Whitson Quoted in Article Detailing the Case of a Scientist Seeking to Clear His NameOn October 29, 2009 by Schnader in Litigation
Keith Whitson, chair of Schnader’s Products Liability Practice Group and a partner in the Firm’s Pittsburgh office, was quoted in an October 29 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article titled “Egyptian-Born Scientist Fights to Clear His Name.” Dr. Moniem El-Ganayni is an Egyptian-born scientist who worked at the Bettis Laboratory in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania on advanced naval nuclear propulsion technology. In October 2007, he had his security clearance suspended and it was later fully revoked. At the time, Dr. El-Ganayni asked for an administrative officer from the Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct a hearing on the matter, but he was refused on unspecified grounds of “national security.”
Mr. Whitson, who is representing Dr. El-Ganayni, argued before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that his client has the right to a hearing so he can find out why his security clearance was revoked. He said that the DOE regulations do not allow the secretary of the department to override those procedures and that a hearing officer would have security clearance, as well as enough discretion to determine what matter is relevant and what should be protected. Mr. Whitson argued that the government’s assertion of, “Trust us, if we say ‘national security, you have to take our word for it,'” is not a fair interpretation of due process. He also wants to ensure that Dr. El-Ganayni, who worked for Bettis for 18 years, didn’t lose his security clearance for a reason that would be constitutionally protected, such as religion or nationality. As a result of the DOE’s decision, Dr. El-Ganayni has returned to Egypt but continues to try to clear his name.