PSH-19-0018 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On July 9, 2019, an Administrative Judge determined that an Individual’s access authorization under 10 C.F.R. Part 710 should not be restored. The Individual was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and, during the security investigative process, admitted that he was previously charged with domestic battery, estimated that he drank to intoxication on a monthly basis, and guessed that he had operated a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol on six occasions in the year prior to his arrest for DUI.  A DOE-contracted psychologist (DOE Psychologist) evaluated the Individual and concluded that the Individual met the diagnostic criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder, Mild, under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) and that the Individual habitually consumed alcohol to the point of impaired judgement. The DOE Psychologist recommended that the Individual demonstrate rehabilitation or reformation by participating in an out-patient alcohol treatment program, documenting attendance at a twelve-step or similar alcohol abuse recovery program, reducing the frequency of his intoxication, and refraining from operating a motor vehicle after any alcohol consumption. At the hearing, the Individual testified that he had reduced the volume of alcohol that he consumed, no longer drove a motor vehicle after drinking, and had significantly improved his relationship with his wife since his arrest for domestic battery. However, the Individual testified that he continued to consume alcohol, including as many as six beers in a day on occasion, and that he had not fully complied with the DOE Psychologist’s recommendations because he did not believe that he had a problem. The Individual presented the testimony of his own consulting psychologist, who opined that the Individual was either misdiagnosed by the DOE Psychologist or in sustained remission, and that he believed the Individual’s statements that he had reduced his drinking and no longer drove a motor vehicle after drinking based on the Individual’s personal characteristics and the results of psychological testing he performed on the Individual. The Administrative Judge agreed with the Individual’s psychologist that the Individual’s Alcohol Use Disorder was in sustained remission, but concluded that the Individual’s decision to continue drinking and that the lack of objective evidence that the Individual was no longer habitually consuming alcohol to the point of impaired judgement presented unresolved security concerns. Therefore, the Administrative Judge determined that the Individual had not mitigated the security concerns under Guideline G and Guideline J, and therefore determined that the Individual’s access authorization should not be restored. (Steven L. Fine).