PSH-20-0038 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On December 30, 2020, an Administrative Judge determined that an Individual's access authorization under 10 C.F.R. Part 710 should be restored. The Individual is employed by a DOE contractor in a position that requires him to hold a DOE security clearance. The Local Security Office (LSO) received potentially derogatory information regarding the Individual's alcohol consumption. Under Guideline G, the LSO alleged that (1) the DOE Psychologist diagnosed the Individual with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), Moderate; (2) the Individual consumed an average of five to eight beers on a daily basis from 1993 to 2018; and (3) the Individual has a history of involvement with law enforcement in the 1990s as a result of alcohol consumption. At the hearing, the Individual and seven other witnesses testified. The first two witnesses, the Individual's colleagues, testified to the Individual's good professional reputation. Another colleague testified that the Individual has chosen not to attend his game nights in order to avoid environments in which alcohol is typically consumed. The Individual and his wife testified to a strong support system, their desire to remain abstinent, ongoing therapy, the Individual's treatment, and their efforts to avoid triggering environments and situations. Both the Individual's Expert and the DOE Psychologist provided the opinion that the Individual has been reformed or rehabilitated. The Individual's Expert further testified that the Individual has complied with the established recovery program and has developed the skills to not only avoid relapse, but to reinitiate abstinence in the event of relapse. The Individual's AA sponsor confirmed that the Individual is on step 12 of the program and that the Individual continues to participate despite the ongoing pandemic. He further testified that the Individaul has a desire to change his life and is even ready to sponsor someone himself. Most compelling, the DOE Psychologist stated that he felt the Individual's chances for relapse are low and that his prognosis is good. Based on credible testimony from lay witnesses, the Individual, and two experts, the Administrative Judge concluded that the Individual had mitigated all security concerns stated in the Notification Letter. The Administrative Judge therefore concludes that the Individual's access authorization should be restored. OHA Case No. PSH-20-0038 (Janet Fishman).