Government clearance isn’t some kind of status symbol. It’s connected to your very livelihood and losing it can put a real strain on you and your family. This loss can be devastating, forcing you to lose or completely change your career.
In this article, we will explore what causes someone to lose their government clearance and what they can do to rectify the situation.
How Does Someone Lose Their Government Clearance?
Even though your clearance is related to government work, it is more rigid than the criminal justice system. Technically, you are innocent until proven guilty when you’ve been accused of a crime. Government clearance doesn’t work that way. If you are even accused of a crime, you could lose your clearance, regardless of the case’s credibility.
You could also lose your clearance based on “personal conduct.” This could include anything from public alcohol use to your agency’s opinion of your sexual history. Your agency could deem you psychologically unfit to hold clearance, or they could even look at your financial history and deem you unworthy.
Several forms of “abuse of clearance” could lead to revocation as well. For instance, if you are accused of working with an outside foreign influence, you could lose your clearance. You could also be accused of giving away secrets, misusing the technology, and so on.
What to Do if You’ve Lost Your Government Clearance
When you need your clearance returned, you must appeal to the agency that denied you. This agency could be the Department of Defense (DoD), the Consolidated Adjudications Facility (CAF), or another adjudication facility.
You must appeal to the adjudicating judge. However, the appeal alone will not ensure victory, as the judge can deny your appeal. If they do, you must then appeal that decision, moving your claim further up the chain of command.
This next step involves going directly to the Appeal Board. Normally, you have about 20 days to submit your request, so you must act fast. At this point, you should also include an attorney to help. An attorney skilled in government clearance appeals can help build your case for reinstatement. They can accurately research your denial, countering with the appropriate arguments and evidence against those claims. Lawyers can include relevant documentation along with the mitigating circumstances that led to your alleged actions. The appeal process is much like a courtroom trial, so your attorney can also include witnesses to help in your defense.
Effective Defenses in Your Government Clearance Appeal
Often, a good argument against clearance revocation focuses on mitigating factors, or outside circumstances that are relevant to the alleged behavior.
Here are some defenses that could reveal mitigating circumstances in your appeal:
- Showing the Length of the Alleged Behavior
If the behavior was infrequent, temporary, or brief, you may be able to win your case.
- Receiving Counseling
If you can show that you’ve undergone counseling specifically for the alleged behavior, and that counseling has been effective, this could bolster your argument immensely.
- Justifying the Behavior
Perhaps the alleged disqualifying behavior was committed for the right reasons. If you can prove that your actions were made as a humanitarian act or were permissible under federal law, you could sway the board.
- Revealing a Lack of Intent
If the actions were unintentional or beyond your control, you may be eligible for renewal.
For help getting your government clearance reinstated, contact my firm for a free consultation. Call (540) 827-4446 or reach out online today.