Defense News

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Security Clearance Guidelines

Factors Used for Determining Security Clearance Approval/Disapproval

The following guidelines are established for all U.S. government civilian and military personnel, consultants, contractors, employees of contractors, licensees, certificate holders or grantees and their employees and other individuals who require access to classified information. They apply to persons being considered for initial or continued eligibility for access to classified information, to include sensitive compartmented information (SCI) and special access programs (SAPs) and are to be used by government departments and agencies in all final clearance determinations.

Adjudicative Process

The adjudicative process is an examination of a sufficient period of a person's life to make an affirmative determination that the person is eligible for a security clearance. Eligibility for access to classified information is predicated upon the individual meeting these personnel security guidelines. The adjudicative process is the careful weighing of a number of variables known as the whole person concept. Available, reliable information about the person, past and present, favorable and unfavorable, should be considered in reaching a determination. In evaluating the relevance of an individual's conduct, the adjudicator should consider the following factors:

a. The nature, extent, and seriousness of the conduct;
b. The circumstances surrounding the conduct, to include knowledgeable participation;
c. The frequency and recency of the conduct;
d. The individual's age and maturity at the time of the conduct;
e. The voluntariness of participation;
f. The presence or absence of rehabilitation and other pertinent behavioral changes;
g. The motivation for the conduct;
h. The potential for pressure, coercion, exploitation, or duress; and
i. The likelihood of continuation or recurrence.

Each case must be judged on its own merits, and final determination remains the responsibility of the specific department or agency. Any doubt as to whether access to classified information is clearly consistent with national security will be resolved in favor of the national security.

The ultimate determination of whether the granting or continuing of eligibility for a security clearance is clearly consistent with the interests of national security must be an overall common sense determination based upon careful consideration of the following, each of which is to be evaluated in the context of the whole person.

Although adverse information concerning a single criterion may not be sufficient for an unfavorable determination, the individual may be disqualified if available information reflects a recent or recurring pattern of questionable judgment, irresponsibility, or emotionally unstable behavior. Notwithstanding the whole person concept, pursuit of further investigation may be terminated by an appropriate adjudicative agency in the face of reliable, significant, disqualifying, adverse information.

When information of security concern becomes known about an individual who is currently eligible for access to classified information, the adjudicator should consider whether the person:

a. Voluntarily reported the information;
b. Was truthful and complete in responding to questions;
c. Sought assistance and followed professional guidance, where appropriate;
d. Resolved or appears likely to favorably resolve the security concern;
e. Has demonstrated positive changes in behavior and employment;
f. Should have his or her access temporarily suspended pending final adjudication of the information.

If after evaluating information of security concern, the adjudicator decides that the information is not serious enough to warrant a recommendation of disapproval or revocation of the security clearance, it may be appropriate to recommend approval with a warning that future incidents of a similar nature may result in revocation of access.


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