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PSH-13-0091 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

On October 10, 2013, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a Decision in which she determined that an Individual’s access authorization should be granted.  In reaching this determination, the Hearing Officer found that the Individual had resolved the security concerns raised by the Local Security Office (LSO) under Criterion F arising from his falsification on a 2007 and 2013 Questionnaire for National Security Positions (QNSP).  In 2007, the Individual completed the form without advice or counsel.  He responded negatively to the question regarding his illegal drug use.  In 2011, after working at a DOE facility and understanding the security culture there, the Individual realized he needed to be truthful.  Therefore, when he completed his 2011 QNSP, he indicated that he had used illegal drugs between 1996 and 2007.  In 2012, the Individual entered the administrative review process and was afforded a hearing.  But, the Individual left his DOE employment before a decision was rendered on his access authorization.  In January 2013, in conjunction with his new employment, the Individual completed a third QNSP.  On that QNSP, he again responded “no” to the question regarding whether he had used illegal drugs in the last seven years.  However, in response to another question regarding his investigation and clearance record, the Individual revealed that he previously held a security clearance and that clearance was suspended because he falsified information on his 2007 QNSP.  At the hearing, the Individual admitted that he deliberately lied on the 2007 QNSP.  He stated that he was afraid he would not get the position if he admitted to his drug use.  He stated that he did not deliberately lie on his 2013 QNSP.  He honestly believed that it had been over seven years since he had last used marijuana, although that fact conflicted with information on the 2011 QNSP.  The Hearing Officer found that the Individual did not deliberately falsify the information on the 2013 QNSP.  The Individual did admit to a prior falsification on the 2013 QNSP and seemed surprised that it had been less than seven years since his last admitted marijuana use.  However, the Hearing Officer did find that he deliberately lied about his marijuana use on the 2007 QNSP.  But, he mitigated that concern by coming forward on his own initiative to correct the falsification prior to being confronted with it; the falsification appeared to be unlikely to recur; the Individual acknowledged his falsification; and by admitting to his drug use has take positive steps to reduce or eliminate his vulnerability to exploitation, manipulation, or duress.  After considering the whole person concept and all the evidence, the Hearing Officer found that the Individual mitigated the security concern.  Therefore, the Hearing Officer concluded that the Individual’s access authorization should be granted.

Janet Fishman - Hearing Officer