RECENT FOREIGN INFLUENCE / FOREIGN PREFERENCE CASE VICTORIES

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security clearance expertU.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “B” and “E” (October 26, 2021)

We were pleased to represent a U.S. Army soldier and first-generation immigrant in this case of alleged foreign influence due to family ties in China.  Although all cases involving China pose additional challenges, we succeeded in demonstrating that this particular case posed minimal national security risk.  Among other facets of our defense, we highlighted the client’s deep and longstanding ties in the United States, the distant relationship with his relatives in China, and certain case-specific safety risks that would prevent him from ever returning to China.  A favorable whole person case, along with compelling evidence of the client’s stability, reliability, and integrity rebutted any other concerns – including an unsubstantiated falsification allegation regarding a purported omission on the SF-86.  Security clearance granted. 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (October 26, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor with foreign contacts, including close relatives, who were citizens of Iran and Russia.  Despite being traditionally difficult countries to deal with from a foreign influence perspective, we prevailed on the merits.  We demonstrated that the client and her family were a persecuted minority in Iran with no love for the regime there; that nearly all of the client’s relatives were now U.S. citizen-residents with successful asylum claims; that the client’s mother faced a death sentence for converting from Islam if she returned to Iran; and that the singular Russian foreign contact (non-family) was so attenuated as to not raise a risk of influence. Combined with a favorable whole person case and a showing that the client’s financial assets, professional life, and social life are all firmly rooted in the U.S., our efforts carried the day.  Security clearance granted. 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (October 14, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor who was deemed a foreign influence risk due to several relatives and a business interest in an African country.  We prepared a robust response to the government’s Statement of Reasons, which was followed by preparing for a DOHA hearing.  Just one-day before the hearing – after reviewing our extensive pre-hearing discovery – the government opted to withdraw the Statement of Reasons and grant the clearance without the need for a hearing. 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (August 31, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor and first-generation immigrant.  The government identified concerns surrounding the client’s parents, who were citizen-residents of a hostile foreign country.  We responded with numerous facts and circumstances that mitigated risk, including the depth and breadth of the client’s ties in the United States, the fact that her parents had been approved for U.S. permanent residency and were in the process of moving here, and a favorable “whole person” case.  The totality of our presentation convinced the government to withdraw the Statement of Reasons without the need for a hearing.  Security clearance granted. 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (July 29, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a first-generation immigrant and U.S. Army MAVNI soldier.  The government raised concerns about our client’s familial ties in a hostile foreign country and claimed that our client had lied about them on his SF-86.  Working with our client to better understand context, our attorneys prepared a strong case on the facts.  First, we demonstrated that supposed admissions made by our client during a counter-intelligence screening interview were based on a combination of language barriers and cultural differences.  Next, we demonstrated that the client’s singular familial relation with ties to a foreign government was a low-level functionary – not the senior policy-maker he was identified as by investigators.  Finally, we showed that the government’s theory of foreign influence risk was predicated on an entirely faulty premise.  In fact, we obtained evidence that the client’s life would be at risk merely by traveling to his birth country, thereby substantially mitigating any foreign influence potential.  Security clearance granted.  

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (July 19, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a first-generation immigrant from an African country currently serving in the U.S. military.  The government raised concerns about various family members who remained citizen-residents of our Client’s birth country, including two who worked for the government there.  We presented a robust case for mitigation, highlighting our client’s deep and longstanding ties in the U.S., positive foreign relations with the country at issue, and several other key factors.  We coupled this with a favorable whole person case to demonstrate the low risk to national security posed by our client’s foreign relatives.  Security clearance granted following our written response to the Statement of Reasons. 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (July 15, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a U.S. Army soldier with a truly multi-national family.  In response to the Government’s concerns about potential foreign influence, we demonstrated that the circumstances of this unusual case warranted a more nuanced assessment.  Specifically, the Client’s father had worked for an international organization, which resulted in the Client being raised in foreign countries but still maintaining his strong identity as an American through cultural and familial connections here.  This globe-trotting client ultimately married a foreign national and had children who accrued foreign citizenship by birth.  But he demonstrated repeatedly that his only allegiance was to the U.S. and consistently worked toward bringing his family here.  We successfully argued that any risk of foreign influence was significantly watered down by the breadth of countries at issue, their friendly relations with the U.S., and the depth of the Client’s longstanding ties here.  Security clearance granted. 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “B” and “C” (July 6, 2021)

