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PSH-12-0039 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

On August 24, 2012, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a Decision finding that the individual’s security clearance should not be granted. A Local DOE Office had referred the individual’s request for a security clearance to administrative review under 10 CFR Part 710 citing the following information as security concerns: (1) an opinion in December 2011 by a DOE psychiatrist that the individual meets the criteria set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, 4th edition, Text Revised (DSM-IV-TR) for Alcohol Dependence, in partial remission; (2) a 2001 charge for public intoxication; and (3) admissions by the individual that he drinks to escape job-related stress; that his wife asked him four to five years ago to stop drinking alcohol; that his drinking to intoxication has negatively impacted his family time because he cannot function; that he is concerned about his ability to respond to an emergency because he uses alcohol to excess; that since 2009 he has been consuming three beers each weekday night, and six beers on Friday and Saturday nights; and that he drinks to intoxication three days during the week and on Fridays and Saturdays.

After considering all the testimonial and documentary evidence in the case, the Hearing Officer found that the individual is enthusiastically embracing his new-found sobriety, is dedicated to his treatment program, and now understands the negative physical, psychological and emotional impact that alcohol had on his life. She determined, however, that only time will tell whether the individual’s enthusiasm will wane, or whether he will succumb to some stressor which might cause him to seek comfort in alcohol. The Hearing Officer also accorded weight to the expert opinion of the DOE psychiatrist who opined that the individual needs one year of sobriety before he would consider him reformed or rehabilitated, and the recommendation of the individual’s treatment center which established a one year-marker as a qualifier to the individual’s receiving a good prognosis.  In the end, the Hearing Officer concluded that it was simply too early in the individual’s recovery to find that he is adequately rehabilitated or reformed from his Alcohol Dependence. For this reason, the Hearing Officer found that the individual had not mitigated the security concerns associated with either criteria raised in the proceeding.