By John V. Berry, www.berrylegal.com
Security clearance holders who occupy and who have access to classified information are expected to self-report security changes or incidents that may impact their security clearances. Security Executive Agent Directive (SEAD) 4 is a good guide for clearance holders to determine whether a new incident or development triggers a duty to self-report. Self-reporting is mandatory. Furthermore, it is much better to be proactive in disclosing reportable events than for them to be discovered later. Disclosing these issues prior to them being discovered can be considered to be a mitigating factor should these issue become of concern to security clearance adjudicators.
Each federal security officer and federal agency has different self-reporting procedures. If a clearance holder needs to self-report an incident that occurs, such as being arrested for a traffic-related issue, you will need to contact your security officer. However, it is often important to obtain security clearance advance from a security clearance lawyer through this process.
The following are just a few examples of duties to report:
- Change in Relationship Status - Reporting marriage and other intimate relationships.
- Loss or Classified Information or Technology – Inadvertent or accidental loss or compromise of classified or other sensitive information because the first priority in such a situation is to regain control of the classified material.
- Concerning Foreign Contacts - Reporting the development of unusual or substantial foreign contacts, especially those where classified or sensitive information is sought or where the person is the target of potential coercion.
- Arrests - Reporting any arrest. It does not matter whether or not charges were ultimately filed.
- Financial Issues - Reporting adverse financial circumstances such as bankruptcy, tax liens or unusual adverse financial debt issues.
- Changes in Psychological Health - significant changes in mental health conditions.
- Foreign Travel - travel outside the United States (other than for official business) should be reported and a security briefing may be required.
There are countless other types of incidents that may need to be reported to a security officer as an incident, so if you have any questions you should contact your security officer.
These are some incidents and life events where self-reporting is usually expected. Clearance holders with access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) or selected Special Access Programs (SAPs) may have additional requirements.