In this matter, we were privileged to represent a U.S. Army soldier and first-generation immigrant.  The government alleged that our client’s past ties to a hostile foreign country – including two years of mandatory military service in an elite reconnaissance unit – posed a security risk.  However, we prepared an extensive case for mitigation.  We demonstrated that the client had moved all facets of his life – family, professional, social, financial, etc. – to the United States and that both the facts and his pronounced sentiments removed any doubt about his long-term intentions.  We also demonstrated that the client detested the authoritarian government of his birth country and taken specific steps to affirm his allegiance to the U.S.  Ultimately, we prevailed for this patriotic American.  Security clearance granted.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “B” and “F” (June 2, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a DoD civilian employee with substantial overseas financial assets and income.  The government alleged that those posed a security concern, that the client was financially overextended (despite having no delinquent debt), and that the client had been previously monitored by a foreign intelligence service while stationed abroad.  We prepared a robust defense that tackled the concerns holistically and individually.  We demonstrated that the assets and income were diversified, thereby mitigating risk of confiscation or leverage by a foreign entity.  We also demonstrated that the unusual circumstances of the situation were inadequately captured during the background investigation and that assumptions regarding the client’s financial picture were erroneous.  Finally, we pointed out that the alleged monitoring by a foreign intelligence service had been self-reported by the Client, was largely speculative, and failed to implicate any actual security risk presented by the Client.  Security clearance retained.  

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (February 16, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor with several relatives who were citizens and residents of a friendly Asian country.  Additionally, the client’s wife was a citizen of the foreign country applying for U.S. citizenship; and she had previously worked as an independent contractor for the country’s embassy in the United States.  Despite these foreign ties, we presented a robust case before an Administrative Judge that the client’s ties to the United Stats substantially outweighed his ties to the foreign country; that he had demonstrated a track record of good judgment, patriotism, and community ties; and that he could be reasonably expected to resolve any conflict between the foreign country and the U.S. in favor of the U.S.  Clearance granted. 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (September 18, 2020)

Our client in this matter was a DoD civilian employee and widely respected expert in regional affairs. The government alleged that the individual’s extensive foreign contacts, which included a number of high-level foreign government officials, posed a risk of foreign influence. We prepared a comprehensive and compelling defense that highlighted the depth and breadth of the client’s ties to the U.S.; the fact that these foreign contacts were exclusively professional in nature; and that fact that our client had, in fact, been hired by senior DoD officials specifically because of his regional expertise. Coupled with a favorable whole-person assessment and other evidence corroborating our client’s loyalty to the U.S., our case proved sufficient to overcome the relatively heavy burden of proof created by ties to foreign government officials. Security clearance granted.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (July 26, 2020)

Our client in this matter was a prominent DoD research scientist with ties to an Asian country. Security officials raised concerns about our client’s extensive foreign contacts and past ties to an educational institution in the foreign country. In his defense, we demonstrated the deep and longstanding ties he had developed in the U.S. – which clearly outweighed those he maintained abroad; the fact that most of his foreign contacts had atrophied over the last several years; and the fact that our client had repeatedly proven his loyalty to the U.S. by developing critical new breakthroughs in his area of expertise that helped maintain our competitive advantage against foreign adversaries. Our comprehensive case met a heavy burden of persuasion. Security clearance granted.

OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY; GUIDELINE “B” (July 7, 2020)

Our client in this matter was an intelligence community applicant denied a clearance due to personal relationships she had developed in a hostile foreign country while studying abroad and teaching English. We demonstrated that those relationships did not create a heightened risk of exploitation, coercion, or manipulation because they were not close and were significantly outweighed by the applicant’s overwhelming ties in the United States. After the ties to both countries were balanced against each other and viewed in light of favorable “whole person” evidence, it became clear that in the event of any conflict the applicant could reasonably be expected to act in the best interests of the United States. Initial security clearance denial overturned at the first level appeal.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (May 1, 2020)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of presenting a foreign influence risk due to several close relatives who are citizen-residents of Russia. Although Russia foreign influence cases often pose a challenge, we demonstrated that the client had established such deep and longstanding emotional, familial, social, and professional ties in the United States that he could reasonably be expected to resolve any conflict in favor of the U.S. We also presented significant “whole person” evidence, including witness testimony, that left little doubt about the client’s favorable character, integrity, and judgment. The totality of our case was sufficient to convince a DOHA judge that the client posed no discernible risk to national security. Security clearance granted.

U.S. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE; GUIDELINES “B”, “L”, and “E” (April 24, 2020)

Our client in this matter was a U.S. Government civilian employee accused of maintaining personal relationships in a hostile foreign country and of having previously worked for a foreign-owned enterprise in that country. The client was also accused of failing to cooperate with an FBI polygraph interview on his foreign contacts some years prior. We prepared a comprehensive defense to the allegations that demonstrated the vast majority of the client’s foreign contacts did not meet the threshold of “close and/or continuing”; that the client had worked for the foreign entity specifically to acquire foreign language skills that would be valuable to the U.S. government; that the client maintained such deep and longstanding ties in the U.S. that his allegiance could not reasonably be questioned; and that the client had acted reasonably and prudently under the circumstances. We further demonstrated that the client had, indeed, cooperated with the prior FBI polygraph and that the agency’s claim to the contrary was baseless. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (January 28, 2020)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of presenting a security risk due to family members in India and ownership of multiple properties in India totaling roughly $230,000 in value. We advised our client on acceptable means of divestment from his Indian properties and guided him through the process of securing documentation sufficient to satisfy U.S. government officials. We then prepared a comprehensive defense on the merits, highlighting the mitigating effect of our client’s deep and longstanding ties to the United States coupled with his demonstrated patriotism. Our efforts clearly demonstrated that any risk posed by our client’s relatives in India was outweighed by countervailing factors. Security clearance granted.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “B” and “K” (December 13, 2019)

Our client in this matter was a U.S. Army Captain accused of presenting a security risk due to certain foreign contacts and allegedly mishandling classified information. The client had responded to a Statement of Reasons without representation some 18 months prior, but DoD CAF never received it and his security clearance was revoked by default. After a frustrating year of attempting to navigate the DoD bureaucracy on his own, he finally contacted us. Within literally one (1) week we were able to cut through the bureaucracy, get our client’s case where it needed to go, and get a favorable adjudication that allowed for immediate reinstatement of his clearance. Our client’s career is now back on track.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “B” and “C” (September 20, 2019)

In this matter, we represented a DoD civilian employee and naturalized U.S. citizen born in modern-day Russia. Despite the client having resided here for decades, the government alleged that an unusual combination of circumstances raised both the potential for foreign influence and foreign preference. In responding to the allegations, we demonstrated that they were predicated on a fundamental misunderstanding: the client had no ties to or affinity for the Russian Federation. Rather, he had fled the former Soviet Union (USSR) — a country which no longer exists! — as a Jewish refugee. With that foundation in place, we deftly rebutted each of the multiple claims against our client using a combination of factual and legal arguments. Combined with a favorable whole-person presentation, we succeeded in obtaining a withdrawal of the Statement of Reasons.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (September 10, 2019)

