Favorable Security Clearance Decision Reversed Due to Financial Issues

In rare instances, security clearances decisions made by Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) judges are not consistent with the adjudicative guidelines and are reversed on appeal. These appeals are submitted by the agency that originally denied the applicant clearance eligibility. This goes to show judges are human and sometime fall for the “bleeding heart” story ignoring the basic facts in a case. Here is a summary of one recent case involving financial considerations:

The applicant was issued a Statement of Reasons (SOR) regarding $121,000 in delinquent debts, a dismissed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and a home foreclosure. It wasn’t until he submitted his clearance application that he started making efforts to resolve any of the debts and had made no payments until his security interview. He failed to provide credible reasons for why he incurred the debts in the first place and didn’t provide documented proof of what actions he was taking to address the delinquencies. The judge in the applicant’s initial appeal failed to consider these facts and instead, took the applicant’s word he was taking care of them at face value. Contrary to the evidence pointing to a continued lack of judgement and responsibility on the part of the applicant, the judge granted him clearance eligibility.

Department counsel appealed this decision and the subsequent second DOHA judge agreed that the applicant had not mitigated the financial concerns in accordance with the adjudicative guidelines. He ruled that the judge in the initial appeal had incorrectly applied mitigating conditions based on uncorroborated claims by the applicant. The initial favorable decision was reversed and the applicant was denied clearance eligibility.