Sam Brinton, the head of spent nuclear fuel management in the Biden administration, has been fired following a felony arrest warrant for allegedly stealing luggage from Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. The non-binary official has been accused of grand larceny.
Brinton, who uses the pronouns they/them, was charged with stealing baggage worth $2,325 from Minneapolis â St. Paul International Airport in September. He is facing up to 10 years in prison for allegedly stealing luggage in Minneasota and another in Nevada.
The former DOE official had initially denied taking the suitcase belonging to some other person before later telling the airport authorities that they were tired and took the suitcase thinking it was theirs.
On Leave from Department of Energy
Brinton has been on leave for at least a month from their DOE role because of the accusations and charges coming forth. But now he is no longer an employee.
"Sam Brinton is no longer a DOE employee," a Department of Energy spokesperson said. "By law, the Department of Energy cannot comment further on personnel matters." The 35-year-old had served as the deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel and waster deposition at the DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy. They had been appointed in June.
Criticism from Republicans
Senator Tom Cotton, in a tweet on Friday, called Brinton a person clearly unfit for a high-level national security role. He also accused the Biden administration of hiring Brinton because it prioritizes wokeness over competence. And Rep. Troy Nehls said Brinton should be fired and their security clearance revoked immediately.
Moreover, a group of House Representatives including Marjorie Taylor Greene, Andy Biggs and Andrew Clyde, in a letter to the DOE, urged the non-binary person to resign. The lawmakers urged the DOE to set aside petty politics and appoint only the most qualified and dedicated individuals to influence America's energy sector. On its parts, the DOE said it takes its role very seriously. However, it didn't go into the details on Brinton's case.
Meanwhile, Brinton is set to appear in court on December 19. They face felony charges from the Minneapolis theft allegation punishable by up to five years and prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.