Mr. Richard (Rick) Morris - A Security Clearance Law attorney representing clients Worldwide to appeal your denied security clearance. Rick Morris has over 22 years of military experience and has been a Security Manager for 2 separate commands and has experience and knowledge in appealing, obtaining, processing, and adjudicating
all levels of security clearances.
Don't lose your Security Clearance - Appeal and Fight! DOHA, CIA Clearance, FBI Clearance, NSA Clearance, and all Federal Security CLearances.
DoD Security Clearance Guidance
We can assist you in preparing your Security Clearance application SF-86 / e-QUIP for a flat fee. Rick will thoroughly review your draft SF-86 for any potential areas that could raise a concern with the adjudication authority, research that issue with you, and assist you in providing an explanation for the potential derogatory information by balancing your personal situation with the mitigating and extinuating circumstances as outlined in the Adjudicative Guidelines. There is NO GUARANTEE that your clearance will be granted, however, by having a Secuirty Clearance attorney assist you with your preparation you are able to provide an interpretation of the Adjudicative Guidelines to show how you are not a national security risk.
Rick Morris can represent your interests and assist you in explaining the unique facts of your circumstances as you appeal your denied security clearance. Losing your Security Clearance is a discretionary decision, let Rick Morris assist you to explain your facts balanced against the DoD adjudicative guidelines
http://www.dod.gov/dodgc/doha/DoD_Directive_5220_6.pdf and case law. Rick Morris, a Security Clearance Lawyer can represent you at a DOHA Hearing and Appeals
http://www.dod.gov/dodgc/doha/, Defense Security Service (DSS)
http://www.dss.mil/disco/index.html, CIA, NSA, FBI, DOE, and ALL other Federal Agencies. Rick Morris can help you Fight For Your Clearance, and assist in your response to Statement of Reasons and Intent to Deny your security clearance.
Rick Morris will agressively represent your interests in explaining your unique circumstances balanced against the adjudication guidelines and Fight to KEEP YOUR CLEARANCE; including Confidential, Secret, Top Secret, Top Secret with Single Scope Background Investigation (TS-SSBI) and Top Secret with Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (TS-SCI) and full scopy poly. Whether you have an Interim Clearance denial, received a Statement of Reasons, have a hearing scheduled, or need to appeal your case - Rick Morris can help you FIGHT for your Clearance.
Click the CASE EVALUATION to submit your case to us for a FREE CONSULTATION.
What is a security clearance?
A security clearance is a status granted by agencies of the United States Government that determines a person’s ability to access and view documents of national security. A security clearance investigation is an inquiry into an individual’s loyalty, character, trustworthiness and reliability to ensure that they are eligible for access to national security information.
The investigation focuses on an individual’s character and conduct, emphasizing such factors as honesty, trustworthiness, reliability, financial responsibility, criminal activity, emotional stability, and other similar and pertinent areas. All investigations consist of checks of national records and credit checks; some investigations also include interviews with individuals who know the candidate for the security clearance as well as the candidate himself/herself.
These investigations are necessary as some of the positions may be in secure positions pertaining to national intelligence and security.
Who decides whether a security clearance or access to a sensitive position is granted?
An adjudicator, who is employed or contracted by one of the Department of Defense (DoD) Central Adjudication Facilities (CAFs), reviews the results of a Personnel Security Investigation (PSI) and compares it to established qualifying criteria for granting access to classified information or for an appointment to a sensitive position or position of trust. A Security Clearance Lawyer can help you fight to keep your security clearance.
Who may have access to classified information?
Only those persons who have a bona fide need to know, and who possess a personnel security clearance at the same or higher level as the classified information to be disclosed. The clearance level and the classified information to be accessed are determined by the granting federal agency.
Do contractors have the authority to grant, deny, or revoke personnel security clearances for their employees?
No. Federal Contractors can sponsor their employees for security clearances, but the final determination of whether or not a security clearance is actually granted rests with the Federal Government. A Security Clearance Lawyer can assist in helping you keep your security clearance.
What is an interim security clearance?
An interim security clearance is one that is issued quickly to an individual for use at a specific job. Unlike regular security clearances, interim clearances expire immediately after the individuals leave the job that required the clearance. Interim security clearances are generally of a low level and can be given within 30 days of inquiry. An interim is issued once a review of the application is completed and the candidate is determined eligible.
