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

September 13, 2013 - 8:41am


Personnel Security Hearing (10 CFR Part 710)

On September 12, 2013, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a decision in which he concluded the DOE should not restore an individual’s access authorization.   A Local Security Office (LSO) raised certain concerns regarding the individual’s use of alcohol, citing a diagnosis by a DOE psychologist that the individual had suffered from Alcohol Dependence, which since had attenuated to Alcohol Abuse; the recommendation of the individual’s primary care physician that the individual stop consuming alcohol and the physician’s diagnoses of alcoholism, alcoholic hepatitis, liver damage, and type 2 diabetes; and statements by the individual regarding his use of alcohol and efforts at recovery, including a statement to his physician that he was drinking six beers per day.  After conducting a hearing and evaluating the documentary and testimonial evidence, the Hearing Officer found that the individual had not presented sufficient evidence to mitigate these security concerns.  The individual had abstained from the use of alcohol for the three to four months preceding the hearing, far less than the one year of abstinence recommended by the DOE psychologist.  Although the individual testified that he attended a church-based recovery program approximately every other week, there was no evidence that he engaged a particular course of treatment within that program and no evidence by which to gauge his progress in recovery.  Having heard the testimony and other evidence presented by the individual, the DOE psychologist testified that, with the removal of pressure of the present proceeding and without the necessary support provided by appropriate treatment, the individual would be at a high risk of relapse.  The Hearing Officer agreed with this assessment and concluded that the individual had not resolved the security concerns raised in the case.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0063 (Steven J. Goering, H.O.)

Freedom of Information Act Appeal (FOIA)

On September 10, 2013, OHA issued a decision denying an appeal (Appeal) from a FOIA determination issued by the DOE’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI). The Appellant, Shawn R. Hughes, contested the adequacy of OSTI’s search of records, and also argued that the Office of Information Resources (OIR) should have transferred his FOIA request to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Sandia National Laboratory (SNL) to conduct a search for records. After the Appeal was filed, OIR informed OHA that it transferred the Appellant’s FOIA request to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for further processing as the NNSA has jurisdiction over LLNL and SNL.  Moreover, OSTI explained that it conducted a search using the terms in the FOIA request, of its classified and unclassified databases.  OHA determined that OSTI’s search for responsive records was reasonable, and therefore denied the Appeal.  OHA Case No. FIA-13-0057