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PSH-13-0070 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

On October 10, 2013, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a decision in which he concluded that an individual’s security clearance should not be restored.  Following the individual’s employer receiving garnishment notices from both federal and state tax authorities in January 2013, the Local Security Office conducted its fifth personnel security interview with the individual, all of which focused on his personal finances. The LSO suspended the individual’s security clearance, citing, inter alia, his unpaid taxes for prior years ($21,103.96), his collections debt ($3,080), his charged-off debt ($5.096) and his delinquencies on his student loans (120 days) and other debt. The individual and his wife credibly testified that during their 20-year marriage, the wife managed exclusively the family’s finances and made their financial decisions; the individual did not involve himself in their finances and trusted his wife to manage their affairs; and the individual had limited knowledge of financial matters raised during the PSIs and expected his wife would take care of the matters after he relayed the concerns. Following suspension of the individual’s access authorization, he involved himself in the family’s finances for the first time. The Hearing Officer noted that the individual did a formidable job in stabilizing their finances, including resolving all of their collections debt, charged-off debt and delinquencies and creating a detailed, viable financial plan for the future. The Hearing Officer found that the individual’s abdication on financial matters could not exonerate him from accountability on financial matters, especially in light of five PSIs. Further, their financial plan to maintain their economic health would not be implemented until the month following the hearing. The individual and his wife having defaulted on a tax repayment agreement in 2011 after making only one payment and their being 120 days delinquent on student loans within a year after ending a forbearance period in 2012, reinforced that requirement that they demonstrate a new, sustained pattern of financial responsibility.  Any period of reformation could not begin until they had actually implemented their financial plan, which they had not yet commenced.

Wade Boswell - Hearing Officer