(FreedomBeacon.com)- Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso is calling for a full investigation into the security clearance process of the Department of Energy.
This urging comes after Sam Brinton, a former nuclear waste official at the DOE, was fired from the agency after Brinton was charged with stealing luggage at airports two different times. Brinton, who is non-binary, is facing significant time in prison as a result.
Barrasso is the chair of the Senate Republican Conference and also serves as the ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He said recently that he wants answers from the DOE as a whole, and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm specifically, about how the agency vets appointees and employees.
Barrasso has said that Granholm has ignored requests he’s made in the past for information on repeated occasions. He told Fox News Digital this week:
“It is clear as day that felons should not hold security clearances. For months, I’ve been demanding answers from the Department of Energy on their failed security clearance process. Secretary Granholm has provided none.
“When people are appointed to critical positions with important national security responsibilities, Americans must be confident they can be trusted. The department must launch a thorough investigation into the vetting process. They have to respond to legitimate oversight inquiries. It’s in our national security interest.”
Brinton was serving as the deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel and waste position since back in June. The DOE confirmed recently that Brinton was no longer with the agency, but a spokesperson wouldn’t provide any further details about it, claiming the agency isn’t allowed to “comment further on personnel matters.”
Brinton faces spending 15 years in jail for stealing luggage.
Back in October, Brinton was charged with stealing a suitcase from a baggage carousel at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. That incident, which took place September 16, involved a suitcase that was valued at $2,325.
Just last week, Brinton was further charged with grand larceny, after police alleged that Brinton stole another bag from the carousel at Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport back in July. That bag had a value of $3,670.
From the luggage at the Las Vegas airport, Brinton also stole jewelry that had a value of $1,700, clothing that was worth $850 and makeup that was worth $500.
Law enforcement officials say that Brinton exhibited similar behavior both times when taking the bags. Security footage in both cases shows Brinton approaching baggage carousel, looking around quickly, grabbing the suitcases and then hurrying away.
Police in Las Vegas closed their case in July because they weren’t able to confirm the identity of the suspect. But, the case was re-opened recently after they saw media reports about the alleged theft Brinton did in Minnesota.
Brinton initially denied any wrongdoing when contacted by a police officer at the MSP airport, saying:
“If I had taken the wrong bag, I am happy to return it, but I don’t have any clothes for another individual. That was my clothes when I opened the bag.”
Brinton subsequently called that officer back only a few hours later. Brinton apologized for not being “completely honest” and blamed the entire incident on being tired.