On June 19, 2014, an OHA Administrative Judge issued a decision finding that the DOE should restore the individual’s security clearance after she determined that the individual had mitigated the security concerns associated with his wife’s close and continuing contact with family members in a foreign country, his connections to foreign nationals, and some allegiance issues relating to him.
The Administrative Judge first held that evidence in the record supported a finding that the individual’s wife would not put the interests of her parents and brother residing in the foreign country above the interests of the U.S. She was persuaded by the wife’s testimony that she would not compromise national security even if the lives of her parents were threatened by the government of foreign country. She found compelling the wife’s testimony regarding her commitment to American values and traditions and her allegiance to the U.S. In the end, the Administrative Judge found the wife to be an earnest person whose life revolves around her husband and children, her work with the DOE contractor, and her community in the U.S.
Second, the Administrative Judge found credible the individual’s testimony that if anyone, including his wife, asked him for protected U.S. information, he would immediately report the request to the DOE contractor. The Administrative Judge noted corroborating testimony by a co-worker, former manager, and group leader to support the individual’s contentions that he has a very strong sense of duty, is a person who takes rules seriously, and is so psychologically strong that he cannot be susceptible to blackmail, coercion or exploitation or duress that my cause him to act contrary to the best interests of the national security.
Next, the Administrative Judge found that the evidence in this case is that the individual was compelled by virtue of his then citizenship in the foreign country to serve in the military of that country, or to be educated to do so. She pointed out that once the individual had renounced his citizenship in the foreign country, he returned to the foreign country and personally “de-registered” from military duty.
The Administrative Judge also determined that the individual’s work in another foreign country predated his obtaining U.S. citizenship. While she found that it was true that the individual was motivated to take the job in the second foreign country because he feared that the DOE contractor might lose funding, she held that he had elected to take a leave of absence from the DOE contractor rather than terminate his employment there. If anything, the individual’s short tenure with the employer in the second foreign country seemed to strengthen his desire to remain in the U.S. and seek U.S. citizenship. In the end, the Administrative Judge held that the individual’s decision to seek employment in 2009 in the second foreign country at a time when he was still a citizen of the first foreign country does not currently reflect on his allegiance to the U.S. government.
The Administrative Judge found that the individual’s relationship with his parents and sister is currently strained, with only minimal contact among them. Based on the nature of the individual’s relationship with his parents and his sister, she determined that it is unlikely that he will be susceptible to exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure or coercion by them.
The Administrative Judge also determined, based on her evaluation of the individual and his witnesses’ demeanor and credibility, that the individual’s devotion to his children, his work, and the U.S. are so strong that he will resolve any conflict that might arise in favor of the U.S. She also noted that the evidence is replete with references to the individual’s loyalty to the U.S. government, and his strong sense of ethics and duty. In the end, she concluded that individual’s “heart and mind” are allied with the U.S. and that if he is ever faced with the choice of deciding between the interests of the U.S. and that of his foreign national family or his place of birth, he will choose the U.S. interests.
Accordingly, the Administrative Judge concluded that the Individual had resolved all the security concerns at issue.
Ann S. Augustyn - Administrative Judge