An interim security clearance allows a person to have access to collateral classified information (at the level requested without a caveat) whiles his or her final clearance is being processed. Interim Secrets are issued automatically and can be denied. A denial, however, does not mean that a final will not be issued. It means there is something on the application which must be first reviewed and investigated fully. Interim Top Secret clearances must be requested by the government customer contractor. If you have been denied an interim security clearance then Mr. Rick Morris, a Security Clearance Lawyer, can assist you in obtaining the interim clearance. An Interim Top Secret is equal to a final Secret.
What are the levels of security clearances and how are they measured?
According to the United States government, levels of security clearance are measure by the amount of damage that would be caused to the United States if that information were to be released to the public or to a foreign source. Security clearances can be issued by many United Stated government agencies, including all branches of the military, the Department of Defense (DoD) the Department of Energy (DoE), the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the National Security Agency (NSA) or Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Major Department of Defense (DoD) security clearances include Confidential, Secret, Top Secret, Top Secret with Single Scope Background Investigation (TS-SSBI) and Top Secret with Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (TS-SCI).
To have access to classified information, one must possess the necessary two elements: A level of security clearance, at least equal to the classification of the information, and, appropriate "need to know" information in order to perform their duties. An individual may have a Top Secret clearance but this would not necessarily give them access to all Top Secret information. They would also need to have the ‘need to know’.
It is also worth mentioning that the Department of Defense (DoD) operates its security program separate from other government agencies, with its own procedures and standards. A Top Secret security clearance with the Department of Energy (DoE), for example, would not necessarily transfer to the Department of Defense (DoD).
Classified information is divided into one of three categories:
Confidential: This refers to information or material, which if improperly disclosed could be reasonably expected to cause some measurable damage to national security.
Secret: The unauthorized disclosure of secret information or material which reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to national security.
Top Secret: Applied to information or material the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security.
In addition, there is some classified information so sensitive that even the extra protection measures applied to Top Secret information are not sufficient. This information is known as "Sensitive Compartmented Information" (SCI) or Special Access Programs (SAP). These require additional approval to be given for access to this information.
"For Official Use Only" is not a security classification. It is used to protect information covered under the Privacy Act, and other sensitive data.
Who issues the Security Clearance?
Requests for security clearances are sent to the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO) which issues security clearances for industry personnel on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD) and User Agencies. Personnel Security Clearances (PCL) must be kept to an absolute minimum based on contractual needs.
What are the steps for getting a Security Clearance?
A cleared Federal contractor identifies an employee with a need to have access to classified information (e.g., the employee will work on a classified contract). Once identified, the Facility Security Officer (FSO) ensures that the employee completes an Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) and forwards the application to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for processing.
What is a collateral security clearance?
A collateral security clearance is a clearance with no special access authorizations (e.g., special accesses such as COMSEC or NATO). In other words, Top Secret, Secret, and Confidential are collateral security clearances.
What is a security clearance with a “caveat?”
A security clearance with a caveat is a collateral security clearance, such as Secret or Top Secret, plus a special access. In order to have the special access, the cleared individual usually receives a briefing related to the caveat. COMSEC and NATO are examples of caveats requiring a briefing prior to access.
How do I get a Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) access?
Sensitive Compartmented Information, or SCI, is a special access beyond a Confidential (C), Secret(S) or Top Secret (TS). In order to be granted Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) access, a security cleared person must first be nominated for a position where special access is required and then approved by the Federal Contractor or other Government Agency holding the sensitive information.
Can a naturalized citizen get a Personnel Security Clearance?
Yes. A naturalized citizen is to be treated as a US citizen. However, the naturalized citizen may have to provide information on his or her clearance application regarding foreign relatives, associations, etc.
What type of information is requested on a security clearance application?
The amount and detail of information varies with the level of security clearance requested. It may include family information, past and current work history, locations where you have lived, roommate names, financial history, travel history, groups or affiliations, and more.
How are security clearances granted?
Once it is determined that an individual requires a security clearance because of assignment or job, the individual is instructed to complete a Security Clearance Background Investigation Questionnaire. As of May 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD), and now the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), require that this form be completed by use of a computer software program, known as e-QIP. For more information see the website of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
When completing the questionnaire, for Confidential, and Secret security clearances, it's necessary to provide information for the previous five years. For Top Secret security clearances, one must provide information for the previous ten years. It's important to note here that giving false information on a security document constitutes a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 101 and Article 107 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Under the United States Code, one may be fined, and imprisoned for a period of five years. Under the United States Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), the maximum punishment includes reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, confinement for a period of five years, and a dishonorable discharge.
