The U.S. government grants security clearance to individuals and businesses it deems as trustworthy of handling classified information. Every person hired for a federal profession with access to sensitive information must obtain national security clearance.
The United States grants 2 forms of security clearance:
- Personnel Security Clearance (PCL)
- Facility Security Clearance (FCL)
Obtaining National Security Clearance
Most federal agencies require security clearances that only they can grant.
Agencies that have the power to grant security clearances include:
- intelligence community (Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, etc.);
- federal law enforcement agencies (Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, etc.);
- diplomatic agencies (State Department, United States Agency for International Development, etc.); and
- civilian military agencies (Defense Intelligence Agency, Defense Security Service, etc.).
Companies that do not have a contract with the federal government cannot grant or receive security clearances.
An extensive background investigation will take place after an offer of employment has been accepted. If the candidate passes the investigation, they will successfully obtain security clearance. The type of investigation depends entirely on the position’s requirements and the clearance needed for the position.
Types of Security Clearances
The federal government classifies positions in the following ways:
- Non-sensitive positions
- Public transit positions
- National security positions
National security position clearance is the hardest to obtain. One stipulation requires an agent to interview people who have worked or lived with the applicant in the last 7 years.
What Is Looked for In a Security Clearance?
Specific areas of a person’s life are considered when they apply for a new security clearance or continuing eligibility to hold a security clearance.
Those 13 considerations are:
- Allegiance to the United States
- Impact of any foreign influences
- Preference for a foreign nation
- Sexual behavior
- Personal conduct
- Financial considerations
- Alcohol consumption
- Drug involvement
- Personal (emotional and physical) disorders
- Criminal behavior or record
- Security violations
- Misuse or abuse of governmental systems
The Director of National Intelligence recently established a policy allowing federal agencies to consider publicly available social media information when deciding whether or not to approve a national security clearance.
What an Attorney Can Do for You
A national security clearance attorney can help in the following ways:
- provide pre-investigation guidance;
- represent you during the background investigation; and
- help appeal a clearance denial.
Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP’s team of attorneys are dedicated to providing our clients with aggressive representation. We will work tirelessly to help you gain the results you seek!