PSH-19-0047 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On November 25, 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 a history of six alcohol-related arrests, including three recent Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests. The Individual had also been diagnosed with Unspecified Alcohol-Related Disorder (UARD) by a DOE Psychologist.

At the hearing conducted by the AJ, the Individual showed that he had addressed his UARD by attending a four and a half week intensive outpatient treatment program (IOT), which included an Individual counseling component. In addition, the Individual has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on a weekly basis. The Individual further claimed that he has maintained his sobriety for over one year and intends to permanently abstain from further alcohol use. While the counselors who treated the Individual were confident about the Individual’s ability to remain sober going forward, the DOE Psychologist opined that the Individual’s prognosis is only “fair,” noting the Individual’s previous history of abstaining from alcohol use in order to restore his security clearance and then resuming his problematic consumption thereafter.  The AJ found that the Individual had not resolved the security concerns arising from his UARD and significant history of alcohol-related arrests under Guideline G. In her Report, the DOE Psychologist opined that the Individual’s pattern of providing false information and failure to take responsibility for the consequences of his actions constituted a personality condition.  The Local Security Organization (LSO) raised these concerns under Guideline I, claiming that the Individual’s alleged lack of candor constituted a mental condition. However, the DOE Psychologist also testified that she felt constrained by the manner in which questions concerning the Individual’s judgement, reliability, and trustworthiness were put to her by the LSO, and that she felt that the only way she could draw attention to the Individual’s lack of candor was as an emotional, personality, or behavioral condition. The AJ found that these allegations were not properly raised under Guideline I, since they could be raised under Guideline E, and Guideline I only applies when the concerns are not covered under any other guideline and therefore found that the LSO had improperly raised them under Guideline I. Turning to the security concerns raised, under Guideline J, by the Individual’s extensive criminal history, the AJ noted that these offenses were not restricted to any particular period in the Individual’s life, and in some cases the Individual refrained from engaging in unlawful conduct for years at a time only to reoffend. He further noted that the Individual has displayed a pattern of alcohol-related offenses, even after completing counseling and promising to reform his behavior, which led him to conclude that the passage of approximately one year since the Individual’s third arrest for A-DUI is insufficient for him to conclude that the Individual is unlikely to engage in unlawful conduct in the future. Accordingly, the AJ found that the Individual's access authorization should not be restored. OHA Case No. PSH-19-0047 (Steven L. Fine).