What Does A Tier 5 Investigation Consist Of?
Security Clearance FAQs Security Clearances for Individuals What is a security clearance? A national security clearance is a determination made by an agency of the United States Government that a person is eligible for access to classified national security information up to a certain level.
Although the term “security clearance” is still widely used (even by Government security specialists); it has been replaced in most official documents by the term “eligibility for access.” An applicant cannot be granted eligibility for access to classified information unless a determination has been made that it is clearly consistent with the interests of the national security based on a favorable adjudication of an appropriate investigation of their background.
The eligibility standards for access to classified information are contained in the National Security Adjudicative Guidelines ( NSAG ). What are the levels of classified information and security clearance? There are three levels of levels of classified national security information—Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret. Each level is determined by the amount of damage that would be caused to the security of the United States if that information were disclosed to anyone not authorized to receive it.
TOP SECRET information is information which, if disclosed without authorization, could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security. SECRET information is information which, if disclosed without authorization, could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the national security. CONFIDENTIAL information is information which, if disclosed without authorization, could reasonably be expected to cause damage to the national security.
Almost all agencies issue security clearances at these same three levels—Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret. The Department of Energy (DOE) has two levels of security clearances—”L” access authorizations and “Q” access authorizations. DOE has the same three levels of classified material, but some of their classified material is further designated “Restricted Data” (RD) or “Formerly Restricted Data” (FRD).
An “L” access authorization is required access to Confidential or Secret national security information and to Confidential and Secret FRD. A “Q” access authorization is required to access to Top Secret national security information and to Secret and Top Secret RD. RD is a Special Access Program (SAP) that covers “all data concerning (1) design, manufacture, or utilization of atomic weapons; (2) the production of special nuclear material; or (3) the use of special nuclear material in the production of energy,” except for data that has been declassified or removed from the Restricted Data category.
What is a Special Access Program (SAP)? A SAP is a program established for a specific class of classified information that imposes safeguarding and access requirements that exceed those normally required for information at the same classification level.
- A SAP is established only when the program is required by statute or upon the specific finding that the vulnerability of, or threat to, specific information is exceptional; and the normal criteria for safeguarding information classified at the same level are not sufficient.
- The purpose of establishing a SAP is to: 1.
enforce formal need-to-know, 2. keep access to a minimum, 3. enhance other security measures as needed, and 4. identify who has had access. SAPs are categorized as Intelligence, Acquisition, and Operations/Support. Intelligence SAPs are also known as Controlled Access Programs (CAP) and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI).
Acknowledged – SAP whose existence is publicly acknowledged. Unacknowledged – SAP with protective controls which ensures the existence of the Program is not acknowledged, affirmed, or made known to any person not authorized for such information. All aspects are handled in an unacknowledged manner. Waived – SAP that the approval authority has determined the existence of which should not be included in annual reports to Congress, because such reporting would adversely affect national security. These SAPs are reported to the chairman and ranking minority member of each of the congressional defense committees.
How do I get access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) or other Special Access Program (SAP) information? In order to be granted access to SCI or other SAP information, a person must be sponsored for access to the SAP and approved by a Government agency holding the information. What is a sensitive national security position? Positions in which the occupant could bring about a material adverse effect on the national security are sensitive positions. All federal positions must be designed as non-sensitive, non-critical sensitive, critical sensitive, or special sensitive.
- Not all sensitive positions require access to classified information; however, all positions that require access to classified information are sensitive.
- Positions that require access to Confidential or Secret information are non-critical sensitive; positions that require access to Top Secret information are critical sensitive; and positions that require access to Sensitive Compartment Information (SCI) or other Special Access Programs (SAPs) are special sensitive.
It is the sensitivity level of a position that determines what type of investigation is required. The National Security Adjudicative Guidelines ( NSAG ) apply equally to security clearances and sensitive positions. Some DoD agencies refer to sensitive positions that don’t require access to classified information as positions of trust.
Positions of trust should not be confused with Public Trust positions. What are Public Trust positions? Although often referred to as a clearance; eligibility for a Public Trust position is not a national security clearance. In addition to sensitivity designations, all federal positions are ranked as low risk, moderate risk, and high risk.
Only positions ranked as moderate risk and high risk are considered Public Trust positions. Requirements for these positions are governed by Title 5 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 731 and the Federal Investigative Standards for all competitive service federal jobs.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recommends that the standards at 5 CFR 731 be used for all federal contractor positions, as well as all other federal job, including temporary positions and excepted service positions. What is an HSPD-12 credential? Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 ( HSPD-12 ), “Policies for a Common Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors,” was issued in August 2004.
It requires Federal Executive Branch departments and agencies to conduct personnel security investigations, adjudicate the results, and issue identity credentials to all Federal employees and contractors who require physical access to federally controlled facilities or logical access to federally controlled computer systems.
- The credential is a standardized Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card.
- Within DoD the PIV is called a Common Access Card (CAC).
- The purpose of HSPD-12 is to enhance security, increase government efficiency, reduce identity fraud, and eliminate potential for terrorist attacks.
- The minimum investigation for a PIV/CAC is a Tier 1 investigation.
The adjudicative standards for issuing a PIV are contain in the July 31, 2008 Memorandum from the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, titled: “Final Credentialing Standards for Issuing Personal Identity Verification Cards under HSPD-12.” Within DoD the issuance of CACs are governed by DoD Instruction 5200.46,
What types of investigations are required for obtaining a security clearance or eligibility to hold a sensitive position? A Tier 3 investigation is required for a Confidential or Secret clearance, for a Department of Energy (DOE) “L” access authorization, or to hold a non-critical sensitive position.
In October 2015 the Tier 3 investigation replaced the NACLC (National Agency Check with Law and Credit) and the ANACI (Access National Agency Check with Inquiries) investigations that were previously used for these clearances and positions. The standard Tier 3 investigation relies almost entirely on “Automated Record Checks” (ARC) and Letter Inquiries.
- A Tier 5 investigation is required for a Top Secret clearance, for DOE “Q” access authorization, or to hold a critical sensitive position.
- It is also required for all levels of access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) and some other Special Access Program (SAP) information.
- In October 2016 the Tier 5 investigation replaced the SSBI (Single Scope Background Investigation).
The Tier 5 investigation uses ARC, but also uses interviews and record checks conducted by field investigators, including an Enhanced Subject Interview (ESI) of the clearance applicant. When a potentially disqualifying issue is present or surfaces during a Tier 3 or Tier 5 investigation, an Expandable Focused Investigation (EFI) is initiated to develop all relevant information needed to properly evaluate the issue.
Tier 1 investigations are required for determining eligibility for basic federal employment suitability/fitness and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 credentialing. Tier 2 and Tier 4 investigations are required for Moderate Risk and High Risk Public Trust positions. There are currently five tiers of federal personnel security investigations (PSIs), but the Government plans to reduce the number of tiers to three in fiscal year 2024.
The investigations will be called Low Tier, Moderate Tier, and High Tier. Planned billing rates for these new investigations are listed at Federal Investigations Notice No.22-02, What form is used to apply for a security clearance? To apply for any level of security clearance or sensitive national security position, you will need to complete a Questionnaire for National Security Positions (Standard Form 86—SF86).
- To apply for either a High Risk or Moderate Risk Public Trust position, you need to complete a Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions (SF85P).
- To apply for a non-sensitive, low-risk position or HSPD-12 credential, you need to complete a Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions (SF85).
- All three of these forms are submitted using an online web-based program called, e-QIP (electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing).
The questions in the e-QIP versions of the forms are the same as the questions in the paper (PDF) versions ; they just look different on the e-QIP versions and the numbering sequence for sub-questions is slightly different. As of late 2022, several federal agencies have transitioned from e-QIP to the new e-App (electronic application).
- E-App versions of the forms have the same questions as e-QIP and the paper versions of the forms; however, the questions are presented differently and maneuvering from one section to another is easier.
- In November 2022 the Government proposed consolidating these three forms into a single, multi-part form called the Personnel Vetting Questionnaire ( PVQ ).
The PVQ will have 4 parts—A, B, C, and D. Position risk and sensitivity levels determine which section or combination of sections an applicant will complete. Approval and implementation of this new form will probably take about one to two years. What types of reinvestigations are required for maintaining a security clearance or eligibility to hold a sensitive position? In order to maintain a security clearance or eligibility to hold a sensitive position, people are subject to Periodic Reinvestigations (PRs); however, PRs for most cleared personnel have been replaced by “Continuous Evaluation” (CE).
A PR is an investigation conducted to update a previously completed background investigation on a person occupying a position requiring access to classified information or occupying a sensitive position, to determine whether that individual continues to meet the eligibility requirements for the position.
Previously, PRs occurred at 5, 10, or 15 year intervals, depending on clearance or position sensitivity level. Since December 2012 there has been a requirement that all PRs be conducted at five-year intervals, but this requirement was never fully implemented, initially because of lack of funding, later because of the investigative backlog that began in 2015 and continued until early 2020, and finally because of CE.
- Previously a Tier 3R reinvestigation was required for people who hold Confidential clearances, Secret clearances, DOE “L” access authorizations, or who occupy non-critical sensitive positions.
- Tier 5R reinvestigations was required for people with Top Secret clearances, DOE “Q” access authorizations, SCI access, some other SAP access, or who occupy a critical sensitive or special sensitive position.
Today PRs are event driven. On the five-year anniversary of the last investigation or the CE enrollment date, an individual will be required to submit a new “Questionnaire for National Security Positions” (Standard Form 86—SF86). If there is new potentially disqualifying information in the new SF86, an investigation will be conducted.
When CE surfaces potentially disqualifying information, it could trigger a PR, a limited investigation, or some other clearance action, such as a Supplemental Information Request (SIR), Interrogatories, or a Statement of Reasons. The planned DCSA billing rate for fiscal year 2024 in Federal Investigative Notice No.22-02 does not list prices for PRs.
Apparently in the future when CE surfaces potentially disqualifying information, additional investigative actions will be conducted using options available as part of a Reimbursable Suitability/Security Investigation (RSI). What is Continuous Evaluation? Under Security Executive Agent Directive 6 ( SEAD 6 ) Continuous Evaluation (CE) is: A personnel security investigative process to review the background of a covered individual who has been determined to be eligible for access to classified information or to hold a sensitive position at any time during the period of eligibility.
CE leverages a set of automated records checks and business rules, to assist in the ongoing assessment of an individual’s continued eligibility. It supplements- but does not replace -the established personnel security program for scheduled periodic reinvestigations of individuals for continuing eligibility.
Like a fe w other security policies, CE has been somewhat overtaken by procedural changes. At least within DoD, CE has replaced PRs for covered individuals who report no or very minor unfavorable information on their SF86. These reviews are conducted using automated record checks of various Government and commercial databases and other information lawfully available to security officials for security-relevant information concerning individuals who have a security clearance or hold a sensitive position.
