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BOARD OF EXAMINERS FOR THE FOREIGN SERVICE; SUITABILITY CASE (January 4, 2021)
Our client in this matter was a prospective U.S. Foreign Service Officer whose candidacy was terminated by the Board for alleged misconduct in past employment. We prepared a comprehensive appeal that highlighted significant inaccuracies in the record and outright falsehoods provided to background investigators by a vindictive former employer. Coupled with additional context demonstrating a favorable track record of employment, integrity, and judgment, our appeal on the merits succeeded in convincing the Board to overturn their initial decision, thereby reinstating our client onto the department’s Foreign Service Register.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (December 16, 2020)
In this matter, we were privileged to represent a decorated U.S. Army Major accused of “failing” several Army CID polygraphs due to unspecified physiological “indicators”. We prepared a overwhelmingly strong defense by demonstrating, among other things: that the polygraph examiners reported inaccurate information; that the government was unable to identify any specific countermeasures, and instead resorted to speculation; that the case involved no admissions of adjudicatively significant information; and that the entire case was founded on a violation by the government of its own polygraph policy. After laying out the above and a relevant timeline, the government opted to withdraw the Statement of Reasons without the need for a hearing. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “J”, “E”, and “D” (April 23, 2020)
Our client in this matter was a senior DoD official accused of sexually assaulting a subordinate on a military base. Prosecution was declined, but the government still attempted to revoke our client’s security clearance (thereby ending his career) based on the unsubstantiated allegations. Upon review of the case, our attorneys quickly determined that there was a glaring reason why prosecution was declined: the accuser’s statements contained numerous contradictions and demonstrably false statements. Moreover, nothing in our client’s multi-decade career supported a propensity to engage in such behavior, and the individual who made the original complaint was not the accuser herself but rather a third party acting on hearsay. We prepared a devastatingly effective case that highlighted the numerous inconsistencies, false statements, and unanswered questions in the record. We also prepared a strong “whole person” case and obtained additional evidence that called into question the veracity of the claims. As a result of our efforts, DoD CAF withdrew the case against our client in a matter of weeks. Security clearance retained.
U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT; GUIDELINES “E”; “G”; and “I” (April 10, 2020)
In this matter, we represented a U.S. Foreign Service Officer accused of domestic violence and alcoholism. We prepared a comprehensive defense to the allegations that highlighted the uncharacteristic and singular nature of the domestic incident; the client’s sincere remorse; the client’s work to address his alcoholism and his current sobriety; and the fact that both the drinking and the domestic violence were the product of PTSD (now being treated) brought on by experiencing a series of terrorist attacks. Coupled with the favorable evaluation of a substance abuse expert, our efforts carried the day. Security clearance reinstated.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (January 21, 2020)
In this matter, we were privileged to represent a decorated U.S. Army officer accused of posting his political opinions on a personal Facebook page that also contained a photograph of himself in uniform. The postings supposedly violated Army regulations prohibiting soldiers from engaging in political activity that could be misconstrued as having the support of the Army.
This was an extremely unusual case that raised serious First Amendment implications. We mounted a defense on multiple fronts after conducting extensive legal research. In particular, we pointed out that the Statement of Reasons – which repeatedly identified the political statements as “conservative” – toed, and probably crossed, the line of unconstitutional content restrictions on free speech. We also pointed out that no reasonable observer would misconstrue a personal Facebook page as a statement of official U.S. Army position, and that nothing about this situation raised national security concerns. Our robust defense succeeded in knocking out this case at the first level. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “D”, “E”, and “J” (November 13, 2019)
In this matter, we were privileged to represent a decorated combat veteran with a 100% VA disability rating, a Bronze Star with “V” Device, and a Purple Heart. Our client was wrongly accused of having committed a rape and domestic violence, despite the fact that the charges against him were dropped by civil authorities for lack of evidence and he vehemently disputed the allegations. We prepared an aggressive defense highlighting these facts; the accuser’s lack of credibility, ulterior motives, and history of mental illness; and significant “whole person” evidence that bolstered our client’s credible testimony in his own defense. Following a hearing before a DOHA Judge, we received a favorable decision from the Department of Defense. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (November 8, 2019)
In this matter, we represented a DHS employee accused of being arrested for cheating at cards in a legal casino. We prepared a legal defense that raised significant questions about whether the statute the employee was accused of violating had actually been violated. We worked with the employee to establish a strong whole person case and also demonstrated crucial mitigating factors that placed the entire incident in context. This client had much to lose, but we salvaged the client’s security clearance and career before it got to that point. Clearance reinstated following a written response to the SOR and personal appearance before the DHS Chief Security Officer.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E”, “G”, “H”, “J”, and “I” (November 5, 2019)
