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Summary of Decisions - August 19, 2013 - August 23, 2013

August 23, 2013 - 9:23am

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Personnel Security Hearing (10 CFR Part 710)

On August 22, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a decision in which she concluded that an individual’s security clearance should be restored.  In January and March 2013, as part of a background investigation, the local security office (LSO) conducted a personnel security interview (PSI) of the individual to address concerns about the individual’s pattern of criminal conduct.  After conducting a hearing and evaluating the documentary and testimonial evidence, the Hearing Officer found that the individual had presented adequate evidence to mitigate the security concerns associated with his alleged involvement in illegal gaming, and with his two charges of Driving While Intoxicated both of which occurred more than 15 years ago.  Accordingly, the Hearing Officer concluded that the individual’s security clearance should be restored.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0060 (Kimberly Jenkins-Chapman, H.O.)

On August 22, 2013, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a decision in which she concluded that the DOE should not restore an individual’s suspended DOE access authorization.  A DOE Operations Office referred the individual administrative review citing as security concerns issues pertaining to the individual’s use of alcohol, including the results of a random alcohol screening at his workplace, on which the individual registered an unacceptably high breath alcohol content, as well as the diagnosis of alcohol abuse by a DOE psychologist.  The Operations Office also cited as a security concern the DOE psychologist’s opinion that the individual had certain personality traits or behaviors which caused, or may cause a significant defect in his judgment or reliability.  Following the hearing, at which the individual testified on his own behalf, but presented no additional testimonial or documentary evidence, the Hearing Officer determined that the individual had failed to mitigate the security concerns.  Specifically, the Hearing Officer found the individual presented no evidence that he was rehabilitated from either his personality-related psychological condition or his excessive consumption of alcohol and related alcohol abuse diagnosis.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0061 (Diane DeMoura, H.O.)

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Appeal

On August 19, 2013, OHA issued decision granting in part an Appeal filed by Dow Jones & Co. (the Appellant) of a FOIA determination issued by the DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE).  The request sought information concerning eight specific “OE-417 Electric Emergency and Disturbance events in 2011 and 2012.”  On June 24, 2013, OE issued a determination letter releasing eight documents to the Appellant.  However, OE withheld portions of these documents under FOIA Exemption 4.  The Appellant contended that OE’s withholdings under Exemption 4 were improper, and that the search for responsive documents conducted in response to its request was inadequate. OHA determined that the OE had failed to adequately justify its withholdings and had failed to explain why the determination letter identified eight documents as responsive to the request when the search apparently located 16 responsive documents.  Accordingly, OHA remanded portions of the Appeal to the OE.  OHA Case No. FIA-13-0054

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