- Except for the FBI’s ” Rap Back ” program, Continuous Evaluation is a misnomer in that monitoring is frequent but not continuous.
- The system automatically reports relevant information to security clearance adjudicators for their review and action.
- As part of CE, there is still a requirement to submit an updated SF86 at periodic intervals, but the submission of an updated SF86 may or may not result in any additional investigative action.
There is also a CE requirement (see Security Executive Agent Directive 3— SEAD 3 ), for cleared personnel to make timely reports of unfavorable information about themselves and other cleared personnel to their Facility Security Officer or Government Security Manager.
- CE was developed by the DoD Personnel and Security Research Center ( PERSEREC ) as the Automated Continuous Evaluation System ( ACES ).
- Who decides whether to grant a security clearance? Security clearances are granted by trained personnel security specialists (adjudicators) employed by federal agencies.
Adjudicators review the results of Tier 3 and Tier 5 Personnel Security Investigations (PSIs) and evaluate the information against the criteria in the “National Security Adjudicative Guidelines” (NSAG). The NSAG is contained in Security Executive Agent Directive 4 ( SEAD 4 ), issued by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).
In the case of most clearance applicants employed by defense contractors, staff adjudicators at the DCSA Consolidated Adjudications Services (CAS) (formerly DoD Consolidated Adjudications Facility—CAF) grant their security clearances. Who may have access to classified information? Only those persons who have a bona fide need to know and who possess a personnel security clearance at the same or higher level than the classified information may have access to that information.
Can an individual who has been granted a security clearance be authorized access to any and all classified information? No. The individual must have both the appropriate level of security clearance and a need to know the classified information. Do contractors have the authority to grant, deny, revoke or suspend personnel security clearances for their employees? No.
- Cleared federal contractors can sponsor their employees for security clearances, but the final determination regarding clearance eligibility rests with the federal Government.
- Under Security Executive Agent Directive 3 ( SEAD 3 ), when unfavorable information about a cleared contractor employee becomes known to the employer’s Facility Security Officer (FSO), the FSO has a responsibility to report the information to the Government and has the authority to suspend that person’s access to classified information.
Suspension of access is not the same as clearance suspension, which only the Government can do. Once access has been suspended by an FSO, only the Government has the authority to reinstate access. There are contractor personnel working at some adjudicative facilities.
They assist Government adjudicators by reviewing PSIs and making written recommendations, but only a Government employee can make a security clearance determination. What is an interim security clearance? An interim or temporary security clearance can be issued before a PSI is completed and a final clearance is granted.
An interim or temporary clearance is based on some limited checks, a review of the clearance application form, and the initiation of the appropriate PSI. An interim clearance can be granted at the Secret or Top Secret levels. Usually an interim clearance determination can be made in a week or two.
- A person with a final Secret clearance can usually be granted an interim Top Secret clearance as soon as a Tier 5 investigation is initiated.
- Security Executive Agent Directive 8 ( SEAD 8 ) governs the issuance of interim and temporary security clearance.
- An interim security clearance allows a person to have access to classified information at the level of the interim clearance, while his or her final clearance is being processed.
All DoD applicants for collateral security clearances are considered for interim clearance eligibility. For interim or temporary access to classified information within a Special Access Program (SAP) special authorization is required. Interim clearances can be withheld or withdrawn after they are granted. What do the terms “active”, “current” and “expired” security clearance mean? An “active” security clearance is one in which the individual is eligible for access to classified information. A “current” security clearance is one in which the individual’s eligibility for access to classified information was terminated, but can be reinstated (recertified) without a new investigation, provided no new potentially disqualifying conditions exist.
- A security clearance remains “current” for two years after it is terminated as long as the underlying PSI is not out-of-date.
- Previously PSIs went out-of-date after 5, 10, or 15 years depending on the level of clearance.
- Now all PSIs go out-of-date after five years, but a clearance can be reinstated up to seven years if a new investigation is concurrently initiated.
If there is either a two year break in access to classified information or the last PSI is more than seven years old, an individual’s clearance becomes “expired.” Both “active” and “current” security clearances are relatively easy to transfer (and reinstate) between employers within an agency like the Department of Defense (DoD).
Reciprocal acceptance of an “active” or “current” clearance by one agency (e.g. DoD) that was granted by another agency (e.g. DHS) can sometimes be problematic. When a person with an “expired” clearance is sponsored for a security clearance, he/she will be processed in the same manner as someone applying for the first time.
Security clearances don’t actually expire. “Expired” is just a shorthand term people use for clearances that can no longer be reinstated. Who issues Security Clearances? There are dozens of Government agencies that issue security clearances. DoD civilians, contractors, and military personnel account for about 88 percent of all security clearances.
- Almost all DoD clearances were issued by the DoD Consolidated Adjudications Facility (CAF).
- In 2019 DoD CAF became part of the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency ( DCSA ) and is now called the DCSA Consolidated Adjudications Services ( CAS ).
- A very small percentage of DoD clearances are issued by the three-lettered DoD IC CAFs, which have their own adjudicative offices collocated with DCSA CAS at Fort Meade, MD.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues the next largest number of clearances. DHS including its component agencies accounts for about four percent of all clearances. The Department of Energy (DoE) issues about one percent of all clearances. All other Executive Branch departments and agencies account for less than one percent each with most accounting for less than one-tenth of one percent.
- They include executive branch departments, like Justice, State, Transportation, Treasury, Health and Human Services, Interior, Commerce, and Veterans Affairs, as well as agencies such as CIA, USAID, BBG, Peace Corps, TVA, GAO, OPM, USITC, and USPS.
- What are the steps for getting a Security Clearance? For DoD contractors, the company identifies an employee or employment candidate (applicant) who needs access to classified information to work on a classified contract.
The company’s Facility Security Officer (FSO) submits an investigation request through the Defense Information Systems for Security ( DISS ), which replaced the Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS). The applicant receives instructions for completing a “Questionnaire for National Security Positions” (Standard Form 86—SF86) using a web-based computer program called e-QIP (electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing) or a newer program called eApplication (e-App).
- The applicant must also be fingerprinted.
- The applicant completes the SF86 and releases it to their FSO.
- The FSO reviews, approves and releases the SF86 to the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA), Vetting Risk Operations Center (VROC) and submits the fingerprints to DCSA Background Investigations.
VROC submits the SF86 to DCSA Background Investigations and makes an interim clearance determination. The investigation is conducted and the results are sent to DCSA CAS, which then grants a clearance or refers the case to DOHA. A slightly different process is used for federal employees, military personnel, and intelligence community applicants, but the basic steps of application, investigation, and adjudication are the same.
- This is changing (see What happens if the Government decides to deny or revoke a security clearance?, below).
- Can a naturalized citizen get a Personnel Security Clearance? Yes.
- A naturalized citizen is treated the same as a native born US citizen.
- Can a non-US citizen obtain a security clearance? Only US citizens can obtain security clearances.
In rare instances, non-citizens with unique, highly specialized skills and experience may be granted a “Limited Access Authorization” (LAA) that would allow them access to specific information at the Confidential and Secret levels. What type of information is requested on a security clearance application? The amount and detail of information required on a clearance application, Standard Form 86 (SF86), is the same for all levels of security clearance.
- It includes personal identifying data; history of employment, residence and education; character references, marital and family information; foreign connections and travel; criminal, drug, and alcohol problems; financial delinquencies; and more.
- Some questions require information covering the past seven or ten years and some questions cover an applicant’s entire life.
Some positions may require an additional financial disclosure form and/or supplemental foreign national contact forms. A paper version of the SF86 (129 pages not counting instructions and release forms) is available in PDF to use as a work sheet or for information only.
The actually submission of SF86s is done using a web-based computer program. What is the “Whole-Person” concept? The adjudicative process is an examination of a sufficient period and a careful weighing of a number of variables of an individual’s life to make an affirmative determination that the individual is an acceptable security risk.
This is known as the whole-person concept. All available, reliable information about the person, past and present, favorable and unfavorable, should be considered in reaching a national security eligibility determination. Each case must be judged on its own merits and the final determination remains the responsibility of the authorized adjudicative agency.
Any doubt concerning personnel being considered for national security eligibility will be resolved in favor of the national security. The ultimate determination of whether the granting or continuing of national security eligibility is clearly consistent with the interests of national security must be an overall common sense judgment based upon careful consideration of the guidelines, each of which is to be evaluated in the context of the whole person.
What are the adjudicative guidelines? Once an investigation is completed and returned to the appropriate adjudications facility, an adjudicator reviews the Report of Investigation and previous investigations, as required. All federal security clearance adjudicators use the 13 criteria listed in the National Security Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information or Eligibility to Hold a Sensitive Position.
The NSAG is contained within Security Executive Agent Directive 4 (SEAD 4) at Appendix A. The security criteria in the NSAG are: (1) GUIDELINE A: Allegiance to the United States (2) GUIDELINE B: Foreign Influence (3) GUIDELINE C: Foreign Preference (4) GUIDELINE D: Sexual Behavior (5) GUIDELINE E: Personal Conduct (6) GUIDELINE F: Financial Considerations (7) GUIDELINE G: Alcohol Consumption (8) GUIDELINE H: Drug Involvement and Substance Misuse (9) GUIDELINE I: Psychological Conditions (10) GUIDELINE J: Criminal Conduct (11) GUIDELINE K: Handling Protected Information (12) GUIDELINE L: Outside Activities (13) GUIDELINE M: Use of Information Technology In addition to the general security concern described for each guideline, adjudicators consider specific potentially disqualifying and potentially mitigating factors listed under each guideline, as well as: (1) The nature, extent and seriousness of the conduct (2) The circumstances surrounding the conduct, to include knowledgeable participation (3) The frequency of the conduct (4) How recently the conduct occurred (5) The individual’s age and maturity at the time of the conduct (6) The voluntariness of participation (7) The presence or absence of rehabilitation and other pertinent behavioral changes (8) The motivation for the conduct (9) The potential for pressure, coercion, exploitation, or duress; and (10) The likelihood of continuation of the conduct If the adjudicator needs more information than contained in the investigative file, applicants can be required to answer a Supplemental Information Request (SIR) or written interrogatories or similar request for information.
Adjudicators must also apply the Bond Amendment. What is the Bond Amendment? The Bond Amendment (Section 1072 of Public Law 110–181) prohibits Government agencies from granting or renewing a security clearance for a person who is an unlawful user of a controlled substance or an addict.
It also restricts Government agencies from granting or renewing a security clearance for access to Special Access Programs, like Restricted Data, or Sensitive Compartmented Information without an express written waiver when a person: (A) has been convicted in any court of the United States of a crime, was sentenced to imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year, and was incarcerated as a result of that sentence for not less than 1 year; (B) has been discharged or dismissed from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions; or (C) is mentally incompetent, as determined by an adjudicating authority, based on an evaluation by a duly qualified mental health professional employed by, or acceptable to and approved by, the United States Government and in accordance with the adjudicative guidelines.
