* * * * *
My case involves very personal information. How do you protect my security and privacy?
We treat your personal information like you would treat it, never taking for granted the trust that you place in us. Accordingly, we have developed a privacy and security policy which we encourage you to read by clicking here.
I have a DISS (formerly JPAS) Incident Report. Can you help me fight this?
If you are NOT currently in a cleared position: The government will not adjudicate your case until and unless you find a cleared contractor or federal agency willing to “sponsor” your clearance. When you do, the sponsoring organization will submit a request in DISS (JPAS), notifying the government that the incident report needs to be resolved. If you then receive a Statement of Reasons, interrogatories, or a request to complete a new SF-86, call us. Regrettably, there is nothing that we or any other attorney can do for you until that point. Read more about the issue here.
If you ARE currently in a cleared position: Check out this helpful article from Bigley Ranish partner Sean Bigley.
I want to sue an employer for a security clearance-related issue. Can you represent me?
Unfortunately, we do not practice civil litigation and cannot offer referrals or recommendations for other law firms. We encourage you to make use of your local bar association’s attorney referral service.
What is the process for fighting a security clearance denial or revocation?
The first step is a response to the Statement of Reasons or “SOR” – a document the government issues outlining the exact reasons for your security clearance denial. A strong legal response to the SOR is critical for several reasons: (1) a good response can mitigate the government’s concerns about you and result in the immediate granting of a clearance; (2) the SOR is your first opportunity to provide the government with your side of the story; and, (3) your response locks you into a specific line of defense, limiting the evidence you can later introduce at a formal hearing. Applicants should never attempt to respond to an SOR without legal representation.
In the event that the SOR response does not lead to the clearance being granted, the next step is a formal hearing before a judge. These hearings are held in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. or within 150 miles of the applicant’s home. The important thing to understand is that the proceedings are essentially a court trial. There is a government attorney arguing why you should not be granted your clearance, a court reporter, and the ability to present witnesses and evidence. It is crucial that applicants have an attorney who is well-versed not only in the substantive law of security clearance matters, but also the Federal Rules of Evidence and Administrative Procedure.
Finally, applicants denied a clearance after a formal hearing can file a written appeal before a three judge panel. The appeal is an opportunity to present evidence of procedural irregularities, such as a failure of the judge to consider relevant evidence or the presence of improper bias against the applicant. The appeal is not an opportunity for the applicant to re-argue his or her case or to introduce new evidence.
NOTE: These procedures refer to Department of Defense cases. Procedures at other agencies vary slightly.
Do I really need an Attorney to represent me in this process?
Effective legal representation can be costly – but so is losing your career. Ultimately, the decision to seek legal representation is a personal one only you can make. But remember that the government will most likely be represented by an experienced and aggressive attorney. Read what the former Director of DOHA has to say about this issue here.
Security clearance applicants should also bear in mind that statements they make to the government – whether on the SF-86 form, during a polygraph examination, or in the course of a denial hearing – can have serious legal ramifications outside the security clearance realm. Only a licensed and qualified attorney can adequately protect your rights.