In this matter, we represented a DoD civilian employee accused of refusing to cooperate with the background investigation process, abusing both drugs and alcohol, and possessing a mental health condition that adversely impacted her ability to safeguard classified information. This was a complicated and challenging case on the surface, but our expert attorneys unpacked it allegation-by-allegation and crafted an extraordinarily compelling rebuttal. We identified numerous inaccuracies in the investigator’s report, clarified several key discrepancies, and highlighted the opinion of our own expert witness, who disagreed with the dated psychological evaluation conducted by a government psychologist. So compelling was our defense that we succeeded in knocking out a five (5) Guideline SOR with only a written response. Clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (August 19, 2019)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of a history of criminal conduct that made him unfit for security clearance. Among the client’s past arrests were several domestic incidents, a marijuana arrest, and a charge for robbery. The robbery charge – by far the most serious – we quickly dispensed with by demonstrating that a criminal court had acquitted the other alleged participant in the “robbery” and that, following the acquittal, the state had dropped all charges against our client, who adamantly denied guilt. The marijuana charge was disproven by a negative fingerprint result, which demonstrated mistaken identity. And the domestic incidents we dispensed with by highlighting their significant age and our client’s subsequent maturation (including attendance at an anger management class) since that time. Combined with a highly favorable whole person case and testimony from key character witnesses, we succeeded in demonstrating that our client poses no current risk to national security. Security clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (July 30, 2019)
Our client in this matter was a Senior Executive at the Department of Defense accused of a variety of vague allegations under Guideline “E” of the National Adjudicative Guidelines. The allegations centered around purported sexual harassment and personality conflicts in the workplace — issues that, even if true, constituted human resources concerns over national security issues. We prepared a strong defense on the merits demonstrating that, in fact, the allegations were not true but rather the efforts of disgruntled colleagues who simply disliked our client. Our case was so strong that we won it with only a written response to the Statement of Reasons. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (July 10, 2019)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor arrested for domestic violence three times over the course of 17 years. Although the case initially appeared challenging, we quickly determined that charges in two of the three incidents had been reduced or dropped entirely after the female accuser admitted that the charges were fabricated out of jealousy in one case and that the purported victim was actually found to be the aggressor in the other. In the third incident, the client conceded some fault for an argument that got out of hand but we were able to make a strong case that he had subsequently matured and learned anger management skills. We rounded out our case by providing significant and highly favorable “whole person” evidence, including testimony by the client’s current fiance that she is aware of the past incidents and that she has never seen similar behavior in the course of their lengthy relationship. Security clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (June 19, 2019)
In this matter, we represented a DoD civilian employee accused of committing time card fraud. The employee was alleged to have purposefully misreported numerous hours and violated agency policy in how he recorded his time. In our client’s defense we demonstrated: how his managerial chain encouraged and promoted inaccurate timekeeping through both supervisory instruction and actions; that the client had no intent to defraud; and that the inaccuracies were largely an issue of semantics that did not result in unjust enrichment. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (May 14, 2019)
Our client in this matter was a DoD civilian employee accused of time-card fraud, a DUI arrest, and an arrest for assault. Although the totality of the government’s case presented a challenging picture, we methodically attacked it item-by-item. We began by working with the client to better understand the facts and circumstances behind the time-card fraud allegation. What emerged was a description of a chaotic workplace, gross mismanagement, and a lack of training that left employees effectively required to guess on how to complete their time-cards. It became increasingly clear that the client’s time-card entries were the result of good-faith mistakes, not an intentional effort to defraud. We then obtained evidence that the purported DUI arrest never occurred; the government had incredibly (but not for the first time) confused our client’s identity with another individual. Finally, we prepared a detailed case for mitigation on the assault charge, demonstrating that the client was provoked and that this out-of-character incident did not comport with his peaceable nature. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE; SUITABILITY CASE (May 10, 2019)
Our client in this matter was a State Department contractor accused of exhibiting behavior that rendered him unfit for continued service on the contract. Specifically, the client was accused of sending a lewd “selfie” to a female colleague who allegedly did not wish to receive the photograph. Although the facts of the case as recited by State appeared challenging, upon digging deeper we determined that there was much more to this story. We developed significant extenuating and mitigating details, a strong whole-person case, and ultimately demonstrated that this matter was the result of a good-faith misunderstanding that will not be repeated. Unfavorable fitness determination reversed.
