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Summary of Decisions - January 27, 2014 – January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014 - 10:19am

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Personnel Security (10 CFR Part 710)

On January 31, 2014, an OHA Administrative Judge issued a decision in which he concluded that an individual’s security clearance should not be restored.  A Local Security Office began an investigation of an individual’s eligibility for access authorization after the individual failed a field sobriety test (BAC of .10 to .11) following a minor automobile accident and was subsequently arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. The DOE consulting psychologist evaluated the individual and concluded that she (a) was a user of alcohol habitually to excess without adequate evidence of reformation or rehabilitation, and (b) met the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder – Mild which causes a significant defect in her judgment and reliability.  The LSO therefore suspended the individual’s access authorization. The individual acknowledges that she has consumed alcohol daily since 1986 and has consumed 20 ounces of wine daily for at least 15 years. Her own forensic psychologist acknowledged while testifying that her consumption was in “excess” and problematic for her future health; less than a month prior to the hearing, she consulted an addiction medicine specialist whose written report includes his clinical impression that she meets the DSM-IV-TR criteria for Alcohol Dependence; and she commenced an intensive alcohol treatment program one week prior to the hearing and relapsed on the fourth day. As of the date of the hearing the individual had been abstinent from alcohol for a mere four days. Under these circumstances, the Administrative Judge found that the conclusions of the DOE consulting psychologist were reasonable and supported by the record and that the individual had not mitigated the security concerns associated with her use of alcohol.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0113 (Wade M. Boswell)

On January 29, 2014, an Administrative Judge issued a decision in which he determined that an individual’s access authorization should be restored. In reaching this determination, the Administrative Judge found that the individual had resolved security concerns arising from her recent arrest for Facilitation of the Manufacture or Sale of illegal drugs and Child Neglect, the arrest of two of her sons at the individual’s residence on various illegal drug charges, and her 17-year old daughter’s recent arrest for possession of marijuana. At the hearing, the individual offered evidence that both charges against her were dropped by the local prosecutor, both of her sons who were arrested in her residence no longer live there, and upon learning that her daughter was using marijuana, she had placed her daughter in a treatment facility. In addition, the individual presented witnesses to establish that she had not had any involvement with illegal drugs during the prior 20 years and that, before their arrest, she had instructed her children not to be involved with illegal drugs or conduct activities with illegal drugs at her residence. Consequently, the Administrative Judge found that the individual had resolved the security concerns.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0116 (Richard Cronin)

On January 30, 2014, an Administrative Judge issued a decision in which he determined that an individual’s access authorization should not be restored. In reaching this determination, the Administrative Judge found that the individual had not resolved security concerns regarding his multiple usages of marijuana while holding a security clearance, his violation of a Drug Certification, and his omission of significant information from a 2011 personnel security questionnaire (QNSP). The Administrative Judge rejected the individual’s argument that the drug usage was not illegal because it occurred in a state where marijuana usage was legalized, and he further determined that there was insufficient evidence of rehabilitation from that marijuana usage. He also concluded that the individual’s omission of significant information from his QNSP, and his repeated violations of DOE security guidelines and of his Drug Certification cast into serious doubt his judgment, reliability and trustworthiness.  Consequently, the Administrative Judge found that the individual’s clearance should not be restored. OHA Case No. PSH-13-0118 (Robert B. Palmer)

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Appeal

On January 28, 2104, OHA issued a decision denying a FOIA appeal (Appeal) of determination issued by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).  The Appellant appealed NNSA’s search for responsive documents, and further argued that other DOE offices should have conducted a search for responsive documents. NNSA informed OHA that the Office of Nonproliferation and International Security (NIS) had conducted a search for documents, but that it could not locate any documents. OHA was satisfied that, based on NNSA’s explanation, NIS would have had the documents that the Appellant requested and had conducted a reasonable search to uncover relevant documents. Finally, OHA contacted the Office of Information Resources (OIR) to inquire about whether or not other DOE Offices would search for responsive documents, and OIR then forwarded the Appellant’s FOIA Request to the Office of Legacy Management and the Office of History and Heritage Resources. Those searches are still pending. Thus, OHA denied the Appeal, concluding that NNSA’s search for responsive documents was adequate.  OHA Case No. FIA-14-0004 
 

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