Our client in this matter was a U.S. Airman accused of presenting a security risk due to two (2) estranged relatives in Cuba. Using a variety of mitigating information and legal arguments, we demonstrated that the client’s ties in the U.S. significantly outweighed his ties in Cuba; that the estranged family members were unlikely to ever be in a position to pressure or coerce the client; and that the client’s demonstrated patriotism was a positive indicator of his future reliability. Security clearance granted.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (July 10, 2019)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor with family members in Pakistan. We mounted a strong case for mitigation by demonstrating that the ties were not particularly close and, in any event, were significantly outweighed by the depth and breadth of the client’s familial, social, and financial ties in the United States. Combined with a strong “whole person” case, we succeeded in demonstrating that the client would resolve any conflict between her allegiance to the U.S. and her relatives in Pakistan in favor of the U.S. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (July 3, 2019)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor in South Korea accused of presenting a security risk due to in-laws who were citizen-residents of South Korea, including one who had completed compulsory service in the South Korean military. We presented a strong case in mitigation and rebuttal, demonstrating – among other things – that the client’s relationship with his in-laws was significantly outweighed by his relationships with his biological family in the U.S.; that the client had demonstrated his patriotism repeatedly via past service in the U.S. military; that his financial ties were exclusively to the United States; and that the client’s in-laws did not appear to pose a heightened risk. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (June 26, 2019)

In this matter, we were privileged to represent a first-generation immigrant from India who was living the American dream. The government raised concerns about our client’s parents and in-laws who were citizen-residents of India, as well as a bank account and property investment the client maintained in that country. We demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that the client’s ties to India were significantly outweighed by his ties here in the United States; that the client had already demonstrated a favorable disposition toward his security obligations when dealing with sensitive information; and that the client ultimately posed no threat to national security. Following a hearing, a DOHA Administrative Judge agreed with our position. Security clearance granted.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “B” and “E” (May 29, 2019)

In this matter, we were privileged to represent a first-generation American serving as a linguist for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The government raised concerns about the fact that this client still had immediate family members residing in Afghanistan, and that he had lived in the U.S. illegally for four years roughly a decade ago. In our case, we highlighted the reason why this client had previously overstayed his visa — he was on a Taliban “hit list” and told he’d be killed if he returned to Afghanistan — and demonstrated that his relationship with his family members there was not close. The clincher was our presentation of evidence that the client had survived a suicide bombing and opted notwithstanding that experience to return to the battlefield in service of our nation. The fact that this client had repeatedly risked his life in service to the United States served to significantly mitigate any risk to national security presented by his foreign relatives and prior unlawful stay in the U.S. Security clearance granted.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (May 10, 2019)

In this matter we were privileged to represent a first-generation Iraqi-American who had devoted many years of service as a forward-deployed interpreter for U.S. troops. Although the government indicated concern about the client’s relatives residing in Iraq – including one who serves in the Iraqi military – we demonstrated that those concerns were unfounded in light of the nature of the relationships, the depth and breadth of the client’s ties to the United States, and his demonstrated patriotism in serving on the front lines at great personal risk. Following a formal hearing, a DOHA Judge agreed that the client could be reasonably expected to resolve any conflict resulting from his Iraqi family members in favor of U.S. interests. Security clearance granted.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (April 30, 2019)

In this matter, we were privileged to represent a senior U.S. government consultant with contacts in an allied European government and major military alliance. The nature of those ties were alleged to represent a potential foreign influence concern, notwithstanding the individual’s deep and extensive ties in the United States. We prepared an aggressive defense that highlighted not only the absurdity of deeming the foreign entities at issue a “heightened risk,” but also outlined how the client’s ties abroad paled in comparison to the connections at home. Combined with a favorable whole-person assessment, our efforts carried the day. Security clearance granted.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (April 11, 2019)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor with familial ties to both Kenya and Somalia. Although both countries pose a heightened risk due to terrorism potential, we mitigated concerns by demonstrating that: the client’s ties to these particular relatives were not close; the client’s ties to the United States (including his relatives here) were deep and longstanding; and that the client could be expected to resolve any conflict in favor of U.S. interests based upon a variety of factors. Security clearance granted.

OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY; GUIDELINE “B” (April 11, 2019)

In this matter we represented a U.S. intelligence agency employee accused of having personal friendships in an Asian country that created a security risk. We developed a comprehensive defense on the merits, which included: analysis of the allegations under the National Adjudicative Guidelines; an assessment of the client’s deep and longstanding ties to the United States; and a favorable “whole person” case. Despite a significant number of social ties to the foreign country, we succeeded in demonstrating that this client would clearly resolve any conflict in favor of the United States and could be entrusted with access to classified information. Security clearance revocation overturned.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “B” and “F” (March 26, 2019)

In this matter, we represented a DoD contractor stationed in the middle east. The contractor was accused of having tens of thousands of dollars in delinquent debt – primarily student loans – and of presenting an additional security risk because of his marriage to a foreign national. Although the wife’s family continues to reside abroad, we demonstrated that the totality of circumstances in this case, including the identity of the country at issue, posed no discernible national security risk. We then assisted the client in obtaining appropriate evidence of debt resolution and prepared a strong defense to claims that his once-delinquent debt evidenced irresponsibility or poor judgment. Ultimately, we succeeded in convincing a DOHA judge that this patriotic client warranted the government’s continued trust. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “B” (March 4, 2019)

In this matter, we were privileged to represent a U.S. military veteran and first generation immigrant accused of being a security risk due to family ties in South Korea. Although this case involved relatives actively serving in the South Korean military, we succeeded in demonstrating that the relationships with those specific relatives were not close and that such ties were significantly outweighed by the strength and nature of the client’s ties (familial, social, financial, and otherwise) in the United States. The client’s distinguished military career further highlighted the client’s allegiance to the United States and the unlikely prospect of the client being coerced into acting against U.S. interests by the client’s foreign relatives. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “C” (March 4, 2019)

Our client in this matter was a DoD employee accused of implicating the foreign preference guideline for acquiring Nigerian citizenship and a Nigerian passport. We challenged the allegation of acquiring Nigerian citizenship by demonstrating that it had actually been obtained for the client by his parents many years ago by operation of law. The passport issue we resolved by demonstrating that the reason for acquiring the passport was simply a matter of convenience as opposed to an indicator of foreign preference, and that the client’s ties to the United States were deep and longstanding. Security clearance retained.

OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY; GUIDELINE “B” (January 8, 2019)

Our client in this matter was an intelligence agency applicant accused of presenting a security risk due to a litany of foreign contacts, including one – a romantic interest – who was from a problematic foreign country. We prepared a comprehensive defense to foreign influence allegations by demonstrating that the client’s foreign contacts did not present a “heightened risk” because of their casual and contextual nature, particularly when compared to the client’s deep and longstanding U.S. ties. Concerns about the romantic interest were similarly mitigated by demonstrating a combination of the client’s deep and longstanding U.S. ties as well as the client’s willingness to place national security above the relationship – which the client did by attesting under penalty of perjury that the client had ended the relationship. Clearance denial reversed.

OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY; GUIDELINES “B” and “C” (January 8, 2019)

In this matter, we were privileged to represent a first-generation immigrant from a former Soviet-bloc country who had dedicated her life to advancing U.S. intelligence community interests. Despite her demonstrated patriotism, her employer raised concerns about foreign influence/preference because she had allegedly retained a foreign passport and had ties to a couple family members still residing in the home country. We demonstrated that the agency’s concerns were unfounded by, among other things, providing evidence that the passport situation was caused by inadequate and conflicting advice from the agency, and demonstrating that the ties to the foreign family members did not present any heightened risk in light of the client’s deep and longstanding ties in the U.S. Clearance denial reversed.

*Each case is unique. Representations of past success are not a guarantee, warranty, or prediction of future results.