If you lost your U.S. Government security clearance to denial, revocation, or suspension, you have the right to appeal this decision. Of course, the prospect of battling the Government to retain your security clearance — and your job — is daunting, to say the least. This is where the expertise of a Maryland security clearance lawyer is helpful.
After receiving a Notice to Revoke Security, you typically have between two weeks to a month to respond. For this reason, it is paramount to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Hecht & Associates is familiar with the appeals process and what it takes to mitigate the issues that led to the revocation. Call us today at 301-587-2099 to learn more about how we can help you.
What are some common reasons that the government might suspend my security clearance?
Three of the most common reasons behind a security clearance suspension or revocation are an incident report that triggers an investigation, the discovery of new information missed during your background check, or the discovery of information that questions your “loyalty, character, trustworthiness, [or] reliability.”
For example, facing criminal charges could lead to suspension or revocation.
When the police arrest you and charge you with a crime, you are responsible for notifying your facility security officer. This officer then creates an incident report, and notifies the agency who manages your clearance. From there, the agency looks into the arrest and charges, and determines if it warrants suspension or revocation. If so, they will notify your company via a Notice to Revoke Security.
Depending on your level of clearance, your employer likely needs to complete a background check once every five to 15 years. If this background check update finds any negative factors that could jeopardize your clearance, your company may receive a Notice to Revoke Security.
How can security clearance suspension and revocation affect me?
Many federal employees, government contractors, and the employees of contractors require a certain level of security clearance to do their job. Losing your security clearance commonly results in losing your job as well as difficulty finding another job in the industry.
If you are a contractor, your business will not be able to bid on government contracts. This can be problematic for your company, your personal finances, and your employees.
Because your livelihood — as well as your family’s financial health — relies on your security clearance, the loss of this clearance is devastating. If you are facing suspension or revocation, enlist the help of a Maryland security clearance attorney today.
How can using an attorney help me get my clearance back?
The agencies who review applicants, offer security clearances, and suspend and revoke these clearances have specific factors they consider. At Hecht & Associates, we are familiar with these factors, and have experience responding to negative factors including:
- Bad credit
- Drug use
- Alcohol abuse
- DUIs or other arrests
- Other questionable personal behavior
If the government revokes your security clearance, you should know there is no reason to panic. The initial decision relies on different evidence than the appeal, and Hecht & Associates can help you preserve your clearance through the appeals process.
During an appeal, the burden is on the government agency to provide proof that suspension or revocation is the correct call.
At the same time, Hecht & Associates will work to build a strong response to mitigate the damage done even if the agency can prove your questionable behavior or other reason used to revoke your clearance.
What is the appeals process like?
If you are a government employee, who handles your appeal depends on which department you work for. If you are a government contractor, the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) hears your appeal.
The process to appeal a security clearance revocation begins by completing a request for a hearing with the DOHA. It is a good idea to talk with a lawyer before this hearing, and to have legal representation at the hearing.
During the hearing, a DOHA administrative judge will hear the government’s evidence to support your suspension or revocation. At this time, your attorney will be able to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence as to why you should retain your clearance.
At the end of the hearing, the administrative judge rules. If the outcome is not in your favor, your attorney can appeal the decision further, to the Appeal Board. This impartial board will review the evidence presented and other facts of the case, and make a final decision.
Is there anything I can do if I lose my appeal?
The decision by the Appeal Board is final. If you are not able to retain your security clearance after completing the appeals process, you cannot reapply for one year after this ruling.
After that period, you can must obtain sponsorship from your employer before you can reapply. This process mirrors the initial application process, although you can expect to have those completing your background check to take a close look at the incident that led to revocation.
If you need to reapply for security clearance after a revocation, Hecht & Associates can help. You are responsible for mitigating the incident that led to revocation, and providing the proof that you have rectified the issues enough to give the agency reason to reconsider. We can help you build this case to support your reinstatement, and help you complete the application materials in order to increase your chances of regaining clearance.
How can I contact Hecht & Associates?
Hecht & Associates represents clients at any point in the security clearance approval process. We can help you clear hurdles for your initial application for clearance, work to prevent revocation or suspension, or guide you through the appeals process. Call us today at 301-587-2099 to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how we can help you.