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PSH-12-0110 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

On November 16, 2012, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a Decision in which she concluded that an individual should be granted DOE access authorization. A DOE Operations Office referred an applicant for a security clearance to administrative review under 10 C.F.R. Part 710, citing as security concerns issues pertaining to the individual’s use of alcohol, including the opinion of a DOE consultant-psychiatrist that the individual was a user of alcohol habitually to excess. The individual requested a hearing before an OHA Hearing Officer. After conducting a hearing and evaluating the documentary and testimonial evidence, the Hearing Officer determined that the individual mitigated the security concerns. The Hearing Officer found that the individual acknowledged his alcohol problem and demonstrated five and one-half months of abstinence from alcohol, longer than the three months recommended by the DOE psychologist. The Hearing Officer was also unconvinced by the DOE psychologist’s testimony at the hearing regarding whether the individual had demonstrated adequate evidence of rehabilitation and reformation. In this regard, the Hearing Officer was not persuaded by the DOE psychologist’s testimony that (1) the individual had not provided evidence that he could control his drinking because he did not resume drinking alcohol in moderation after three months of abstinence, and (2) two social occasions on which the individual considering drinking but chose not to do so equated to “cravings” indicating that the individual is reliant upon alcohol. Consequently, the Hearing Officer determined that the individual mitigated the security concerns and the DOE should grant him a security clearance.