PSH-19-0037 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On October 7, 2019, an OHA Administrative Judge (AJ) issued a decision in which he determined that an Individual’s DOE access authorization should not be restored. The Individual had been diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder, Moderate, (AUD) by a DOE Psychologist (the DOE Psychologist), after having tested positive on a random breath alcohol test administered at his place of employment. In addition, the Individual initially informed his employer’s investigators that he had not used any alcohol during the 24 hours preceding this test, but a week later he admitted that he had consumed an unknown quantity of alcohol previous to the test. At the hearing conducted by the AJ, the Individual maintained that he did not have an alcohol problem and admitted that he continues to use alcohol. The Individual further admitted that he had lied about when he last consumed alcohol after testing positive at work because he could not believe that he had tested at such a high level of alcohol and panicked. After hearing the Individual’s testimony, the DOE Psychologist testified that all of the factors that led her to conclude that the Individual met the diagnostic criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder, Moderate (AUD) were still applicable. She noted that the Individual is still using alcohol, has not changed his behaviors, and is clearly in denial about his disorder. She noted that the Individual had attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and an Intensive Outpatient Program, but further opined that these treatments had not been effective for the Individual because of his lack of motivation to change. After considering the testimony of the Individual, the DOE Psychologist, the Individual’s Co-worker, and the Individual’s supervisor, the AJ determined that the Individual’s prognosis for his AUD was not sufficiently favorable to resolve the security concerns raised by it. Moreover, the Individual had not shown that any of the mitigating conditions set forth in the Adjudicative Guidelines for making false statements to government officials were present. For these reasons, the AJ found that the Individual has not satisfied any of the mitigating conditions under Guidelines E and G. Accordingly, the AJ found that the Individual's access authorization should not be restored. OHA Case No. PSH-19-0037 (Steven L. Fine).