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PSH-13-0057 - In the Matter of Personnel Security

On August 28, 2013, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a decision in which he concluded that an individual’s security clearance should not be restored.  A Local Security Office suspended the individual’s security clearance because the individual had been diagnosed with alcohol dependence, opioid abuse, and major depression.  His behavior—taking as many as 12 hydrocodone pills with 18 to 24 beers on weekend days to cope with his depression—raised security concerns under Criteria H (mental conditions that cause or may cause a significant defect in judgment or reliability), J (alcohol dependence) and K (misuse of a controlled substance), as well as raising the concern that he was an unlawful user of a controlled substance in violation of DOE security requirements and barred from holding a security clearance under 50 U.S.C. Section 435c (the Bond Amendment).  After conducting a hearing and evaluating the documentary and testimonial evidence, the Hearing Officer found that the individual had not presented sufficient evidence to resolve these security concerns.  Specifically, he found that, though the individual had been abstinent since late November 2012 and had been actively engaged in treatment for all three conditions since early December 2012, he, the DOE psychiatrist, and the individual’s treating counselor all agreed that, under these particular circumstances, the individual’s seven months of abstinence and treatment was not adequate evidence of rehabilitation from those conditions, and consequently that the risk of relapse remained unacceptably high.  He therefore concluded that the individual had not mitigated concerns raised by his alcohol dependence, opioid abuse, and depression, and that the Bond Amendment barred him from holding a security clearance.

William Schwartz - Hearing Officer