A copy of the Bond Amendment is at Appendix B to SEAD 4, What are the most common reasons for security clearance denial? Since 2008, Financial Considerations, Guideline F of the National Security Adjudicative Guidelines, has been the most frequently cited issue in cases decided by the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals ( DOHA ).
It has appeared in about 50 percent of these cases. Guideline E, Personal Conduct, has consistently been number two, but most Guideline E cases involve false information on a clearance application form regarding some other issue, like alcohol, drugs, criminal conduct, or finances. Guideline B, Foreign Influence has consistently been number three.
The next three most common issues are Drug Involvement, Criminal Conduct, and Alcohol Consumption, but they have change positions relative to each other from year to year. What happens if the Government decides to deny or revoke a security clearance? An individual whose security clearance is being denied or revoked by the Government has the right to rebut and appeal the decision.
Currently the process for doing this differs for people sponsored by Government agencies (civilian and military personnel) and people sponsored by cleared contractors. Presidential Executive Order 12968, “Access to Classified Information,” prescribes the clearance process for everyone being considered for a national security clearance.
Executive Order 10865, “Safeguarding Classified Information Within Industry, ” further prescribes the process for most federal contractors. The provisions of DoD Manual 5200.02 apply to DoD civilians and military personnel, Title 10 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 710, applies to DOE, and Intelligence Community Policy Guidance 704.3 ( ICPG 704.3 ) applies to the Intelligence Community (IC).
- Many other federal agencies have their own written procedures for rebutting and appealing unfavorable clearance decisions, but they all conform to the requirements in Executive Order 12968.
- For most contractor personnel, the denial/revocation and appeal process is the responsibility of the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA).
When of DCSA CAS makes a preliminary decision to deny or revoke a defense contractor clearance, they transfer the case to DOHA. Only a small percentage of cases are referred from DCSA CAS to DOHA. If the case will go to DOHA, either DOHA or DCSA CAS will issue a Statement of Reasons (SOR) to the applicant, explaining why the Government intends to deny or revoke the clearance.
- The applicant then has an opportunity to respond to allegations in the SOR and have their case decided by an Administrative Judge (AJ).
- The applicant has a right to be represented by an attorney or personal representative.
- A contractor applicant has 20 days to answer the SOR and offer evidence to refute, explain, or mitigate the allegations.
DoD employees and military personnel have 30 to 60 days to answer an SOR. If the applicant doesn’t submit a timely answer to the SOR, their clearance is summarily denied or revoked with no further action. If a contractor applicant answers the SOR, he/she has the option of requesting a hearing before a DOHA AJ or a decision based on the written record (without a hearing) by a DOHA AJ.
With either option the applicant will have an opportunity to present additional arguments and evidence for why they should be granted a clearance. After the DOHA AJ issues a written decision, either the applicant or the DOHA Department Counsel (the opposing attorney, who represents the Government) has the option of appealing the decision to a three-member DOHA Appeal Board.
The Appeal Board will review the written arguments presented by the appellant and either affirm, reverse, or remand the DOHA AJ’s decision. An applicant whose security clearance has been finally denied or revoked may not reapply for a security clearance for one year from the date of the DOHA AJ’s written decision.
- To reapply the individual must be sponsored by a federal agency or a cleared contractor for a security clearance.
- After submitting a new SF86, the individual will be required to submit written justification for the reapplication to the Director of DOHA, explaining what changes have occurred that would make it likely that the individual would be granted a clearance.
If the Director of DOHA approves the reapplication, DCSA will request a new investigation and the individual will go through the entire clearance process. The rebuttal and appeal process for clearance denials and revocations is somewhat different for federal civilian employees, military personnel, and those with access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI).
- In all cases there is an opportunity to respond in writing to an SOR (or other detailed written explanation of the basis for the denial or revocation) and request a review of the unfavorable decision.
- There is also an opportunity to present your case in person to a hearing officer or AJ at or after the review stage and to a three-member appeal board at the appeal stage.
Under the current process, DCSA CAS or one of the DoD Intelligence Community (IC) CAFs makes the final decision to deny or revoke security clearance for DoD civilians, military personnel, and contractors with SCI eligibility. Such decisions are appealable to the appropriate military service or DoD agency Personnel Security Appeal Board (PSAB).
By memorandum dated 14 January 2021, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security (USD-I&S) directed that collateral and SCI clearance denials and revocations for all DoD personnel be processed through DOHA. This change was to have become effective on September 30, 2022, but there have been delays and no new implementation date has been set.
In the interim, all DoD applicants facing clearance denial or revocation can request a DOHA hearing and decision, if they are willing to wait until the new process is implemented. Will my security clearance transfer to other federal agencies? Transferring clearances within the Department of Defense (DoD) is generally not a problem.
Almost everyone with a DoD clearance has a record in the Defense Information Systems for Security ( DISS ). DISS can be used to verify active and current DoD clearances. It can also be used by contractor Facility Security Officers and government Security Managers to transfer ownership of a person’s DISS record from one organization (sponsor) to another organization (sponsor) or to recertify (reactivate) a “current” clearance (one that was terminated less than two years earlier).
Federal CAFs are not required to accept temporary or interim clearances, but may do so, if they are willing to accept the risk. The same applies to clearances that were granted with an “exception,” such as a waiver, deviation, or condition. “Exceptions” are explained at Appendix C of SEAD 4,
Clearance transfers or “reciprocity” is governed by Security Executive Agent Directive 7 ( SEAD 7 ). There are two other online databases with personnel security clearance information that can be used to verify clearance data—the Central Verification System (CVS) and Scattered Castles (SC). Intelligence Community (IC) agencies record personnel security clearance data in SC and all other non-DoD agencies are supposed to feed clearance data into CVS.
However, transferring clearances from agencies that don’t use DISS can be problematic, because the gaining Government agency must verify the clearance and enter it into the clearance database system they use. Sometimes the gaining Government agency must contact the losing Government agency and request the individual’s clearance information, which takes more time.
- This problem should be alleviated with the implementation of National Background Investigation Service ( NBIS ), the new computer system becoming available to all federal agencies and cleared contractors for requesting, managing, and recording clearances.
- A related problem can occur when a contractor employee or a former military serviceperson whose Secret clearance is based on a NACLC (pre-2016) investigation wants to accept a job as a federal employee.
The NACLC does not meet federal employment suitability investigation standards, so consequently another investigation must be conducted for employment suitability—not for security clearance. This is not a problem for people who had a Tier 3 investigation (October 2016 or later) for their Secret clearance.
24 months have not elapsed since the clearance or position eligibility was terminated, the underlying investigation (or CE enrollment date) is less than 5 years old, and there is no new potentially disqualifying information since the last eligibility determination.
If the underlying investigation is between 5 and 7 years old, a new investigation must be initiated at the same time the clearance is recertified. Where can I get assistance completing my security clearance package or inquire about the status of my security clearance? DCSA has online help at their website for applicants completing a security clearance application.
The applicant’s company Facility Security Officer (FSO) should be able to help with problems not covered at the DCSA website and for information about status of a clearance request. Federal civilian and military applicants should contact their Security Manager. It is possible for an applicant to communicate directly with DCSA VROC by telephone or email, but DoD CAF will only communicate with FSOs and Security Managers.
If an applicant anticipates problems or receives communication from an adjudication facility, it’s probably wise to hire an attorney or security clearance consultant to help with the security clearance questionnaire, a Supplement Information Request (SIR), written interrogatories, or a Statement of Reasons.
- What are polygraph examinations? A polygraph is an examination process that uses a diagnostic instrument capable of measuring and recording a subject’s physiological reactions as the subject answers questions.
- Because physiological reactions can vary when subjects are telling the truth and when they are being deceptive, by comparing a subject’s reactions to different questions a polygraph examiner can detect reactions that may indicate deceptive responses to specific questions,
Although polygraphy has scientific components, it is not a science; it is a discipline dependent on the training, skill, and experience of the polygrapher. Physiological responses are scientific aspects of this discipline, and a properly calibrated instrument will register very accurate readings.
However, the etiology of these reactions can be extremely complex. Thus, the polygraph is not a “lie detector.” Test subjects may register measurable physiological responses for a variety of reasons. The most significant contribution of the polygraph is its success in eliciting information and its value as a deterrent; however, the polygraph should be but one of several investigative tools.
Very few positions require Personnel Security Screening (PSS) polygraph examinations. For those positions that are designated as needing a PSS exam, the exams are conducted as part of the process of determining initial or continuing eligibility for access to Top Secret information/Sensitive Compartmented Information or other Special Access Program (SAP) information.
The first two of the three types of exams listed below may be used as a component of a PSS polygraph program. The third type may be used as part of a security clearance investigation, when needed to resolve a specific issue: Counterintelligence (CI) Scope Polygraph (CSP) examinations, Expanded Scope Polygraph (ESP) examinations, and Specific Issue Polygraph (SIP) examinations.
What are the differences between the types of polygraph examinations? Security Executive Agent Directive 2 ( SEAD 2 ) defines three types of PSS polygraph examinations: “Counterintelligence Scope Polygraph” (CSP): A polygraph examination that includes counterintelligence (CI) topics concerning involvement in espionage, sabotage, or terrorism; unauthorized disclosure or removal of classified information (including to the media); unauthorized or unreported foreign contacts; and deliberate damage to or malicious misuse of U.S.
government information or defense systems.” “Expanded Scope Polygraph” (ESP): A polygraph examination that includes all CI topics of the CSP, as well as the topics of criminal conduct, drug involvement, and falsification of security questionnaires and forms. (The ESP examination has also been referred to as a Full Scope Polygraph or an Expanded Scope Screening examination in some organizations.) ‘”Specific Issue Polygraph” (SIP): An examination conducted to address an individual issue of adjudicative concern such as espionage, sabotage, unauthorized disclosure of classified information, criminal conduct, etc.
This examination may be used in conjunction with a CSP or ESP. A CSP is the most common type of PSS polygraph examination. DoD CSP exam questions cover: (1) Involvement with a Foreign Intelligence and Security Service (FISS) and/or Spying or Espionage Activities Against the United States.
2) Involvement in Terrorism Against the United States. (3) Involvement in Sabotage Against the United States. (4) Mishandling of Classified Information. (5) Unauthorized Foreign Contacts. The ESP consists of a CSP exam plus what was known as a “Lifestyle” polygraph exam. The Lifestyle portion of the DoD ESP asks about: (1) Falsification of security questionnaires and forms.
