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Security clearance threshold under scrutiny

If you have a national security clearance or are hoping to obtain one, you are probably aware of the seemingly rigorous background check you must go through. A variety of factors are considered to establish your trustworthiness in handling sensitive information on behalf of the U.S. government, and a few factors are coming under increased scrutiny recently.

Financial trouble can lead to increased scrutiny

According to NBC News, 486 people had their security clearances revoked by the Department of Defense in 2017, with nearly a quarter making it through the first round of consideration without investigation into their initial application. The top three reasons for revocations recently included:

  • Financial considerations
  • Felony charges
  • Foreign influence

Procedure under fire

The FBI is responsible for investigating each of these three areas of a person’s background, though the agency is facing increased scrutiny lately. These instances of revocation could trigger a high-level investigation into information.

According to NBC News, the reportedly “low threshold” and “troubling irregularities” to obtaining a security clearance has led to calls by Congress for an investigation into the FBI’s information-gathering practices. Though it is hard to predict the outcome of a potential investigation, it is important for holders and applicants alike to understand the factors that go into obtaining a security clearance.

How will an investigation change information gathering?

Factors like your financial history and foreign influence are important considerations because the government believes that people who are in vulnerable financial situations or have significant personal contact overseas could be influenced into to help foreign entities by turning over classified information.

Right now the government considers factors like your plans to retire in the U.S., how you celebrate holidays and your contacts outside your own ethnic groups when adjudicating a security clearance. Could scrutiny of these factors change or increase due to a Congressional investigation?

Your personal history may not change, but what the FBI considers in your case could. As the factors that influence information gathering and investigations change, organizations like Kerim Bey Law Partners are available to take on applications and appeals on a case-by-case basis.

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