The nuclear scientist and Muslim prison chaplain who lost his security clearance and his job under a veil of secrecy wants a federal judge to order the government to explain its actions and to affirm his right to defend himself.

Lawyers for Moniem El-Ganayni yesterday filed a motion for preliminary and permanent injunction against the U.S. Department of Energy and its acting director, Jeffrey Kupfer. They asked U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry to:

• Assert that the court has jurisdiction over the case;

• Order the Energy Department to show Dr. El-Ganayni the evidence it claims to have against him;

• Order the Energy Department to hold a hearing where he can tell his side of the story, as provided in the agency’s own rules for inquiries on sensitive security matters.

Dr. El-Ganayni, a U.S. citizen since 1988 and a founder of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, had worked at Bettis Laboratory in West Mifflin for 18 years doing classified research for the Navy. In October 2007, authorities began grilling him about his work as a Muslim chaplain in a state prison, as well as statements he made and prayers he led in local mosques.

The Department of Energy suspended his security clearance. Bettis put him on leave at half-pay pending a hearing where he’d have a chance to tell his side of the story. But in May, Mr. Kupfer intervened, canceled the hearing and revoked the clearance without explanation. Bettis fired him immediately. (MORE)


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