Reasons for Security Clearance Denial: Guideline E

Attorney John Griffith, who specializes in security clearance law, explains the details behind Guideline E of the Adjudicative Guidelines.

It should go without saying that if you’re going to hold a security clearance, you need to be a trustworthy, honest, reliable person. That assumption brings us to this month’s post, which is dedicated to Guideline E of the Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information: Personal Conduct.

The Adjudicative Guidelines are the reasons listed when an applicant is denied a security clearance.

An applicant can be denied clearance under Guideline E for a variety of circumstances, including:

  • Associating with people who are involved in criminal activity.
  • Violating a written or recorded commitment made by the applicant to the employer as an employment condition.
  • Deliberately concealing, falsifying or leaving out relevant facts from a personnel security questionnaire, personal history statement, or other form used in conducting investigations and determining employment qualifications.
  • Exhibiting disruptive, violent, or other inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
  • A pattern of dishonesty or rule violations.
  • Evidence of significant misuse of government or other employers’ time or resources.

As is the case with all of the Adjudicative Guidelines, there are some mitigating circumstances for Guideline E, according to the U.S. Department of State website. Some examples are:

  • The individual promptly corrected the omission, concealment, or falsification before being confronted with the facts.
  • The refusal or failure to cooperate, was caused or contributed to by improper or inadequate advice of authorized personnel or legal counsel.
  • Upon being made aware of the requirement to cooperate or provide the information, the individual fully cooperated.
  • The offense is so minor or happened so long ago, it is deemed unlikely to happen again and doesn’t cast doubt on the person’s reliability, trustworthiness or good judgment.

“Sometimes security clearance applications can unintentionally be falsified or answered incorrectly, because of the applicant’s misunderstanding,” says John Griffith, an expert in security clearance law. “That is why it is so important to have an attorney assist you in the application process. Livelihoods can be at stake in these situations, because you could find yourself in a situation where you can’t maintain your job without clearance.”

If you have applied for security clearance and you have received a Letter of Intent to deny your application, this is another occasion when consulting an attorney is a good idea. You have an opportunity to appeal the decision and request a hearing. You want to have an expert on your side to help ensure you adequately mitigate the circumstances playing against you in the security clearance process.

We’ve been explaining the 13 Adjudicative Guidelines over the past several months here on our blog, and we invite you to read through those we’ve already addressed: Guideline A, Guideline B, Guideline C, Guideline D, Guideline F, Guideline H, Guideline K, and Guideline M.

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