US nuclear official fired after being accused of stealing luggage from airport
A top nuclear waste official was fired by the Department of Energy after the Biden administration came under fire following allegations of a string of luggage thefts.
Sam Brinton who identifies as non-binary and served as deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Energy’s Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition, was charged in two separate incidents of stealing suitcases from US airports.
A Department of Energy spokesperson said: “Sam Brinton is no longer a DOE employee. By law, the Department of Energy cannot comment further on personnel matters.”
Brinton was placed on leave by the department last month after being charged with felony theft when police claimed they stole a woman’s Vera Bradley suitcase in September from the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport.
An arrest warrant was issued on Friday on charges of grand larceny after Brinton was accused of stealing the luggage of another woman from the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas in July.
Brinton was caught on surveillance cameras at the airport making off with a bag from Las Vegas airport’s baggage claim area.
The luggage included $1,700 worth of jewellery, $850 worth of clothes and $500 worth of makeup, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Fox News reported.
Brinton was described as “a white male adult wearing a white T-shirt with a large rainbow-colored atomic nuclear symbol design” by the department.
Brinton, whose bio describes them as a “well-known advocate for LGBTQ youth”, was appointed in June amid much fanfare. However, the theft scandal has sparked criticism from Republican leaders who criticised the Biden administration’s “wokeness” for hiring them.
Arkansas senator Tom Cotton called Brinton “a person clearly unfit for a high-level national security role” and slammed president Joe Biden for prioritising “wokeness over competence”.
Representative Troy Nehls demanded them to be “fired immediately” and their security clearance revoked.
A group of Republicans, including Marjorie Taylor Greene and Andrew Clyde, sent a letter to Energy Department on Tuesday, urging Brinton’s removal.
“We demand the resignation of Sam Brinton, and we implore you to set aside petty politics and appoint only the most qualified and dedicated individuals to influence America’s energy sector,” the letter from over 15 Republicans to the secretary read.