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Summary of Decisions - April 29, 2013 – May 3, 2013

May 3, 2013 - 8:33am

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Personnel Security Hearing (10 CFR Part 710)

On May 2, 2013, a Hearing Officer issued a decision in which he determined that an individual’s access authorization should be restored. In reaching this determination, the Hearing Officer found that the individual had resolved security concerns associated with diagnoses by a DOE psychologist of Opioid-Related Disorder (Oxycodone), Not Otherwise Specified (ORD) and Anxiolytic-Related Disorder (Xanax), Not Otherwise Specified (ARD). The diagnoses arose from the individual’s tolerance to and dependency on these medications even though he appropriately used the medications as prescribed by a pain-management physician. At the hearing, the individual submitted substantial evidence regarding his successful completion of an intensive outpatient program for his ORD and ARD. Additionally, the individual presented the testimony of his father and his Narcotics Anonymous sponsor as to his efforts to discontinue his pain medication and to use other non-medicinal techniques to treat his chronic pain. After hearing the testimony, the DOE psychologist opined that the individual had demonstrated sufficient evidence of rehabilitation from ORD and ARD.  Based upon the evidence described above, the Hearing Officer found that the individual’s security clearance should be restored. OHA Case No. PSH-13-0010 (Richard Cronin, H.O.)

On May 1, 2013, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a decision in which she determined that an individual’s access authorization should not be restored.  In reaching this determination, the Hearing Officer found that the individual had not resolved the security concerns arising from his financial irregularities.  The individual declared bankruptcy in 2004 and had a significant number of outstanding debts.  He was interviewed by the Local Security Office (LSO) in 2004 and 2009, regarding his bankruptcy and his debts.  He assured the LSO that he understood DOE’s concerns regarding financial irresponsibility and that he would pay off his debts.  However, an August 2012 credit report showed outstanding debts and the individual was called in for a third interview.  At that time, he asserted that some of the debts listed on the credit report had been paid.  At the hearing, the individual showed that he had paid five of the obligations in full, including $600 owed to the Internal Revenue Service.  Three other obligations were paid after his 2009 interview and the final obligation was paid in January 2013 after he borrowed money from a friend.  In addition, the individual showed that he is on a payment plan for a number of other bills.  Finally, the individual testified that he had paid one bill, but documentation showed that it was not paid until after the hearing.  Because the individual had not shown that his financial irregularities had happened long ago or infrequently, were beyond his control, or under control at the time of the hearing, the Hearing Officer could find that he mitigated the security concerns.  Prior cases involving financial irregularities state that once a pattern of irresponsibility is shown, the individual must show a sustained pattern of financial responsibility.  That was not evident in this case.  Therefore, the Hearing Officer concluded that the individual’s access authorization should not be restored.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0001 (Janet R. H. Fishman, H.O.)

On May 1, 2013, a Hearing Officer determined that an individual should be granted a security clearance. In reaching this determination, the Hearing Officer found that the individual had successfully addressed the DOE’s security concerns regarding foreign influence and foreign preference, and specifically regarding his multiple citizenships and foreign passports. The Hearing Officer based his decision on:  1) the individual’s expressed willingness to renounce his foreign citizenships and refrain from using his foreign passports, 2) the routine nature of his foreign holdings, 3) the other countries of which the individual is a citizen have friendly relations with the U.S. and are not known to focus any intelligence gathering efforts on the U.S., 4) of his three citizenships, his U.S. citizenship is the only one that he acquired through voluntary actions on his part, and 5) the individual’s 17 years of residence, without incident, in the U.S. OHA Case No. PSH-13-0009 (Robert B. Palmer, H.O.)

On May 1, 2013, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a decision in which he determined that the DOE should restore an individual’s access authorization.  As security concerns, a Local Security Office (LSO) cited a DOE psychiatrist’s diagnosis of Alcohol Dependence, a history of heavy alcohol drinking, and three alcohol-related arrests and one arrest for possession of cocaine.  The Hearing Officer found that the individual had resolved the concerns related to his alcohol use as a result of his voluntary treatment following a 2012 relapse after nine years of sobriety.  The   opinions of mental health professionals who testified at the hearing, as well as evidence of the individual’s internal motivation and a solid support system, supported this finding.  The Hearing Officer further found that the individual had resolved the concerns raised by his arrests, as they relate to alcohol issues that have now been sufficiently addressed.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0003 (William M. Schwartz, H.O.)

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Appeal

On April 29, 2013, OHA issued a decision denying an FOIA appeal (Appeal) from a determination issued by the DOE’s Environmental Management Consolidated Business Center (EMCBC). The Appellant, Glen Bowers, contested the adequacy of EMCBC’s search of for documents responsive to his FOIA Request.  The OHA reviewed EMCBC’s description of its search, and determined that it conducted an adequate search for responsive documents.  Therefore, the OHA denied the Appeal. OHA Case No. FIA-13-0023.

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