Department of Defense contractors, civilians, and military members facing revocation, denial, or suspension of a security clearance may request a security clearance hearing. There are numerous agencies that adjudicate suspension or revocation of security clearances, including DOD, DSS, DISCO, OPM, DOHA, DOS, DOJ, DOE, DHS, TSA, CIA, NSA, and NASA.
The government will be represented by agency counsel, and a security clearance judge will preside over the hearing. These hearings are governed by strict rules, and if you lose your hearing, there are limited grounds for appeal. The reality is that loss of your security clearance will often result in the loss of your job. Therefore, it is imperative that you are represented by an experienced counsel that can guide you, counsel you, and fight for your classified access at every stage of the process.
There are numerous reasons why a candidate may be denied a clearance or why a current employee’s clearance may be revoked. As a holder of a Top-Secret security clearance, Walter Ruiz is well versed and familiar with the intricacies of obtaining and protecting access to classified information. Mr. Ruiz will help you navigate the administrative process and prepare the best strategy to help you retain your clearance. Regardless of the reason your security clearance is in jeopardy, you can rest assured that Walter Ruiz will work tirelessly to retain your access and protect your livelihood.
Any illegal drug use during periods of time that you hold a security clearance, no matter the level, puts your clearance in jeopardy. Similarly, Driving Under the Influence or other alcohol related misconduct will trigger an investigation that can result in temporary or permanent revocation of your security clearance.
Foreign financial interests, debt, unexplained affluence, gambling addiction and other instances indicative of lack of financial responsibility can lead to the revocation of your security clearance. While almost all security clearance holders incur debt in one form or another, the government scrutinizes the cause and amount of your debt as well as payment history. Sudden unexpected medical expenses, downturn in the economy, or other unforeseen financial hardships can cause cleared professionals to find themselves buried under mounds of credit card debt, failed car payments, or even home foreclosure. All three greatly jeopardize your ability to retain a security clearance.
Financial affluence is the sudden or unexplainable purchase of goods or services beyond your sources of income. Purchases made above one’s means are subject to intense scrutiny and investigation. Finally, gambling addiction in any form will be investigated. While moderate gambling is socially acceptable, gambling beyond one’s means or a compulsive need to gamble are grounds for denial or revocation.
In a highly globalized age, it is rare to find individuals without foreign contacts or relationships. As a holder of classified information, you will have strict reporting requirements prior to traveling outside the Continental United States and immediately upon your return. Failure to properly disclose international travel, outside foreign contacts and/or dual citizenship are not complete grounds for denial or revocation. However, background investigators will scrutinize your relationships, both personal and financial, with governments and persons outside the United States. It is highly important that all foreign information, including travel, is promptly and accurately disclosed.
If you or your company has numerous foreign investments or contacts, Mr. Ruiz can identify mitigating factors including any necessary business arrangements required to obtain clearance. In many cases involving dual citizenship, having an experienced attorney at your side may be necessary to negotiate a positive result.
In certain circumstances, your sexual behavior and history may be analyzed to determine its criminality, your sexual compulsion or potential vulnerability to coercion. Behavior that may be deemed reckless, including having multiple partners or obtaining partners illegally or through payment, will be thoroughly investigated. Sexual orientation is not a disqualifying factor and any discriminatory conduct against you may be utilized to appeal a denial or revocation of your security clearance. If you believe that you are being discriminated against due to your sexual orientation, Mr. Ruiz can help you understand your options for recourse.
The use of employer computers to view or download pornographic material may trigger a disqualifying determination due to criminal misconduct, personal misconduct, or violation of sexual behavior guidelines. Similarly, the downloading or use of pirated music, movies, television shows, or software is potentially a disqualifying factor. Mishandling sensitive or classified information or unauthorized use of electronic devices in classified spaces can also compromise your ability to retain your security clearance.