PSH-20-0039 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On December 28, 2020, an Administrative Judge determined that an individual's access authorization under 10 C.F.R. Part 710 should not be granted. The Individual is employed by a DOE contractor in a position that requires her to hold a DOE security clearance. In November of 2018, the Individual completed an Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) and revealed that, in 2010, she voluntarily sought treatment for the use of narcotics and presently remained in treatment. In March 2019, the Individual underwent an interview by the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB). The interviewer reported that the Individual began taking the medication, Suboxone, in 2010 in order to " avoid opiate withdrawals." According to the NBIB report, the Individual explained to the interviewer that "there are emphatic warnings about mixing [Suboxone] with alcohol" as "it can be fatal." Despite having this information, the Individual reported that, although she had decreased her alcohol consumption, she continued to consume alcohol. In response to this information, a DOE consulting psychologist (DOE Psychologist) evaluated the Individual in September 2019. The DOE Psychologist determined that laboratory results show that the Individual is habitually consuming alcohol to the point of impaired judgment without adequate evidence of rehabilitation or reformation. The DOE Psychologist recommended that the Individual abstain from alcohol for a minimum of 12 months, submit to random alcohol testing, attend psychotherapy, and participate in Alcoholics Anonymous, or a similar program, for a minimum of 12 months. During the hearing the Individual testified that she had not been abstinent from alcohol and did not believe it was problematic to consume alcohol while using Suboxone. After reviewing the evidence and observing all of the testimony at the hearing, the DOE Psychologist noted that the Individual had not adequately followed his treatment recommendations, and he added that the Individual's choice to consume alcohol against medical recommendations, along with her decision to ignore his recommendations, raises questions about her judgment. The Administrative Judge determined that the Individual had not resolved the security concerns associated with Guideline G. Accordingly, she concluded that the Individual's access authorization should not be granted. OHA Case No. PSH-20-0039 (Katie Quintana).