connected to excessive illegal downloading of movies or music, or any other misuse of a workplace computer system. This also includes viewing pornography.
Whether or not the information on your SOR/LOI is factual, it is your responsibility to fight against your denial or revocation. You have the option to go this process alone, but this can lead to expensive and timely errors.
When your deadlines are close, it’s critical to work with experts who are familiar with the appeals process and how to overturn a verdict to help you obtain security clearance. Read our article about the “Statement Of Reasons” guidelines.
You Have the Right to an Experienced Security Clearance Attorney
If your security clearance was denied during the application process to a federal or other agency, don’t give up. It is not the end of the road. You have rights and you have options. Reach out to the Security Clearance Law Group today to review the details of your case with an expert.
Security Clearance Appeal Lawyers
The Lawscape Law Firm possesses great breadth and depth of experience assisting individuals nationwide with their security clearance cases. This includes appeals. A security clearance appeal may be the right course of action for an individual whose national security clearance has been denied or revoked. If you’re facing a denial or a related issue, reach out toThe Lawscape Law Firm to review your legal rights and options.
When Is an Appeal the Right Way to Go? | Security Clearance Lawyers
A goodly number of people are obligated to submit to a security clearance in order to gain access to classified or secret information. Such individuals may be members of the armed forces, law enforcement, federal employees, and government contractors.
There are numerous factors that can sep nd ua red flag in the process, such as:
- Criminal conviction
- Mental incompetence
- History of drug/alcohol abuse
- Discharge from the military
While there are those national security denials that are black and white and cannot be argued, others land in the shades of gray zone. The Supreme Court has ruled that when it is at all unclear as to whether a person is fit for clearance, access must be denied. Due to this fact, an appeal may be the best course of action for someone who feels they have been denied out of default.
The Appeals Procedure Is Complex–Our Attorney Can Help
The security clearance appeals process is a great deal more convoluted and detailed than the criminal or civil legal appeals process. In these cases, government involvement is heavy, and the process, in its entirety, is much more tightly controlled than most other legal procedures. Due to the high sensitivity involved in these types of matters, the reason for a denial may be difficult to access, making it a greater challenge to mount a strong and thorough appeals case.
Because of how complex the nature of security clearance appeals are, it is important to seek counsel from an aggressive and highly specialized security clearance attorney who has a deep understanding of how the law works. The Lawscape Law Firm is an attorney who has worked on all variety of security clearance matters since 1976. He has the knowledge, the skills, and the experience you need to conduct a thorough investigation and, ultimately, to put together and present a strong appeal case. Each member of our team is thoroughly equipped to furnish the representation and assistance you need for a security clearance appeal.
Our Attorneys Take a Personalized Approach: Give Us a Call Today
With over 4 decades of experience in national security clearance cases, The Lawscape Law Firm is well aware that the key to success is giving every client with a full understanding with regards to their unique circumstances. We are prepared to examine all the details of your specific case and to make certain that you are well aware of what is going on every step of the way.
Learn whether or not you qualify to file an appeal: Reach out to a national security clearance lawyers at The Lawscape Law Firm today.