The Office of Personnel and Facility Clearances and Classification (OPFCC) submits the clearance paperwork to the proper investigative agency, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Upon receipt of the investigation, the paperwork is matched to the Personnel Security File and assigned to a Personnel Security Specialist, who will adjudicate the investigation, using the Presidential Adjudicative Guidelines.
If security concerns are not identified, the clearance will be granted or continued without further action.
If security concerns are identified and cannot be resolved, the concerns may be addressed by one or more of the following: additional investigation, letter of interrogatory, a personnel security interview, or through a DOE-consultant psychiatric/psychological evaluation. If the concerns are mitigated, the clearance is granted or continued. If not resolved, the case will be processed through Administrative Review (AR).
- Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA): OPFCC is mandated by Congress to make an adjudicative determination within approximately twenty days of receipt of investigation. Therefore, a prompt response to any inquiries made by personnel security staff is necessary.
- Bond Amendment: Specifies the head of a federal agency may not grant or renew a security clearance for a person who meets any of the disqualifiers described below:
- An unlawful user of a controlled substance or is an addict.
- Been convicted in any court of the United States of a crime, was sentenced to imprisonment for a term exceeding one year for that crime, and was incarcerated as a result of the sentence for not less than one year.
- Been discharged or dismissed from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions.
- Mentally incompetent, as determined by an adjudicating authority, based on an evaluation by a duly qualified mental health professional employed by, or acceptable to, and approved by, the United States Government.
- There is a “Meritorious Waiver” process for applicable disqualifiers that may be approved by DOE headquarters; however, unlawful use of a controlled substance cannot be waived.
- 10 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 710.4(c): If an applicant is currently awaiting a hearing or trial, or has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment of six months or longer, or is awaiting or serving a form of pre-prosecution probation, suspended or deferred sentencing, court ordered probation, or parole in conjunction with an arrest or criminal charges initiated against the individual for a crime that is punishable by imprisonment of six months or longer, DOE may suspend processing an application for access authorization until such time as the hearing, trial, criminal prosecution, suspended sentencing, deferred sentencing, probation, or parole has been completed.
- 10 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 710.4(d): DOE may suspend processing an application for access authorization if sufficient information about the individual's background cannot be obtained to meet the investigative scope and extent requirements for the access authorization requested(i.e. recent residence in a foreign country for an extended period).
- 10 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 710.4(e): DOE may suspend processing an application for access authorization until such time as a question regarding an individual's national allegiance is resolved. For example, if an individual is exercising rights of citizenship conferred by a country other than the United States, DOE will be concerned with whether granting an access authorization to that individual constitutes an unacceptable national security risk.
- 10 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 710.6: It is the responsibility of the individual to cooperate by providing full, frank, and truthful answers to DOE's relevant and material questions, and when requested, to furnish or authorize others to furnish information that the DOE deems pertinent to the individual's eligibility for DOE access authorization. This obligation to cooperate applies when completing security forms, during the course of a personnel security background investigation or reinvestigation, and at any stage of DOE's processing of the individual's access authorization, including but not limited to, personnel security interviews, DOE-sponsored mental evaluations, and other authorized DOE investigative activities under this subpart. The individual may elect not to cooperate; however, such refusal may prevent DOE from reaching an affirmative finding required for granting or continuing access authorization. In this event, any access authorization then in effect may be terminated, or, for applicants, further processing may be suspended.