Obtaining Security Clearance

Security Clearance Nondisclosure Agreements

After going through the laborious background investigation process and finally getting notified that you are eligible for a security clearance, you now have to sign the classified information nondisclosure agreement (SF-312) before getting access. This agreement between you and the government basically states what your responsibilities are in protecting, handling, and disclosing classified information. It is quite a lengthy document with lots of legalese which most people just skim over. There are, however, a few interesting tidbits that clearance holders should know:

– If you release or publish classified information not authorized for disclosure you forfeit all royalties or compensation to the government. As an example, if you write a book that contains unauthorized classified information the profits from the book could be garnished by the government.

– Under the authority of Section 798 Title 18 USC you could be criminally prosecuted, fined, and sentenced to prison for up to ten years for knowingly and willingly disclosing classified information to unauthorized persons.

Upon termination or the withdrawal of a clearance the individual is debriefed and signs the form acknowledging they understand their responsibilities to continue safeguarding any classified information they may have had access to. The SF-312 is required to be kept on file for 70 years after termination of the clearance.

For those that work for or seek employment with the Department of Energy, an additional security clearance acknowledgement form (DOE F5631.18) must be signed by anyone who is granted “Q” or “L” clearance eligibility for access to Restricted Data or Formerly Restricted Data. The form not only covers the same basic responsibilities as the SF-312, but has specific incidents, situations and events that must be reported to DOE Security Officers.

Comment Archive

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    I’d be curious who, if anyone, is exempted from this? POTUS? SecDef, Sectate, et al.?

    Safeguarding classified information is a gravely serious responsibility and I am glad we at the BI business do not deal with it in our work. Only PII, which is stressful enough for my OCD.