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY; GUIDELINE “E” (March 26, 2019)
In this matter, we represented an NSA employee accused of admitting to time card fraud at multiple prior employers, including a different intelligence agency, during a polygraph examination. The government’s case was predicated entirely on the client’s purported admissions, which we quickly demonstrated were lacking critical context and largely the product of a rush to judgment by an overly-aggressive examiner. After a written response to the Statement of Reasons and a personal appearance before NSA’s Access Appeals Panel we succeeded in having this client’s security clearance reinstated.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (March 13, 2019)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of committing time card fraud at a previous employer and admitting to the fraud during a polygraph examination with an intelligence community agency. We prepared a detailed rebuttal to the allegations, highlighting the important differences between fixed price vs. time and materials government contracts. We then demonstrated why occasional, inadvertent sloppiness in timekeeping on fixed price contracts did not prejudice the customer. Combined with an extensive “whole person case”, the client’s credible testimony, and remedial efforts such as enrolling the client in a timekeeping education class, we succeeded in demonstrating both a lack of intent on the client’s part and an unlikeliness of the issue recurring. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “B”, “J”, and “E” (January 12, 2019)
Our client in this matter was a U.S. Army officer accused of sexually assaulting another soldier. Although the government claimed that certain electronic communications between our client and the accuser supported the accuser’s claim, we presented a strong case that the communications actually did exactly the opposite. After clarifying some discrepancies in the evidence, we further pointed out that the Army had opted not to prosecute or even issue our client an Article 15 for the alleged assault – likely because of questions about the accuser’s credibility. Finally, we demonstrated that the accuser had a history of military discipline and may have been making the allegations as a means of distracting from the accuser’s own misconduct. Clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (December 4, 2018)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor who admitted to embezzling roughly $50,000 from her employer, a federal law enforcement agency, some 13 years prior. Although it was indisputable that the client was criminally charged and convicted of that crime at the time, we demonstrated significant mitigation, including: the lengthy passage of time without recurrence; a stellar employment track record ever since; highly unusual and compelling circumstances, confirmed by the evidence of two expert psychologists, that formed the basis for the crime; demonstrated sincere remorse; and strong “whole person” character evidence . The judge found the conviction to a gross violation of the public trust but ultimately agreed without our assessment that the client had earned another chance at this late date through her demonstrated rehabilitation. Public trust designation granted.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY; GUIDELINE “E” (December 4, 2018)
In this matter, we represented an intelligence agency contractor accused of employment-related misconduct in his prior duties at a federal law enforcement agency. Specifically, the client was accused of plagiarizing a promotion board package and of misusing a government travel card. The allegations were vague and based on what appeared to be a sloppy investigation and numerous unwarranted assumptions. We highlighted those deficiencies and made a strong case that they warranted procedural due process violations. We then rebutted both allegations with the client’s compelling, sworn statement and further emphasized context with a vibrant “whole person” assessment that mitigated any inference of poor character. We succeeded in reversing the initial denial decision at the first level.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “K” (November 26, 2018)
In this matter we were privileged to represent an extremely high-level Department of Defense official accused of mishandling classified information and denying/obfuscating that fact. Contradictory witness statements, voluminous record evidence, and a host of unusual political implications made this case one for the record books. Bigley Ranish attorney – and former DOHA Appeals Board Judge – Jeff Billett spent countless hours crafting an ironclad case for this client. Through an initial response to the Statement of Reasons (SOR) we successfully rebutted all but two of the many SOR allegations. Attorney Billett then presented our case before a DOHA Judge and was ultimately able to obtain a favorable decision from the cognizant Personnel Security Appeals Board. The client’s paycheck and security clearance have been reinstated and, although a successful defense was costly for this client in time, stress, and funds, the victory was just as sweet.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; GUIDELINE “E” (November 14, 2018)
Our client in this matter was a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employee accused of intentionally falsifying time cards and meal vouchers during an emergency temporary duty assignment. The employee – who works in the personnel security field – vehemently denied any intent to defraud. We demonstrated with compelling evidence that the government had ignored its own exculpatory evidence, advanced a theory of the case that disregarded key facts, and ultimately may have decided this case at the first level based on a personal animosity between the client and a friend of the deciding official. We succeeded in obtaining a reversal of the first level denial before the DHS Security Appeals Board.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE; SUITABILITY CASE (October 30, 2018)
Our client in this matter was a State Department overseas contractor denied a favorable suitability determination by the Department’s Contractor Review Panel for alleged employment misconduct. We prepared a detailed written challenge to the allegations using both fact and law. Specifically, we highlighted mitigating circumstances behind the employee’s prior job termination, the individual’s broader track record of success in the workplace, and that the CRP had erroneously cited the security clearance adjudication guidelines (as opposed to the suitability criteria found in the Foreign Affairs Manual) in denying our client. The totality of our efforts were sufficient to obtain a reversal of the initial denial decision.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E”, “G”, and “I” (September 25, 2018)
In this matter, we were privileged to represent an 80%-disabled combat veteran whose struggles with PTSD were mis-characterized by his civilian government supervisors as disciplinary issues. Despite being presented with a litany of concerns under the Personal Conduct, Mental Health, and Alcohol Consumption Guidelines, our attorneys developed a strong record of evidence that ran directly counter to the allegations. We worked extensively with the client to craft a compelling defense that mitigated certain concerns and strongly rebutted others. We also obtained favorable evidence of the client’s character that helped contextualize key details of the case. It took a 25 page written appeal along with reams of documentary evidence, but we ultimately succeeded in convincing DoD’s Consolidated Adjudications Facility to rescind the Statement of Reasons without the need for a DOHA hearing. Security clearance retained.
