PSH-20-0025 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On March 23, 2020, an Administrative Judge (AJ) determined that an individual's access authorization under 10 C.F.R. Part 710 should not be granted. In late 2018, the Individual was placed on a temporary work restriction, requiring that he abstain from alcohol consumption. The Individual self-reported the use of alcohol, and his employer took disciplinary actions in response. The Individual subsequently tested positive for alcohol two different times and was placed on leave. Based on the information gathered during the Investigation, the Local Security Office (LSO) requested the Individual undergo a psychiatric assessment. The Psychiatrist diagnosed the Individual with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), Mild, and opined that the Individual was not in full sustained remission because he continued to exhibit at least one symptom of AUD: continued occupational impairment. The Individual also has a history of alcohol-related criminal offenses. The Individual has since successfully completed a treatment program and is actively participating in AA. He has demonstrated a clear pattern of abstinence. However, he has only abstained from alcohol use for six months, rather than the 12 month period recommended by the Psychiatrist. As the Individual had not yet shown a pattern of abstinence as he had only been abstinent for six-months at the time of the hearing, the AJ could not find that the Individual had established a pattern of modified consumption or abstinence. Accordingly, the Individual did not resolve guideline G alcohol concerns.

On August 1, 2018, the Individual submitted a Questionnaire for National Security Positions (QNSP) to the LSO, and disclosed a total of fourteen criminal offenses that took place from 1992 to 2018. Further, the Individual indicated during his interview that at one point, he was using marijuana on a daily basis and buying marijuana on a weekly basis. There was some evidence of successful rehabilitation of the Individual with regard to his criminal history, no evidence that the Individual was coerced into committing criminal acts, and since his last offense occurred approximately two years ago, it could not be established that these incidents happened under unusual circumstances or were unlikely to recur. As substance abuse was one of the root causes of his criminal behavior, and the Administrative Judge was not yet convinced that the Individual can maintain his sobriety, the Administrative Judge was not convinced the Individual was rehabilitated to the extent that he could conclude that granting security clearance would not endanger the common defense and would be clearly consistent with the national interest. Accordingly, the Guideline J concerns were not sufficiently mitigated.

The Individual also stated during the investigation that he failed to comply with Federal and state tax laws beginning in April 2013, when his Federal and state tax returns for Tax Year 2012 were due, and has continued into the recent past. At the time of the hearing, the Individual had not filed any of his delinquent returns, even though he testified that the returns for two of the outstanding tax years had been fully prepared and that he has engaged the services of a professional. Since the Individual did not submit evidence showing that he had filed these returns, he did not show that he had fully resolved the security concerns arising under Guideline F. OHA Case No. PSH-20-0025 (Steven Fine).