A security clearance is vital, whether you are in the military or a civilian employee. Losing a clearance may mean losing everything you have spent your career working toward. You can't afford to simply hope for the best. You need to prepare yourself for an aggressive defense.
Security clearances may be revoked for a number of reasons and the revocation and appeal process varies depending on whether you are in the military or are a civilian and, if you are a civilian, where you are employed. No matter your status, however, you have certain due process rights. These include the opportunity to present mitigating and extenuating matters on paper, appearing in person at a hearing, and calling witnesses at a hearing before an administrative judge. Further, even after an administrative judge makes a decision in a security clearance case, there are certain appeal options.
When a security clearance is revoked, the person who held the clearance receives a "Statement of Reasons." The Statement of Reasons, or "SOR," explains why the clearance is being revoked. A clearance may be revoked for a number of reasons, including personal conduct, foreign influence, financial problems, abuse of drugs or alcohol, and certain psychological conditions. The Statement of Reasons, however, will also provide the person holding the clearance with an opportunity to respond and also request a hearing. Using an attorney who has experience with the clearance hearing process, and an understanding of how to successfully present your case can be a significant help.
If You Have Received a Statement of Reasons
As soon as you are made aware that your security clearance is subject to review, make sure you obtain sound legal counsel from a law firm with experience in security clearance matters. Most such law firms represent individuals stationed around the world. Distance isn't what's important-it's time that's important.
Attorney Sean Marvin of David P. Sheldon, PLLC, in Washington, D.C., notes, "Trying to resolve these sort of problems on your own often does not help and can sometimes make things worse. Many people experience tough circumstances in their lives and the government understands that. Receiving a statement of reasons does not necessarily mean that all hope is lost. That said, your career is on the line. A knowledgeable, experienced lawyer can help you protect yourself."