RECENT VICTORIES UNDER OTHER, LESS COMMON GUIDELINES

* * * * *

security clearance expert*SECURITY VIOLATIONS, MISUSE OF COMPUTER SYSTEMS, MENTAL HEALTH, and SEXUAL CONDUCT*

NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY; GUIDELINES “M” and “E” (September 4, 2021)

Our client in this matter was an NSA contractor accused of previously downloading copyright-protected movies, music, and textbooks from the internet on numerous occasions and without paying for the material.  NSA also accused our client of answering “no” to a question on the SF-86 form when, in truth, his answer should have been “yes.”  We provided our client with a robust defense to the allegations.  Among other issues, we highlighted the dated nature of the conduct, positive signs of reformation, and our client’s young age at the time of the activity.  We also pointed out that the actual language of the SF-86 question at issue – one unrelated to the downloading – was ambiguous as applied to the specific circumstances of the case, creating doubt as to the client’s purported intent to falsify the form.  Our efforts were ultimately successful; we obtained a reversal of the initial denial decision at the first-level appeal. 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “K” (April 12, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of committing multiple security infractions.  We quickly determined that the infractions all occurred within a short period of time corresponding with a serious family medical issue the client had encountered.  We obtained evidence of that; worked with the client on appropriate security refresher training; and prepared a strong “whole person” case demonstrating that the client had learned from his mistakes.  Finally, we helped the client implement new remedial measures to prevent recurrence, all of which we proactively presented to the government.  As a result of our efforts, the government withdrew the Statement of Reasons (SOR) and reinstated our client’s clearance within just a couple weeks.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “K” and “M” (January 5, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a highly regarded DoD civilian employee accused of two unusual security violations.  Our attorneys prepared a detailed defense that explained to adjudicators the technical nature of the violations and demonstrated why they were outside of our client’s control.  We convincingly proved that our client acted reasonably under the circumstances and was not guilty of either negligence or intentional misconduct.  As a result, we succeeded in our case based just off the response to the Statement of Reasons. Security clearance reinstated. 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; PPD-19 WHISTLEBLOWER REPRISAL CASE (December 2, 2020)

In this matter, we were privileged to represent a decorated combat veteran and DoD civilian employee whose security clearance was jeopardized in retaliation for protected whistleblower disclosures. Our client made several disclosures regarding potential threats to life, which were substantiated by the Navy IG, and others which have launched a major, ongoing investigation by multiple federal agencies. In reprisal, Navy officials sought to revoke our client’s clearance for the first time two years ago; we quickly shot down those efforts. They then launched a two year campaign of harassment against our client, culminating in a second security clearance revocation attempt this summer. We prepared a devastatingly effective defense which disproved claims that our client had mishandled classified information and refused to cooperate in a security investigation. After just a few months, our client’s clearance was reinstated by DoD CAF. Meanwhile, we await anticipated disciplinary action against our client’s superiors by the DoD Inspector General.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “I” and “G” (September 24, 2020)

Our client in this matter was a DoD civilian employee with a history of mental health and alcohol-related incidents, including a self-referral for inpatient psychiatric care. Although the case initially appeared challenging, our attorneys quickly identified some serious deficiencies in the government’s psychological report – including inexplicable changes made by the evaluator some six months after the evaluation. With the assistance of our own medical expert, we demonstrated that the mental health issues were situational — the result of significant trauma — and were exacerbated by the alcohol. We further demonstrated that our client had significantly curtailed his consumption of alcohol, obtained appropriate treatment, and demonstrated a substantial period of two years without recurrent problems. Our efforts ultimately carried the day; security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “K” and “B” (July 20, 2020)

Our client in this matter was a U.S. Army Major accused of presenting a security risk due to vague allegations of mishandling classified information, and because his spouse was originally from a foreign country. We raised significant due process concerns about vagueness (i..e the right to notice) of the classified information allegations. We also demonstrated, however, that what we assumed to form the basis for the claims had been dramatically misconstrued by security officials. We further documented the innocuous circumstances behind our client meeting his wife; pertinent aspects of her background that undercut the potential for foreign influence; and the fact that client’s deep and longstanding ties in the United States significantly outweighed any foreign ties. After careful consideration of our case, the government opted to withdraw its case against our client based solely on the written SOR response. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “D” and “J” (April 23, 2020)