If an applicant realizes, after completing the Security Clearance Background Investigation Questionnaire (e-Qip), an error or omission has been made, he or she should immediately tell his or her Facility Security Officer. If errors or omissions are not mentioned, they could be held against the security clearance candidate during the adjudicative process.
Once you complete the e-QIP, the document is sent to the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO) for their approval and is then released to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). OPM conducts and investigation and sends the results to the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO). DISCO either grants a security clearance or sends the investigation to Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) for further adjudication.
For Confidential and Secret security clearances:
A National Agency Check (NAC)-A computerized search of investigative files and other records held by federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
A Local Agency Check (LAC)-A review of appropriate criminal history records held by local law enforcement agencies, such as police departments or sheriffs, with jurisdiction over the areas where the applicant has resided, gone to school, or worked.
Financial checks - A review of the applicants credit records.
For Top Secret security clearances, a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) is performed which includes the entire above, plus:
Field interviews of references to include coworkers, employers, personal friends, educators, neighbors, and other appropriate individuals.
Checks of records held by employers, courts, and rental offices.
A subject interview - An interview with the applicant by an investigator.
These inquiries are performed by one or more investigators who work in the geographic area where the information is to be obtained. National Agency Checks (NACs), however, may be performed electronically from a central location.
When conducting field interviews, the investigators will normally begin with individuals listed as references in the questionnaire. They then use those references to develop names of additional references, etc. These references will be asked questions about the applicant’s honesty, reliability, and trustworthiness, and their opinion on whether he or she should be given access to classified information or assigned to a sensitive position or position of trust.
The applicant’s references will also be asked questions about his or her past and present activities, employment history, education, family background, neighborhood activities, and finances. During the investigation the investigator(s) will try to determine if he or she has had any involvement with drugs and/or encounters with the police.
The objective of the subject interview is to obtain a complete picture of the applicant as an individual so that an adjudicator can determine whether he or she will be able to cope with having access to classified or sensitive information without becoming a security risk. Therefore, the interview will be wide-ranging and cover most aspects of the applicant’s life. During the subject interview, expect to be questioned about family background, past experiences, health, use of alcohol or drugs, financial affairs, foreign travel, and other pertinent matters.
What determines approval or disapproval?
It’s important to note that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) does not make any security clearance determinations or recommendations. They simply gather information. Once the information has been verified, and the investigations completed, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) presents the information to the specific military service or agency adjudicator authority (each agency or service has their own), who determine whether or not to grant the security clearance, using standards set by that particular agency or service.
Primarily, adjudicators look for honesty, trustworthiness, character, loyalty, financial responsibility, and reliability. On cases that contain significant derogatory information warranting additional action, the adjudicator may draft a request for additional investigation/information, or request psychiatric or alcohol and drug evaluation. Even so, adjudicators are not the final authority. All denials of security clearances must be personally reviewed by a branch chief, or higher.
The adjudicator considers the following factors when evaluating an individual’s conduct:
The nature, extent and seriousness of the conduct
The circumstances surrounding the conduct, to include knowledgeable participation
The frequency of the conduct
How recently the conduct occurred
The individual’s age and maturity at the time of the conduct
The voluntariness of participation
The presence or absence of rehabilitation and other pertinent behavioral changes
The motivation for the conduct
The potential for pressure, coercion, exploitation, or duress; and
The likelihood of continuation of the conduct
Accordingly, each case is judged on its own merits and final determination remains the responsibility of the specific department or agency. Any doubt as to whether access to classified information is clearly consistent with national security will be resolved in favor of the national security. Because of a recent change in the law, there are some factors which will positively result in the denial of a security clearance. As a result of the Smith Amendment, the FY01 Defense Authorization Act amended Chapter 49 of Title 10, United States Code, and precluded in the initial granting or renewal of a security clearance by the Department of Defense (DoD) under the following four specific circumstances:
An individual has been convicted in any court of the U.S. of a crime and sentenced to imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
An individual is (currently) an unlawful user of, or is addicted to, a controlled substance (as defined in section 102 or the Controlled Substances Act (21U.S.C. 802)).
An individual is mentally incompetent, as determined by a mental health professional approved by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
An individual has been discharged or dismissed from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions.
The statute also provides that the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Military Department concerned may authorize an exception to the provisions concerning convictions, dismissals and discharges from the armed force in meritorious cases.
Why would I be denied a security clearance?
The Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information are used by the Department of Defense (DoD) Central Adjudication Facilities to determine both initial and continued eligibility for access to classified information. The adjudication process is an examination of a sufficient period of a person's life to make an affirmative determination that the person is an acceptable security risk. Eligibility for access to classified information is predicated upon the individual meeting these personnel security guidelines. The adjudication process is the careful weighing of a number of variables known as the whole-person concept. All available, reliable information about the person, past and present, favorable and unfavorable, is considered in reaching a security clearance determination. When an individual’s life history shows evidence of unreliability or untrustworthiness, questions arise whether the individual can be relied on and trusted to exercise the responsibility necessary for working in a secure environment where protection of classified information is paramount.
What option do those who have a security clearance revoked or denied have to regain or attain a security clearance?
An individual whose security clearance has been denied or revoked by a central adjudication facility has the opportunity to appeal the decision. A Security Clearance Lawyer can greatly assist you in this process. The process for doing so differs between military and civilian personnel and contractors. Executive Order 12968, "Access to Classified Information," prescribes the process for military and civilian personnel. Executive Order 10865, "Safeguarding Classified Information Within Industry," outlines the process for Federal contactors.
For contractor personnel, the denial, revocation and appeal process is the responsibility of the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA). The individual may request a hearing before a DOHA administrative judge in order to provide additional, relevant information and will have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses. Upon completion of the hearing, the administrative judge will render a decision. If the decision is to deny or revoke the security clearance, the individual has the opportunity to appeal the decision to the Appeal Board. The Appeal Board will review the case file and render its decision. This decision is final and concludes the appeal process.
At the conclusion of the appeal process, an individual whose security clearance has been denied or revoked may not reapply for a security clearance for one year from the date of the final decision. The individual may reapply for a security clearance through his or her employing activity if there is a need for access to classified information. The individual is responsible for providing documentation that the circumstances or conditions which resulted in the denial or revocation have been rectified or sufficiently mitigated to warrant reconsideration. The central adjudication facility may accept or reject the reapplication.
Will my security clearance transfer to other federal agencies?
In most cases it will transfer but it is strongly recommended that you check with your Facility Security Officer (FSO) to make sure. All federal agencies adjudicate using the 13 Adjudication Guidelines and reciprocal recognition of existing security clearance adjudications throughout the national security community is strongly emphasized by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB has issued guidelines regarding reciprocity of access eligibility determinations to ensure that investigations are only conducted to grant new security clearances when they are actually required.
Where can I get assistance completing my security clearance package or inquire about the status of my security clearance?
The company Facility Security Officer (FSO) should be the first contact for assistance in completing a security clearance package or to inquire into the status of a security clearance.
What are polygraphs?
Polygraphs are special tests that can be administered to help determine an individual’s eligibility for access to classified information.
The use of the polygraph for any Department of Defense (DoD) program is governed by DoD regulations. The Department of Defense (DoD) regulations detail the exact manner in which the examination must be conducted. No relevant question may be asked during the polygraph examination that has not been reviewed with the person to be examined before the examination, and all questions must have a special relevance to the inquiry. Certain "validating" questions may be asked without prior disclosure to establish a baseline from which the examiners can judge the validity of the answers to the relevant questions. The probing of a person's thoughts or beliefs, or questions on subjects that are not directly relevant to the investigation, such as religious or political beliefs or beliefs and opinions about racial matters, are prohibited.
What are the differences between Counter Intelligence, Lifestyle, and Full Scope Polygraphs.
The purpose of a polygraph is to determine, to the greatest extent possible, whether or not any given applicant can be trusted with sensitive information. Two types of polygraphs exist, and either one or both polygraphs may be administered to the candidate in question. Polygraphs are conducted by trained polygraph examiners who have been trained in polygraph administration.
A Counter Intelligence polygraph asks the candidate questions limited to the subject’s allegiance to the United States. The questions are based on foreign contacts, foreign associations, etc. A Counter Intelligence polygraph is the most common polygraph.
A Lifestyle Polygraph asks the candidate questions that concern the individual’s personal life and conduct and can involve all aspects of present and past behavior. Questions asked might concern drug and alcohol use, sexual preference and behavior, mental health, family relationships, compulsive or addictive behavior, and more. A Lifestyle polygraph attempts to look for issues in a person’s private life for that which he or she might be blackmailed. A Full Scope polygraph is a combination of both the Counter Intelligence and Lifestyle polygraphs.
Can I obtain a security clearance on my own?
No, an individual cannot obtain a security clearance on their own. There are two ways in which a person can obtain a security clearance; first, by joining the United States military; or second, by being sponsored by an employer who is able to process candidates to receive security clearances
Can a non-US citizen obtain a security clearance?
