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PSH-14-0015 - In the Matter of Personnel Security

The individual is employed by a DOE contractor in a position that requires him to hold a DOE security clearance and participate in the Human Reliability Program (HRP).  He has been employed by the DOE contractor for approximately 29 years. As a holder of access authorization, the individual is required to report certain occurrences to the DOE through his employer and, in December 2011, the individual reported that he had been fined $700 under a “super speeder” law for driving 93 miles per hour (mph) in a 55 mph zone. See Ex. 10. When the Local Security Office (LSO) examined the individual’s driving record, it discovered that the individual had numerous traffic violations, most of which were below the reporting threshold  and not previously reported to the DOE by the individual. To address concerns about the individual’s history of traffic violations, the LSO conducted a personnel security interview (PSI) with the individual on March 27, 2012. During that interview the individual volunteered that his taking a defensive driving class and not getting any traffic tickets in the future would demonstrate to the DOE that he had changed his driving habits. Exhibit 9 at 12, 13.

The individual completed a “driver improvement” class one month later, as he had agreed during the 2012 PSI; however, the following year, he received a traffic citation. See Exhibits 6 and 8. The individual reported the new citation promptly after its issuance (and prior to any determination of his culpability or a fine thereunder). Following the individual’s self-report of his 2013 traffic citation, the LSO conducted another PSI with the individual on June 13, 2013. The 2013 PSI focused primarily on the individual’s most recent traffic citation, but also addressed a reprimand the individual had received from his employer in 2010 for negligent operation of a vehicle while performing his work assignments. See Exhibit 4.

Since the PSI did not resolve the security concerns arising from the individual’s driving history or other matters that surfaced during the LSO’s inquiry, the LSO informed the individual in a letter dated January 16, 2014 (Notification Letter), that it possessed reliable information that created substantial doubt regarding his eligibility to hold a security clearance. In an attachment to the Notification Letter, the LSO explained that the derogatory information fell within the purview of two potentially disqualifying criteria set forth in the security regulations at 10 C.F.R. § 710.8, subsections (f) and (l) (hereinafter referred to as Criterion F and Criterion L, respectively).   See Exhibit 1.

Upon his receipt of the Notification Letter, the individual exercised his right under the Part 710 regulations by requesting an administrative review hearing. See Exhibit 2. The Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) appointed me the Administrative Judge in the case and, subsequently, I conducted an administrative hearing in the matter (Hearing). The LSO introduced 58 numbered exhibits into the record of the case and presented the testimony of two witnesses, including that of an LSO personnel security specialist. The individual, represented by counsel, introduced two lettered exhibits (Exhibits A and B) into the record and presented the testimony of two witnesses, including that of himself. The exhibits will be cited in this Decision as “Ex.” followed by the appropriate numeric or alphabetic designation. The hearing transcript in the case will be cited as “Tr.” followed by the relevant page number.

Wade Boswell - Administrative Judge