Personnel Security Hearing (PSH)
Access Authorization Restored; Guideline I (Psychological Conditions)
On November 18, 2021, an Administrative Judge determined that the Individual's access authorization under 10 C.F.R. Part 710 should be restored. The Individual is employed by a DOE contractor in a position that requires him to hold a security clearance. The Local Security Office (LSO) received potentially derogatory information regarding the Individual's psychological condition. Under Guideline I, the LSO alleged that after conducting a psychological evaluation of the Individual, the DOE Psychologist concluded that the Individual possessed traits associated with narcissistic personality disorder, which could impair the Individual's judgement, stability, and trustworthiness.
The Individual, a security clearance holder, was examined by a Human Reliability Program ( HRP) Psychologist as part of the process for his inclusion in the HRP. The HRP Psychologist's findings called the Individual's clarity of thought into question. As a result, the Individual was asked to undergo another psychological evaluation, conducted by a DOE Psychologist.
At the hearing, the Individual, DOE Psychologist, and six other witnesses testified. Witnesses described the Individual as reliable, trustworthy, honest, mature, and a man of good judgement. In her testimony, the DOE Psychologist enumerated the specific criteria of Narcissistic Personality Disorder that she felt the Individual met and provided examples to illustrate her conclusions.
At the hearing, the Individual did not seek to establish that he had been reformed or rehabilitated from the determination that he exhibited traits associated with narcissistic personality disorder. Instead, the Individual sought to establish that he did not possess such traits. Although the Administrative Judge noted the Individual's seeming reluctance to take full and complete responsibility for his 2018 termination and the alleged counseling he received in the context of his employment, the Administrative Judge did not believe that these incidents indicated an enduring pattern of problematic personality traits. None of the testimony from the Individual's witnesses indicated behavior or attitudes cited by the DOE Psychologist in her report. This was particularly important because the DOE Psychologist stated that individuals afflicted with Narcissistic Personality Disorder typically present with challenges and difficulties in their workplace and personal relationships. Further, the Administrative Judge had concerns regarding the DOE Psychologist's reliance on the Individual's apparent reluctance to respond to her questions other than using "vague and abstract answers." The alleged paucity of information was insufficient to indicate a positive indication of the existence of personality traits associated with a personality disorder. Accordingly, the DOE Psychologist's opinion was afforded limited weight and deference.
Based on the information in the record, the Administrative Judge found that the Individual had mitigated the Guideline I concern listed in the Summary of Security Concerns. See 10 C.F.R.
§ 710(c) (Application of the National Security Adjudicative Guidelines); Adjudicative Guidelines ¶ 29(e) (there is no indication of a current problem.) OHA Case No. PSH-21- 0099 (Richard A. Cronin, Jr.)
Access Authorization Granted; Guideline F (Financial Considerations)
On November 19, 2021, an Administrative Judge (AJ) determined that an Individual should be granted access authorization under 10 C.F.R. Part 710. The Individual is employed by a DOE contractor in a position that requires the possession of a security clearance. As part of the application for access authorization, the Individual completed a Questionnaire for National Security Positions form. Therein, the Individual indicated that he had not filed tax returns for tax years 2016 and 2017. The Local Security Office (LSO) informed the Individual that it possessed reliable information, which fell under under Guideline F, Financial Considerations, of the Administrative Guidelines, that created substantial doubt regarding his eligibility to possess a security clearance.
At the hearing, the Individual presented evidence that, for the years in questions, his income was low enough that he was not legally required to file tax returns. He presented further evidence that he timely filed his tax returns for subsequent years and did not have any outstanding tax obligations. The AJ determined that the Individual had mitigated the LSO's concerns under Guideline F. OHA Case No. PSH-21-0113 (Kristin L. Martin)