According to the United States government, only legal United States citizens can obtain security clearances. In rare instances, individuals with highly specialized skills and experience may also be considered for the security clearance process.
How long does a security clearance take to process
Currently low level security clearances can take up to one year to both complete and be issued. Higher level security clearances can take up to two years to be processed. There are exceptions to this depending on the skill set needed for a particular position; but, these instances are rare and can still take a year to process. Three distinct parts of the process are: pre-investigation (filling out the appropriate forms), investigation, (the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) conducts the background check on the individual), and adjudication (an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) representative reviews the investigation results along with other information and makes a determination on security clearance award).
Do security clearances have different statuses?
Security clearance status can be active or current and is determined by when the security clearance was last used. If an individual’s present job requires use of a security clearance, that clearance is referred to as ‘active’. If an individual has not used his or her security clearance in ar job in the past two years, that clearance is referred to as ‘current’. If a person has not used his or her security clearance in more than two years that clearance is referred to as ‘expired’. Active security clearances are transferable between employers who are approved to hold security clearances but it is always recommended to check with the Facility Security Officer (FSO) before accepting a position with another employer.
If I am granted a security clearance, who will notify me?
When a security clearance is granted, the individual will be notified by the Facility Security Officer (FSO). Before being given access to classified information, the employing organization must also give the newly cleared individual a security briefing. To find out the status of a security clearance, contact the Facility Security Officer (FSO).
What is the value of a security clearance?
Professionals with active security clearances are in high demand in many industries, occupations and professional levels. The Nation’s security is a high priority for the United States government and their contractors, and the need for qualified individuals at every level is just as important. While individuals with high security clearance levels are very desirable, there are also important needs at every level, for professionals with security clearances.
Many contractors say that a security clearance is needed to apply for their jobs. How can I get a security clearance in advance so I can apply for these jobs and can I pay for it myself?
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has no procedure for an individual to independently apply for an investigation or security clearances. Security clearances are based on investigations requested by Federal agencies, appropriate to specific positions and their duties. Until a person is offered such a position, the government will not request or pay for an investigation for a security clearance. Once a person has been offered a job (contingent upon satisfactory completion of an investigation), the government will require the person to complete an e-QIP, initiate the investigation, adjudicate the results, and issue the appropriate security clearance.
We know that some Department of Defense (DoD) contractors require applicants to already have a security clearance, and they have the right to administer their personnel hiring procedures the way they think is best as long as they don't discriminate based on prohibited factors (such as race or religion).
Doesn't the FBI conduct all Federal background investigations?
The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Department of Defense (DoD), and a few other agencies share this responsibility. The FBI mostly conducts investigations on the following: High level Presidential appointees, Cabinet officers, and agency heads and staff who may work at the White House directly for the President.
Can I see if I am qualified for a security clearance?
No. It is not possible to "pre-apply" for a security clearance. Not all Federal employees or contractors have security clearances. Individuals who are tentatively selected for government jobs (or as Federal contractors) will be investigated as appropriate. If access to National Security Information is required, you will need to complete a security questionnaire and an investigation will be conducted. If the investigation results are favorable, a security clearance will be granted if appropriate. A Security Clearance Lawyer can assist you in preparing your application and and in explaining any of the circumstances which may be flagged by the adjudicator.
If an individual had a security clearance or a favorable personnel security investigation (PSI) in the past, can they now get a security clearance for another position?
In order to be issued a security clearance for another position, an individual must meet the following requirements:
For a security clearance at a security cleared facility under the National Industrial Security Program (NISP) the termination date of the applicants former clearance must have been within the past 24 months, and there must not have been any subsequent adverse information on the applicant that would preclude them from being issued a new clearance. If an applicant does not meet these requirements, the employing organization may ask the applicant to complete an e-QIP which enables the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to perform a personnel security investigation (PSI).
For Federal or Military Service, the date the applicant left prior federal or military service must have occurred less than 24 months ago. However, there must not have been any subsequent adverse information on the applicant that would preclude them from being issued a new security clearance.
In addition, if the applicants initial investigation or periodic reinvestigation (PR) was not completed within the timeframe described in the answer to the previous question, an investigation may have to be requested before the applicant can be granted another security clearance.
After a security clearance is granted, can it later be revoked?
