PSH-20-0004 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On January 15, 2020, an OHA Administrative Judge (AJ) issued a decision in which he determined that a DOE access authorization should not be granted to the individual. The Local Security Office (LSO) had alleged that the Individual had identified himself as a "sovereign citizen"; had made several attempts to exempt himself from Federal and state law; had made nine omissions from a Questionnaire for National Security Positions (QNSP) that he had signed and submitted to it; made a false statement made to an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Investigator; attempted to acquire real estate in which he had no legitimate interest by filing a fraudulent lien on a property; had a history of failing to meet his financial obligations; had failed to file his Federal and state tax returns for tax years 2009 through 2016, failed to honor the restitutionary obligations imposed by a court for his prior convictions; had four outstanding charged-off accounts; and had been convicted of Bank Fraud and Receiving Stolen Property, which resulted in his being incarcerated for 15 months. After considering two exhibits filed by the Individual and the Individual's hearing testimony, the AJ found that the Record contains a significant amount of derogatory information evidencing the Individual's unreliability, poor judgment, and untrustworthiness. The AJ noted that, in 2003, the Individual was convicted of two felonies, Bank Fraud and Receiving Stolen Property, which resulted in his incarceration for 15 months.  That information alone, the AJ concluded, was sufficient to disqualify the Individual from holding a security clearance. The AJ further noted that, roughly ten years later, the Individual became involved with the "sovereign citizen" movement. During the Individual's involvement in that movement, he took a number of actions designed to disassociate himself from the Government and to circumvent its laws. The AJ found that several of those actions exhibited remarkably poor judgment, as well as a marked inability or unwillingness to follow rules or obey laws.  The AJ further found, that while the Individual claims that his involvement with the "sovereign citizen" movement ended in 2014, the Individual has continued to exhibit poor judgment and unwillingness to follow the law by failing to file his Federal and state tax returns from 2009 through 2016. Moreover, despite the fact that the Individual claims to have worked for his present employer (a DOE contractor) since November 2015, Ex. 9 at 12, the AJ found that the Individual continues to have financial issues and admits that he has no plans or intentions to resolve these outstanding debts. The AJ concluded that the Individual has continued to exhibit poor judgment, unreliability, and lack of trustworthiness during the present proceeding, where the Individual has omitted potentially disqualifying information from a QNSP, engaged in deceptive behavior during his PSI, and provided testimony during the hearing that was inconsistent with his previous statements provided during his OPM investigation and PSI. Accordingly, the AJ found that the Individual should not be granted an access authorization. OHA Case No. PSH-20-0004 (Steven L. Fine).