PSH-18-0043 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On August 17, 2018, an Administrative Judge determined that an Individual’s access authorization under 10 C.F.R. Part 710 should be restored. A background investigation on the Individual revealed that the Individual had failed to previously disclose that he participated in an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) in 2013 related to his excessive alcohol consumption.  A DOE consulting psychologist (DOE Psychologist) evaluated the Individual and diagnosed him with Alcohol Use Disorder, not yet in Sustained Remission, without adequate evidence of rehabilitation or reformation. Although the Individual progressively reduced his consumption of alcohol in the years following his participation in the IOP, and drank three (3) or fewer beers per month at the time of the psychological evaluation, the DOE Psychologist found that the Individual’s decision to drink alcohol despite it causing him physical pain due to gout and creating personal strife with his family supported her diagnosis. The Individual testified at the hearing that he accepted that he was an alcoholic, was completely abstinent from alcohol, was attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, had secured an AA sponsor, was engaged in counseling with a psychologist (Individual’s Psychologist) for his Alcohol Use Disorder, and was pursuing other health and wellness measures. The Individual’s Psychologist testified that the Individual was meeting treatment recommendations and that his prognosis was good. After observing the entire hearing, the DOE Psychologist testified that she now believed that the Individual was rehabilitated and that his prognosis was good. The DOE Psychologist noted that the Individual had met all of her treatment recommendations, except for duration of abstinence from alcohol. While the Individual had not, as of the date of the hearing, completed the one (1) year of abstinence recommended by the DOE Psychologist, the DOE Psychologist opined that she took into account the Individual’s progressive reductions to his drinking in the years following his participation in the IOP. According to the DOE Psychologist, the Individual’s sustained commitment to reducing his drinking reduced the risk that he would return to problem drinking, and obviated the need for him to demonstrate a full year of abstinence. The Administrative Judge concluded that the Individual mitigated the security concerns asserted by the LSO. The Administrative Judge therefore concluded that the Individual’s access authorization should be restored. OHA Case No. PSH-18-0043 (Kimberly Jenkins-Chapman).