Personnel Security Hearing (PSH)
Access Authorization not granted; Guidelines E (Personal Conduct)), H (Drug Involvement and Substance Misuse), and J (Criminal Conduct)
On January 11, 2023, an Administrative Judge determined that an individual's access authorization under 10 C.F.R. Part 710 should not be granted. The Individual is employed by a DOE contractor in a position that requires a security clearance. During the security clearance investigation process, the Individual submitted a Questionnaire for National Security Positions (QNSP) in which he disclosed his prior use of marijuana and crack cocaine but omitted his illegal use of other drugs. He also certified on his QNSP that he had never sought counseling or treatment as a result of his drug use or use of a controlled substance. However, during a subsequent Enhanced Subject Interview (ESI), he disclosed to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) investigator that he had previously smoked heroin from 2011-2017 and illegally used Xanax and Percocet. He also disclosed to the OPM investigator that he had attended a substance abuse treatment program, but left the program the first day, but again denied attending any other counseling or drug treatment. He disclosed his criminal history of three prior arrests including a 2014 arrest for reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia, a 2019 arrest for DWI, and a 2020 charge for unlawful use of license and speeding. Subsequently, during a DOE psychological evaluation, the Individual admitted to the DOE Psychiatrist that that he sought treatment from a doctor in Mexico for his substance abuse problem. He stated that the doctor treated him with intravenous (IV) fluids at his brother's house. He stated that he has abstained from all drug use since 2018. His urine drug test administer as part of the psychological evaluation was negative for all drugs. The DOE Psychiatrist diagnosed the Individual with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), Mild, in sustained remission and recommended that to show adequate evidence of rehabilitation or reformation, the Individual should attend outpatient treatment of moderate intensity for one year and abstain from all illegal drugs and opiates
At the hearing, the Individual asserted that he had unintentionally omitted his drug use and drug treatment on his QNSP, and he asserted that he was honest because he told the OPM investigator everything during the ESI, although he had failed to disclose his drug treatment in Mexico during the ESI. The Individual also admitted that he had not complied with any of the DOE Psychiatrist's recommendations. The Individual gave further testimony about his treatment in Mexico, stating that his doctor in Mexico recommended that he attend additional treatment in the U .S. when he returned home, but the Individual chose not to follow doctor's recommendations because it was not mandatory, and he did not think he needed any further treatment. He admitted that his prior use of Percocet led him to opiate addiction, and although he asserted he will never again take any drugs including prescription opiates, he admitted that he recently got a prescription for Percocet, and chose to keep the pills without a reasonable explanation.
Regarding his criminal history, the Individual admitted to the allegations of his prior arrests. He admitted that regarding his 2020 arrest, he chose to violate the terms of his probation from his previous arrest by driving a vehicle that did not have a required interlock device because he had to go to work, and was willing to assume the risk of getting caught for violating probation.
The Administrative Judge determined that the Individual did not resolve the security concerns associated with Guidelines, E, H, and J. Accordingly, she concluded that the Individual's access authorization should not be granted. (OHA Case No. PSH-22-0115, Balzon)
Access Authorization Not Restored; Guideline G (Alcohol Consumption)
On January 13, 2023, an Administrative Jude determined that the Individual's access authorization should not be restored under 10 C.F.R. Part 710. The Individual is employed by a DOE contractor in a position that requires her to hold a security clearance to carry out work tasks. the Local Security Office (LSO) received potentially derogatory information regarding the Individual's alcohol consumption. With respect to Guideline G, the LSO alleged that the DOE Psychologist diagnosed the Individual with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), Moderate, without adequate evidence of rehabilitation or reformation and determined that the Individual "habitually and binge consumes alcohol to the point of impaired judgment." The LSO further alleged that in March 2022, the Individual was arrested and charged with DWI and Fail to Obey Traffic Control Device, that the Individual's breath alcohol content (BAC) registered at .182, and that the Individual indicated that she had consumed approximately three to four 30-ounce beers prior to the arrest.
At the hearing, the Individual, her supervisor, three of her friends, and the DOE Psychologist testified . The record established that the Individual consumed alcohol during celebrations in March 2022, was subsequently stopped by law enforcement personnel while operating a vehicle, and criminally charged after a breath alcohol test was conducted. The Individual properly self -reported the matter the next business day. Following the incident, the Individual participated in a twenty -hour intervention program. The DOE Psychologist diagnosed the Individual with AUD and recommended that the Individual complete twenty-four substance abuse therapy sessions with a licensed therapist, attend monthly relapse prevention groups for one year, and abstain from alcohol. The Individual did not seek therapy or treatment specific to substance abuse, preferring to remain in the exclusive care of her own therapist. Although the Individual testified that she had reduced her alcohol consumption, she did not endeavor to remain abstinent, and last consumed alcohol in the week preceding the hearing. She testified that she participated in regular exercise and religious services to assist her in making incremental changes to become a better person. She also indicated that the intervention program helped her rethink her relationship with alcohol. At the hearing, the DOE Psychologist testified that the Individual had not shown adequate evidence of rehabilitation or reformation. Based on the foregoing, the Administrative Judge could not find that the Individual had mitigated the stated concerns in the Summary of Security Concerns pursuant to the applicable mitigating factors. (/node/4825683OHA Case No. PSH-23-0003, Rahimzadeh)