U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT; GUIDELINE “E” (September 5, 2018)
Our client in this matter was an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent whose security clearance was revoked by ICE on the basis of polygraph technical calls (e.g. “deception” or “inconclusive”) in the absence of adjudicatively significant information. This was a highly unusual case given that federal policy – to which ICE is bound – explicitly prohibits using polygraph technical calls for denying a security clearance in the absence of adjudicatively significant information. Despite presenting ICE with the relevant policy, they persisted in pressing ahead with a clearly erroneous interpretation of the language. We appealed to the DHS Security Appeals Board and requested that the Director of National Intelligence confirm the plain language of relevant policy meant what it said. Upon review, DNI and the Board agreed with us and promptly reversed ICE’s security clearance denial.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (June 18, 2018)
We represented the CEO of a DoD contractor accused of falsifying his SF-86 form several times and receiving a large, unexplained influence of cash into his bank account. We quickly disposed of the latter concern by demonstrating the innocuous nature of the transaction. We then attacked the falsification claims by highlighting, among other things, the extent to which available evidence contradicted the government’s claims. Combined with the Applicant’s credible testimony on his good-faith misunderstandings, our efforts succeeded in obtaining a favorable ruling from a DOHA judge. Security clearance retained.
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY; GUIDELINE “E” (March 28, 2018)
Our Client, an NSA contractor, was accused of exhibiting a gross lack of judgment that made him unsuitable for a security clearance. Specifically, the client was accused of creating – years prior and in his personal time – fake profiles on various jihadi websites, which he then used to gather intelligence on overseas terrorist organizations that he turned over to the FBI. The Agency attempted to paint our client as some sort of vigilante, a notion we aggressively rebutted by demonstrating that the client was, in fact, a patriot who had provided valuable intelligence to the USG. Although his initial efforts may have been naive and ill-conceived, his results were impressive, and he was actually encouraged to continue his work by federal authorities. With a written testimonial from the client’s FBI handler, we ultimately demonstrated that the Agency’s position was unsupportable and that this client was an asset, not a risk. Security clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “F” (February 23, 2018)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of having unresolved delinquent debt and falsifying an SF-86 by failing to report a past charge under the UCMJ for carnal knowledge (statutory rape). We quickly dispatched the financial concerns by working with our client to obtain appropriate evidence of debt resolution; specifically, evidence that the state tax debt which he was alleged to have owed was unlawful given superseding U.S. law regarding deployed service members and contractors. We then presented the client’s own compelling testimony regarding the nature and circumstances of the charge, why it was dismissed (factual innocence), and his good faith and reasonable misinterpretation of the question at issue. After a DOHA hearing, the judge found in our client’s favor on all counts. Security clearance granted.
DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY; GUIDELINE “E” (February 23, 2018)
In this matter we represented a DIA employee accused of proffering multiple false and misleading answers relative to past drug use on his SF-86. A complicated case to unwind, our attorneys worked hard to clarify facts, client intent, and prepare a detailed timeline of the purported inconsistencies. Ultimately, what became clear was that the agency had failed to take into account the multiple variations of their own questions asked at different times during the security screening process. After chiding the agency for drafting a Statement of Reasons that resembled a jigsaw puzzle, we were successful in fully rebutting the allegations on solely the written SOR response. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “F” and “E” (January 30, 2018)
In this matter we represented a DoD contractor accused of failing to report a prior rape charge on his SF-86 form, and of presenting a security risk due to numerous unresolved and delinquent debts. Our attorneys worked extensively with the client to gather appropriate evidence of debt resolution, as well as evidence of the compelling and unusual circumstances that led to the debt’s accrual. On the issue of material falsification, we provided evidence both that the client had been unanimously acquitted of the charge by a criminal jury, and that his failure to self-report the incident was the result of poor advice from his security officials that he accepted in good faith. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (December 15, 2017)
Bigley Ranish, LLP partnered with one of the largest law firms in the nation to defend the CEO of a major government contractor against False Claims Act allegations. The client was alleged to have previously settled a multi-million dollar Qui Tam action with the government — and now the government was moving to revoke the CEO’s security clearance, despite the “no fault” terms of the settlement.
