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Summary of Decisions - December 9, 2013 – December 13, 2013

December 13, 2013 - 2:05pm


Personnel Security Hearing (10 CFR Part 710)

On December 12, 2013, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a decision in which she determined that an individual’s access authorization should not be granted.  In reaching this determination, the Hearing Officer found that the individual had not resolved the security concerns arising from her financial irregularities.  In May 2013, the individual was interviewed by her Local Security Office regarding her twelve outstanding debts totaling $62,412.  She subsequently satisfied six of those outstanding debts.  At the hearing, the individual testified that six debts still remained.  She stated that she was attempting to “save” money before contacting the creditors regarding payment.  However, the budget she provided showed a monthly surplus of $1,300.  Because she had made no attempt to contact the six creditors to set up a payment plan and the individual appeared unconcerned about her financial obligations, the Hearing Officer found that the individual had not mitigated the concern raised by her outstanding debts.  Therefore, the Hearing Officer concluded that the individual’s request for access authorization should not be granted.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0098 (Janet R. H. Fishman)

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Appeals

On December 9, 2013, OHA issued a decision granting in part a FOIA Appeal filed by Greg Marlowe of a determination issued by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  Mr. Marlowe filed a request for documents concerning a patent awarded to W.F. Libby for his work involving uranium enrichment. In an April 25, 2013, determination, NARA provided responsive documents, but withheld portions of seven documents on the basis of Exemption 3, which the DOE claimed after reviewing them.  Because Exemption 3 protects from disclosure information that is properly identified as Restricted Data (RD) pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, we referred this Appeal to the Office of Health, Safety and Security for a review.  That Office determined that some of the information previously withheld under Exemption 3 was properly identified as RD, and therefore should continue to be withheld from public disclosure under Exemption 3 of the FOIA.  It also determined that some of the information initially withheld did not qualify for protection under Exemption 3, and provided newly redacted versions of the seven documents in which it released some previously withheld information.  Accordingly, Mr. Marlowe's Appeal was granted in part and denied in part. OHA Case No. FIC-13-0001

On December 10, 2013, OHA issued a decision denying a FOIA Appeal of a determination issued by the DOE Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (IN).  The Appellant, Kristopher Fair, contested IN’s search for responsive documents and appealed IN’s invocation of Exemptions 1, 3 and 6.  This decision only concerned the adequacy of search, Exemption 6 and Exemption 3 to the extent that it was invoked pursuant to the National Security Act.  In reviewing the appeal, OHA determined that IN conducted an adequate search for documents, and that Exemptions 3 and 6 were properly invoked as the redacted information included classified and sensitive unclassified information, and the sources and names of individuals involved in the production of sensitive intelligence information and production.  Thus, OHA denied the Appeal.  OHA Case No. FIA-13-0071