Obtaining Security Clearance

Getting a Secret Service Security Clearance

The majority of security clearances are processed by the Department of Defense. But security clearances are also issued by agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Justice, and Intelligence Community. Applicants with these agencies often find the policies may be different than within the Department of Defense, and therefore the body of advice available is more limited.

Security clearance attorney Sean Bigley recently wrote about security clearance policies at a few lesser-known issuing agencies, including the US Secret Service. The Secret Service has been in the hot seat recently, with a White House break-in and charges of agent misconduct overseas. When it comes to security clearance procedure at the Secret Service, Bigley pointed out one major flaw: the same person is responsible for both the administrative suspension of a security clearance as well as the ultimate review and denial.

“Unlike virtually every other agency of which I am aware, the Secret Service official charged with hearing security clearance denial cases is the Deputy Assistant Director for Human Resources and Training: the same person who is responsible for the administrative investigations that often form the basis for employment-related security clearance problems,” said Bigley.

What does that mean? If your security clearance is denied or revoked for a position with the Secret Service, your chances for a favorable review are likely less than they may be at other agencies. The bottom line is that anyone facing a revoked or denied security clearance should seek professional assistance in formulating a reply.