Our attorneys worked hand-in-hand with the partner law firm to craft a strong defense both on the merits and on the public policy implications of turning contract disputes into national security proceedings. We prepared a highly detailed and persuasive response to the Statement of Reasons, replete with extensive documentary evidence in mitigation. Ultimately, the government opted to withdraw the Statement of Reasons against our client and cancel all further proceedings. Total time for resolution: 30 days. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (December 7, 2017)
In this matter, we represented a U.S. Army Officer accused of falsifying reports and time cards during prior employment as a State Trooper, then failing to list his resignation in lieu of termination from that job on his SF-86. Although this was a challenging and highly fact-intensive case, we prevailed by demonstrating the good-faith misunderstandings that resulted in the prior employment issues, presenting a highly favorable whole person case (thereby showing these allegations to be isolated in nature), and identifying the highly unusual circumstances and poor advice that led the client to complete his SF-86 as the government alleged. This case required a written SOR response, a DOHA hearing, and a PSAB decision to achieve victory, but the client was able to walk away with his security clearance, professional future, and livelihood intact. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “D”, “E”, and “J” (November 15, 2017)
Our client in this matter was a U.S. Army officer accused of adultery (for which he had already received a GOMOR) and obstructing a 15-6 investigation by witness intimidation. Although this initially appeared to be a challenging case, our attorneys quickly unraveled the truth: that the alleged adulterous relationship occurred while our client and his spouse were separated and intending to divorce, and that the purported obstruction and witness intimidation were actually demonstrable, good-faith efforts by our client to warn a witness about potential physical danger to them posed by a third party. The result of our diligent investigation was a devastating attack on the government’s faulty case. After reviewing our defense, DoD CAF found in our client’s favor and promptly restored his security clearance.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “K” (November 9, 2017)
Our client in this matter was a DoD civilian employee accused of failing a counterintelligence polygraph examination and admitting to mishandling security access authorization badges. This was an unusual case in that new adjudicative guidelines were issued while the case was pending, and those new guidelines had a substantial impact on the technical polygraph evidence being used against our client. Bigley Ranish, LLP attorneys aggressively rebutted the government’s allegations regarding the polygraph and successfully mitigated the concerns regarding the mishandling of access authorization badges. The result was that this patriot, husband, and father was restored to full duty after all allegations were resolved by DoD-CAF in his favor.
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY; GUIDELINE “E” (November 8, 2017)
In this matter, we represented a National Security Agency (NSA) employee accused of repeatedly violating the agency’s policies on uncleared visitors in the workplace. This was an unusual and convoluted case that involved numerous third parties and extensive hearsay evidence. Nonetheless, our attorneys attacked the government’s case with vigor and challenged the government’s misrepresentations of our client. So successful was our defense that the case against our client was overturned at the first level appeal in record time of only a few weeks. The deciding official specifically highlighted the “compelling” nature of our presentation in immediately reinstating our client.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (October 19, 2017)
In this matter, we were privileged to represent a senior DoD personnel security official accused of time card fraud. Our client adamantly denied the accusations and provided reasonable explanations for the discrepancies. Nonetheless, DoD CAF persisted in its case. Bigley Ranish attorneys Sean Bigley, Lee Schachter, and Jeff Billett worked together to identify material weaknesses in the government’s legal position. We prepared a comprehensive written rebuttal to the allegations, which raised numerous issues that the government apparently failed to consider. Yet in record time of just two weeks, DoD CAF rejected our defense, and we were forced to proceed to a hearing before the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA). At trial, a key government witness conceded on cross examination to the accuracy of one of our critical assertions. Ultimately, we were able to decimate the government’s case to such a degree that the DOHA Judge dismissed most of the allegations against our client out of hand. The Personnel Security Appeals Board agreed, and our client is now back at work with this nightmare in the rear-view mirror.
If your security clearance has been denied or revoked, shouldn’t you hire the attorneys that personnel security officials hire when THEY get into trouble?