(2) Involvement in serious criminal conduct. (3) Illegal drug involvement. What happens if I don’t pass a polygraph examination? The National Security Adjudicative Guidelines in Security Executive Agent Directive 4 specifically states, ” No adverse action concerning these guidelines may be taken solely on the basis of polygraph examination technical calls in the absence of adjudicatively significant information,” DoD Instruction 5210.91, “Polygraph and Credibility Assessment (PCA) Procedures,” states that when there is a failure to resolve a PSS polygraph examination issue, ” the individual shall be given an opportunity to undergo additional examination.
he Head of the relevant DoD Component may temporarily suspend an individual’s access to controlled information and deny the individual assignment or detail that is contingent on such access, based upon a written finding that, considering the results of the examination and the extreme sensitivity of the classified information involved, access under the circumstances poses an unacceptable risk to the national security.
Such temporary suspension of access may not form the part of any basis for an adverse administrative action or an adverse personnel action,” A security clearance cannot be denied or revoked only because of an unfavorable polygraph test result. If the polygraph exam surfaces any indication of the existence of a potentially disqualifying condition for security clearance, there must be corroboration from some other source of information.
This corroboration usually comes directly from statements made by the applicant during the pre-test or post-test phase of the PSS polygraph exam. Can I obtain a security clearance on my own? No, an individual cannot obtain a security clearance on their own. They must be sponsored for a security clearance by a federal agency or a cleared federal contractor.
How long does a security clearance take to process? Security clearance processing times have gone up and down over the years. A major increase in processing times for federal agencies which received investigative services from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) began in 2015 and did not begin declining until early 2019.
- By early 2020 processing times were back down to pre-2015 levels.
- In October 2019 responsibility for Personnel Security Investigations (PSIs) conducted by OPM transferred to the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA).
- Average end-to-end processing time for all Top Secret clearances at DCSA was 110 days in the 4 th quarter of fiscal year 2022, which ended on 30 September 2022.
Average end-to-end processing time for all Confidential and Secret clearances at DCSA was 76 days in 4Q FY 2022. These are averages for the fastest 90%—the range of completion times for the fastest 90% is very large and the cases in the 10% that are not included in the average can take a year or more.
- Averages for defense contractor cases are 10 to 20 days higher than the averages for all cases.
- DCSA handles about 90% of all security clearance investigations and 95% of all PSIs for the federal government.
- Agencies that conduct their own security clearance investigations have different processing times.
If I am granted a security clearance, who will notify me? When you are granted a security clearance, you will be notified by your Facility Security Officer (FSO) or your Government Security Manager. Before you are given access to classified information, your employer must give you a security briefing and have you sign a nondisclosure agreement.
- What is the value of a security clearance? In all areas of the country people with active security clearances are in high demand in many industries, occupations, and professional levels.
- Many companies offer higher starting salaries to people who have active clearances.
- Generally the higher the clearance level, the higher the starting salary compared to equivalent positions that don’t require a clearance.
Many contractors say that a security clearance is needed to apply for their jobs. How can I get a security clearance in advance so I can apply for these jobs and can I pay for it myself? Currently, people are not permitted to apply for a security clearance on their own, even if they are willing to pay for it themselves.
- They must be sponsored for a clearance by a federal agency or a cleared federal contractor.
- It is possible to be sponsored for a security clearance based on a written conditional offer of employment without actually being hired for a position that requires a clearance.
- Once the clearance is granted the sponsoring organization must hire and onboard the person within a prescribed period of time.
Can I see if I am qualified for a security clearance? No. There is no way to obtain an official opinion regarding clearance eligibility or to pre-qualify for a security clearance. There are security clearance attorneys and consultants, who for a fee, can assess your probability of success in obtaining a clearance.
- After a security clearance is granted, can it later be revoked? Yes.
- There is a continuing evaluation requirement for all personnel holding security clearances or sensitive positions within the Government.
- This can include Periodic Reinvestigations (PRs) at 5-year intervals; however, PRs have largely been supplanted by automated “Continuous Evaluation” under Security Executive Agent Directive 6 ( SEAD 6 ) and reporting requirements for unfavorable information by all cleared personnel under SEAD 3,
Each of these components informs the Government of potentially disqualifying information that could affect an individual’s continuing eligibility for access to classified information or to hold a sensitive position. When potentially disqualifying information surfaces, Government adjudicators can initiate action to revoke previously granted national security eligibility.
- If such action is taken, the Government must afford the individual procedural due process in accordance with Executive Order 12986 and its various implementing directives.
- What is e-QIP (Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing)? E-QIP is a web-based computer program that allows applicants to complete an online version of Standard Forms used for clearance applications (SF85, SF85-P, and SF86).
Each of the forms is used for different types of background investigations. E-QIP is gradually being replaced by a new program called e-App for electronic Application. When applicants are sponsored for a security clearance by a Government agency or cleared contractor, they are given instructions on how to access e-QIP or e-App.
What was JPAS (Joint Personnel Adjudication System)? The Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS) was the official personnel security investigation and clearance database management system for DoD. All DoD agencies, military services, and cleared defense contractors used this system for all types of personnel security actions.
JPAS was phased out in March 2021 and replaced by the Defense Information Systems for Security (DISS), Security Clearance Investigations Who conducts security clearance background investigations? The Department of Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency ( DCSA ) conducts security clearance background investigations for DoD and dozens of other federal agencies.
They also conduct background investigations for federal employment suitability and fitness determinations and for Homeland Security Presidential Directive – 12 credentialing. DCSA uses government and contract investigators to conduct background investigations. There are several federal agencies that have authority to conduct their own investigations.
These include the State Department and most federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Doesn’t the FBI conduct all federal background investigations? The FBI conducts less than one percent of federal background investigations. They conduct background investigations on their own employees and applicants, as well as high level Presidential appointees; employee and contractors working for the Executive Office of the President; some congressional staffers; high level employees of the Department of Justice (DOJ) (including the Office of the Pardon Attorney and Assistant U.S.
Attorneys); Administrative Office of the US Courts; designated positions in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Department of Energy (DOE); Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) detailees, other Joint Task Force (JTF) detailees, Law Enforcement Executives and Elected Officials (LEO Program); Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) personnel; Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) personnel; and miscellaneous other personnel categories.
For most of these investigations the FBI uses a nationwide network of individual contract investigators who are directed by the FBI’s Background Investigation Contract Services (BICS). What is a PSI? In the federal Government a Personnel Security Investigation (PSI) is a generic term for background investigations required to determine an applicant’s eligibility for a Government personnel security program, such as:
National Security Clearance Federal Employment Suitability/Fitness, and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 credentialing.
Will investigators look at my social media accounts? In May 2016 Security Executive Agent Directive 5 ( SEAD 5 ) authorized “the collection and use of publicly available social media information during the conduct of personnel security background investigations and adjudications for determining initial or continued eligibility for access to classified national security information or eligibility to hold a sensitive position and the retention of such information.” This has been implemented at some agencies, but not at all agencies.
- Will I have to give investigators my passwords or access to my social media accounts? No.
- You will not be required to provide passwords, log into your private accounts, or take any action that would disclose non-publicly available social media information.
- Investigators are not allowed to create accounts or use existing accounts on social media for the purpose of connecting (e.g., “friend”, “follow”) to your account.
Why are PSIs and security clearances necessary? PSIs and security clearances are key elements in protecting the national security of the United States. PSIs and security clearances are required to safeguard sensitive information and facilities and to counter the threats from:
Foreign intelligence services, Organizations or people who wish to overthrow or harm the United States government through unlawful means, and Individuals who lack the judgment, reliability, trustworthiness, and willingness to comply with rules and regulations to properly safeguard sensitive and classified government information.
What can I do to speed the investigation process? The best way to help speed up an investigation is to provide accurate, detailed information on the clearance application form (SF86, SF85P, or SF85). A lot of information is required to conduct a background investigation.
The paper version of the SF86 is 130 pages, not including instructions and releases. The electronic version of the form is shorter for most applicants, because on the electronic version a “no” response to a threshold question causes the program to skip over sub-questions where no entries are required.
Incomplete or incorrect information can significantly delay the investigation. For information on what is needed to complete the application, see the paper (PDF) version of the SF86, Security Clearance for Facilities What is the National Industrial Security Program (NISP)? The National Industrial Security Program (NISP) was established by Executive Order 12829 to ensure that cleared U.S.
- Defense industry safeguards the classified information in their possession while performing work on contracts, programs, bids, or research and development efforts.
- DCSA administers the NISP on behalf of the Department of Defense and 33 other federal agencies.
- There are approximately 12,000 contractor facilities that are cleared for access to classified information.
On February 24, 2021 Title 32 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 117 (the NISPOM Rule) codified the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual ( NISPOM ). It contains specific information about cleared contractor responsibilities under the NISP.
- All classified federal contracts were required to be in compliance with the provisions of the NISPOM Rule no later than August 24, 2021.
- What is a cleared Facility? The term facility is used within the National Industrial Security Program (NISP) as a common designation for an operating entity consisting of a plant, laboratory, office, college, university, or commercial structure with associated warehouse, storage areas, utilities and components, which are related by function or location.
A cleared facility is one that is authorized to safeguard classified information and/or sponsor personnel for security clearances. What is a Facility Security Clearance? A Facility Security Clearance ( FCL ) is an administrative determination that, from a national security standpoint, a facility is eligible for access to classified information at as high a classification level as the security clearance being granted.
- The FCL may be granted at the Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret level.
- The FCL requires the execution of a Department of Defense Security Agreement ( DD Form 441 ).
- Under the terms of the agreement, the Government agrees to issue the FCL and inform the contractor as to the security classification of information to which the contractor will have access.
The contractor, in turn, agrees to abide by the security requirements set forth in the NISPOM Rule (10 CFR 117). How does a company get a Facility Security Clearance (FCL)? A company must be sponsored by a government agency or a company with an FCL, based on a bona fide procurement need.
- A company cannot sponsor itself for an FCL.
- The process begins with the sponsoring organization sending a sponsorship letter to DCSA.
- Once a request is made, what is involved in getting a FCL? There are two types of FCLs—possessing and non-possessing.
- When the DCSA Facility Clearance Branch (FSB) determines that a request for a “possessing” FCL is valid, the facility is sent information about the process and instructions on how to prepare for the process.
Within 5-10 days a telephone survey is conducted to discuss the facility’s specific situation. The facility then gathers and electronically uploads specified business documents via the National Industrial Security System ( NISS ). Once the complete FCL package is submitted, a DCSA Industrial Security Representative (ISR) from a local DCSA Industrial Security Field Office is assigned security cognizance over the facility.
- If the ISR determines that the FCL package is complete, it will be forwarded for additional reviews and the ISR will notify FSB to process the facility’s Key Management Personnel (KMP) for Personnel Security Clearances (PCLs).
- The facility submits PCL applications and fingerprints for their KMP.
- The ISR performs an initial FCL orientation meeting at the facility.
If eligible, the facility receives an interim FCL; otherwise, the facility will have to wait for a final FCL decision. FCLs for “non-possessing” (also known as Access Elsewhere—AE) facilities are processed by the DCSA National Access Elsewhere Security Oversight Center ( NAESOC ).
