Security Clearance Blog Posts

Federal employees whose jobs require accessing classified information undergo rigorous background investigations to gain security clearance. Investigations seek to determine that a candidate for security clearance displays a strength of character, loyalty to the United States, has no conflicting allegiances and demonstrates attributes including honesty, discretion, good judgment, reliability and a sound professional and personal history. Individuals awarded security clearance also must fully understand and comply with regulations regarding the handling, use and protection of classified materials.

Security clearance can be terminated for a number of reasons, including a determination that the clearance is no longer needed for a specific government position. Individuals granted security clearances are subject to new background investigations every five years. A qualified attorney can assist with various issues related to security clearances, which are covered in-depth in the articles below.


This news story caught my eye. It struck me as odd. The White House dismissed 6 staffers who were “walked out of the building by security after not passing the SF 86.” In my experience, the security clearance process does not work in this manner. In practical terms, the way the system works is that someone applies for a job that requires a security clearance.  At that point, now that he or she is “sponsored” by the employer for a job that requires a clearance, the facility security officer (FSO) of that employer will put that person in for a security…Read   More

Sextortion and Security Clearances

Posted on February 20th, 2017 by Ron Sykstus

Since all of us are human, we all have normal desires for companionship. Those desires, however, when coupled with bad people and the ubiquitous internet can, unfortunately, sometimes lead to negative consequences.  This is especially true for anyone who holds a security clearance.  Whether the problem is due to drugs, alcohol, financial, criminal issues or sexual behavior, if someone holds a security clearance and that clearance is required for his or her job, then any problem issues for a person can be problems for the government as far as how it views someone who holds a clearance. Sextortion Sting Operations…Read   More

How to Get a Security Clearance

Posted on November 28th, 2016 by Ron Sykstus

I recently saw in the news where President-elect Donald Trump is thinking about getting security clearances for his children and son-in-law. For everyone else, getting a security clearance is a much more arduous and burdensome process, unless your father is the President!  In fact, I get several calls per month from prospective clients who tell me that they want to get a good-paying job that requires a security clearance and they ask me for help to get them one.  Unfortunately, that is not how the security clearance system works. Obtaining Security Clearance For someone to get a security clearance, they…Read   More

Over the past two years or so, I have noticed a marked increase in the government’s review and concern regarding individuals and their respective security clearances.  I have seen tangible proof that security clearances are being denied and/or revoked at an increasing rate from years past.  Of course, there are reasons behind this increase, especially every time an alarming tragedy or disconcerting incidents happens in our country where a security clearance is involved. I have written previously about security clearances and pretty much every conceivable issue regarding clearances. Government Security Clearance Forms Can You Lose Security Clearance for Seeking Addiction…Read   More

I have written previously about the security clearance process and the perceived need for it to be reformed.  This always comes up after a major negative incident in our country related to someone who holds a clearance. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provided testimony in February, 2016 on the status and future of reform of the security clearance process. In the end, I do think reform will happen eventually.  In simple terms, what I think will happen will be a security clearance system that reviews security clearances on a random and continuous basis, relies and mandates self reporting of…Read   More

One of the topics that gets a great deal of views at our blog is the affect of the filing of a bankruptcy on a security clearance. I have handled all facets of security clearance issues from initial SF 86 concerns through administrative appeals at the Department of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) level through appeals to the DOHA Appeal Board.  Financial considerations are probably the number one problem people have with regard to initially obtaining their clearance or having it revoked.   Alcohol and illegal drug use follow as a close second. Options for Dealing with Financial Concerns What has…Read   More

Given the volatility in the world over the past several years, I am seeing more security clearance cases as they relate to foreign influence and foreign preference. The United States government can express a concern regarding an individual’s access to classified material in the form of a secret or top-secret security clearance if it has concerns regarding the individual having divided loyalties or foreign financial interests. Specifically, the government’s concern is that an individual with divided loyalties or foreign financial interests may be manipulated or induced to help a foreign person, group, organization or government in a way that is…Read   More

When dealing with security clearances, most people are aware that there are secret clearances and top-secret clearances which allow access to classified material.  Most importantly, secret and top-secret clearances are the required prerequisites in order to get a government, military or a government subcontractor position.  There is, however, a lesser known security clearance requirement for many positions in the government.  These types of positions require a “lesser,” but still important access called “CAC cards” or Common Access Cards. Acquiring a Common Access Card The process to get a CAC card is similar to what people have to go through to…Read   More

Whenever stories or reports are published regarding security clearance lapses, there is usually a move by the Pentagon or Congress to redouble the efforts for investigations and to tighten the scrutiny with regard to security clearances.  This has happened in the past after the Naval Yard shooting. The CBS show 60 Minutes recently aired a detailed report on security clearance lapses regarding a number of individuals including Edward Snowden and PFC Bradley Manning. The figures that really stand out from the 60 Minutes report are as follows: “OPM sends the results of its investigations to the various federal agencies. And…Read   More

Over the past several years, the government has tightened its rules regarding granting security clearances.  My previous blog posts regarding security clearances cover the changes instituted by the government to give closer scrutiny in deciding whether to grant an individual access to classified material. As I have written previously, the three biggest areas where people run into problems regarding the granting of a security clearance are with regard to financial issues, illegal drug usage and alcohol abuse. Security Clearance Concerns – Alcohol Consumption and Drug Involvement/ Security Clearance Concerns – Financial Troubles Can You Lose Security Clearance for Seeking Addition…Read   More