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Summary of Decisions - March 31, 2014 – April 4, 2014

April 4, 2014 - 1:42pm


Personnel Security (10 CFR Part 710)

On March 31, 2014, an Administrative Judge issued a decision in which he concluded that an individual’s authorization access should be granted.  During his application for access authorization and the subsequent investigation, the individual disclosed that he twice attempted suicide in 2011 during a period in which his marriage was dissolving; both suicide attempts were preceded by consumption of alcohol. A DOE consulting psychiatrist evaluated the individual and concluded that in late 2011 the individual had suffered from Alcohol Abuse, which at the time of the evaluation was in full sustained remission. However, the psychiatrist also opined that the individual was continuing to consume alcohol habitually to excess, without adequate evidence of rehabilitation or reformation. The psychiatrist recommended six months of abstinence, combined with an outpatient treatment program and participation in self-help meetings. The individual, who had not been intoxicated since June 2013, began to abstain from alcohol on November 9, 2013, completed an alcohol treatment and education program through his facility’s employee assistance program and, as of the date of the hearing, had participated in Alcoholics Anonymous for three months. He stated that he did not intend to consume alcohol in the future. At the hearing, the DOE psychiatrist additionally noted the viable support network established by the individual, the ease with which he had established and maintained his abstinence and the insights from AA incorporated in the individual’s testimony. The DOE psychiatrist testified that he believed that the individual had demonstrated adequate rehabilitation and reformation with respect to his excessive use of alcohol and no longer had an illness or mental condition that could cause a significant defect in his reliability or judgment. In light of the foregoing, the Administrative Judge found that the individual had mitigated the security concerns arising from his prior alcohol misuse and that his security clearance should be granted.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0127 (Wade M. Boswell)

On April 1, 2013, an OHA Administrative Judge (AJ) issued a decision in which she concluded that the DOE should restore an individual’s suspended DOE access authorization.  A DOE Operations Office suspended an individual’s security clearance and referred him to administrative review, citing as security concerns issues pertaining to the individual’s use of alcohol, including the opinion of a DOE consultant-psychologist individual was a user of alcohol habitually to excess, as well as the individual’s past arrests and citations.  After conducting a hearing and evaluating the documentary and testimonial evidence, the AJ determined that the individual had adequately mitigated the security concerns.  The AJ found that the individual acknowledged his alcohol problem and took steps to address it by becoming an active participant in Alcoholics Anonymous – attending several meetings per week, working closely with a sponsor, and working the program’s 12 steps.  In addition, the individual, having committed to abstinence from alcohol, demonstrated seven months of abstinence from alcohol, and the DOE consultant-psychologist opined that he was unlikely to drink to intoxication in the future.  In addition, the AJ concluded that the concerns raised by the individual’s past arrests and citations were mitigated by the passage of time and the individual’s increased maturity in the years since the arrests.  Consequently, the AJ determined that the individual presented evidence to fully resolve the security concerns and, therefore, the DOE should restore his suspended DOE access authorization.  OHA Case No. PSH-14-0002 (Diane DeMoura)