The FCL processing for AE facilities is similar to “possessing” facilities, but is managed centrally at the NAESOC. Security requirements are less complicated, because all access to classified information will occur at a Government facility or the facility of another cleared contractor. Who has to be cleared in connection with a Facility Security Clearance (FCL)? A Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) Industrial Security Representative (ISR) with the help of the company’s point of contact will determine which individuals must be cleared as part of the FCL.
Ordinarily, those people who have control over the company (e.g., the CEO, President, Executive VPs, and other officers or board members), the Facility Security Officer (FSO), and the Insider Threat Program Senior Official (ITPSO) must be cleared at the same level as the FCL.
Those individuals cleared as part of the FCL are called Key Management Personnel (KMP). The FSO can also be the ITPSO. There are facilities with only one KMP. What happens if a “controlling” officer cannot be cleared in connection with the Facility Security Clearance (FCL)? The facility will not be eligible for a Facility Security Clearance (FCL), unless the officer officially steps down from his or her position as an officer/director and relinquish control of the facility.
Often the removal of a controlling officer can be obviated by adopting a corporate board resolution that excludes an owner or officer from any control or involvement in a classified contract. The ISRs can help with the preparation, adoption by the company, and acceptance by DCSA of the board resolution.
- How much does it cost to get a Personnel Security Clearance (PCL)? With very limited exceptions there is no direct charge to federal contractors for a Personnel Security Clearance (PCL).
- Government agencies receive appropriated funds to cover the cost of adjudicating security clearances and to pay an Investigation Service Provider, like DCSA, for security clearance investigations.
DCSA receives appropriated funds to pay for federal contractor clearance investigations and adjudications under the NISP Rule. DCSA also receives appropriated funds to pay for security clearance adjudication for the military service departments and other DoD agencies.
- DCSA publishes the rates they charge other federal agencies for background investigations.
- The rates for fiscal year 2023 and the estimated rates for fiscal year 2024 are list at Federal Investigations Notice No.22-02,
- What does the Facility Security Clearance (FCL) cost the contractor? There is no direct charge to the contractor for processing a Facility Security Clearance (FCL).
However, the contractor is responsible for security costs associated with participation in the National Industrial Security Program (NISP) (such as classified storage containers, access controls, etc.). Accordingly, contractors should determine their security requirements and related costs and consider such costs when bidding on a classified contract.
- What type of security controls must be in place if a facility is security cleared? The NISPOM Rule prescribes the minimum security requirements that must be fulfilled by security cleared contractors.
- The DCSA Industrial Security Representative (ISR) can provide guidance to the contractor in implementing these requirements in their facility.
The implementation of these requirements will ensure the adequate safeguarding of the classified information involved. In some cases, Government agencies have requirements for additional safeguards. For example, if your contract requires you to institute a Special Access Program (SAP), additional controls beyond those normally required are often necessary.
How long does the facility security clearance remain in effect? The facility security clearance remains in effect as long as the Department of Defense Security Agreement ( DD Form 441 ), is effective. This agreement may be terminated by either party by thirty days’ notice. Generally, most facility security clearances remain in effect as long as there is a need for the contractor to have access to classified information.
Can the government conduct inspections of a cleared facility? Periodic security reviews of all security cleared contractors are conducted by the assigned DCSA ISR to ensure that safeguards employed by contractors are adequate for the protection of classified information.
- DCSA has moved to Risk-based Industrial Security Oversight ( RISO ).
- The ISR will determine the frequency of periodic security reviews.
- Compiled and updated by: William H.
- Henderson Federal Clearance Assistance Service December 2022 Security Executive Agent Directive 4, “National Security Adjudicative Guidelines,” Appendix A, 8 June 2017 ( https://www.dni.gov/files/NCSC/documents/Regulations/SEAD-4-Adjudicative-Guidelines-U.pdf ) U.S.
Department of Justice (DOJ), OIG, “Use of Polygraph Examinations in the Department of Justice,” September 2006, I-2006-008 ( https://fas.org/sgp/othergov/polygraph/dojpoly.pdf ) DOJ,”A Review of FBI Security Programs,” March 2002 ( https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/doj/legacy/2014/09/15/websterreport.pdf ) Security Executive Agent Directive 2, 1 September 2020 ( https://www.odni.gov/files/NCSC/documents/Regulations/Security-Executive-Agent-Directive-2-20201005.pdf ) DoD Instruction 5210.91, “Polygraph and Credibility Assessment (PCA) Procedures,” March 30, 2020.
- Https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/521091p.pdf?ver=2019-04-22-104603-167 ) Ibid.
- Retrieved from the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, National Industrial Security Program webpage at https://www.dcsa.mil/ma/ctp/io/#:~:text=The%20National%20Industrial%20Security%20Program,or%20research%20and%20development%20efforts.
on November 22, 2022.
What is a Tier 5 investigation?
Tier 5 – Top Secret Security Clearance – As the highest level of security clearance, applicants can expect a more rigorous examination. If approved, this clearance gives cleared personnel access to information or material that could cause disastrous damage to national security.
- Tier 5 is the only tier in this category.
- Tier 5 (SSBI): Critical Sensitive and Special Sensitive National Security, including Top Secret, SCI, and “Q” access eligibility In addition to the background check required by the previous levels, top-secret applicants are subject to more stringent self-reporting requirements and a deeper dive into their background, which can include a polygraph and a single scope background investigation (SSBI).
Applicants will also have their employers, neighbors, and coworkers interviewed and have higher scrutiny of foreign travel, assets, and relationships. Expect the approval process for the top-secret level to take longer, as well. Government requirements determine what level of clearance you need, and you may be asked to increase your security tier if your job changes.
- An increase in clearance level may subject you to more scrutiny, but it could also result in an increase in pay,
- Brynn Mahnke is a freelance writer specializing in researching, writing, and ghostwriting for clients in the career, finance, SaaS, and B2B/B2C niches.
- She focuses on writing case studies, whitepapers, ebooks, and articles showcasing the value her clients bring to their customers.
When she isn’t writing, you can find her running, cycling, or wrangling children. She can be reached through her website or at [email protected].
What is the difference between Tier 4 and Tier 5 investigation?
With the security clearance process continuously changing, and quality information about where you’re at in the process difficult to come by, our ClearanceJobsBlog chatter is constant. A visitor to the ClearanceJobsBlog – an online forum and discussion site for security officers, background investigators, and security cleared professionals – recently asked: How close is the T4 to the T5 background investigation? T4 being the new SF85P and the SF86, Some government positions don’t require a security clearance, but do involve access to sensitive information. These positions are deemed positions of public trust. While frequently referred to as public trust security clearances, public trust codifies a level of eligibility to access sensitive information.
- Individuals applying to public trust positions will fill out an SF-85P.
- While the Tier 4 Investigation uses Standard Form 85P, the Tier 5 Investigation for TS/SCI level positions utilizes Standard Form 86.
- In short, the Tier 5 Investigation will be much more in depth and your investigation will start from scratch, even if you have a Tier 4 under your belt.
Though the investigator may have access to the previous Tier 4 investigation for reference, but in place of. DCSA guidance continued: Special Note: Due to the personnel security investigations backlog, DoD extended Tier 3 (10 years) and Tier 5 (six years) reinvestigation with DNI endorsement. Please see the DoD Memorandum “Extension of Periodic Reinvestigation Timelines to Address the Background Investigation Backlog”, Jan 17, 2017 for specific guidance.
Atie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC.
Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! ??
Who has level 5 clearance?
Level 5 (Thaumiel) – Level 5 security clearances are given to the highest-ranking administrative personnel within the Foundation and grant effectively unlimited access to all strategic and otherwise sensitive data. Level 5 security clearances are typically only granted to O5 Council members and selected staff.
What is the highest Top Secret Clearance?
1. Who can apply for a security clearance? 2. Do you have to be a U.S. citizen to receive a security clearance from the State Department? 3. What is the purpose of a security clearance? 4. How is it decided what level of clearance a person receives? 5. How many types or levels of security clearance are there? 6.
What work does each clearance allow a person to do? 7. Will my clearance be transferable to other federal agencies? 8. How long is my security clearance good for after I leave the federal government? 9. Can I transfer my security clearance for private sector employment? 10. Does having a security clearance guarantee employment with the State Department? 11.
Who does the records checks? 12. Are members of my family or people living with me subject to a security check? 13. For what reasons would I be denied a security clearance? 14. How often is a security clearance renewed? 15. What are some typical delays that occur in the security clearance process? 16.
- How long does it take to process a typical security clearance? 17.
- What happens if I’m denied a security clearance? Is there an appeal process? 18.
- What can I do in advance to ease the process of my background investigation? 19.
- Where can I get assistance completing my security clearance package or inquire into the status of my security clearance for the Department of State? 1.
Who can apply for a security clearance? Individuals cannot initiate a security clearance application on their own. Rather, the Bureau of Human Resources determines whether a Department of State position will require a security clearance based upon the duties and responsibilities of the position.
If the position requires access to classified information, then a personnel security background investigation must be conducted. This is only done after a conditional offer of employment is given to an individual.2. Do you have to be a U.S. citizen to receive a security clearance from the State Department? As outlined in Executive Order 12968, Access to Classified Information, eligibility for access to classified information may only be granted to employees who are United States citizens.
However, an exception is allowed in specific situations wherein there are compelling reasons for limited access to be granted to an immigrant alien or foreign national employee who possess a special expertise that is needed for specific programs, projects, contracts, licenses, certificates, or grants.3.
What is the purpose of a security clearance? The purpose of a security clearance is to determine that a person is able and willing to safeguard classified national security information, based on his or her loyalty, character, trustworthiness, and reliability.4. How is it decided what level of clearance a person receives? The Bureau of Human Resources determines whether a Department of State position will require a security clearance, as well as the level required, based upon the duties and responsibilities of the position.5.
How many types or levels of security clearance are there? There are three levels of security clearance, with the highest level being Top Secret. Secret is the next level of clearance and Confidential is the final.6. What work does each clearance allow a person to do? A clearance allows a person filling a specific position to have access to classified national security information up to and including the level of clearance that they hold, so long as the person has a need to know the information.7.
Will my clearance be transferable to other federal agencies? Federal agencies will normally accept another agency’s investigation as the basis for granting a security clearance, provided your last security clearance investigation was completed within the past 5 years for a Top Secret clearance and 10 years for a Secret clearance, and you have not had a break in service of more than 2 years.
Also considered is whether there have been any significant changes in your situation since your last investigation. Some federal agencies might have additional investigative or adjudicative requirements that must be met prior to their accepting a clearance granted by another agency.8.
How long is my security clearance good for after I leave the federal government? The Department of State will revalidate a security clearance if (1) the individual has not been out of federal service for more than 2 years and (2) if the individual’s clearance is based on an appropriate and current personnel security clearance investigation.9.
