Office of Origin:
Date of Announcement:
July 8, 2013
[State] Department Notice: Changes to the Department's Security Clearance Review Process
Effective July 8, 2013, the Department has a new policy to enhance protections for employees eligible for access to classified national security information who report waste, fraud, and abuse while protecting such information. This policy is consistent with and integrated into the existing review process for security clearance determinations as found in 12 FAM 230. Under the new policy, an employee who believes that an action affecting his or her eligibility for access to classified information was taken as reprisal for a protected disclosure may request review of the alleged reprisal following a decision by the Director of the Diplomatic Security Service to revoke the employee’s security clearance. This review process is only available to employees whose security clearances are revoked by the Director of the Diplomatic Security Service on or after July 8, 2013. The new policy will be implemented as a revision to 12 FAM 230.
An employee who wishes to request review of an alleged reprisal under the new review process must do so in writing to DS/SI/PSS within the time provided in 12 FAM 234.1(b)(4) for requesting review of a revocation by the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security. Within five days of requesting review by the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, the employee must also make a separate written request for review of the alleged reprisal to the Office of the Inspector General. The employee’s written request must include, with as much specificity as possible, information about the protected disclosure and the conduct constituting an alleged reprisal. The Inspector General’s review of the alleged reprisal will occur simultaneous to, and independent of, the review by the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security. If the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security sustains the revocation of the employee’s security clearance, the employee may appeal the revocation to the Security Appeals Panel as provided in 12 FAM 234.2(a).
The Security Appeals Panel will carefully consider all available information, including the findings and recommendations of the Inspector General, if any, and will reach a decision consistent with the national security and Executive Order 12968. To the extent authorized by law, the Security Appeals Panel may order any corrective action it deems appropriate, including reinstatement of the employee’s security clearance. The decision of the Security Appeals Panel will be the final decision of the Department, unless the Secretary of State decides to personally exercise the appeal authority identified in Section 5.2(a)(6) of Executive Order 12968.
An employee who has exhausted the Department’s review process for an alleged reprisal and whose security clearance has not been reinstated may request a review by an External Review Panel chaired by the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community. Such a review is conducted at the sole discretion of that Inspector General. The External Review Panel may recommend to the SAP that corrective action be taken with respect to the employee. The SAP will carefully consider the External Review Panel’s recommendation and reach a decision in the matter. The SAP will report to the Secretary on that decision and on what action, if any, will be taken in response to the External Review Panel’s recommendations. The Department, within 90 days of the External Review Panel’s recommendations, will inform the External Review Panel and the Director of National Intelligence of any action taken in response to the External Review Panel’s recommendations.