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (June 5, 2017)
In this matter, we were privileged to represent a United States military veteran and government contractor accused of presenting a security risk due to prior violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Those violations – contributing to the delinquency of a minor and adultery – arose during separate, unrelated incidents, and were used by the military as evidence of a purported pattern of misconduct. Our attorneys pushed back aggressively against linking the incidents, noting that they occurred five (5) years apart and under highly unusual circumstances. We made the case, using substantial character evidence, that our client had matured significantly in the three (3) years following the second incident, and that no blackmail potential existed due to his wife’s knowledge of the situation. Ultimately, our efforts succeeded in proving that the client has been substantially rehabilitated and does not currently present a security risk. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “J” (May 24, 2017)
In this matter, we were privileged to represent a U.S. Army officer charged last year with one count of solicitation of prostitution. Although the criminal case was dismissed after our client completed community service, lingering questions regarding blackmail potential and other security concerns remained. We prepared a defense to the security allegations that clearly removed the potential for blackmail. We also contextualized the situation by providing evidence of the unique circumstances surrounding the arrest, the low likelihood of recurrence, and the voluminous “whole person” evidence that supported mitigation. As a result of our efforts, the government agreed to give our client a second chance. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (April 17, 2017)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor and military veteran denied a security clearance due to three instances of alleged child abuse (one of which resulted in an arrest) from pre-2012. Although the cases were stale, the government still expressed concern regarding our client’s judgment and his purported propensity for violence – especially in this post-Navy Yard / Fort Hood world. Recognizing those concerns, our attorneys moved swiftly to undertake a psychological evaluation of the client by a renowned expert in the field. That evaluation, combined with our extensive review of the prior cases, supported a defense that the client’s young age, emotional immaturity, and lack of parenting skills created the conditions for the abuse – not any underlying psychological defect. We worked with the client to present voluminous evidence of the client’s growth and maturation since 2012. That included evidence of counseling, parenting classes, and testimony from his wife regarding the transformation she witnessed since the client’s “wake-up call” of his 2012 arrest. These efforts were sufficient to persuade a judge that the client posed little risk of recurrent behavior. Security clearance granted.
U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT; GUIDELINES “E”, “J”, “B” and “H” (April 5, 2017)
In this matter we represented a U.S. Agency For International Development (USAID) employee accused of illegally traveling to Cuba, falsifying his security clearance application, maintaining a relationship with a foreign national, and using drugs while traveling abroad. What appeared at first blush to be a challenging case quickly fell apart upon scrutiny by our attorneys. Bigley Ranish, LLP Attorney Jeff Billett prepared an 87 page appeal package that highlighted numerous material inaccuracies in the government’s case, several egregious due process violations, and multiple misapplications of law. Only two (2) weeks after submitting the appeal, USAID conceded that the case against our client could not stand and dismissed all charges against him. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (March 22, 2017)
Our client in this matter was a decorated Special Forces soldier accused of lying about an employment-related incident during a routine security clearance re-investigation. We worked collaboratively with the client to gain a comprehensive understanding of the facts and obtain voluminous character evidence that rebutted any adverse inferences. Ultimately, we were successful in convincing DoD that the client’s omission was entirely reasonable, that the allegation itself was baseless, and that our client’s integrity was above reproach. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (February 13, 2017)
Our client in the first matter was a U.S. Air Force officer charged with numerous personal conduct violations pertaining to purported abuses of authority, inappropriate behavior, and false official statements. Our representation of this officer took us across multiple states and required aggressive efforts to uncover the truth: that the entire case against our client was baseless and unlawful retaliation for a personal dispute. Ultimately, our attorneys did just that, locating a “smoking gun” OIG file that substantiated literally all of the client’s claims. We backed that up with powerful testimony from multiple General Officers, plus expert witness testimony from a psychologist who addressed the extent to which an unresolved sexual assault had impacted our client’s behavior. The result was that the Air Force Personnel Security Appeals Board sided with our client and dropped all security charges against her. Clearance (and career) retained.
U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT; GUIDELINES “E”, “J”, and “G” (January 12, 2017)
We represented a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent accused of incurring two DUI arrests and a litany of moving violations. Our attorneys analyzed the case and quickly determined that numerous mitigating factors existed: the DUI arrests were eight years apart, negating any allegation of a “pattern”; the most recent incident involved a BAC just marginally over the legal limit; our client had an exemplary track record of honorable government service; and, the majority of moving violations were legally invalid at the time they were issued.