Can I transfer my security clearance for private sector employment? Security clearances only apply to positions that fall under the purview of the federal government. As stated in Executive Order 12968, Access to Classified Information, security clearances are only granted to persons “Employed by, detailed or assigned to, an agency, including members of the Armed Forces; an expert or consultant to an agency; an industrial or commercial contractor, licensee, certificate holder, or grantee of an agency, including all subcontractors; a personal services contractor; or any other category of person who acts for or on behalf of an agency as determined by the appropriate agency head.” 10.
Does having a security clearance guarantee employment with the State Department? No. The hiring process addresses whether someone will be initially selected for a particular position within the State Department. The security clearance process does not begin until after a conditional offer of employment is given.11.
Who does the records checks? The Office of Personnel Security and Suitability, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, conducts all national agency and credit history checks in support of their investigations. Diplomatic Security investigators located worldwide conduct all other investigative leads, which includes local law enforcement checks.12.
- Are members of my family or people living with me subject to a security check? There are circumstances in which limited records checks or an investigation may be conducted on a spouse or cohabitant*.
- National agency checks are conducted on spouses and/or cohabitants of individuals being processed for a Top Secret level clearance, with the spouse or cohabitant’s authorization.
Additional investigations may be conducted when the spouse or cohabitant is a foreign national. *A cohabitant is defined as someone with whom you live together as husband and wife and the relationship involves the mutual assumption of marital rights, duties, and obligations, which are usually manifested by married people, including, but not necessarily dependent on, sexual relations.13.
For what reasons would I be denied a security clearance? Various reasons exist for why someone may be denied a security clearance. The most important factors in an investigation are the individual’s honesty, candor, and thoroughness in the completion of their security clearance forms. Every case is individually assessed, using the National Security Board’s 13 Adjudicative Guidelines, to determine whether the granting or continuing of eligibility for a security clearance is clearly consistent with the interests of national security.
The adjudicative guidelines include: allegiance to the United States; foreign influence; foreign preference; sexual behavior; personal conduct; financial considerations; alcohol consumption; drug involvement; emotional, mental, and personality disorders; criminal conduct; security violations; outside activities; and misuse of information technology systems.14.
- How often is a security clearance renewed? An individual is normally subject to periodic reinvestigation at a minimum of every 5 years for a Top Secret level clearance and every 10 years for a Secret level clearance.15.
- What are some typical delays that occur in the security clearance process? Some of the most common areas of delay include the submission of incomplete security packages, poorly collected fingerprints, and investigations that involve coverage of extensive overseas activities.
Individuals can help expedite the process by ensuring they have completed all forms in a thorough and accurate manner; familiarizing themselves with the appearance of a properly rolled set of fingerprints, so they know theirs are done properly; and when possible, providing stateside references that can verify foreign activities.16.
How long does it take to process a typical security clearance? Each case varies, but the general time averages about 120 days. The Department of State has recently initiated a goal to render a security clearance decision in 90 days.17. What happens if I’m denied a security clearance? Is there an appeal process? If you are denied a security clearance, or your continued eligibility for access to classified information is revoked, you will be notified of the reason(s) and be provided with the procedures for filing an appeal.
You will be given the opportunity to address any derogatory information that was gathered during the investigation and either correct or clarify the situation.18. What can I do in advance to ease the process of my background investigation? A lot of detailed information is required to conduct a background investigation.
- Information such as complete names, addresses, telephone numbers, and dates of birth for relatives will be required.
- We suggest you print the Questionnaire for National Security Positions (Standard Form 86) and begin collecting that information so you will have it ready when asked.19.
- Where can I get assistance completing my security clearance package or inquire into the status of my security clearance? For assistance with completing your security clearance package or to inquire into the status of your security clearance, you may email us at [email protected] or you may may talk with a personnel security specialist at our Customer Service Center between the hours of 8:00 A.M.
and 5:00 P.M., EST, by dialing toll free 1-866-643-4636 (1-866-643-INFO) or 571-345-3186. You also may send correspondence to one of the addresses below: Mailing Address: U.S. Department of State DS/SI/PSS, SA-20 Washington, DC 20522-2008 Federal Express Address: U.S.
What is the highest military clearance?
There are three levels of security clearance: confidential, secret, and top secret. Who decides the level of clearance?
What is a Tier 3 investigation?
T3 is the investigation required for positions designated as non-critical sensitive and/or requiring eligibility for ‘L’ access or access to Confidential or Secret information.
What is a Tier 1 investigation?
Tier 1 is the investigation for positions designated as low-risk, non-sensitive. It is also the minimum level of investigation for a final credentialing determination for physical and logical access. Tier 1 investigations are requested using the Standard Form (SF) 85.
What is the difference between Tier 3 and Tier 5 investigation?
The standard Tier 3 investigation relies almost entirely on ‘Automated Record Checks’ (ARC) and Letter Inquiries. A Tier 5 investigation is required for a Top Secret clearance, for DOE ‘Q’ access authorization, or to hold a critical sensitive position.
How long does Tier 5 last?
Government Authorised Exchange – There are 4 types of Government Authorised Exchange:
Work experience programmes including volunteering, shadowing, and internships; Research programmes; Overseas government language programmes; Training programmes, usually in the fields of science or medicine, with Her Majesty’s armed forces, or the UK emergency services.
For the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa, you can study, work in the position on your Certificate of Sponsorship, work a second job for up to 20 hours per week, or work a job on the Tier 2 shortage occupation list for up to 20 hours per week.
However, you cannot get access to public funds or work a permanent job. Also, for some educational courses, you will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate. You can apply for the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa for 12 months (if you’re doing work experience) or 24 months (if you’re doing research, training or an Overseas Government Language Programme).
You can add dependants to your application.
Is there such thing as Tier 5?
Tier 5 – Tier 5 is a relatively new standard in data center requirements. Tier 5 data centers must meet the same standards as Tier 4, plus several additional ones. For example, they must be able to run forever without water, have outside air pollutant detection (and be capable of initiating a protective response), have permanently installed stored energy system monitors, securable server racks, and much more.
What is level 7 clearance?
- Clearance Level 1 had the least access in S.H.I.E.L.D. Some Clearance Level 4 agents worked as field agents. Many Level 5 agents worked as foot soldiers wearing body armor. Known Level 6 agents specialized in espionage and combat. Clearance Level 7 agents had full access to details on the Battle of New York, Clearance Level 8 gave agents more access to information that could risk the lives of agents in lower clearance levels. Some agents work as mission controllers. Level 9 is the access level held by the Deputy Director.
- As such, they have access to all S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Files, including high ranking projects, secrets and missions.
- The only known person that had Level 9 Clearance was Maria Hill.
- Level 10 is the access level held by the Director.
- As Director, they have access not only to all S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Files, but to the world’s most important files and secrets.
The only known person that had Level 10 Clearance was Nick Fury.
Alpha Level was an additional clearance level that was given to the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Secretary of the World Security Council, as those were the two highest ranking positions that oversaw S.H.I.E.L.D. Two simultaneous Alpha Level Clearance inputs were needed in order to disable all encryption on S.H.I.E.L.D. files. The only known people that had Alpha Level Clearance were Nick Fury and Alexander Pierce, Omega Level was an additional Clearance Level that was needed to access special files, such as the full details of Project Rebirth, or Camilla Reyes ‘ hijacking of the Bus, The only known person that had Omega Level Clearance was Nick Fury.
In a conversation with agents Phil Coulson and Grant Ward on Coulson’s resurrection, Maria Hill states that the Avengers were not Level 7. However, Clint Barton had Level 7 clearance. Clearance Level Orange has a higher clearance than Clearance Level Red in most cases, since it encompasses both Level Red and Yellow.
Clearance Level Platinum has the highest clearance and security access to all levels.
What is a T4 investigation?
T4 is the investigation required for positions solely designated as high risk public trust.
Who has level 10 clearance?
Notable Agents (Pre-Civil War) –
- Agent 22
- Agent 74 – Sent to battle Vamp to demonstrate her abilities to Captain America,
- Agent M – Expert in the Microverse,
- John Allen Adams – Head of ESP squad.
- Agent Boyer undercover unit, dating Joe
- Dr. Ames – Medical surgeon stationed at Central.
- Earl Angstrum – Senior agent. His son was killed by the mutation of former Deathlok John Kelly (Biohazard).
- Artie – Member of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Superhuman Cleanup Department of Sanitation (SCUDS).
- Ashton – He is in charge of securing the alien spaceship of Golden Blade and Sapper.
- Ken Avery – Thirty-year veteran. A senior officer aboard the Helicarrier,
- Balaban – Serving on the Helicarrier with G.W. Bridge,
- Baker – Stationed aboard the Helicarrier.
- Ted Bailey – Stationed at front company D-Fleks Industries. Briefly carried consciousness of Jack Truman,
- Beefcake – LMD assigned to the Hulkbusters unit.
- Bradley Beemer – Part of the Howling Commandos monster force. He is also the Area 13 technical chief.
- Bellini – Ranking officer at the Venice, Italy, station.
- Berger – Formerly stationed in a training camp in Saudi Arabia, She accompanied Nick Fury to investigate a base in the Middle East.
- Bill – Partner of Joe. He picked up Agent L’s microfilm from unnamed agents, but blew up his own car to stop HYDRA agents. It is yet to be confirmed whether he survived or not.
- Sally Blevins (Skids) – A mutant who infiltrated two factions of the Morlocks, later involved in intrigue among Hawkeye, the Winter Soldier and Black Widow.
- Boothroyd – Administrator in charge of personal effects department. Probable transfer from MI-6. Could also be a reference to Major Boothroyd, the equipment officer code-named “Q” in the James Bond movie series.
- Abigail Brand – Head of S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department), a subdivision of S.H.I.E.L.D. She is a hybrid mutant and alien.
- Joseph Bricklemoore – Agent of the Mutant Task Force that infiltrated the Jean Grey School Student Body by using MGH (Mutant Growth Hormone) to become the mutate Tri-Joey.
- Josephine Bricklemoore – Agent of the Mutant Task Force that infiltrated the Jean Grey School Student Body by using MGH (Mutant Growth Hormone) to become the mutate Squidface.
- Bubba – Member of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Alpha Team.
- Barth Bukowski – Regional Director in Los Angeles.
- Jenna Carlisle – Forensics agent and adrenaline junkie.
- Mitch Carson – Security agent under Dum Dum Dugan,
- Carstairs – Member of the Alpha Team Armored Squad.
- Monica Chang – Chief of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Artificial Intelligence division.
- Cheesecake – LMD assigned to the Hulkbusters unit.
- Isadore “Izzy” Cohen – Former private first class in Fury’s World War II squad. Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Colburn – Agent who noted traffic on the Project Contingency files at HQ.
- Colletti – Member of the Alpha Team Armored Squad.
