Appealing SOR To Agency Worth it?

#14

You don’t need appeal to seek a copy of the material relied upon. The letter you received will have told you. The letter would have also told you the process to appeal and also the process to obtain the material they relied upon to make the decision. You don’t need the lawyer for this part. Return the form and state you intend to appeal and then follow the instructions for obtaining the records. Note: I did NOT say don’t use a lawyer. Only that you can get the ball rolling and request the information without paying him at this point. Should you choose to appeal, then go back to the lawyer if you need to

#15

I’m no lawyer and he probably has more experience on appeals themselves. It doesn’t make sense to me either as eventually, if you are seeking jobs that require a clearance, you’ll eventually need to have this issue adjudicated favorably. If it were me, I’d want to do this now. Unless he’s assuming “time” i.e. “been so long ago” will be a mitigating factor.

#16

Have you read the mitigating factors for Guideline B? They are listed here . . . https://www.cdse.edu/documents/cdse/job-aid-13-adjudicative-guidelines-v2.pdf

You haven’t told us the nature of your foreign contacts in order for us to know how to mitigate them.

It sounds like the attorney that you talked to does not think that the appeal is winnable so he is suggesting that you gather as much information as you can and then withdraw from the appeal. After that, you can work on mitigating the contact and reapply. I wouldn’t go this way if it were me.

You have already received a denial and you will have to list that on all future applications. In that respect, there is no difference between an initial denial and a denied appeal. If you wait and reapply you will be starting from scratch.

If, on the other hand, the denial is legitimate and there are real concerns, you simply may not be clearable.

#17

Edfarmerlll the nature of the foreign contacts i think is that my wife talks to her mom and sisters overseas, i talked to them once in a blue moon just to see if there doing ok, she also has family on snap chat and Facebook, that she uses to keep in touch with them.which i also do but i stopped using those like 3 years ago. Also before my BI or before i applied i traveled a lot overseas but i i wrote those on my SF-86. this is what i think might be there nature of the foreign contacts. Do you think this are real concerns? i hate to use a attorney it cost to much but on the other hand i want to know what was the reason they denied me so i have a chance to mitigate.
Thanks

#18

which way should i go, would you have an other way to Tackle this Denial?

#19

The lawyer’s suggestion isn’t to “tackle” the denial but to capitulate to it and come back later.

What country are we talking about? What is your citizenship status? What is your wife’s citizenship status? How about your overseas travel? Did you visit Ireland and Japan? Or was it Iraq, Qatar and the UAE?

Parents and siblings in hostile countries might be difficult to defend. You will, among other things, need to show that your primary attachment is to the U.S. That this is so strong that you would never make a decision in favor of the other country over the U.S. You are the only one who knows your history.

Your SOR should lay out pretty clearly why you were denied. It should also include a copy of your BI report from which you can draw a little more information.

#20

The country we are talking about is Pakistan, were both citizens of united states. I went to Pakistan to meet her parents in 2002, and traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2001 which they were both over 10 years ago. My SOR didn’t come with a copy of my BI only how to appeal and to get a copy of the BI why i was denied which they list the Guideline B and mitigating factors that was it. My concern is would it make sense to capitulate it and then comeback later or applying after one year. or should i appeal also in front of a judge. Do you think that the lawyers suggestion is good worth the money? or should i ask for my BI my self figure out what was the problem and mitigate it.

#21

Naturalized citizens? You’re travel and the fact that you have family in Pakistan are issues in general. is her family involved in the Pakistani military or government?

#22

If you are not satisfied with the lawyer’s consultation, perhaps you should seek another opinion(s).

Should you respond to SOR without professional assistance? I honestly wouldn’t advise this. It is my opinion that Guideline B is tough to mitigate without assistance from a professional mainly because you don’t know when you have good enough documentation/evidence to successfully mitigate Guideline B. This is especially true that your spouse has a clear continuing and close contact with foreign nations hence the advice. Although you are the applicant for the job, whatever your spouse is doing will have an impact on you.

Should you respond to SOR and/or appeal? That is entirely up to you. There will always be trade-offs. I have always advised others to respond and appeal because you have nothing to lose at this point but more to gain. Second, I feel that you should always get an attorney or a professional that specialized in this.

Remember, when you appeal and face a judge, the other side will certainly be a government attorney.

#23

Naturalized, i don’t think her family is involved in military or government. but my Travels where almost 20 years ago and when i ask my investigator she told me it shouldn’t be a problem because it was past 10 years. my concern is that i don’t want to waste anyone’s time if every time i apply to a job they denied me because of my wife’s family living in Pakistan. would getting that lawyer to help me find out what was the reason of the Denial and pay all this money would it help my future applications. or can i also do that my self and ask for the BI anytime or is there a Deadline.

#24

You should and can submit a Privacy Act request to the agency that performed your background investigation. How long will it take? It depends.

Keep in mind, you have a specific time frame to submit your response.

You asked questions that nobody can truly answer that for you because each case is different and there is always a risk.

