PSH-20-0066 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

You are here

On October 23, 2020, an Administrative Judge determined that an  Individual's  access authorization should not be granted under  10 C.F.R. Part 710. The Individual is employed by a DOE contractor and is an applicant  for  security  clearance.  The  DOE  obtained  information that the Individual met the diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder under the DSM-5; that a contractor DOE Psychologist determined that the condition impaired the Individual's judgment, reliability, or trustworthiness; and the Individual was previously  hospitalized  for  mental health treatment.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the  Administrative  Judge  found  that  the  information  presented by the DOE justified the LSO's invocation of Guideline I. Next, the Administrative  Judge found that the security concerns associated with Individual's prior hospitalization were mitigated because (1) the  Individual's  inpatient  treatment  and  hospitalization  occurred  when  the Individual was a minor,  (2) there is no indication in the record that the emotional issues that led to the Individual's hospitalization have reoccurred for many years,  and  (3)  the  Individual's Psychiatrist opined that the Individual is stable and has a positive prognosis.

The Administrative Judge then found that the Individual had not mitigated the remaining psychological concerns related to his Autism Spectrum Disorder because (1) the  DOE Psychologist opined at the hearing that the Individual's condition is chronic and placed him at     risk of inadvertently compromising security; (2) absent the testimony of the Individual's Psychologist, critical questions concerning the Individual's progress and status remained unanswered; (3) the Individual's testimony raised doubts about his progress in  learning  appropriate social interactions, and (4) the Administrative Judge remained concerned that the Individual did not possesses sufficient social discernment  and  abstract  thinking  skills  to  act  with the judgment and reliability required of a security clearance holder.

Accordingly, the Administrative Judge found that while the Individual mitigated the security concerns related to his inpatient treatment  for  a  psychological  condition,  he  did  not  mitigate the Guideline  I  security  concerns  associated  with  his  Autism  Spectrum  Disorder. Accordingly, the Administrative Judge concluded that the Individual should  not  be  granted  access  authorization.  OHA  Case  No.  PSH-20-0066 (James  P.  Thompson  III).