32 CFR Appendix A to Part 155, Additional Procedural Guidance
1. When the DISCO cannot affirmatively find that it is clearly consistent with the national interest to grant or continue a security clearance for an applicant, the case will be promptly referred to the DOHA.
2. Upon referral, the DOHA shall make a prompt determination whether to grant or continue a security clearance, issue a statement of reasons (SOR) as to why it is not clearly consistent with the national interest to do so, or take interim actions, including but not limited to:
a. Direct further investigation.
b. Propound written interrogatories to the applicant or other persons with relevant information.
c. Requiring the applicant to undergo a medical evaluation by a DoD Psychiatric Consultant.
d. Interviewing the applicant.
3. An unfavorable clearance decision shall not be made unless the applicant has been provided with a written SOR that shall be as detailed and comprehensive as the national security permits. A letter of instruction with the SOR shall explain that the applicant or Department Counsel may request a hearing. It shall also explain the adverse consequences for failure to respond to the SOR within the prescribed time frame.
4. The applicant must submit a detailed written answer to the SOR under oath or affirmation that shall admit or deny each listed allegation. A general denial or other similar answer is insufficient. To be entitled to a hearing, the applicant must specifically request a hearing in his or her answer. The answer must be received by the DOHA within 20 days from receipt of the SOR. Requests for an extension of time to file an answer may be submitted to the Director, DOHA, or designee, who in turn may grant the extension only upon a showing of good cause.
5. If the applicant does not file a timely and responsive answer to the SOR, the Director, DOHA, or designee, may discontinue processing the case, deny issuance of the requested security clearance, and direct the DISCO to revoke any security clearance held by the applicant.
6. Should review of the applicant's answer to the SOR indicate that allegations are unfounded, or evidence is insufficient for further processing, Department Counsel shall take such action as appropriate under the circumstances, including but not limited to withdrawal of the SOR and transmittal to the Director for notification of the DISCO for appropriate action.
7. If the applicant has not requested a hearing with his or her answer to the SOR and Department Counsel has not requested a hearing within 20 days of receipt of the applicant's answer, the case shall be assigned to an Administrative Judge for a clearance decision based on the written record. Department Counsel shall provide the applicant with a copy of all relevant and material information that could be adduced at a hearing. The applicant shall have 30 days from receipt of the information in which to submit a documentary response setting forth objections, rebuttal, extenuation, mitigation, or explanation, as appropriate.
8. If a hearing is requested by the applicant or Department Counsel, the case shall be assigned to an Administrative Judge for a clearance decision based on the hearing record. Following issuance of a notice of hearing by the Administrative Judge, or designee, the applicant shall appear in person with or without counsel or a personal representative at a time and place designated by the notice of hearing. The applicant shall have a reasonable time to prepare his or her case. The applicant shall be notified at least 15 days in advance of the time and place of the hearing, which generally shall be held at a location in the United States within a metropolitan area near the applicant's place of employment or residence. A continuance may be granted by the Administrative Judge only for good cause. Hearings may be held outside of the United States in NATO cases, or in other cases upon a finding of good cause by the Director, DOHA, or designee.
9. The Administrative Judge may require a prehearing conference.
10. The Administrative Judge may rule on questions of procedure, discovery, and evidence and shall conduct all proceedings in a fair, timely, and orderly manner.
11. Discovery by the applicant is limited to non-privileged documents and materials subject to control by the DOHA. Discovery by Department Counsel after issuance of an SOR may be granted by the Administrative Judge only upon a showing of good cause.
12. A hearing shall be open except when the applicant requests that it be closed, or when the Administrative Judge determines that there is a need to protect classified information or there is other good cause for keeping the proceeding closed. No inference shall be drawn as to the merits of a case on the basis of a request that the hearing be closed.
13. As far in advance as practical, Department Counsel and the applicant shall serve one another with a copy of any pleading, proposed documentary evidence, or other written communication to be submitted to the Administrative Judge.
14. Department Counsel is responsible for presenting witnesses and other evidence to establish facts alleged in the SOR that have been controverted.
15. The applicant is responsible for presenting witnesses and other evidence to rebut, explain, extenuate, or mitigate facts admitted by the applicant or proven by Department Counsel, and has the ultimate burden of persuasion as to obtaining a favorable clearance decision.
16. Witnesses shall be subject to cross-examination.
17. The SOR may be amended at the hearing by the Administrative Judge on his or her own motion, or upon motion by Department Counsel or the applicant, so as to render it in conformity with the evidence admitted or for other good cause. When such amendments are made, the Administrative Judge may grant either party's request for such additional time as the Administrative Judge may deem appropriate for further preparation or other good cause.
18. The Administrative Judge hearing the case shall notify the applicant and all witnesses testifying that 18 U.S.C. 1001 is applicable.
