Working on any project that requires a security clearance is especially important, in that the loss of that clearance translates into the loss of that job. The central agency serving as the corporate human resources organization for the federal government is called the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. This is the office that completes the bulk of personal security investigations. This clearance must be obtained to verify the applicant's trustworthiness and reliability prior to issuing him or her access to national security information.
Types of security clearances
There are four core categories of security clearances for national security positions:
- Confidential: Provides access to knowledge or documents, which could trigger harm to national security if disclosed without authorization. It requires reinvestigation every 15 years.
- Secret: Provides access to knowledge or documents, which could trigger significant harm to national security if disclosed without authorization. It requires reinvestigation every 10 years
- Top Secret (TS): Provides access to knowledge or documents, which could trigger extraordinarily severe damage to national security if disclosed without authorization. It requires reinvestigation every five years.
- Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI): Provides access to all intelligence knowledge and documents, which necessitate special controls for restricted management within compartmented channels.
Requirements for security clearances
Depending on the level of security clearance required for your position, the investigation process could take months or even up to a year. Some of the requirements to achieve various levels of security clearance are:
- Basic Background Check: Anyone is subject to a basic background check of his or her criminal and credit past to verify that he or she is “reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and loyal to the United States” [i].
- Background Investigation: The requirements of the investigation vary based upon the level of the clearance and the particular applicant and job description. Background investigations include, for example, neighborhood checks, developed character references (listed character references are asked to provide names of other individuals who know the applicant, and those individuals are deemed “developed character references”), educational checks, employment checks, criminal checks, and other specific requirements, either developed through investigation or specifically set forth in the agent's lead sheet.
James A. Kridel, Jr., Esq., Senior Partner of the Kridel Law Group, was a former counterintelligence agent and, as such, has performed hundreds of personnel security investigations and is fully familiar with the procedures involved.
Appealing subsequent denials of security clearances
Normally, the granting of the initial security clearance is done within the appropriate agency performing the personnel security investigation. Contacting a lawyer would be inappropriate and unnecessary at that time. Usually, a lawyer's participation stems from a denial of a previously granted security clearance, which usually requires an appeal before an administrative judge, at which time a lawyer's appearance is crucial in applying the mitigating and aggravating factors. Mr. Kridel has tried many of these administrative hearings and has extensive experience with such matters.
If there are problems surrounding your security clearance eligibility, or if your security clearance has been revoked, it is imperative that you consult with a knowledgeable lawyer like the experienced attorneys at Kridel Law Group. Contact our offices in New York and New Jersey, at (973) 470-0800 or [email protected]today.