CIA Security Clearance Process for Contractors

By John V. Berry, Esq.,

This article discusses the security clearance appeals process for government contractors applying for clearances (or attempting to keep them) with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). As we have discussed in other articles, the U.S. Government security clearance process is not administered by one federal agency, but individually by each one.  The clearance appeals process generally falls into 2 main groups of federal agencies (with some exceptions), one run by the Intelligence Community (IC) and those run by the Department of Defense (DoD). That said, each federal agency has their own internal security clearance process with their own variations. The CIA is one of those federal agencies with its own, very unique, security clearance process.

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Security Clearance Appeals

By John V. Berry, Esq.,

Security clearance appeals can vary, depending on the federal agency that holds (or is reviewing) the individual’s security clearance.  We represent federal employees and government contractors, nationwide, before all federal agencies with respect to security clearance appeals.

Different Federal Agencies, Different Appeals Procedures

The most frequent federal agency to hear security clearance appeals is the Department of Defense (DoD), which often hears cases through the Department of Defense Consolidated Adjudications Facility (DoD CAF) and the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA). We represent federal employees and contractors in clearance matters before this agency (and all others, like DoS, DoI, DoT, DoJ, etc.), along with appeals adjudicated by the Intelligence Community (e.g. NSA, DIA, CIA, NGA, NRO).

It is important to note that while they are governed by the same Executive Order, each federal agency processes security clearance appeals differently. Our firm is versed in the different appeals processes for each agency.  Each federal agency generally provides for an in person (face to face or “personal appearance”) meeting to discuss the security clearance issues at issue either at Step 1 or Step 2 of the appeals process.  We generally recommend that an individual take advantage of this opportunity in responding in person, in addition to responding with a solid written response with exhibits.


If you need assistance in representation in a security clearance matter, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or through our contact page.


Clearance Cases Before Intelligence Agencies

By John V. Berry, Esq.,

Our firm represents security clearance holders and applicants before federal intelligence agencies, governed by Intelligence Community Directive 703 and Intelligence Community Policy Guidance 704.2 such as the National Security Agency (NSA), Central Intelligency Agency (CIA), National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and others.

Distinctions between Intelligence Agencies

It is important to be aware of the various distinctions between intelligence agencies regarding the differing appeals processes.  We are versed in the different procedures put forth by intelligence agencies regarding security clearance appeals. For instance, the CIA usually provides for a personal appearance at the first step of the clearance appeals procedure, but the NSA provides the personal appearance at the second step of the clearance procedure.

Other distinctions between these intelligence agencies exist for purposes of adjudicating security clearance matters.  For instance, some intelligence agencies place more weight on certain adjudicative guidelines, than others.  It is important to understand the differences.


If your security clearance is held by the intelligence community and you are in need of assistance in the security clearance appeals process, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook at