PITTSBURGH (CN) – The U.S. Department of Energy illegally revoked an Egyptian physicist’s security clearance based on his Muslim beliefs and his role in establishing one of Pittsburgh’s first Islamic mosques, Dr. Abdel Monieum Ali El-Ganayi claims in Federal Court.
El-Ganayi, who earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Pittsburgh, was hired in 1990 by the Bettis Laboratory, a facility contracted by the Department of Energy and the U.S. Navy to research, design, build and operate U.S. nuclear-powered warships.
El-Ganayi claims that in December 2007, the government abruptly suspended and later revoked his security clearance without explanation. He says he can “only deduce the reasons” after a seven-hour interview officials at Bettis, the Department of Energy and the FBI.
“The questions focused on Dr. El-Ganayi’s religious beliefs as a Muslim, his work as an Imam in the Pennsylvania prison system, his political views about America’s war with Iraq, and speeches he gave at local Mosques criticizing the FBI’s mistreatment of and disrespect for Muslims, particularly in Pittsburgh,” the lawsuit states.
“There were no questions related to security breaches at Bettis or the mishandling of classified information.”
El-Ganayi claims the government’s decision to invoke “national security” to deny him the clearance that ultimately cost him his 22-year job violated his constitutional rights.
He wants the opportunity to challenge the revocation before a non-political, neutral arbiter.
He is represented by Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP and the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.