Federal nuclear waste official out at Energy Department after second luggage theft allegation
The official responsible for overseeing spent nuclear fuel has been dismissed from the Department of Energy after two separate incidents involving alleged thefts of airline luggage, the Department of Energy confirmed Tuesday.
Sam Brinton, who served as the deputy assistant secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy, was initially charged in October, with the police report made public in November. Brinton, who uses they/them pronouns, can allegedly be seen in security footage taking a woman’s suitcase from a baggage carousel at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport and placing its tag in their handbag. A court hearing on the charges is set for Dec. 19.
“Sam Brinton is no longer a DOE employee,” an Energy Department spokesperson told The Hill in an email. “By law, the Department of Energy cannot comment further on personnel matters.”
Brinton, a former senior policy analyst on nuclear waste issues for the Bipartisan Policy Center, is no longer listed on the department’s leadership page as of Tuesday. The page currently lists the deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel and waste disposition role as “vacant.”
Last week, court records indicate a warrant was issued for Brinton in a second alleged theft for grand larceny of an item worth between $1,200 and $5,000. This alleged incident occurred in July at Nevada’s Harry Reid International Airport. Police were initially unable to identify the person in the security footage but connected the incident to Brinton after the Minnesota incident became public.
The Energy Department confirmed in November that Brinton was on leave after the initial felony charge became public.
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