Beginning in late 2011, CAIR-Philadelphia represented a Muslim federal employee who was denied a promotion due to concerns that he was susceptible to “foreign influence” and therefore no longer worthy of the federal security clearance needed for his government job. We became involved in this case when it became evident that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) had based its decision largely on our client’s identity as an American Muslim.
Our representation of this client included a day-long trial-type adjudicatory hearing before a federal administrative judge (AJ) in July 2012. SEE: Our Day In Court
In January 2013, we learned that we had been successful in our efforts to have our client’s security clearance restored. The AJ who had presided over our trial-type adjudicatory hearing had issued a memorandum recommended decision in our client’s favor and the final decision-making authority on such matters, the DoD’s Clearance Appeals Board (CAB), had accepted that recommendation. The client’s security clearance was restored. Though CAIR-Philadelphia’s involvement in this case spanned little over a year, our client had been struggling with this case for many years prior to our involvement. The CAB’s decision ended that struggle.
SEE: Redacted Decision (portions omitted) (NOTE: As this case involves sensitive information, CAIR-Philadelphia is not at liberty to share the full contents of the decision.)
This is an important case for the American Muslim community. There is a danger that the federal guideline concerning “foreign influence” can be unfairly construed against Muslim and Jewish Americans who maintain contacts with persons and places in the Greater Middle East and/or who visit the region. Indeed, there are number of federal court cases which have raised this concern. CAIR-Philadelphia took this case to enforce the existing federal policies relating to “foreign influence” and to ensure that the federal government does not use legitimate concerns regarding national security to discriminate against law-abiding American Muslims who pose no discernible threat to national security.