Yes. There is a continuing evaluation requirement for all personnel holding security clearances. Department of Defense (DoD) regulations require the military services and DoD agencies to establish security programs so that supervisory personnel know their responsibilities in matters pertaining to the security cleared individuals under their supervision. Such programs provide practical guidance as to indicators that may signal matters of possible concern which would call into question whether it is in the best interests of the country for an individual to continue to hold a security clearance. Each service and agency provides supervisors with specific instructions regarding reporting procedures (for adverse information). Facility Security Officers (FSOs) are also obligated under the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM) to report adverse information on security cleared employees. If considered necessary, on review of the reported information, the appropriate authority can request an investigation to determine whether that individual’s security clearance should be removed. In cases of grave concern, a security clearance can even be suspended pending the results of the investigation.
For what reasons could an individual be denied a security clearance?
Basically, there is no one thing that will result in denial of a security clearance and there are not many instances in which a person’s security clearance is denied. Security clearance adjudicators use a documented guide and “formula” to determine whether or not the individual is eligible for a security clearance. In an applicant, they look for honesty, trustworthiness, character, loyalty, financial responsibility, and reliability. On cases that contain significant derogatory information, further investigation is usually required.
There are, however, four criteria which will positively result in the denial of a security clearance: an individual has been convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison for more than one year, an applicant is (currently) an illegal user of, or is addicted to, a controlled substance, the applicant is mentally incompetent, or the individual has been discharged or dismissed from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions.
When there is an issue with a candidate and more review needs to occur prior to granting or denying a security clearance, the paperwork is forwarded to the Department of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) for further processing. DOHA puts all the information together, provides its recommendation and then goes to the requesting government agency for a final decision. Once the decision is made, the applicant is notified. In addition, the applicant is allowed a detailed appeal process.
Why is there a security clearance backlog?
The history is fairly long and complicated. However, certain specific events give a clear understanding of how the security clearance investigation process has evolved, and the difficulties the US government has faced. In general, four types of problems have caused the security clearance backlog to stay maintained at large numbers.
Increase in the Federal government’s need for new security cleared personnel and not enough staff to conduct the personnel investigations and periodic reinvestigations.
Inadequate resources and personnel for Defense Security Service
Frequent changes in leadership positions at Defense Security Service
Problems shifting responsibility from Defense Security Service to Office of Personnel Management
For the most recent report presented to the White House on the Security Clearance backlog, click here.
What is the EPSQ (Electronic Personnel Security Questionnaire)?
Until July 2005, the EPSQ was the electronic security clearance application used within the National Industrial Security Program (NISP). Currently the e-QIP is used
What is e-QIP (Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing)?
The Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) is the automated request for personnel security investigations which in July, 2005, replaced the Electronic Personnel Security Questionnaire (EPSQ). An e-QIP FAQ can be found at The Office of Personnel Management.
What is the JPAS (Joint Personnel Adjudication System)?
The Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS) is the official personnel security clearance database management system for the Department of Defense. All National Industrial Security Program (NISP) cleared contractors will use this system for all types of personnel clearance actions. For more information, visit the JPAS website.
Where can I get assistance completing my security clearance package or inquire about the status of my security clearance?
The company Facility Security Officer (FSO) should be the first contact for assistance in completing a security clearance package or to inquire into the status of a security clearance. The DoD Security Services Center and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is also available.
Security Clearance Investigations
Who conducts security clearance background investigations?
The Department of Defense has entered into an agreement with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)to conduct the majority of the personnel security investigations (PSIs) performed in connection with granting access to classified information. OPM uses government and contract investigators to conduct these security clearance investigations. A Security Clearance Lawyer can assist you in any appeals process and help you obtain your security clearance.
What is a Personnel Security Investigation (PSI)?
A Personnel Security Investigation (PSI) is necessary step in the process of obtaining a security clearance. It is an inquiry into an individual's loyalty, character, trustworthiness and reliability to ensure that he or she is eligible to access classified information or for an appointment to a sensitive position or position of trust.
Why are Personnel Security Investigations (PSIs) and security clearances necessary?
Personnel Security Investigations (PSIs) and security clearances are key elements in protecting the security of the United States. Personnel Security Investigations (PSIs) and security clearances are required to counter the threats that may stem from:
Foreign intelligence services;
Organizations or people who wish to overthrow or undermine the United States government through unconstitutional means, violent acts, or other terrorist group activities;
And individuals who:
May be susceptible to pressure or improper influence.
Have been dishonest or demonstrated a lack of integrity that has caused others to doubt their reliability.
What is the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO)?
The Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO) is a component of Defense Security Service (DSS) that maintains historical and current records on all DSS-issued personnel and facility clearances.
What are the various types of investigations for obtaining or maintaining a security clearance?
Periodic Reinvestigation (PR.
A periodic reinvestigation (PR) is when a currently cleared individual is required to review, update and resubmit his or her security clearance application for a reinvestigation. Periodic Reinvestigations are routinely required every 5 years for those with Top Secret security clearances, every 10 years for those with Secret security clearances and every 15 years for those with Confidential security clearances. A Periodic Reinvestigation (PR) is done to ensure that a candidate should still have access to classified information. Random Periodic Reinvestigations (PRs) are also administered at the discretion of the granting federal agency.
National Agency Check (NAC/LAC.
A National Agency Check (NAC) is the type of investigation required for a Secret or Confidential security clearance. It includes a thorough review of the candidate's national and local records. It generally does not require an interview with an investigator.
Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI.
A Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) is a more detailed investigation and is required for a Top Secret (TS) investigation. It includes a review of the applicant's national and local records and an interview with an investigator.
Special Inquiry Investigation (SII.
A Special Inquiry Investigation (SII) is a special investigation conducted when some type of adverse information has been reported/discovered on a security cleared individual.
A Trustworthiness Investigation is not conducted for a security clearance. It is requested when an applicant is going to have access to Sensitive but Unclassified Information. For example, Trustworthiness Investigations are sometimes conducted on those that will have access to a sensitive site (e.g., cleaning crew on a military installation).
How often will a Periodic Reinvestigation (PR) be done?
After the initial Personnel Security Investigation (PSI) is completed, a Periodic Reinvestigation (PR) is required every 5 years for a Top Secret security clearance, 10 years for a Secret security clearance, or 15 years for a Confidential security clearance. However, civilian and military personnel working for the Department of Defense (DoD) can be randomly reinvestigated before they are due for a Periodic Reinvestigation (PR).
What can I do to speed the investigation process?
A lot of detailed information is required to conduct a background investigation. Information such as complete names, addresses, telephone numbers, and dates of birth for relatives will be required. An applicant may have to collect 10 years worth of names, addresses, etc. The form the security clearance applicant completes is on-line. The online form allows applicants the chance to submit additional information, one time, after the original submission. It is always best to gather all information ahead of time. Incomplete or incorrect information can significantly delay the investigation. For information on what is needed to complete the application, see the Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) FAQ. When periodic updates are required, the applicant will only need to update information that has changed since the initial submission. If the applicant would like to preview the type of information that will be required, he or she can access the e-Qip FAQ and begin collecting information so it will be available when needed. A Security Clearance Lawyer can assist you in understanding your unique situation and help explain your circumstances.
Security Clearance for Facilities
What is the National Industrial Security Program (NISP)?
The NISP is the industrial security program regulated by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Defense Security Service (DSS). In addition to Department of Defense (DoD) agencies, there are 23 additional federal government participants. The main regulation document under the National Industrial Security Program (NISP) for cleared contractors is the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM).
What is a Facility?
The term facility is used within the National Industrial Security Program (NISP) as a common designation for an operating entity consisting of a plant, laboratory, office, college, university, or commercial structure with associated warehouse, storage areas, utilities and components, which are related by function or location. It does not refer to Government installations.
What is a Facility Security Clearance?
A Facility Security Clearance (FCL) is an administrative determination that, from a national security standpoint, a facility is eligible for access to classified information at the same or lower classification category as the security clearance being granted. The Facility Security Clearance (FCL) may be granted at the Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret level. The Facility Security Clearance (FCL) includes the execution of a Department of Defense Security Agreement (DD Form 441). Under the terms of the agreement, the Government agrees to issue the Facility Security Clearance (FCL) and inform the contractor as to the security classification of information to which the contractor will have access. The contractor, in turn, agrees to abide by the security requirements set forth in the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, commonly referred to as the NISPOM.
How does a company get a Facility Security Clearance (FCL)?
A company must be sponsored by a government agency or a security cleared contractor for a Facility Security Clearance (FCL). A contractor cannot sponsor itself for a FCL.
How does a customer sponsor a company for a Facility Security Clearance (FCL)?
Sponsorship is in the form of a letter to the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO) requesting that a particular company be processed. The letter provides the prospective company’s name, address, phone number and point of contact. It should also provide the classified contract number, facility clearance level and the requestor point of contact and phone number.
Once a request is made, what is involved in getting a Facility Security Clearance (FCL)?
