Security Clearances

Serving Clients in Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, Washington D.C. & Throughout the U.S.

We provide legal assistance and representation to civilian employees of the federal government, employees of government contractors and active military members in matters related to obtaining security clearances, public trust positions and special access program reviews. There are many civilian and military positions in which the ability to maintain a security clearance is critical to a successful career.

If you have had your security clearance denied, we can provide effective representation in your effort to get your career back on track. Please call 757-223-4580 to discuss your claim with employment lawyer James Shoemaker today.

What to Expect in a Security Clearance Case

legalIt is usually vital to request a hearing in your security clearance case. In the great majority of cases, Administrative Judges deny clearances where no hearing has been requested. For most people, their career and work experience are the most valuable assets they have. When faced with a career threat such as loss of a security clearance, an investment in experienced counsel may be the most important step you can take. It is critical to hire counsel early in the process, rather than waiting.

The adjudication of a government employee's clearance denial is a complicated process. If it is not clearly understood, and the employees position is not aggressively advocated, the chances of a successful resolution are slim. The following is a summary of the timeline in a typical case:

  1. The Central Adjudication Facility ("CAF") issues a Letter of Intent ("LOI")
  2. The employee has a chance to respond to the LOI
  3. The CAF sends the employee a Letter of Denial/Revocation ("LOD")
  4. The employee appeals the LOD
  5. The Administrative Judge issues a recommendation
  6. The Personnel Security Appeals Board issues a final decision

You should get counsel involved at the LOI stage. After the Administrative Judge issues his recommendation, it is extremely difficult to try and win a security clearance case on appeal. It is critically important to request a hearing in front of the Administrative Judge.

How To Prepare for a Security Clearance

The security clearance process is daunting. However, if you are well prepared, you can help prevent any potential security clearance problems in advance. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Request copies of your consumer or credit report files
  • Understand your financial situation and amount of debt
  • Use caution online and when posting to social media
  • Keep a detailed record of your travels abroad
  • Answer security clearance forms carefully
  • Be honest in all aspects of the process
  • Gather relevant documents ahead of time
  • Contact our employment lawyer for proactive legal counsel

When Is a Security Clearance Terminated?

A security clearance is terminated when a person permanently leaves the job or position that required it. Cleared individuals who remain in their position but no longer require access to classified information — and who do not expect to need it in the future – can have their clearances downgraded or withdrawn. This takes place through an administrative process. 

What Are the Security Clearance Levels?

There are three basic levels of security clearance. These levels are confidential, secret, and top secret. The sensitivity of the position largely determines the level of security clearance needed.

The criteria for obtaining clearance are not different between clearance levels. However, the depth of the investigation is different, and it may involve more or less research into your situation. 

No matter what level of clearance you are applying for, be sure to review the adjudicative criteria. These guidelines form the basis for determining whether you should receive clearance. 

Can a Security Clearance Be Reinstated After It Has Been Terminated?

Terminated security clearances can be reinstated under specific circumstances. It depends on whether the investigation has gone out-of-date and if the clearance involves special access authorizations. The duration of a break-in-service and/or break-in-access also play a role.

What Is an Interim Security Clearance?

An interim clearance is granted on a temporary basis. It generally permits a person to have access to classified materials up to the level of his or her interim clearance. Also known as interim eligibility, interim clearance is awarded based on the completion of minimum investigative requirements. The purpose is to allow a person to gain access to classified materials until the full investigative requirements for his or her final clearance have been met.

Can Non-U.S. Citizens Obtain Security Clearances?

No. You must be a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible for a security clearance. In some rare cases, a non-U.S. citizen can gain access to classified information up to the secret level through a Limited Access Authorization (LAA). Additional requirements must be met.

Contact us Today

We stand ready to provide you with effective counsel and aggressively represent your interests in these matters. Please complete the form on this page or call 757-223-4580 to discuss your case with James H. Shoemaker Jr. today. Mr. Shoemaker and Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein represent clients in security clearance actions nationwide.