We prepared an aggressive defense on these grounds and others. Our case was ultimately sufficient in obtaining a reversal of the initial revocation that had occurred when the applicant was represented previously by a different law firm. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; GUIDELINE “J” (September 12, 2016)
We were privileged to represent a disabled Department of Homeland Security employee wrongfully accused of assault with a deadly weapon. Our client was forced to endure the humiliation of a false arrest, followed by a security inquiry on the same incident from her employer. Bigley Ranish, LLP partners Sean Bigley and Jacob Ranish worked in tandem to litigate this unusual case. As a result of our aggressive efforts, we quickly resolved the security concerns against our client (the criminal charges had already been dismissed) and ensured her prompt return to full duty. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (August 9, 2016)
Our client in this matter was a U.S. Army Captain accused of a variety of professional misconduct under Guideline “E” of the National Adjudicative Guidelines for Security Clearances. Among other issues, the Captain was charged with acting inappropriately and creating a hostile workplace environment.
In our response to the Statement of Reasons we highlighted the gross lack of evidence supporting the allegations against our client. More broadly, we presented evidence from numerous prior employers that showed our client had an established history of workplace success and was well-respected by his peers. In the end, the government was forced to concede that the allegations were utterly baseless. The client won his case solely off our written SOR response, saving him the time and money that a hearing would have entailed. .
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (May 18, 2016)
Our client in this matter was a DoD civilian employee charged with DUI and refusing a breath test. We prepared a strong response to the Statement of Reasons, identifying numerous mitigating circumstances and the client’s otherwise unblemished record. The result was that DoD CAF agreed to withdraw the Statement of Reasons without the need for a hearing. Our client’s clearance was restored within a matter of weeks.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (April 12, 2016)
In this matter we represented a DoD employee accused of criminal threats and assault after an altercation with a taxi driver. Our experienced trial attorneys presented evidence of involuntary intoxication sufficient to vitiate intent. We then presented voluminous character evidence highlighting our client’s reputation for peacefulness, his extensive community involvement, and his positive workplace performance. The end result of the case was that our client was allowed to retain his security clearance and was returned to full duty.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (April 1, 2016)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of threatening conduct with a firearm, a subsequent arrest for his actions, and intentionally omitting the arrest from his SF-86 form. We introduced evidence proving that the client’s actions with his firearm constituted a clear case of lawful self-defense and were entirely out of character. We then successfully argued that the client’s SF-86 omission was premised on a reasonable mistake, compounded with bad advice from his prior attorney. The result was that the client’s security clearance was reinstated and the client can return to full duty.
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (March 1, 2016)
In this matter we represented a decorated NSA employee accused of massive time card fraud. Following an investigation by Agency OIG agents, the client was alleged to have bilked the government out of $180,000 over two years.
In preparing a defense, Bigley Ranish, LLP partner Sean Bigley undertook a wide-ranging investigation that uncovered breathtaking incompetence by the government. Specifically: the government failed to interview our client’s supervisor and many colleagues who could have attested to his whereabouts; the government relied upon inaccurate and incomplete records; and the government failed to take even the most basic investigative steps to corroborate other highly relevant information. We prepared a devastating attack that left the government’s case against our client in tatters. Yet the Agency still refused to admit fault and upheld its denial decision without any explanation on initial review.
Bigley Ranish, LLP partner Jacob Ranish then appeared with the client at a PSAB hearing at NSA Headquarters. We orally presented our case, had our client testify, and highlighted the gross due process violation at issue: that the Agency was effectively demanding our client disprove allegations that the Agency itself had not proven. Ultimately, the PSAB Panel agreed with us and ruled in our client’s favor. 24 hours later, the client has been fully restored to active duty.
THE WHITE HOUSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “F” (February 29, 2016)
Our client in this matter is currently serving the President in a role requiring YW (Yankee White) clearance. The White House issued a Statement of Reasons alleging numerous instances of both civil debt and criminal conduct; an unfavorable adjudication would have meant immediate removal of the client from his position.
We mounted a strong defense on the applicable Guidelines and a positive “whole person” analysis. We showed that all debts have been sufficiently resolved and that there were both factual and legal issues mitigating the alleged criminal conduct. Accordingly, our client’s YW clearance was reinstated and he was allowed to retain his job.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (February 26, 2016)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor previously denied a security clearance by NSA (a case in which he was represented by another law firm). The allegations at issue – several self-reported petty thefts as a juvenile and young adult – were subsequently reported by NSA to DoD, causing fallout on the client’s collateral clearance.
