By John V. Berry, Esq., www.berrylegal.com
In the wake of the Edward Snowden and Aaron Alexis security clearance issues, the contractors hired by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) are likely to increase scrutiny on pending security clearance applications. Items that might have escaped scrutiny on security clearance applications just a few months ago may now lead to further investigation and possibly further adjudication before security clearance adjudicators (reviewers).
Given the questions involving how and why Snowden and Alexis maintained their security clearances, the President has placed increased scrutiny on the security clearance process. This kind of pressure has resulted in increased pressure by OPM on contractors that have been hired to conduct these investigations. Furthermore, Congressional and criminal authorities have also started to review previous improprieties in contractor-based security clearance investigations adding to such pressures.
In our practice, we represent federal employees and government contractors in their security clearance matters and have been noticing this additional scrutiny in the processing of e-QIP and SF-86 security clearance applications. Relatively speaking, we have been noticing that more thorough background examinations seem to be occurring. Items in a background checks that might have gone unnoticed in the past, now may provoke additional questions as investigators appear to be under pressure for more thorough reviews. It is hard to say right now how long the additional scrutiny of security clearance applications may last, but it is likely to be the new norm for the foreseeable future.
When facing security clearance issues it is important to obtain the advice of counsel where potential issues might arise. An individual will want to obtain legal advice if there is reason for concern regarding a pending security clearance application. Our law firm stands ready to advise individuals on the issues involving security clearances. We can be contacted at www.berrylegal.com or by telephone at (703) 668-0070.