When the Facility Clearance Branch at DISCO determines that the request is valid, processing information is relayed to the appropriate Defense Security Service (DSS) Industrial Security Field Office. The facility is then assigned to a DSS Industrial Security Representative (IS Rep). The IS Rep will obtain information concerning the facility, provide the facility with instructions on completing the necessary forms, and provide basic information about the National Industrial Security Program (NISP). The Industrial Security Representative (IS Rep) will also provide guidance to the facility in establishing an industrial security program.
Who has to be cleared in connection with a Facility Security Clearance (FCL)?
A Defense Security Service (DSS) Industrial Security Representative (IS Rep) with the help of the company’s point of contact will determine which individuals must be cleared in connection with the Facility Security Clearance (FCL). Ordinarily, those that have control over the company (e.g., the CEO, President, Executive VP and/or other officers or board members) and the Facility Security Officer (FSO) must be cleared. Those individuals cleared in connection with a Facility Security Clearance (FCL) are called Key Management Personnel (KMP).
What happens if a “controlling” officer cannot be cleared in connection with the Facility Security Clearance (FCL)?
The facility is not eligible for a Facility Security Clearance (FCL). Alternatively, the officer must officially step down from his or her title as an officer/director and relinquish control of the facility.
How much does it cost to get a Facility Security Clearance (FCL)/Personnel Security Clearance (PCL)?
At this time, there is no direct charge for a Facility Security Clearance (FCL) or Personnel Security Clearance (PCL). A Security Clearance Lawyer can assist you with the details of the application and processing.
What does the Facility Security Clearance (FCL) cost the contractor?
There is no direct charge to the contractor for processing a Facility Security Clearance (FCL). However, the contractor is responsible for security costs associated with participation in the National Industrial Security Program (NISP) (such as classified storage containers, etc.). Accordingly, contractors should determine their security requirements and related costs and consider such costs when submitting a bid. The Industrial Security Representative (IS Rep) can assist the facility in determining the necessary security requirements.
What type of security controls must be in place if a facility is security cleared?
The National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM) prescribes the minimum security requirements that must be fulfilled by security cleared contractors. The Industrial Security Representative (IS Rep) can provide guidance to the contractor in implementing these requirements in their facility. The implementation of these requirements will ensure the adequate safeguarding of the classified information involved. In some cases, Government agencies have requirements for additional safeguards. For example, if your contract requires you to institute a Special Access Program (SAP), additional controls beyond those normally required will be necessary. Such controls can include special security clearances and investigative requirements.
How long does the facility security clearance remain in effect?
The facility security clearance remains in effect as long as the Department of Defense Security Agreement (DD Form 441), is effective. This agreement may be terminated by either party by thirty days notice. Generally, most facility security clearances remain in effect as long as there is a need for the contractor to have access to classified information.
Can the government conduct inspections of a cleared facility?
Periodic security reviews of all security cleared contractors are conducted by the assigned Industrial Security Representative (IS Rep) to ensure that safeguards employed by contractors are adequate for the protection of classified information. The IS Rep will determine the frequency of such formal reviews, but a review will normally be conducted annually.
Loss of Security Clearance, Rick Morris a Security Clearance Lawyer can assist in appealing your denial, suspension, or revocation.
Losing your security clearance may have a significant impact on your career. In these matters, having a Security Clearance Attorney at your side to represent your interests and assist you in retaining your clearance will greatly assist you. Security Clearance Law may be difficult to work with, but the proper resources and legal knowledge that we have will greatly assist you in providing you with the help you need. Whether you are a government employee, military or civilian, or work for a company that contracts with the government, a Security Clearance Lawyer at our offices can talk to you about your concerns and your options. If your Security Manager provides you with documentation that they intend to suspend or revoke your security clearance then CALL US IMMEDIATELY. You have a very limited time to respond to the notice. We can assist you in preparing your response and explain the circumstances that have brought you to this point. It should be noted that in VAST MAJORITY of cases, the decision to revoke a security clearance is a DISCREATIONARY one. At the The Law Center, P.C. Rick Morris a Security Clearance Laywer can assist you to explain your unique facts of your particular case and how they adhere to the DoD adjudicative guidelines.
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For more information on a DOHA Security Clearance Hearing http://www.dod.gov/dodgc/doha/
For more information on DSS Defense Industrial Security Clearance http://www.dss.mil/
For more information on how your security clearance can affect your job http://www.clearancejobs.com/security_clerance_faq.pdf