The impact of criminal charges, even if they are ultimately determined to be unfounded, can have long-reaching consequences. For those with government jobs that necessitate federal security clearances, from the moment charges are filed, those clearances are in jeopardy.
The same criteria are used when someone is reevaluated for a security clearance. This happens every five years for a confidential clearance, every 10 years for a secret clearance, and every five years for a top secret clearance, unless something like a criminal charge triggers a review. The reviews are supposed to be holistic, taking into account “all available, reliable information about the person, past and present, favorable and unfavorable.” This includes considering the nature, extent, and seriousness of any questionable conduct, the surrounding circumstances, the motivation for the conduct, the likelihood of recurrence, and any rehabilitation or behavioral changes since the incident. Additionally, the agency making the determination should consider whether the individual voluntarily reported the alleged misconduct, and was truthful and complete in responding to questions.
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