Suspended clearance questions come up frequently, and recently a subscriber to the ClearanceJobs Blog asked about their Department of Energy clearance being revoked and how they are only hearing crickets instead of the reason why.
‘My DOE clearance recently got suspended, did not get into any legal trouble so was a little confused. I have yet to receive any reasons and it has been over 2 months?’
Legal trouble isn’t the only thing that can trigger a clearance suspension. Let’s go back to the adjudicative guidelines – if any of the following were at stake, it could be the reasoning on why the clearance was suspended or an incident report was added to your respective clearance personnel system (ie JPAS).
These regulations state that fitness to maintain a clearance is continuously evaluated against the following 13 adjudicative guidelines and can be suspended or revoked at any time:
- Allegiance to the U.S.
- Foreign Influence
- Foreign Preference
- Sexual Behavior
- Personal Conduct
- Financial Considerations
- Alcohol Consumption
- Drug Involvement
- Psychological Conditions
- Criminal Conduct
- Handling Protected Information
- Outside Activities
- Use of Information Technology Systems
Under the Department of Defense side, let’s say one of the above were under scrutiny and after an incident. After the filing and security professionals investigate, you’re “separated” in JPAS (the Central Adjudication Facility cannot review the Incident Report or take any other action) and a Loss of Jurisdiction is entered into your JPAS record. The Loss of Jurisdiction and the unresolved Incident Report remain in your JPAS record, and your name is flagged in red letters. Getting the red out can be a problem.
The decision to suspend a security clearance may be swift and seemingly without cause. The good news is, the government is required to immediately get the ball rolling to investigate the issue and provide the applicant with the opportunity to appeal the decision. “Suspension cases must be resolved as quickly as circumstances permit and cannot be open-ended,” notes Hakamaa in a lengthier post about the security clearance suspension process.
That being said, the one seeking advice in our blog would’ve been notified, whether we’re talking DoD or DOE.
Per the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, specifically PART 710 (ACCESS TO CLASSIFIED MATTER AND SPECIAL NUCLEAR MATERIAL), if derogatory information is received in some way, the Department of Energy (DOE) Local Director of Security/ Manager must submit in writing why the clearance holder is a threat to national security or to the safety or security of a DOE facility or employee. The Manager has to suspend the individual’s DOE access authorization and notify all parties involved immediately in writing.
You can appeal the the decision through Administrative Review, or request “Reconsideration” if 12 months have elapsed and you have a bona fide offer of employment which requires a DOE clearance.
A clearance suspension also depends on the last time you worked – If you are separated from federal employment (voluntarily or involuntarily), your security clearance can lapse. If you resume work for another federal agency or a federal contractor within that time frame, your clearance is reactivated without an investigation. But if the clock expires, you will essentially have to re-apply for security clearance. It could be that your clearance just lapsed.
Here at ClearanceJobs, we would recommend reaching out to a Facility Security Officer with your employer (or a former one you feel comfortable with) who would be able to look up your personnel file. Additionally, you can submit a Privacy / FOIA request.
Much about the clearance process resembles the Pirate’s Code: “more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.” This case-by-case system is meant to consider the whole person, increase process security, and allow the lowest-risk/highest-need candidates to complete the process. However, it also creates a lot of questions for applicants. For this reason, ClearanceJobs maintains ClearanceJobsBlog.com – a forum where clearance seekers can ask the cleared community for advice on their specific security concerns. Ask CJ explores questions posed on the ClearanceJobs Blog forum, emails received, and comments from this site.