Disgraced Nuclear Official’s Security Clearance Doesn’t Add Up, Professionals Say

Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for The Trevor Project

James Lynch Investigative Reporter
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Former officials in multiple presidential administrations are questioning how disgraced genderfluid Biden Energy Department official Sam Brinton received a high level security clearance.

An outspoken LGBTQ activist who goes by they/them pronouns, Brinton was appointed in February and was the first genderfluid person to hold a federal leadership role. Brinton was fired, however, after allegedly stealing luggage at airports in Minnesota and Las Vegas. The former official now faces a felony charge for the alleged theft in Minneapolis, while Vegas authorities have issued a grand larceny charge.   (RELATED: Biden Nonbinary Nuke Official Out Of A Job After Alleged Luggage Thefts)

Inconsistencies in Brinton’s origin story were highlighted by news site LGBTQ Nation, pointing to a lack of transparency and differing accounts given by Brinton’s since Brinton first rose to prominence as an LGBTQ activist in 2010.

A former Justice Department Official in the Environment and Natural Resources Division told the Daily Caller it’s possible due diligence on Brinton was sidestepped over concerns about discrimination law and public accusations of discrimination against an LGBTQ person. Such an action would be irresponsible, the former official said, as Brinton’s position within the Energy Department requires comprehensive knowledge of America’s nuclear secrets and extra vetting known as a Q clearance, which can take months to obtain if the bureaucratic process is not expedited.

Brinton’s professed past trauma would also factor into the hiring process, unless the individual had been declared healed, a former White House personnel official for four presidential administrations told the Daily Caller.

Brinton’s New York Times 2018 op-ed disclosing a traumatic upbringing would have been caught by any prior administration’s White House Research Team, rendering Brinton unfit for a political appointment, the former official explained to the Daily Caller. In the piece, Brinton claimed to have been tortured in a gay conversion therapy clinic for over two years, which included having electricity, ice and heat applied to the body to associate images of gay men with pain.

Brinton’s status as a non-presidential appointee indicates the security clearance process was conducted by the Energy Department, not the Biden administration, the former official explained. Concerns about discrimination against the individual would only be discovered if they were previously published or they came up in reference calls or social media, the former official clarified.

Brinton served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition (NE-8) in the Department of Energy (DoE). Brinton’s archived employee bio says Brinton led and oversaw “programs including the Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Science and Technology and the Office of Integrated Waste Management. ” The NE-8 office “manages ongoing research and development related to long-term disposition of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste,” according to the DoE. (RELATED: Biden Nonbinary Nuke Official Out Of A Job After Alleged Luggage Thefts)

The rigorous process for obtaining a security clearance requires disclosing information going back at least 10 years. Subject matter can include financial information and mental health matters to ensure a federal employee is trustworthy and will not be subject to blackmail, the former Justice Department official said. The process is centered around the SF-86 form, a 127 page questionnaire for national security positions applicants can fill out sequentially through an online system. For a non-confirmation position, applicants typically get interviewed by a former FBI agent as part of the process.

The Q clearance is designated as critical sensitive and its access authorization is similar to Top Secret security clearances given by other agencies. Individuals with Q authorization are subject to investigations every five years that are more rigorous than a typical security clearance, the DoE website says.

The Department of Energy did not respond to a request for comment by the Daily Caller. Brinton could not be reached for comment.