Security Clearance Denial & Appeals


If an individual’s security clearance has been denied or revoked, they may appeal that decision to an administrative judge. During the appeal, a hearing is set before the administrative judge where the individual is afforded the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses who testify against granting the security clearance, and provide additional or mitigating information. The administrative judge will then enter a decision either granting or denying the security clearance, and if it is denied, a final appeal may be taken to The Appeal Board, who will enter the final decision.

Examples of Our Successes

Some examples of our past successes include:

  • Successfully overturned a denial for a former United States Army Colonel who was denied based on failed business investments.
  • Successfully overturned a denial of an Egyptian born United States Citizen who was falsely accused of improper foreign ties.
  • Successfully overturned a denial for a United States Soldier stationed in Afghanistan who was accused of using drugs.
  • Successfully overturned a denial for a defense contractor who unfortunately got a DUI while holding a security clearance.

For what reasons can clearance be denied or revoked?

There are numerous reasons why clearance can be denied or revoked. these reasons are set forth in guidelines published by the government and can be viewed here:  ADJUDICATIVE GUIDELINES FOR DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR ACCESS TO CLASSIFIED INFORMATION

The guidelines focus on specific reasons to deny clearance. At the heart of the guidelines are loyalty to the United States and susceptibility to foreign influence. The specific categories are, as follows:

  • Allegiance to the United States
  • Foreign Influence
  • Foreign Preference
  • Sexual Behavior. The concern with sexual behavior is if it involves a criminal offense, indicates a personality or emotional disorder that could subject the individual to coercion, exploitation, or duress or reflects lack of judgment or discretion. Sexual orientation or preference may not be used as a disqualifying factor.
  • Personal Conduct.  The concern is with conduct involving questionable judgment, untrustworthiness, unreliability, lack of candor, dishonesty, or unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations could indicate that the person may not properly safeguard classified information.
  • Financial Considerations. The concern is that if an individual is financially overextended they are at risk of having to engage in illegal acts to generate funds.
  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Drug Involvement
  • Emotional, Mental, and Personality Disorders. The concern is that emotional, mental, and personality disorders can cause a significant deficit in an individual’s psychological, social and occupational functioning.
  • Criminal Conduct
  • Security Violations
  • Outside Activities. The concern with involvement in certain types of outside employment or activities is a security concern if it poses a conflict with an individual’s security responsibilities and could create an increased risk of unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
  • Misuse of Information Technology System

What do you do if your security clearance is denied or revoked?

Everyone who has either been denied clearance or had their clearance revoked has the right to due process and to challenge that decision before a neutral Administrative Law Judge. 

The process begins with a Notice of Determination that the clearance has either been denied or revoked. It is accompanied by a Statement of Reasons for the denial or revocation. 

You have the opportunity to respond to the statement of reasons and to provide explanation and any mitigation that you wish to provide. This is a very time-limited process and it is important for you to involve an attorney experienced in such matters early in the process. No attorney wants their “client’s foot in the attorney’s mouth” before they even start the case. You also may inadvertently hurt your case if you do not know the aim of the process. You may also miss the opportunity to provide important mitigating evidence to help your case.

 Once the statement of reasons and the response are received, you have the ability to request a hearing either remotely or in person. It is our experience that in-person hearings give you the best chance to convince the administrative law judge that you are worthy of clearance. 

The hearing will eventually be held within 150 miles of your home. At the hearing you have the opportunity to present evidence in your own defense and the government’s attorney will provide evidence supporting the decision to revoke or deny clearance. You can bring forth character witnesses, expert witnesses, employers, family and people who can vouch for your trustworthiness. Finally you have the opportunity to testify in your own defense.

Once the hearing is concluded, a decision is issued in writing and provided to you and the government’s attorney. If the clearance is favorable to you, the government has an opportunity to appeal and if the determination is not favorable to you, you have a similar right to appeal that decision.

Like any other trial, it is important to retain and work with experienced counsel to give you the best chance of overcoming the denial or revocation of your clearance and you should involve the attorney early in the process so that they can help guide your steps towards a successful conclusion.

 You can review the procedures for the hearing and any appeal by using the following link.

DoDD 5220.06, January 2, 1992; Incorporating Change 4 on April 20, 1999

What our clients say about us

“I had the need for legal services for the first time in my life and chanced upon Gard Law Firm. At my initial consultation, Jeff Gard clearly outlined reasonable expectations and outcomes regarding my case. He was very personable and professional. After sharing my concern regarding choosing a lawyer, Jeff referred me to 3 other law firms, but I ultimately chose to go with Gard Law Firm. Mr. Gard personally worked on my case and he was the one in court with me. Whenever I had a question or concern, it was promptly addressed. The best part of all is he was able to work out an even better deal for me than anticipated. I am more than satisfied and have already recommended him to family members. If your legal matter is not his area of expertise, he has a vast network of legal professionals that he will gladly refer you to. Jeff had changed my opinion of lawyers. He was kind and effective. Give him a shot and you will not be disappointed.”

~ Alison M. ~

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