We prepared a strong case that highlighted numerous mitigating factors and clear evidence of rehabilitation. After a hearing before a DOHA Judge, our sole income-earner / father-of-two client was allowed to retain his DoD security clearance and his job.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY; SUITABILITY CASE (February 18, 2016)
Our client – an IRS contractor – was accused of lying about prior marijuana use on his Form SF-85P. We prepared a strong response to the allegation that highlighted both the legitimate reason for the omission and the client’s broad track record of honesty and reliability. Within just 10 days, the Service agreed to rescind its proposed suitability debarment and restore our client to his position.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “G” (January 25, 2016)
Our client, a DoD contractor, was accused of marijuana usage and extensive illegal downloading of music. We aggressively countered the charges with numerous mitigating circumstances – so much so that the government decided to withdraw the Statement of Reasons before trial, saving our client significant time, money, and hassle. Clearance granted.
U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT; SUITABILITY CASE (October 28, 2015)
We represented a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent in disputing suitability allegations of past criminal conduct and alcohol abuse. Specifically, the ICE Agent was alleged to have driven while intoxicated, committed petty theft, and engaged in domestic violence.
Despite a challenging case on the surface, we prevailed with a thoughtful legal strategy that identified numerous mitigating factors for the DUI and the petty theft. The domestic violence allegation was debunked both on the facts and on a bizarre twist in state law that had been ruled unconstitutional shortly after the client’s arrest. The Agency rescinded all charges and the client was restored to full duty.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “F” (October 8, 2015)
Our client, a DoD contractor of 25 years, was charged under Guidelines “E” and “F” for allegedly accruing $58,000 in delinquent debt then lying about it during his background investigation. Based upon our expertly-crafted Statement of Reasons (SOR) response, the government conceded that the debt had been mitigated and that the dishonesty allegation was baseless. SOR withdrawn before trial and clearance retained.
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY; GUIDELINES “D”, “J”, and “E” (August 10, 2015)
In this matter, we represented an NSA clearance holder in fighting horrifying criminal allegations. Purported admissions were falsely imputed to our client by the outrageous misconduct of an Agency polygraph examiner. To make our case, we were required to address head-on the faux “science” of the polygraph, which we did by using our deep technical expertise and the assistance of an expert witness. The result was an overturning of the denial decision at the first level.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY; GUIDELINE “E” (July 21, 2015)
In this matter, we represented a Treasury Department contractor accused of lying to the government about a prior security clearance denial. Using our advanced technical knowledge of the security clearance process, we proved that Treasury’s interpretation of the Client’s JPAS records was clearly erroneous. No prior denial had occurred; in fact, our Client was a patriotic veteran whose clearance had been administratively terminated upon an Honorable Discharge (in accordance with federal law). Our Client was cleared to begin work in just 5 days.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (July 6, 2015)
We were pleased to represent a federal agent wrongfully accused of grand theft. This was a bizarre case that called into question the agent’s very suitability for federal employment. Fortunately, after extensive legal research we proved that no crime had actually occurred. Our client’s career, dignity, and security clearance were restored.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION; GUIDELINE “E” (June 13, 2015)
We were privileged to represent an FBI Special Agent and ex-Special Forces soldier accused of serious employment misconduct. Although the nature of this case precludes us from divulging details, we vindicated our client’s position, validated his strong integrity, and restored his career.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “G” and “E” (May 6, 2015)
Our client, a U.S. Service Member deployed abroad, was accused by the government of numerous substance abuse issues and falsifying his security clearance application to omit several arrests. We presented a devastatingly effective case that proved the client’s recruiter had falsified the paperwork without the client’s knowledge and that any issues with substance abuse were sufficiently mitigated. Clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “G” AND “E” (April 8, 2015)
Our client, a decorated veteran, was accused of having a drinking problem that resulted in 5 DUI arrests over the past 20 years. He was also accused of intentionally failing to list those arrests on his SF-86 form. Despite a difficult case, we prevailed by proving that the client no longer had a drinking problem and that the SF-86 omission was inadvertent.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” AND “F” (March 17, 2015)
The government accused a DOD contractor of declaring bankruptcy and intentionally timing the bankruptcy so as to avoid reporting it during a scheduled re-investigation. Despite extensive government efforts to tarnish our client’s reputation, we prevailed on the evidence and got this parent of two children / sole income-earner promptly back to work.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES; GUIDELINES “E” AND “F” (February 9, 2015)
Our client, an HHS employee, was alleged to be over $16,000 in debt and was accused of knowingly withholding that information from the government during a background investigation. Through a combination of both legal and factual arguments, we were able to prove that the employee only owed $45 of the total alleged debt. The employee paid the $45 debt and promptly received a favorable suitability determination, thereby saving a career.
*Each case is unique. Representations of past success are not a guarantee, warranty, or prediction of future results. Cases involving multiple guidelines are reported under each guideline.