A thorough review of investigation documents and a complete and accurate adjudication of the contents of the investigative material are essential elements in determining an individuals eligibility for access to classified information or access to Government facilities. Alcohol is a socially and legally accepted beverage around the world, but excessive consumption leads to poor judgment and raises questions about an individual’s reliability and trustworthiness. Adjudicative guideline G, Alcohol Consumption, covers an array of conduct, behavior and actions that could reflect negatively on an individuals ability to protect classified information. In this case, the applicant had criminal conduct concerns, as well as alcohol issues, thanks to an alcohol-related probation.
Alcohol Consumption and Personal Conduct – Case No. 14-03887
Applicant is a 30-year-old mobile assistant station manager for a defense contractor. In October 2014, the Department of Defense Consolidated Adjudication Facility (DoDCAF) issued a Statement of Reasons (SOR) alleging security concerns under Guidelines E and G. The applicant answered the SOR in October 2014, providing six exhibits, and requested a hearing before a Department of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) Administrative Judge (AJ). The hearing was held via video teleconference due to her overseas location.
The SOR alleged the applicant was charged with four alcohol-related incidents between December 2009 and January 2011 and an incident involving failure to comply with police/fire fighter and obstructing law enforcement in August 2009. The SOR also alleged that the applicant provided false or misleading information to the background investigator in June 2013. Prior to the hearing opening statements, the DOHA Department Counsel withdrew two of the Alcohol Consumption allegations and the Personal Conduct allegations.
The background investigation and the applicant’s testimony revealed that the applicant began drinking alcohol at age 17 and by age 21, was frequently engaged in binge drinking. In August 2009, she was arrested for making false statements and obstruction of law enforcement. She had consumed alcohol and become intoxicated. She called police and reported she had been attacked. When police arrived, she denied making the call and was verbally abusive to the responding officer. She was arrested, held for two days and released without any charges filed. In December 2009, she was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). Her blood-alcohol content was .28. She subsequently pled guilty and was placed on two years’ probation. In November 2010, she was arrested for DUI. She refused roadside sobriety and breathalyzer tests. She was subsequently granted deferred prosecution, ordered to attend an intensive inpatient program for alcohol dependency, and placed on four year’s supervised probation, including a five-year interlock requirement for her vehicle. In January 2011, the applicant entered a two-year outpatient program and was diagnosed as alcohol dependent. She completed the program and claims she has been abstinent from alcohol since November 2010.
The AJ decided that the applicant’s favorable completion of alcohol counseling, and passage of time since her alcohol-related incidents and involvement with law enforcement officials mitigate the security concerns cited in the SOR. The AJ concluded that the applicant is eligible for a security clearance.
Based on the information available on the DOHA website, the SOR issued by the DoDCAF was significantly in error. The applicant apparently had five documented incidents of involvement with law enforcement officials and was on supervised probation at the time when the SOR was issued, so adjudicative guideline H, Criminal Conduct, should have been cited in the SOR. Additionally, I disagree with the AJ’s decision. The AJ reported that the applicant remained on probation at the time of the decision. Evidence of rehabilitation exists and mitigates the alcohol consumption concerns. However, the fact that she remains on probation reflects that the criminal court judge does not consider her rehabilitation complete and this fact should be strongly considered in this decision. Note that she was not represented by an attorney in this matter. Sound legal assistance may have affected a release from probation and helped totally resolve the security concerns.