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Summary of Decisions - March 17, 2014 – March 21, 2014

March 21, 2014 - 1:08pm

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Personnel Security (10 CFR Part 710)

On March 20, 2014, an OHA Administrative Judge issued a decision in which she concluded that an individual’s security clearance should be restored.  In August 2013, as part of a background investigation, the local security office conducted a Personnel Security Interview (PSI) of the individual to address concerns about his alcohol use.  During that PSI, the individual was referred to a DOE psychologist who concluded that the individual suffers from Alcohol-Related Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS).  After conducting a hearing and evaluating the documentary and testimonial evidence, the Administrative Judge found that the individual had demonstrated adequate evidence of rehabilitation from Alcohol-Related Disorder NOS, and thus had sufficiently mitigated the DOE’s security concerns.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0129 (Kimberly Jenkins-Chapman)

On March 20, 2014, an OHA Administrative Judge (AJ) issued a decision in which she concluded that the DOE should not restore an individual’s suspended DOE access authorization.  A DOE Operations Office referred the individual to administrative review, citing issues pertaining to the individual’s use of alcohol, including the individual’s two arrests for Driving Under the Influence, as well as a diagnosis of alcohol dependence by a DOE psychologist.  Following the hearing, the AJ determined that the individual had not presented sufficient evidence to fully resolve the security concerns.  The AJ found that the individual had made substantial progress in treating his alcohol problem, including acknowledging his condition, participating in biweekly counseling sessions, and becoming an active participant in Alcoholics Anonymous – attending several meetings per week, working closely with a sponsor, and performing service work to the organization.  In addition, the individual, having committed to abstinence from alcohol, demonstrated over eight months of abstinence from alcohol and intended to maintain his abstinence indefinitely.  Nevertheless, the AJ was persuaded by the DOE psychologist’s testimony that, despite the individual’s eight months of abstinence and treatment, several areas of concern remain unresolved.  Accordingly, the AJ determined that it was too early in the individual’s recovery to conclude that he was adequately rehabilitated from his condition.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0130 (Diane DeMoura)

On March 20, 2013, an OHA Administrative Judge issued a decision in which she determined that an individual’s access authorization should be restored.  In reaching this determination, the Administrative Judge found that the individual had resolved the security concerns arising from his admitted use of his ex-wife’s pain medication, a prescribed opioid, in 2010 and 2011.  A DOE psychologist diagnosed the individual as suffering from Opioid Use Disorder of moderate severity.  In addition, the LSO alleged that the individual made contradictory statements during a security interview and to the DOE psychologist, and that the individual had violated his drug certification when he improperly used his ex-wife’s prescription medication.  At the hearing, the individual explained that he had been prescribed the same medication as his ex-wife, and that he used her medication only after he had run out of his prescription and was in pain.  He replaced the pills when his prescription was refilled.  While the DOE psychologist determined that the individual met four diagnostic criteria in the DSM-5 for Opioid Use Disorder of moderate severity, the individual’s psychiatrist disagreed with that diagnosis finding that the individual did not meet any of the diagnostic criteria.  Based upon evidence presented in the record, the OHA Administrative Judge found the individual’s psychiatrist’s application of the DSM-5 to be more persuasive.  In addition, the Administrative Judge found that the individual’s statements to the LSO and DOE psychologist were not contradictory, and that the individual’s improper use of his ex-wife’s prescription medication occurred under such circumstances that it is unlikely to recur.  Finally, the Administrative Judge found that the drug certification form signed by the individual was not sufficiently clear for the individual to understand that it was a violation for him to take his ex-wife’s medication although he had a prescription for the same medication.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0133 (Janet R. H. Fishman)

On March 20, 2014, an OHA Administrative Judge issued a decision in which she concluded that an individual’s access authorization should not be restored.  A Local Security Office (LSO) conducted a Personnel Security Interview of the individual to address concerns about his alcohol consumption which arose during the Office of Personnel Management’s re-investigation of the individual’s security clearance.  The LSO referred the individual to meet with a DOE psychologist, who diagnosed the individual with alcohol use disorder under DSM-5, which was concurrent with alcohol abuse disorder under DSM-IV-TR.  The DOE psychologist recommended that the individual remain abstinent for six months.  In its Notification Letter, the LSO cited the individual’s admission that he typically consumes two beers and one to three White Russians on most Friday and Saturday nights, that he has been intoxicated three times from 2010 to 2013, admission that he abuses alcohol on weekends, admission that he drove while intoxicated 20 to 30 times in his life, and that in 1974, he was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  At the hearing, while the individual was only abstinent for three months, the DOE psychologist and the individual’s therapist agreed that he provided adequate evidence rehabilitation, despite the DOE psychologist’s original recommendation that he remain abstinent for six months. However, the individual’s therapist still recommended that the individual remain abstinent for six months in order to sufficiently demonstrate his commitment to abstinence.  Hence, due to lingering doubts regarding whether the individual presented sufficient evidence of rehabilitation or reformation, the Administrative Judge found that the individual had not resolved the security concerns related to his alcohol consumption and related mental condition.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0131 (A.J. Patel)

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