PSH-20-0008 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On January 16, 2020, an Administrative Judge determined that an Individual's access authorization should not be restored under 10 C.F.R. Part 710. In February 2017, the Individual submitted a Questionnaire for National Security Positions (QNSP) on which he disclosed that he had been arrested and charged with DUI in 2013. However, the local security office (LSO) learned that the Individual had failed to disclose two previous DUIs and a citation for driving with an open container of alcohol. The LSO also learned that the Individual had failed to fully disclose his alcohol-related arrests during prior security investigative processes, even after being instructed that he was required to do so. A DOE-contracted Psychologist evaluated the Individual, and diagnosed him with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), Moderate, under the DSM-5 and determined that the Individual habitually consumed alcohol to the point of impaired judgement. At the hearing, the Individual asserted that he did not believe that he was required to disclose alcohol-related offenses if the charges were later reduced and that he found the questions on the QNSP confusing. The Individual also asserted that he had consumed alcohol in moderation for several years, and abstained from alcohol altogether from September 2019 to the date of the hearing. A forensic psychologist who evaluated the Individual testified that he believed that the Individual's AUD was in sustained remission because he had not met any of the diagnostic criteria under the DSM-5 for over one year, and that the Individual  had a low risk of returning to problematic drinking. The DOE Psychologist disagreed, testified that the Individual's prognosis was very poor unless he pursued treatment, and speculated that he met several diagnostic criteria for AUD. The Administrative Judge concluded that the Individual had not resolved the security concerns under Guideline E because he displayed a pattern of omitting criminal conduct during security investigative processes, and relying on the same excuses for his omissions, even after being instructed to fully disclose his arrest record. The Administrative Judge also concluded that, although she did not accept the opinion of the DOE Psychologist, the Individual's episodes of binge drinking and driving while intoxicated, some of which occurred after years of responsible behavior, presented too great of a security concern and that the Individual had not resolved the security concerns under Guidelines G or J. Therefore, the Administrative Judge determined that the Individual's access authorization should not be restored. OHA Case No. PSH-20-0008 (Janet R. H. Fishman).