Personnel Security Hearing (PSH)
Access Authorization Not Restored; Guideline G (Alcohol Consumption); Guideline J (Criminal Conduct)
On November 23, 2021, an Administrative Judge determined that an individual's access authorization under 10 C.F.R. Part 710 should not be restored. The Individual is employed by a DOE contractor in a position that requires him to hold a DOE security clearance. In July 2020, the Individual was arrested and charged with Simple Assault. His conditions of release prohibited the consumption of alcohol. In August 2020, the Individual was arrested and charged with Public Intoxication, thus violating the conditions of release. As a result of these charges, the Individual was evaluated by a DOE consultant psychologist (Psychologist) in October 2020. The Psychologist diagnosed him with Alcohol Use Disorder, Moderate, and determined that the Individual had not demonstrated adequate evidence of rehabilitation or reformation. The Individual's testimony at the hearing revealed that he had not complied with the Psychologist's recommendations regarding abstinence from alcohol or alcohol testing. Further, the Psychologist testified that, based upon the Individual's testimony, she did not believe that the Individual was adhering to the precepts of AA. After considering the evidence in the record and testimony presented at the hearing, the Administrative Judge determined that the Individual had not resolved the security concerns associated with Guideline G and Guideline J. Accordingly, she concluded that the Individual's access authorization should not be restored. OHA Case No. PSH-21-0081 (Katie Quintana)
Access Authorization Restored: Guideline G (Alcohol Consumption):
On November 23, 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 Department of Energy (DOE) contractor in a position that requires him to hold a DOE security clearance. The Local Security Office (LSO) received potentially derogatory information regarding the Individual. Under Guideline G, the LSO alleged that: (1) In a December 22, 2020 report, the DOE Psychologist stated that she determined the Individual met the criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), Mild, pursuant to the DSM-5, without evidence of rehabilitation or reformation; (2) the Individual consumed six beers the evening before a random BAT was administered at his workplace, resulting in BAT results of .036, . 030, and .037; (3) the Individual was arrested for Public Intoxication on February 19, 2014 after consuming three or four beers; (4) the Individual was arrested and charged with Driving While Ability Impaired in 1998 after consuming four beers.
The Individual presented his own testimony as well as the testimony of two other witnesses. A DOE Psychologist, who conducted a prior psychological evaluation on the Individual, also testified. Based on the evidence and the testimony presented, the Administrative Judge concluded that the Individual had mitigated all security concerns stated in the Notification Letter. After the precipitating event transpired, the Individual scheduled and attended eight counseling sessions, attended an average of two Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings per week, established a support system, and provided evidence of subsequent negative test results to evidence his ongoing abstinence. Although the Individual had not, by his own testimony, been sober for twelve months, the DOE Psychologist expressed her belief that he had shown adequate evidence of rehabilitation and reformation, testifying that the Individual was in early remission. She noted the fact that she believed the Individual appropriately executed all the recommendations she had made in her report and stated that his prognosis was good.
Accordingly, the Administrative Judge concluded that the Individual had mitigated all security concerns stated in the Notification Letter. The Administrative Judge therefore concluded that the Individual's access authorization should be restored. Case No. PSH-21-0100 (Janet R.H. Fishman).
Access Authorization Not Granted; Guideline G (Alcohol Consumption); Guideline J ( Criminal Conduct)
On November 24, 2021, an Administrative Judge (AJ) determined that an Individual should not be granted access authorization under 10 C.F.R. Part 710. The Individual is an employee of a DOE contractor for a position that requires the possession of a security clearance. During the application process, the DOE Local Security Office (LSO) learned about the Individual's history of alcohol-related criminal offenses. As a result, the LSO requested that the Individual be evaluated by a DOE-consultant psychologist. Subsequently, the LSO informed the Individual that it possessed reliable information that created substantial doubt regarding his eligibility to possess a security clearance because the Individual had (1) an extensive list of alcohol-related criminal charges, (2) two outstanding warrants, and (3) a diagnosed Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
At the conclusion of the hearing, the AJ determined that the LSO appropriately invoked Guidelines G and J and that the Individual failed to resolve the security concerns for the following reasons. As to Guideline G, the AJ concluded that the concerns were not resolved because the Individual engaged in a recurring pattern of alcohol consumption followed by periods of failed sobriety despite court-ordered treatment; the Individual had not taken sufficient actions to overcome his problem, nor had he established a pattern of abstinence in accordance with treatment recommendations; and there was a concerning likelihood that the Individual would again relapse.
As to Guideline J, the AJ concluded that the security concerns were not resolved because the record was unclear regarding the status of the Individual's 2009 criminal case and warrant, and the AJ remained concerned by the likelihood that, given the Individual's AUD and the above factors, the Individual would again engage in the unlawful behavior that typically resulted from his pattern of alcohol consumption.
Accordingly, the AJ concluded that the Individual had not resolved the Guideline G and J security concerns. (Case No. PSH-21-0090, James P. Thompson III)