GOP senator wants probe into Biden administration's vetting of non-binary official accused of theft

The former Energy Department nuclear official faces up to 15 years in prison.

Updated: December 14, 2022 - 8:32am

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Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso on Wednesday demanded the Energy Department launch a probe into its security clearance process after the agency fired Sam Brinton.

Brinton, considered to be the first high-ranking, non-binary federal official in U.S. government history, was accused of stealing luggage twice.

"It is clear as day that felons should not hold security clearances," said Barrasso, according to Fox News. "For months, I’ve been demanding answers from the Department of Energy on their failed security clearance process. Secretary [Jennifer] Granholm has provided none."

Brinton, a former nuclear waste official, was dismissed from the agency earlier this month after drawing national attention for allegedly stealing a suitcase worth more than $2,300 and another suitcase worth more than $3,600. Brinton faces up to 15 years in prison.

There is no public information that Brinton had a felony record prior to his hiring last year. And Brinton has not been found guilty in either of the cases of the alleged luggage thefts.

"The department must launch a thorough investigation into the vetting process,” Barrasso also said. “They have to respond to legitimate oversight inquiries. It’s in our national security interest.”