Determining the cause of a security clearance denial

Why clearances get denied or revoked.

You should never be in the dark regarding the cause of a security clearance denial or revocation. A Statement of Reasons (SOR) outlines the reasons for a security clearance denial. The SOR is a preliminary decision to deny or revoke a security clearance. It provides an individual to deny, refute or mitigate any adverse information.

The top issues resulting in clearance denial are generally the same from year to year:


  • Guideline F: Financial Considerations (499/864)
  • Guideline E: Personal Conduct (225/257)
  • Guideline H: Drug Involvement (122/102)
  • Guideline B: Foreign Influence (87/78)
  • Guideline J: Criminal Conduct (70/61)
  • Guideline G: Alcohol Consumption (59/47)
  • Guideline C: Foreign Preference (41/45)
  • Guideline K: Handling Protected Information (8/16)
  • Guideline M: Use of IT Systems (4/8)
  • Guideline D: Sexual Behavior (8/7)

If it has been a number of years since your clearance denial, you may want to request a copy of your clearance background investigation to determine the issues that caused denial.