19. The Federal Rules of Evidence ( 28 U.S.C. 101et seq.) shall serve as a guide. Relevant and material evidence may be received subject to rebuttal, and technical rules of evidence may be relaxed, except as otherwise provided herein, to permit the development of a full and complete record.
20. Official records or evidence compiled or created in the regular course of business, other than DoD personnel background reports of investigation (ROI), may be received and considered by the Administrative Judge without authenticating witnesses, provided that such information has been furnished by an investigative agency pursuant to its responsibilities in connection with assisting the Secretary of Defense, or the Department or Agency head concerned, to safeguard classified information within industry under to E.O. 10865, as amended. An ROI may be received with an authenticating witness provided it is otherwise admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence ( 28 U.S.C. 101et seq.).
21. Records that cannot be inspected by the applicant because they are classified may be received and considered by the Administrative Judge, provided the GC, DoD, has:
a. Made a preliminary determination that such evidence appears to be relevant and material.
b. Determined that failure to receive and consider such evidence would be substantially harmful to the national security.
22. A written or oral statement adverse to the applicant on a controverted issue may be received and considered by the Administrative Judge without affording an opportunity to cross-examine the person making the statement orally, or in writing when justified by the circumstances, only in either of the following circumstances:
a. If the head of the Department or Agency supplying the statement certifies that the person who furnished the information is a confidential informant who has been engaged in obtaining intelligence information for the Government and that disclosure of his or her identity would be substantially harmful to the national interest; or
b. If the GC, DoD, has determined the statement concerned appears to be relevant, material, and reliable; failure to receive and consider the statement would be substantially harmful to the national security; and the person who furnished the information cannot appear to testify due to the following:
(1) Death, severe illness, or similar cause, in which case the identity of the person and the information to be considered shall be made available to the applicant; or
(2) Some other cause determined by the Secretary of Defense, or when appropriate by the Department or Agency head, to be good and sufficient.
23. Whenever evidence is received under item 21. or 22., the applicant shall be furnished with as comprehensive and detailed a summary of the information as the national security permits. The Administrative Judge and Appeal Board may make a clearance decision either favorable or unfavorable to the applicant based on such evidence after giving appropriate consideration to the fact that the applicant did not have an opportunity to confront such evidence, but any final determination adverse to the applicant shall be made only by the Secretary of Defense, or the Department or Agency head, based on a personal review of the case record.
24. A verbatim transcript shall be made of the hearing. The applicant shall be furnished one copy of the transcript, less the exhibits, without cost.
25. The Administrative Judge shall make a written clearance decision in a timely manner setting forth pertinent findings of fact, policies, and conclusions as to the allegations in the SOR, and whether it is clearly consistent with the national interest to grant or continue a security clearance for the applicant. The applicant and Department Counsel shall each be provided a copy of the clearance decision. In cases in which evidence is received under items 21. and 22., the Administrative Judge's written clearance decision may require deletions in the interest of national security.
26. If the Administrative Judge decides that it is clearly consistent with the national interest for the applicant to be granted or to retain a security clearance, the DISCO shall be so notified by the Director, DOHA, or designee, when the clearance decision becomes final in accordance with item 36., below.
27. If the Administrative Judge decides that it is not clearly consistent with the national interest for the applicant to be granted or to retain a security clearance, the Director, DOHA, or designee, shall expeditiously notify the DISCO, which shall in turn notify the applicant's employer of the denial or revocation of the applicant's security clearance. The letter forwarding the Administrative Judge's clearance decision to the applicant shall advise the applicant that these actions are being taken, and that the applicant may appeal the Administrative Judge's clearance decision.
28. The applicant or Department Counsel may appeal the Administrative Judge's clearance decision by filing a written notice of appeal with the Appeal Board within 15 days after the date of the Administrative Judge's clearance decision. A notice of appeal received after 15 days from the date of the clearance decision shall not be accepted by the Appeal Board, or designated Board Member, except for good cause. A notice of cross appeal may be filed with the Appeal Board within 10 days of receipt of the notice of appeal. An untimely cross appeal shall not be accepted by the Appeal Board, or designated Board Member, except for good cause.
29. Upon receipt of a notice of appeal, the Appeal Board shall be provided the case record. No new evidence shall be received or considered by the Appeal Board.
30. After filing a timely notice of appeal, a written appeal brief must be received by the Appeal Board within 45 days from the date of the Administrative Judge's clearance decision. The appeal brief must state the specific issue or issues being raised, and cite specific portions of the case record supporting any alleged error. A written reply brief, if any, must be filed within 20 days from receipt of the appeal brief. A copy of any brief filed must be served upon the applicant or Department Counsel, as appropriate.
31. Requests for extension of time for submission of briefs may be submitted to the Appeal Board or designated Board Member.
A copy of any request for extension of time must be served on the opposing party at the time of submission. The Appeal Board, or designated Board Member, shall be responsible for controlling the Appeal Board's docket, and may enter an order dismissing an appeal in an appropriate case or vacate such an order upon a showing of good cause.
32. The Appeal Board shall address the material issues raised by the parties to determine whether harmful error occurred. Its scope of review shall be to determine whether or not:
a. The Administrative Judge's findings of fact are supported by such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion in light of all the contrary evidence in the same record. In making this review, the Appeal Board shall give deference to the credibility determinations of the Administrative Judge;
b. The Administrative Judge adhered to the procedures required by E.O. 10865, as amended and this part; or
c. The Administrative Judge's rulings or conclusions are arbitrary, capricious, or contrary to law.
33. The Appeal Board shall issue a written clearance decision addressing the material issues raised on appeal. The Appeal Board shall have authority to:
a. Affirm the decision of the Administrative Judge;
b. Remand the case to an Administrative Judge to correct identified error. If the case is remanded, the Appeal Board shall specify the action to be taken on remand; or
c. Reverse the decision of the Administrative Judge if correction of identified error mandates such action.
34. A copy of the Appeal Board's written clearance decision shall be provided to the parties. In cases in which evidence was received under items 21. and 22., the Appeal Board's clearance decision may require deletions in the interest of national security.
35. Upon remand, the case file shall be assigned to an Administrative Judge for correction of error(s) in accordance with the Appeal Board's clearance decision. The assigned Administrative Judge shall make a new clearance decision in the case after correcting the error(s) identified by the Appeal Board. The Administrative Judge's clearance decision after remand shall be provided to the parties. The clearance decision after remand may be appealed pursuant to items 28. to 35.
36. A clearance decision shall be considered final when:
a. A security clearance is granted or continued pursuant to item 2.;
b. No timely notice of appeal is filed;
c. No timely appeal brief is filed after a notice of appeal has been filed;
d. The appeal has been withdrawn;
e. When the Appeal Board affirms or reverses an Administrative Judge's clearance decision; or
f. When a decision has been made by the Secretary of Defense, or the Department or Agency head, under item 23.
The Director, DOHA, or designee, shall notify the DISCO of all final clearance decisions.
37. An applicant whose security clearance has been finally denied or revoked by the DOHA is barred from reapplication for 1 year from the date of the initial unfavorable clearance decision.
38. A reapplication for a security clearance must be made initially by the applicant's employer to the DISCO and is subject to the same processing requirements as those for a new security clearance application. The applicant shall thereafter be advised he is responsible for providing the Director, DOHA, with a copy of any adverse clearance decision together with evidence that circumstances or conditions previously found against the applicant have been rectified or sufficiently mitigated to warrant reconsideration.
39. If the Director, DOHA, determines that reconsideration is warranted, the case shall be subject to this part for making a clearance decision.
40. If the Director, DOHA, determines that reconsideration is not warranted, the DOHA shall notify the applicant of this decision. Such a decision is final and bars further reapplication for an additional one year period from the date of the decision rejecting the application.
41. Nothing in this part is intended to give an applicant reapplying for a security clearance any greater rights than those applicable to any other applicant under this part.
42. An applicant may file a written petition, under oath or affirmation, for reimbursement of loss of earnings resulting from the suspension, revocation, or denial of his or her security clearance. The petition for reimbursement must include as an attachment the favorable clearance decision and documentation supporting the reimbursement claim. The Director, DOHA, or designee, may in his or her discretion require additional information from the petitioner.
43. Claims for reimbursement must be filed with the Director, DOHA, or designee, within 1 year after the date the security clearance is granted. Department Counsel generally shall file a response within 60 days after receipt of applicant's petition for reimbursement and provide a copy thereof to the applicant.
44. Reimbursement is authorized only if the applicant demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence to the Director, DOHA, that all of the following conditions are met:
a. The suspension, denial, or revocation was the primary cause of the claimed pecuniary loss; and
b. The suspension, denial, or revocation was due to gross negligence of the Department of Defense at the time the action was taken, and not in any way by the applicant's failure or refusal to cooperate.
45. The amount of reimbursement shall not exceed the difference between the earnings of the applicant at the time of the suspension, revocation, or denial and the applicant's interim earnings, and further shall be subject to reasonable efforts on the part of the applicant to mitigate any loss of earnings. No reimbursement shall be allowed for any period of undue delay resulting from the applicant's acts or failure to act. Reimbursement is not authorized for loss of merit raises and general increases, loss of employment opportunities, counsel's fees, or other costs relating to proceedings under this part.
46. Claims approved by the Director, DOHA, shall be forwarded to the Department or Agency concerned for payment. Any payment made in response to a claim for reimbursement shall be in full satisfaction of any further claim against the United States or any Federal Department or Agency, or any of its officers or employees.
47. Clearance decisions issued by Administrative Judges and the Appeal Board shall be indexed and made available in redacted form to the public.