PSH-20-0057 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On January 7, 2021, 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. In July 2019, the Individual was subjected to a random breath alcohol test (BAT) as part of his employment. He tested positive for alcohol. Following a two-day suspension, the Individual was again subjected to a BAT, which indicated a result of 0.017%. The Individual attributed this result to his use of mouthwash prior to undergoing the test. Ex. 11. Following these events, the Individual underwent a psychological evaluation by a DOE contractor psychologist (Psychologist) in August 2019. The Psychologist found "insufficient data to support the presence of a diagnosable mental health disorder or condition," but recommended that the Individual remain abstinent for six months. Subsequently, in December 2019, after learning that the Individual reported attending outpatient counseling for the purpose of improving emotional regulation within the context of substance use/abuse relapse prevention, the Psychologist diagnosed the Individual with Alcohol Use, Moderate, in early remission. However, upon learning that the Individual had subsequently consumed alcohol, he removed the diagnostic qualifier of "in early remission." During the hearing, the Individual testified that he had undergone counseling for alcohol, began attending Alcoholics Anonymous, and had remained abstinent from alcohol approximately one year. The Administrative Judge determined that the Psychologist's diagnosis of Alcohol Use Disorder, Moderate, was neither supported nor credible. As such, the Administrative Judge determined that the Individual had resolved the security concerns associated with Guideline E or Guideline G. Accordingly, she concluded that the Individual's access authorization should be restored. OHA Case No. PSH-20-0057 (Katie Quintana).