Family Law Orders & Personal Security in the Wake of the D.C. Shootings
The Navy actually uses better screening for clearance than almost any other organization/branch of government or private industry. In fact, for the Navy, an allegation of adultery can prevent someone from obtaining or maintaining security clearance.
Notably, during the D.C. shootings (the unfortunate and most percent mass shooting claiming the lives of 12 people) has left many questioning why certain warning signs are not being treated more seriously.
On at least one occasion, officials have stated that spousal allegations of either adultery, abuse or threats have been enough to cause someone to lose their job and/or security clearance. They have also stated that there is a high incident of such allegations in government; state and military positions. It is opined both in Fox News and ABC News that these allegations could be, at times, vindictive and/or spiteful when a spouse knows that such an allegation will remove clearance from their husband or wife without any “actual proof” in the very onset of the allegations.
To further complicate matters, more than 50% of the allegations that are levied against State, military and government employees who have security clearance are often dropped and/or withdrawn by the person making the allegation. It is clear to see that a regular allegation or violence and/or misconduct is often pursued, where up to 50% or more of the allegations of domestic violence; threats or intimidation are later withdrawn by the accuser.
It is not our experience that these are being withdrawn because they are false. It is our experience that such allegations are often withdrawn out of a sense of passion and not for the lack of truth. For example, someone who has a very close and loving relationship with someone else could often start an allegation and then later, through love and compassion, withdraw such allegation and even state that the allegation was false. We believe that the statistics (the statistics that say more than 50% of all of the domestic violence allegations are withdrawn) do not mean that more than 50% of the domestic violence allegations are false; it means that, for the most part a lot of people forgive and have a compassion for those with whom they have a history. Whereas, there certainly are spouses that will use a domestic violence allegation against the other spouse out of spite and/or falsely accuse the other spouse to gain leverage and custody, it often results as in the loss of job or a reduction of duty and pay, thus killing the golden goose that lays the egg in a custody matter.
Furthermore, there are always a percentage of allegations that will be false, whether they are domestic violence allegations or any allegation where someone is attempting to gain favor in a lawsuit. To preach domestic violence allegations any less seriously so that more attention could be made toward allegations of violence that are not domestic in nature (as opined in the news recently) could lead to the loss of lives in a greater amount then to leave things the way they are.
Clearly, if domestic violence allegations are given less weight than an allegation of violence with a non related individual there may be more attention and time focused on preventing the rare but very real killing sprees that seem to be happening every month throughout the country. Nevertheless, it is not certain. As much as 12 people were killed by someone who had prior allegations of violence (non domestic). There is nothing to substantiate his case would have been looked at with more scrutiny had the Navy not been riddled with allegations of domestic violence, thus giving the investigators and the officials more cases to investigate just to have a portion of them to be withdrawn. What remains is that domestic violence kills and a portion of all allegations (domestic or not) could be false. It would be wrong to protect the general public more than the nuclear family and it would be wrong to give domestic violence any less weight just because the allegations of domestic violence are more numerous and frequent both in reporting and retracting.
Bryan L. Salamone is a member of State and Local Bar Associations, as well as the Matrimonial Bar Association and is admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the armed forces. Mr. Salamone’s firm is in Suffolk County Long Island and serves Suffolk and Nassau Counties in Long Island; New York City and the surrounding boroughs. The Law Offices of Bryan L. Salamone, P.C. is a contributor to many major news networks and continues to be a leader in Matrimonial Law and Family Law. Mr. Salamone conducts consultations on a selective basis free of charge.