This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.
By John V. Berry, Esq.
Our law firm has represented thousands of security clearance applicants and holders over the years. As such, one of the most common mistakes that security clearance applicants or clearance holders make is not being fully truthful on security clearance forms, e.g. e-QIP or SF-86. A significant percentage of our cases involves this very issue.
Here are three quick tips to consider:
Take Time to Complete Clearance Forms Accurately: One of the most common issues that we run across in representing those with security clearances are situations where the individual has completed their clearance forms with no intent to deceive, but erroneously.
Later, an investigator uncovers the mistake and wonders if the individual was attempting to deceive them. In those types of cases, we have to demonstrate the honesty and integrity of the individual involved to the clearance adjudicator and how the mistake was made. The far easier solution is to try to catch the mistakes in advance by taking the time necessary for accuracy.
Get Legal Advice if you are Hesitating About Whether to Disclose Something: Another common situation is when an individual doesn’t want to disclose something that has occurred in their past, say marijuana use on a security clearance form. When these individuals come to us ahead of time we remind them that not being truthful on clearance forms is the worst possible plan.
While not often charged, lying on security clearance forms can be considered a criminal offense. In many of these cases, just speaking with a lawyer knowledgeable in security clearances can help the person decide whether to disclose an issue or discontinue the clearance process if there is potential criminal liability. There are situations when it is better to back out of the security clearance process early than complete security clearance forms if there are significant criminal issues.
Rectify Old Mistakes: Another area where we counsel clearance clients is when a prior disclosure was never made, e.g. drug usage or an arrest. For those types of situations, we often counsel individuals to speak with their security officers to complete a supplemental security disclosure where appropriate. This often comes up when the non-disclosure occurred many years ago when the individual held a secret clearance but whose career has since been very successful and they are now seeking higher level clearances or will be undergoing polygraph testing.
Security clearance adjudicators will often given credit to an individual for voluntarily disclosing adverse information before it is uncovered (or even where it might never have been uncovered).
Honesty is always the best policy. However, mistakes are often made and can often be mitigated. The important thing to know as a security clearance holder or applicant is that these issues can often be overcome. When in doubt about disclosures, please get legal advice because each situation varies depending on the facts involved.
If you are in need of security clearance law representation or advice, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
Spend the first Sunday of March tasting a great wine selection at Arrowine’s Super Sunday Tasting!
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New properties just listed in Arlington include a 3 BD/3 BA home with an expanded kitchen, fireplace and two lower levels.
March General Membership Meeting
NAACP Arlington Branch is celebrating Women’s History Month with a virtual public safety and Virginia legislative update. Our speakers are Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and Delegate Adele McClure.
Virginia House of Delegates, 2nd District in Arlington
Early Years Preschool is a small non-profit preschool and parents day out program that has served local families since 1992. Early Years Preschool is located in the Cherrydale neighborhood at 3701 Lorcom Lane.
Early Years Preschool offers part-time programs for young children between 12 months – 5 years old. Early Years also offers a 6 week summer program! The school day is 9:30-2:30, with the option of morning extended day offered at 9am. Families have the flexibility of registering for 1-3 days/week in their parent’s day out program (12 months- 2 year olds) and 2-5 days/week for their preschool program (3-5 year olds).
Early Years’ teachers provide a nurturing environment that promotes the development of a child’s emotional, social, cognitive, and physical skills. Creative and stimulating theme-based activities allow each child to develop and learn at his or her own pace through exploration and play.
Learn more about Early Years Preschool by contacting the admissions team at [email protected] or by visiting their website at http://www.earlyyearspreschool.org
Dedicated to the notion that fans of the Smiths and Morrissey want to hear some of the greatest music ever written in a true live concert setting, Caligula Blushed delivers an authentic rendition of Smiths/Morrissey songs, with each performance based