By John V. Berry, www.berrylegal.com
This article provides the most common reasons that a security clearance might be denied. The information, taken from January 1, 2016 to the present, comes from Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Office Of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) decisions. These are available online. Keep in mind that reported DOHA decisions generally cover clearance appeals from DOD contractor employees, but the information provides a good insight into the most common reasons for having a security clearance problem arise. There are several reasons why security clearances can be potentially denied, which generally fall under 13 separate categories known as the Adjudicative Guidelines.
Top Disqualifying Security Concerns
These potential disqualifying security concerns fall under:
(1) Guideline A: Allegiance to the United States
(2) Guideline B: Foreign Influence
(3) Guideline C: Foreign Preference
(4) Guideline D: Sexual Behavior
(5) Guideline E: Personal Conduct
(6) Guideline F: Financial Considerations
(7) Guideline G: Alcohol Consumption
(8) Guideline H: Drug Involvement
(9) Guideline I: Psychological Conditions
(10) Guideline J: Criminal Conduct
(11) Guideline K: Handling Protected Information
(12) Guideline L: Outside Activities
(13) Guideline M: Use of Information Technology Systems
For 2016, of the 42 DOHA reported security clearance decisions so far, the most common reason for the potential denial of a security clearance involved individuals having trouble under Guideline F, Financial Considerations. Financial Consideration issues usually arise when an applicant for a security clearance gets into trouble for having too many debts, delinquent debts, faces bankruptcy, has a problematic credit report or tax liens. The second most common security concern involved personal conduct issues under Guideline E, Personal Conduct which involves a broad range of types of misconduct, such as information regarding an individual’s past employment, an arrest, domestic incident, untruthfulness on security clearance forms, or basically any other type of general wrongdoing, criminal or otherwise.
The next most common issue was drug abuse, falling under Guideline H, Drug Involvement. Drug abuse is considered to be the illegal use of a drug or use of a legal drug in a manner that deviates from approved medical direction (e.g. overuse of prescription pain medication). The statistics for the year, to date, follow, showing the numbers of cases involving specific security clearance issues:
1. Financial Considerations: 32
2. Personal Conduct: 11
3. Drug Involvement: 6
4. Criminal Issues: 2
5. Foreign Influence: 1
Typically, there has been more variety in the issues under review for security clearance cases. However, after looking at recent statistics, there appears to be a strong emphasis right now on security clearance denials based on financial troubles that clearance holders or applicants face.
When an individual is engaged in the security clearance hearing or personal appearance process, it is important to have legal representation. Our law firm represents individuals in the security clearance process. We can be contacted at www.berrylegal.com or by telephone at (703) 668-0070. Our Facebook page is located at Berry & Berry PLLC Facebook Page.