PSH-19-0031 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On August 30, 2019, an Administrative Judge determined that an Individual should be granted access authorization under 10 C.F.R. Part 710. The Individual completed a Questionnaire for National Security Positions (QNSP) in connection with seeking access authorization, but a background investigation into the Individual concluded that the Individual had failed to disclose that he was previously hospitalized for mental health concerns and that he was delinquent on two debts. A DOE-contractor psychologist (DOE Psychologist) evaluated the Individual. The DOE Psychologist diagnosed the Individual with Unspecified Personality Disorder, in partial remission, based upon his lack of candor. At the hearing, the Individual testified that his four visits to a hospital for mental health treatment were all outpatient, and that he did not believe that he was required to disclose outpatient mental health treatment on the QNSP. The Individual represented that he had no knowledge of the debts in question, and that the debts were associated with an address at which he had not resided since he was in high school. The Individual’s counselor testified at the hearing that the Individual sought counseling in connection with homesickness after relocating to a new city, that the Individual was adjusting well, and that she was confident that he would consult with her if he experienced any adverse mental health symptoms. The Individual also offered the testimony of five character witnesses who described the Individual as an honest and reliable person. The DOE Psychologist testified that the Individual’s condition was in full remission and that she perceived no impairment to the Individual’s judgement, stability, reliability, or trustworthiness. Based on the minor nature of the Individual’s omissions on the QNSP, the Individual’s lack of knowledge of the debts, and the ambiguity as to whether the Individual was required to disclose outpatient mental health treatment at a hospital, the Administrative Judge concluded that the Individual had mitigated the security concerns under Guideline E. With respect to Guideline I, the Administrative Judge concluded that the DOE Psychologist’s opinion that the Individual was in full remission, and the absence of any indication of a current problem, sufficiently mitigated the security concerns under Guideline I. Therefore, she determined that the Individual should be granted access authorization. OHA Case No. PSH-19-0031 (Janet R.H. Fishman).