Understanding The Security Clearance Application Process

Many certifications or professional designations are necessary to advance your career start and finish because of your efforts to study and take exams. Security clearances are like a certification, but don't require studying or exams, but they do test you — they test your past, your character, morals, and decisions. Kerim Bey Law Partners, LLC, located in Philadelphia, can help you ensure your past is appropriately understood and measured by the right rules.

Applying for a security clearance is nerve-racking and makes you question your life decisions. The secret to obtaining a clearance is … disclosure — disclosure of the right information in the right way. This guide is meant to serve as a basic introduction to security clearances and the process for obtaining one.

What is a Security Clearance?

A security clearance is the eligibility and authorization to access classified information. Security clearances are granted or processed by one of four federal government agencies:

To be granted a clearance, in most cases, a need for access to classified information must be a condition of your employment. In other words, if you don't have, or cannot obtain or maintain a clearance, you cannot have the job.

To obtain a clearance, a candidate must undergo a background investigation. The government is trying to determine whether a potential employee has a personal and professional history that shows they are loyal, are of strong character, trustworthy, honest, reliable, discrete and have common sense. Candidates also must not have allegiances to other countries that conflict with the U.S., and have no potential for coercion. She or he must also be willing to protect classified information.

Eligibility is a discretionary security decision. Eligibility will be granted only when your agency believes access to classified information necessary and appropriate. If you no longer need access to classified information, your clearance will be nonpunitively suspended until you need it again, or your eligibility expires.

The "need to know," and the type of clearance investigation completed determines the level of classified information you may access. Classified information is normally graded from a low threshold of "Confidential" to the very sensitive "Top Secret," along with various gradations and access criteria for special programs.

What happens if the Government tells you that you cannot have a clearance or they take it away?

Use The Guidance Of Kerim Bey Law Partners, LLC, When Applying For A Clearance

If your employment depends on obtaining a clearance, we recommend you work with a professional who understands security clearances, the government, and the process. We can help you complete the forms, gather the documents, and most importantly help you tell the government why, for example, you made a wrong decision at some point in your past. Again, the secret to obtaining a clearance is disclosure – what to disclose, when to disclose it, and how to disclose it.

Your clearance process is comprised of a couple of steps:

  1. The initial application consists of completing the Standard Form 86 (or other documents), either on paper or through a database ( e.g., eQuip), and being fingerprinted.
  2. An interview may be conducted depending on your answers to the questions, or the level of clearance your position requires.
  3. In some instances, a lie detector or polygraph may be, but is rarely, required.
  4. Once all of your background information are received and understood, the government adjudicates your case, and your eligibility for a clearance is either granted or denied.

If your clearance is granted, Congratulations! Don't lose it. BUT … if you do, or your initial eligibility is denied, Kerim Bey Law Partners, LLC, is here to help!

Speak with our attorneys or staff about what happened and how we can help, by calling our office in Philadelphia. Dial 215-437-0953 or send an email.

Use The Expertise Of Kerim Bey Law Partners, LLC, When Your Clearance Is Denied Or Revoked

If your employment is in jeopardy because your clearance eligibility has come into question, we recommend you work with a professional who understands security clearances, the government, and the process. We can help you understand the various notices your supervisors and security officers have provided you, and guide you through drafting our rebuttal, and if necessary, defend you before the various Hearing and Appeals offices. Your goal is to obtain expert counsel as soon as you are notified.

The clock is ticking, and the slightest misstep can, and often does, cause clearances to be revoked because the employee did not answer the allegations properly, or a deadline was missed by even a few hours. Sometimes this is due to lack of communication between the employee, the supervisor, the security officer and the adjudication office.

Don't let someone else's missteps affect your security clearance. Call a lawyer at our office in Pennsylvania today. Dial 215-437-0953.