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PSH-12-0080 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

On November 29, 2012, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a Decision in which she concluded that an individual’s suspended DOE access authorization should be restored.  A DOE Operations Office suspended the individual’s security clearance and referred him to administrative review under 10 C.F.R. Part 710, citing as security concerns issues stemming a domestic incident which resulted in the individual’s arrest, and a subsequent opinion by a DOE consultant-psychologist that the individual met the diagnostic criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Dysthymic Disorder, and Alcohol-Related Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS). The individual requested a hearing before an OHA Hearing Officer.  After conducting a hearing and evaluating the documentary and testimonial evidence, the Hearing Officer determined that the individual mitigated the security concerns.  With respect to the alcohol-related security concerns, the Hearing Officer found that the individual took steps to address his Alcohol-Related Disorder, NOS by becoming an active participant in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) – attending several meetings per week, working closely with a sponsor, and establishing relationships with fellow AA members. In addition, the individual, having committed to abstinence from alcohol, demonstrated nearly over eight months of abstinence from alcohol, and the individual’s treating psychologist, a forensic psychologist who evaluated the individual in order to provide testimony at the hearing (“the individual’s psychologist”), and the DOE consultant-psychologist opined that the individual was unlikely to relapse in the future. The Hearing Officer further concluded that the individual mitigated the security concerns arising from his mental health conditions.  Specifically, the Hearing Officer was persuaded by the opinions of the three mental health experts that the individual had made substantial progress in his treatment, was unlikely to experience a recurrence, and no longer had a condition which caused or may cause a significant defect in his judgment or reliability. Consequently, the Hearing Officer determined that the individual mitigated the security concerns and the DOE should restore his suspended security clearance.

Diane DeMoura - Hearing Officer