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DOJ lacking appeal process for whistleblowers with revoked security clearances violates law: OIG

"DOJ policy does not include an OIG appeal process for employees whose security clearance has been suspended for more than 1 year and who allege retaliation, as required by federal statute," the DOJ Inspector General found

Published: May 15, 2024 8:20am

Updated: May 15, 2024 8:22am

The Department of Justice's lack of an appeal process for whistleblowers with revoked security clearances is a violation of federal law, the DOJ Office of the Inspector General found.

In a Tuesday press release, DOJ Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced that he released a Management Advisory Memorandum after an assessment of complaints he received from "employees alleging that their security clearances were suspended in retaliation for protected whistleblowing activity."

According to the OIG's findings, "DOJ policy does not include an OIG appeal process for employees whose security clearance has been suspended for more than 1 year and who allege retaliation, as required by federal statute."

The OIG said that the "lack of appeal process is especially problematic at DOJ components that indefinitely suspend employees without pay for the duration of the security investigation and review process, which can sometimes last years."

The memorandum noted that federal law requires federal government agencies to establish a "security clearance review process that, to the extent practicable."

According to the OIG, employees with a claim should also be able to "retain their government employment status while [the security clearance review] is pending" and existing policy at DOJ "does not address this requirement, and it also does not place any limitations, or even provide guidance, on how long an employee can be kept indefinitely suspended without pay while the component’s security review process is ongoing."

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