- William Collins – Division commander who led the battle to raze the slave-camp island of the Red Skull and the Hate-Monger,
- Phil Coulson – Also known as the Agent, he is the main Agent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Crimson – Head of Magic-Ops division and assigned to the Hulkbusters unit.
- Cross – Friend of Contessa Valentina.
- Valentina Allegra de Fontaine – Former Special Director at Public Relations. Senior liaison officer to MI5, Level 9 agent. Revealed to have been replaced by a Skrull,
- Jessica Drew – The original Spider-Woman, Level 7 agent.
- Stanley Dreyfuss – Elektra ‘s contact on Operation: Lock Kiss. Later learns he is a Life Model Decoy,
- Joanie “Nails” Eaton – Member of the Elite Agents.
- John Facchino – Human resources department.
- Rigby Fallon – Boy genius in the Artificial Intelligence division. Wrote most of the programs for the latter-day Helicarrier.
- Farrell – Member of the Alpha Team Armored Squad.
- E.B. Farrell – Weapons expert for the Elite Agents. Calls himself “the Kid”.
- Fisher – Dawn Helicarrier technician.
- Nick Fury, Jr. – Son of Nick Fury. Also known as Marcus Johnson,
- Gerrard – Field agent for the Foreign Affairs office.
- Giulietta – Technician at the Venice, Italy, station.
- Gomez – Member of the Alpha Team Armored Squad.
- Herrick Goldman – Among group of renegade agents attempting to take over the Helicarrier for the impromptu war crimes trial of a KGB agent.
- Hazeltine – Intelligence agent at Central.
- Hugh Howard – Pilot and mechanic aboard Behemoth IV Helicarrier, charged with capturing Godzilla, The name is a reference to aviator, engineer, and multi-billionaire Howard Hughes,
- Jerry Hunt – Agent assigned to Scotland Yard, Former lover of Jessica Drew.
- Horatio Huxley – Ranking executive of Level 13. He was previously involved in Alpha Flight,
- Jackson – Pilot in Unit 6 of the Air Cavalry.
- Karl Janáček – Rank L-3.
- Valerie Jessup Toomes – Daughter of supervillain the Vulture,
- Johnson – Attempted to free agents from the City of the Space Gods.
- Daisy Johnson – Seismic-powered “super-agent”. She is the only known agent with “Level 10” security clearance aside from Fury and the Black Widow (Natasha Romanova).
- Jones (Jonesy) – Youthful field agent involved in the operations against the Pantheon and the Punisher,
- Gabriel “Gabe” Jones – Former private first class in Fury’s World War II squad.
- Kallebach – Field agent during investigation of assassinations at J-2 conference.
- Kelso – Pilot in Unit 6 of the Air Cavalry.
- Derek Khanata – Ex-Hatut Zeraze operative from Wakanda, He was Carmilla Black ‘s carrier and the senior investigator on the ” Agents of Atlas ” cases. After S.H.I.E.L.D. is dismantled, he later joins the group.
- Helen Kim – Agent investigating the Brothers Grace crime family.
- Veronica King
- Judith Klemmer (Agent 324) – Agent charged with tracking down Baron Ludwig von Schtupf, a.k.a. the Monster-Maker.
- Cameron Klein – Grade T-7 technician. Became field agent and helped capture supervillain Cache.
- Eric Koenig – German defector. He was a replacement member of the World War II Howling Commandos,
- Ali Kokmen – Interfered with Khanata in the Scorpion affair.
- Bruno Kreah – Low-level engineer. He worked on the surveillance equipment used to infiltrate Datalink Systems.
- Sayuri Kyota (M-80) – Demolitions expert of the Elite Agents.
- Sidney “Gaffer” Levine – Primary ordnance inventor and gadgeteer.
- Charles Little Sky – Mutant Director of A.R.M.O.R.
- Alphonso “Mac” MacKenzie – Senior liaison officer to CIA,
- Dr. Myron MacLain – High-ranking scientist who is a seminal adamantium researcher.
- Dino Manelli – Former private in Fury’s World War II squad. He was an Italian-American star.
- Kirby Martell – S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist. She operated a captured neo-Nazi time machine.
- Chastity McBryde – Squad leader. Fought against Elektra and other rogues that S.H.I.E.L.D. suspected to be Elektra’s accomplices.
- Tony Masters – An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who would go on to become the Taskmaster. Because of his abilities, Masters has forgotten his S.H.I.E.L.D. past and unknowingly works as an undercover agent.
- Chris McCarthy – Low-level agent. He was the first person to wear Hank Pym ‘s 2006 Ant-Man suit.
- Mercedes Merced – Undercover agent and Taskmaster’s handler.
- Alisanda “Ali” Morales – Undercover in Cuba. She helped Captain America and Falcon track down “Anti-Cap”. Stayed with S.H.I.E.L.D. when it became H.A.M.M.E.R.
- Murray – Agent working in reactor core of Central.
- Kate Neville – Aid to Nick Fury and trained marksman. Killed by Baron Strucker,
- N’Gami – Technological advisor and a Wakandan government liaison officer.
- Noriko Nagayoshi – Tech Directorate under Agent Khantana during operation to outfit Camilla Black as the Scorpion,
- Niles Nordstrom – Rank L-8.
- Brady O’Brien – Nearly had affair with Mary Jane Parker when she was separated from Peter. He later attempted to force her to give up Spider-Man or face arrest.
- Eric O’Grady (Ant-Man) – Third known Ant-Man,
- Jake Oh – Field operative stationed at Weapon Plus Headquarters.
- Kara Lynn Palamas (Agent 33) – Researcher; recruited Hercules for operation against Ares and Warhawks.
- Jeffery Parks – Infiltrated the City of the Space Gods. He was reduced to basic matter. Rank L-6.
- Paulo – Technician at Venice station.
- Pandora Peters – Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s magic response unit, the Wizardry Alchemy and Necromancy Department W.A.N.D.
- Farrell Phillips – Commander for Dawn Helicarrier. Captain in Black Bird of the Gold Squadron.
- Mr. Postal – Mission coordinator for cyborg agents.
- Emily Preston – Agent whose human consciousness was transferred into a LMD after she was killed by zombie George Washington,
- Clay Quartermain – Former liaison officer of the ” Hulkbusters “, the Hulk -hunting operations of the U.S. Armed Forces, Supervisor for Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos, Level 8 agent. Stated in transcripts of Nick Fury’s “Secret Files” in Secret War,
- Cliff Randall – Pilot. He later learned he was an extraterrestrial,
- Red (Agent 1–16)
- Steve Rogers (Captain America) – Has regularly undertaken missions for S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Jack Rollins – Infiltrated Roxxon for the uncovered Delta program, the catalyst for Deltite Affair.
- Natasha Romanova (Black Widow) – First known Black Widow, Was a level 10 agent before S.H.I.E.L.D. was restructured. One of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s top agents.
- Colonel Michael “Mickey” Rossi – Former lover of Carol Danvers,
- Gail Runciter – Trained alongside Wendell Vaughn, She was temporarily replaced by a Deltite.
- Sam – Stationed at Central’s barbershop entrance.
- Ayna Sareva – Assisted Khanata in the Scorpion affair.
- Constance Seagrum – Pilot of Unit 6’s Air Cavalry.
- Tia Senyaka – Investigated the death of Agent Harlan, who had died in a car accident.
- Gerald “Silcon” Simms – A member of the Elite Agents, with liquid-metal cybernetic arms.
- Simon – Communication officer on the Helicarrier.
- Captain Simon
- Jakuna Singh – Brother of Sarapha. Killed by Damiru.
- Jasper Sitwell – Interrogator. Former interim executive director and former liaison to Tony Stark and Iron Man, Nick Fury’s “Secret Files” in Secret War lists Sitwell as a Level 5 interrogator and a Level 5 agent in most transcripts. For two, he is listed as Level 8.
- Carla Smith – Nick Fury’s appointment secretary.
- Rosalind Solomon – Agent E-23. An environmental agent.
- Dwight Rollin Stanford – Rank L-3.
- Michael Stevenson – Infiltrated the City of the Space Gods. He was reduced to basic matter. Rank L-6
- Angel Tarnaki – Air Cavalry. She brought in X-Force to reveal history of Dr. Constantin Racal and Niles Roman.
- Kimberly Taylor – One of the last agents trained by Nick Fury. Assigned by G.W. Bridge to protect the Rev. William Connover.
- Teresa – Fury’s personal secretary.
- Colonel Nate Thurman – Chief administration officer for Helicarrier repairs. Among group of renegade agents attempting to take over Helicarrier for impromptu war crimes trial of KGB agent.
- Agent Todd – Direct report to Pandora Peters, Holder of the Mouth of Madness and Mismemory which allows him to reshape people’s memories as a personal power.
- Jack Truman (Agent 18/Deathlok) – Fourth known Deathlok cyborg,
- Samantha Twotrees – Turncoat working with rogue agent Inali Redpath.
- Steven Tyler – Infiltrated the City of the Space Gods. He was reduced to basic matter. Rank L-6
- Wendell Vaughn (Quasar) – Became the superhero Quasar during a security assignment.
- Kali Vries – Former lover of John Walker, She infiltrated S.T.A.R.S. (Superhuman Tactical Activities Response Squad).
- John Warden – Lead ESP telepath stationed at telepathic amplifier.
- Seth Waters – Administrator for Washington, D.C.’s bureau.
- Commander Jonas Williams – Led task-force to apprehend AWOL agent, Sharon Carter.
- Sam Wilson (Falcon) – Superhero and Avengers member the Falcon,
- Annie Wong – Agent from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Hong Kong branch.
- Jimmy Woo (Yellow Claw) – Former FBI agent who fought Yellow Claw and later hunted Godzilla, Level 3 interrogator and Level 5 agent (two transcripts of Nick Fury’s “Secret Files” in Secret War list Jimmy Woo as a Level 8 agent).
- Larry Young – S.H.I.E.L.D. Air Cavalry officer. Later, fifth known Deathlok cyborg,
How do I check my security clearance status?
Investigation Status: Contact your Security Officer at your service duty station or Recruiter with questions about the status of your background investigation. DCSA can only discuss case status information with authorized contacts from your branch of service.
Clearance/Adjudication Status: Contact your Security Officer at your service duty station with questions about the status of your security clearance or adjudication of your investigation. Department of Defense (DoD) Consolidated Adjudications Facility (CAF) is responsible for adjudicating your completed background investigation and granting your security clearance.
Investigation Status: Contact the Security Officer or Human Resources Representative at the agency where you are applying or are currently employed with questions about the status of your background investigation. DCSA can only discuss case status information with authorized contacts from your sponsoring agency.
Clearance/Adjudication Status: Contact your Security Officer with questions about the status of your security clearance or adjudication of your investigation. The agency that requested your background investigation is responsible for adjudicating your completed background investigation and granting your security clearance.
Investigation, Clearance or Adjudication Status: Contact your company’s Facility Security Officer with questions about the status of your background investigation. Clearance/Adjudication Status: Contact your company’s FSO with questions about the status of your security clearance or adjudication of your background investigation.
Investigation, Clearance or Adjudication Status: Contact your company’s Facility Security Officer with questions about the status of your background investigation. Clearance/Adjudication Status: Contact your company’s FSO with questions about the status of your security clearance or adjudication of your background investigation.
Appealing a Denial or Revocation of a Clearance An individual whose security clearance has been denied or revoked by a central adjudication facility has the opportunity to appeal the decision. The process for doing so differs between military and civilian personnel and contractors.
Executive Order 12968, “Access to Classified Information,” prescribes the process for military and civilian personnel. Executive Order 10865, “Safeguarding Classified Information Within Industry,” outlines the process for contractors. In each case, speaking with your agency’s or company’s security office is the way to find out what specific processes apply to you.
For contractor personnel, the denial, revocation and appeal process is the responsibility of the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA). The individual may request a hearing before a DOHA administrative judge in order to provide additional, relevant information and will have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses.
Upon completion of the hearing, the administrative judge will render a decision. If the decision is to deny or revoke the security clearance, the individual has the opportunity to appeal the decision to the Appeal Board. The Appeal Board will review the case file and render its decision. This decision is final and concludes the appeal process.
At the conclusion of the appeal process, an individual whose security clearance has been denied or revoked may not reapply for a security clearance for one year from the date of the final decision. The individual may reapply for a security clearance through his or her employing activity if there is a need for access to classified information.
The individual is responsible for providing documentation that the circumstances or conditions which resulted in the denial or revocation have been rectified or sufficiently mitigated to warrant reconsideration. The central adjudication facility may accept or reject the reapplication. Appealing Non-Clearance Adjudications/Decisions In addition to national security determinations, applicants and personnel may be subject to credentialing and/or suitability or fitness determinations.
The policy and regulations under which these determinations are made varies by position type as do the procedures that are followed in the event of an unfavorable decision. If an appeal process is available, notification of the process and the requirements for appealing will be provided by the adjudicating agency.
- Questions about which process applies or how the process works should be directed to your agency.
- For example, for positions in the competitive service, positions in the excepted service that non-competitively convert to the competitive service, or career appointments to the Senior Executive Service, when a suitability action is taken in accordance with title 5, Code of Federal Regulations part 731, the individual can appeal the decision to the Merit Systems Protection Board.
The adjudicating agency will provide written notice of the decision and include the requirements for filing an appeal.
What is higher than Top Secret?
Security levels – Security clearances can be issued by many United States of America government agencies, including the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of State (DOS), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Energy (DoE), the Department of Justice (DoJ), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
- TOP SECRET – Will be applied to information in which the unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.
- SECRET – Will be applied to information in which the unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.
- CONFIDENTIAL – Will be applied to information in which the unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause damage to the national security.
- USAP: Unacknowledged SAP & “Waived USAP” – Made known only to authorized persons, including members of the appropriate committees of the US Congress. Waived USAP is a subset of USAP.
- ACCM: Alternative or Compensatory Control Measures – Security measures used to safeguard classified intelligence or operations and support information when normal measures are insufficient to achieve strict need-to-know controls and where SAP controls are not required.
Additionally, the United States Department of Energy issues two levels of security clearances:
- Q Clearance – Allows access to Classified information up to and including TOP SECRET data with the special designation: Restricted Data (TS//RD) and special Q-Cleared “security” areas.
- L Clearance – Allows access to Classified information up to and including SECRET data with the special designation: Formerly Restricted Data (S//FRD) and special L-Cleared “limited” areas.
Despite the common misconception, a public trust position is not a security clearance, and is not the same as the confidential designation. Certain positions which require access to sensitive information, but not information which is classified, must obtain this designation through a background check.
- Public Trust Positions can either be moderate-risk or high-risk.
- Information “above Top Secret,” a phrase used by the media, means either Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) or Special Access Program (SAP).
- It is not truly “above” Top Secret, since there is no clearance higher than Top Secret.
- SCI information may be either Secret or Top Secret, but in either case it has additional controls on dissemination beyond those associated with the classification level alone.
In order to gain SCI Access, one would need to have a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI). Compartments of information are identified by code words, This is one means by which the “need to know” principle is formally and automatically enforced.
- In order to have access to material in a particular SCI “compartment”, the person must first have the clearance level for the material.
- The SCI designation is an add-on, not a special clearance level.
- Someone cleared at the SECRET level for some compartment X cannot see material in compartment X that is classified TOP SECRET.
But the opposite is true: a person cleared for TOP SECRET with access to X material can also access SECRET material in compartment X. The code word flags for SECRET and TOP SECRET material in every compartment are different, and each code word is classified at the level it protects (the SECRET code word for a compartment is itself classified SECRET, etc.) As long as the holder of a clearance is sponsored, the clearance remains active.
If the holder loses sponsorship, the holder is eligible for re-employment with the same clearance for up to 24 months without reinvestigation, after which an update investigation is required. A Periodic Reinvestigation is typically required every five years for Top Secret and ten years for Secret/Confidential, depending upon the agency.
Access to a compartment of information lasts only as long as the person’s need to have access to a given category of information. Unclassified (U) is a valid security description, especially when indicating unclassified information within a document classified at a higher level.
- For example, the title of a Secret report is often unclassified, and must be marked as such.
- Material that is classified as Unclassified // For Official Use Only (U//FOUO) is considered between Unclassified and Confidential and may deal with employee data.
- For access to information at a given classification level, individuals must have been granted access by the sponsoring government organization at that or a higher classification level, and have a need to know the information.
The government also supports access to SCI and SAPs in which access is determined by need-to-know. These accesses require increased investigative requirements before access is granted.
What is FBI top level clearance?
It is the policy of the FBI to share with law enforcement personnel pertinent information regarding terrorism. In the past, the primary mechanism for such information sharing was the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). In response to the terrorist attack on America on September 11, 2001, the FBI established the State and Local Law Enforcement Executives and Elected Officials Security Clearance Initiative.
- This program was initiated to brief officials with an established “need-to-know” on classified information that would or could affect their area of jurisdiction.
- Most information needed by state or local law enforcement can be shared at an unclassified level.
- In those instances where it is necessary to share classified information, it can usually be accomplished at the Secret level.
This brochure describes when security clearances are necessary and the notable differences between clearance levels. It also describes the process involved in applying and being considered for a clearance. State and local officials who require access to classified material must apply for a security clearance through their local FBI Field Office.
- The candidate should obtain from their local FBI Field Office a Standard Form 86 (SF 86), Questionnaire for National Security Positions; and two FD-258 (FBI applicant fingerprint cards).
- One of two levels of security clearance, Secret or Top Secret, may be appropriate.
- The background investigation and records checks for Secret and Top Secret security clearance are mandated by Presidential Executive Order (EO).
The EO requires these procedures in order for a security clearance to be granted; the FBI does not have the ability to waive them. A Secret security clearance may be granted to those persons that have a “need-to-know” national security information, classified at the Confidential or Secret level.
FBI performs record checks with various Federal agencies and local law enforcement, as well as, a review of credit history.Candidate completes forms SF-86 and FD-258. Once favorably adjudicated for a Secret security clearance, the candidate will be required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
A Top Secret clearance may be granted to those persons who have a “need-to-know” national security information, classified up to the Top Secret level, and who need unescorted access to FBI facilities, when necessary. This type of clearance will most often be appropriate for law enforcement officers assigned to FBI Task Forces housed in FBI facilities.
How many people fail Top Secret clearance?
Denial Rate Unclear – “The last year we saw a comprehensive publication on data from the Intelligence Community, via the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, was in 2015,” Lindy Kyzer, a senior editor for Clearance Jobs, told Bloomberg Law in a series of e-mails. Clearance Jobs is a career networking website for people with an active federal security clearance. That data show that for fiscal year 2015, the Central Intelligence Agency had the highest denial rate, at 8.5 percent, followed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 7 percent. The highest revocation rate was 2.3 percent at the National Security Agency, followed by 2 percent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
How rare is Top Secret clearance?
Need-to-Know – The 1.3 million individuals with Top Secret clearances are supporting a wide variety of missions, from the CIA to the Department of Commerce. Just because you have a Top Secret clearance doesn’t mean you have access to any information out there that’s classified Top Secret.
What is a Tier 3 investigation?
T3 is the investigation required for positions designated as non-critical sensitive and/or requiring eligibility for ‘L’ access or access to Confidential or Secret information.
What are the different levels of investigation?
Science, as defined by the National Academy of Sciences, is “the use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through this process.” So what does that definition mean? If you look up the definition in an online dictionary, you will see something similar to the following: Notice that the definition has two parts. The first part, “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world,” is a noun. These are the facts that you learn in science class such as the formula for photosynthesis or the different types of chemical reactions.
However, science is more than facts. The second part of the definition, “gained through observation and experimentation,” indicates that science is also a verb. Science is a process. It is a way of observing, a way of thinking, and a way of knowing about the world. The goal of science is to provide explanations for events that happen in nature.
Scientists use those explanations to understand patterns in nature and make predictions about future events. Look at the following three investigations. How are they alike? How are they different?
|A student used a microscope to observe an amoeba to determine how the organism moved.
|A student used a hand lens to examine the color and texture of four different rocks.
|A student planted rye grass seeds in potting soil in three plastic cups, placing them on a window sill, and watering one daily, one every third day, and one not at all.
Scientists use three types of investigations to research and develop explanations for events in the nature: descriptive investigation, comparative investigation, and experimental investigation, Cite Source Sources of images used for this section as they appear, top to bottom: Amoeba proteus, Tashiror, MicrobeWiki Metamorphic rock samples, Glaitness Class, Blogspot Plant experiment, Dennis Anderson, Oklahoma City Community College
What is a Tier 1 investigation?
Tier 1 is the investigation for positions designated as low-risk, non-sensitive. It is also the minimum level of investigation for a final credentialing determination for physical and logical access. Tier 1 investigations are requested using the Standard Form (SF) 85.
What is Tier 5 single scope background investigation SSBI?
What Is SSBI? – Single Scope Background Investigations (sometimes referred to as Tier 5, depending on the context and application of the investigation) are required for access to SCI. This investigation does not confer an additional security clearance on the applicant.
I nstead it is used to support Top Secret clearances and provides access to SCI upon successful completion of the investigation. Those who have Top Secret clearances are not automatically granted access to SCI. Only those with a specific need to access it are eligible to be investigated and cleared to do so.
When such access is awarded, the classification may be referred to as Top Secret/SCI, but there is no “fourth clearance – just an additional designation for access to SCI. Some confuse SSBI with SCI. The easy way to remember them properly is to keep in mind that Single Scope Background Investigations are the process used to clear the applicant for access to Sensitive Compartmented Information.