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Update on DOE's Curious Security Clearance Case

Yesterday we wrote about the case of Moniem El-Ganayni, a nuclear physicist who lost his job with a Department of Energy contractor after his security clearance was revoked by the government under curious circumstances. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported, the decision seems to have been related to El-Ganayni's moonlighting activities as an imam, though it's impossible to know since -- in the oddest part of the case -- the government refused to give El-Ganayni a hearing or any explanation about why his security was revoked. (Here is the Department of Energy’s declaration explaining that any such hearing would put national security at risk.)

Today we caught up with El-Ganayni's lawyer. "What's really puzzling for my client is he has absolutely no idea why it's happening," said Vic Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. "No one has ever alleged that he's abused classified information. The only thing known is that he has been critical of U.S. foreign policy and that he's Muslim. And lo-and-behold they take his clearance, and 'we're not even going to tell you why.' As they do so often, they invoke national security because you know -- it's a show stopper."    

We also contacted the Department of Energy, though they were not exactly Chatty Cathys. "This is a personnel security matter for which the Department has no public comment," a DOE spokeswoman told us. 

Walczak says El-Ganayni is planning to sue. We'll let you know what happens.


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