Our client, a decorated U.S. Army officer, was accused of soliciting prostitution on several occasions overseas. Although this is traditionally a challenging fact pattern, we made a strong case for mitigation through the effective presentation of the client’s then-existing circumstances. We also highlighted the client’s subsequent reformation, including his attendance at both personal and marital counseling; the efforts taken to eliminate the potential for blackmail; and other mitigating and “whole person” information that demonstrated these lapses of judgment were dated, circumstantial aberrations – not evidence of a current national security risk. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “K” and “M” (April 9, 2020)

Our client in this matter was a DoD civilian employee accused of loading derivatively classified information onto an unclassified computer system then failing to follow instructions from security officials. We prepared an aggressive defense that highlighted the highly technical nature of the issue; the lack of security training on the specific issue; the fact that our client had never previously worked with classified information; and the fact that our client’s non-compliance with instructions was a result of a panicked misunderstanding instead of a purposeful effort. We further demonstrated that the case appeared to be an effort to shift blame for a lack of training from management to our client, and that favorable “whole person” evidence clearly indicated our client posed no national security risk. Following a written response to the Statement of Reasons, DoD opted to withdraw the case against our client.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “M” (March 27, 2020)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of intentionally violating his employer’s security rules on removable media (thumb drives). In our client’s defense, we demonstrated that the circumstances under which the violation occurred were extremely unusual; that the client was actually attempting in good-faith to mitigate a more serious security issue; but that the client nonetheless recognized his error. We presented live testimony of two witnesses plus additional evidence of good character. Coupled with a persuasive closing argument, our evidentiary efforts carried the day. Security clearance retained.

UNDISCLOSED FEDERAL AGENCY; GUIDELINES “D”, “K”, and “M” (January 6, 2020)

Our client in this matter was a federal employee accused of viewing pornography on his government computer and emailing sensitive (but unclassified) documents to his personal email so that he could work on them at home. After interviewing the client, our attorneys determined that this out-of-character behavior was caused by a confluence of extraordinarily stressful family dynamics. The situations were unlikely to recur, the client had obtained appropriate counseling intervention, and we obtained a favorable psychological report from a renowned psychologist. Our thoughtful and thorough defense succeeded in obtaining a reinstatement of the Client’s security clearance within weeks.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “I” (September 18, 2019)

In this matter, we represented a DoD civilian employee accused of having a mental health condition that adversely impacted her ability to safeguard classified information. The client was also accused of being in denial of her diagnosis and thus not in compliance with treatment recommendations. We immediately undertook to have the client evaluated by an expert witness psychologist who is a noted authority in his field. Following the results of the evaluation, we were able to demonstrate that the claims being advanced by the government’s expert misconstrued key facts and did not constitute the appropriate medical standard of care. Our expert found that the client’s purported “denial” of her condition was not as the government claimed; that the client was in compliance with her treatment recommendations; and that she posed no risk under the circumstances. Security clearance retained following a robust legal and factual defense to the Statement of Reasons (SOR).

OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY; GUIDELINES “D” and “J” (September 10, 2019)

Our client in this matter was an intelligence agency contractor accused of admitting to undiscovered criminal conduct during a polygraph examination. The specific allegations were sexual in nature and required the involvement of a noted psychologist in our defense efforts. Despite what initially appeared to be a challenging case, we prepared a robust defense that demonstrated the client’s purported statements lacked critical context and were the product of a highly aggressive (coercive) examination. Our medical expert reinforced our defense with an assessment that the client was not a sexual predator and was highly unlikely to have engaged in the charged behavior. The result was an overturning of the initial revocation decision at the first level appeal.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “K” (April 18, 2019)

In this matter, we represented a DoD civilian employee accused of bringing a prohibited electronic device into a SCIF and misusing a government vehicle for personal business. We prepared a comprehensive defense for this client by first researching and determining that the electronic device in question lacked key capabilities that would normally render it a prohibited item. We then demonstrated that the client’s employer had failed to adequately train and/or warn employees about their obligations inside the SCIF, and that the client’s use of the government vehicle was reasonable and proper given the relevant context. Combined with a strong whole-person case, our defenses on the merits succeeded in successfully rebutting a Statement of Reasons and getting this client back to work in a matter of just a few weeks. Security Clearance retained.

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

Our client in this matter was an intelligence agency contractor accused of committing some half dozen security violations pertaining to the protection of classified information. We successfully argued that the violations were marginal, at best; caused predominantly by the client’s youthful age and excitement/pride in the work he was doing; and that substantial evidence existed of subsequent maturation and growth into his current job, where he was excelling. Despite this particular agency’s notorious culture of secrecy, our strong whole-person case carried the day and saved this patriotic young man’s career. Clearance denial reversed.

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