PSH-18-0045 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On August 14, 2018, an Administrative Judge determined that an Individual's access authorization under 10 C.F.R. Part 710 should be restored. In 2017, the Individual reported to the local security office (LSO) that he had been arrested and charged with Reckless Driving and Driving While Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUI). During a personnel security interview, the Individual disclosed that he had used illegal drugs in the past, described how he began drinking heavily after a breakup with a girlfriend in 2015, and admitted to having hired a prostitute while intoxicated. A DOE consulting psychologist (DOE Psychologist) evaluated the Individual and concluded that the Individual met the diagnostic criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder, Mild, in Early Remission, without adequate evidence of rehabilitation or reformation, and that the Individual was a habitual and binge consumer of alcohol. At the hearing, the Individual, acknowledged his Alcohol Use Disorder and explained that he believed he used alcohol to cope with depression. The Individual testified that he had abstained from alcohol for eleven (11) months, and described how counseling, AA meetings, and newfound support networks helped him to cope with depression through means other than alcohol. The Individual's friends, family, and new girlfriend testified as to his abstinence from alcohol and illegal drugs, and his positive attitude towards maintaining his sobriety. The Individual's Counselor testified that the Individual had completed counseling and that his prognosis was good. The Individual also offered the testimony of his own psychologist, who testified that the Individual's treatment regimen and improved network of supportive persons provided him with the resources to manage his drinking problem and that his prognosis was good. After observing the entire hearing, the DOE Psychologist testified that he now believed that the Individual was rehabilitated and that his prognosis was good. The DOE Psychologist noted that the Individual had met all of his 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 testified that he nevertheless considered the Individual rehabilitated in light of the Individual's progress in addressing the causes of his drinking and development of a support network that would help him avoid returning to problem drinking. The Administrative Judge concluded that, in light of the testimony by the DOE Psychologist and other evidence in the record as to the Individual's rehabilitation from his alcohol problem, the Individual had mitigated the security concerns asserted by the LSO under Guideline G. The Administrative Judge also concluded that the Individual mitigated the security concerns under Guideline J because his criminal conduct was largely the product of his alcohol consumption, and the Individual's progress in addressing his Alcohol Use Disorder made it unlikely that the Individual would engage in criminal conduct in the future. The Administrative Judge therefore concluded that the Individual's access authorization should be restored. OHA Case No.  PSH-18-0045 (Steven Fine).