#25

Why do you have a question about why you were denied? The SOR states the guideline that you were denied under and should even include the subparagraph.

You don’t know if they are involved in the military of the government? Ask!

It isn’t the investigator’s job to tell you what will or will not be an issue for you. Their job is to gather information and write a report. They don’t even see what happens after they complete the report.

When you reply to the SOR and ask for an appeal on the written record, the packet that you get back will have the government’s written argument that will be presented to the judge. You will also get a copy of the investigator’s report that you can check for errors and any other evidence the government wants to present. This is the information that you need to refute the denial. You don’t need a lawyer to do that. You need to write a letter (or the attorney can write it, it shouldn’t take long) stating that you either admit (and saying that you will prove mitigation) or denying each of the charges in the SOR.

After you get the government’s brief for the court, they are done with their argument. You get to respond to that argument, point by point, and provide your evidence and/or argument. They don’t get a cross-examination, you have the last word.

The government, YOUR government is telling you that you are a risk to national security! That would anger me to no end and it did when they did it to me.

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#26

what is the average wait time for the background copy, i don’t think i have enough time i have until the 25th to response. i think am going to ask and mitigate it and wait one year and apply. hopefully it can clear things up for me. hate to give a lawyer 2500 just for for him to write a letter to get my BI.

#27

You’re not listening . . . You don’t need the report in order to respond. All you do is write a letter either admitting or denying each charge on the SOR and asking for an “appeal on the written record”. The government will respond with everything that I listed.

This letter is NOT your appeal. It’s just a response. What you write in this letter isn’t even reviewed as part of the appeal. That’s all that you need to do before the 25th.

If you can’t handle this, get the lawyer to do it. Don’t pay for anymore than the response which shouldn’t take him long to do.

Where can I get a job helping people with this stuff . . .

#28

It is hard to give you an average, but agencies are supposed to respond within specific time frame. However, agencies take longer than that due to XZY reason(s). I can pretty much assure you that you will not get it by 25 MAR.

I agree with @EdFarmerIII on this.

If you decided not to appeal and wait one year, you will need to report the denial on every application hereinafter. Chances are the issues will still be present when you apply again.

I would rather to spend $2500 on an attorney than to be told that I am a security risk AND possibly losing a well-paid job.

Either way, it is your call.

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#29

I did get a lawyer let see what happens thanks for the info.

#30

Two things…

  1. Your attorney should have experience winning clients cases wrt the guidelines that you’ve been suspected as failing. These attorneys are out there – find one. Doesn’t have to be local to you or Wash D.C…

  2. I wouldn’t submit the SOR rebuttal unless I had the BI in hand. I have experience. I received a SOR in Aug and didn’t get the BI until Jan. I received several extensions and by the fourth month, I thought a third extension would be denied, so I submitted my response in Dec (without knowing exactly what was in the BI). Two weeks after I submitted my SOR response, I finally received my BI. As suspected, it had many errors which obviously contributed to the false positive that I lacked “trustworthiness” for a clearance. As I was scurrying to submit an addendum to my response, I was positively adjudicated. All’s well that ends well. Still, if had to do over again, I would have submitted another extension and waited for the BI – very important artifact. There was even errors in between the BI and the SOR. Head scratcher for sure.

#31

While you were lucky enough to be positively adjudicated based on your response to the SOR, the only thing required in a response is to “admit or deny” each charge and to specify what type of hearing you would like. If that’s all that you do, or if your response doesn’t warrant a different adjudication on its own, the government will reply with a package that includes your BI. If you request a “hearing on the written record” the package will also include the government’s argument against granting your clearance. This is their final chance to make an argument and you get to have the last word. You get to write your response, point by point, to refute the government’s argument and there is no cross-examination.

The BI will almost always include mistakes but they are only relevant if they are used in the government’s argument. You don’t need to refute every error in BI, only those items that are included in the SOR and/or the brief that is provided to the judge.

#32

did you retain your job while going through this process?

#33

Here’s the timeline I’m working with:

Applicant was laid off from contractor job on January 11, 2019 (found out clearance was denied in November 2018). Clearance sponsor was CIA.
SOR received on February 7. Found out clearance was denied due to incorrect timeline of events. Denied under Guideline H. SOR implied drug use was recent when minor and infrequent usage was in high school, 15 years ago.
Request for BI delivered to CIA by certified mail on February 13 (still nothing, certified mail receipt also never returned).
Hired lawyer and gathered all recommended documentation leading to a 245 page response.
Said response was mailed on Friday and received yesterday.

Any tips or experience on how long we wait for our situation? We plan to loop in our senator who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee to push and make sure this doesn’t sit on someone’s desk for a year. I’ve had good luck in writing congressmen for delayed clearances and suspension issues in the past. (I am an FSO by profession).

Applicant has been out of work since January 11 and is a field where 95% of job openings require a clearance (we are in NoVA). SOR said option 1 was to always check denied clearance on SF86 for every government agency or department for the rest of life, or respond/appeal, but cannot apply for a clearance while appeal is open. Unbelievable.