Q & A Session – Denial of Security Clearance


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I was hired by a federal agency last November, received my first letter of clearance denial in March 2012, and lost my final appeal in August 2012. Should the agency have asked me to sell my house and move to a different state and quit my other federal job and move here without finishing my security clearance first? I’ve lost everything as a result of one stupid thing I did ten years ago.

This leads me to my second question. I would have thought the “whole person” concept used to determine security clearances would have mitigated an incident that landed me two months in jail ten years ago.


Many job offers are subject to a security clearance. Many do not allow employees to start working until the clearance is granted. Others will allow work with an interim clearance or the performance of non-sensitive duties pending approval of the clearance. Any of these are legal and proper, and, of course, if you move and are denied a clearance, you are subject to the loss of a clearance. The denial of your clearance for something ten years old can be appropriate. Security clearances are adjudicated based on uniform guidelines that allow for some flexibility, but some offenses are regarded as too serious to justify a clearance.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.


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1 Comment

  1. What happens when a person breaks the furlough rules and comes into the office and uses the computer for personal use. This is the Civilian Army? No one does anything and it was said to be very important not to do this. I’m confused because I bet no one else could do it.

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