U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry heard arguments yesterday and said he would rule as soon as possible on whether a Muslim scientist who lost his security clearance is entitled to an independent review of that decision.
Dr. Moniem El-Ganayni of Highland Park, an Egyptian-born U.S. citizen who worked at the Bettis lab in West Mifflin for 18 years, lost his clearance late last year on the order of Jeffrey Kupfer, Acting Deputy Energy Secretary, who said he had "reliable information" that the scientist is a security risk.
Attorney Marcia K. Sowles, arguing for the Justice Department, claimed that Dr. El-Ganayni cannot see any of the evidence or question the ruling without posing a threat to the United States, and that the court has no jurisdiction in the matter.
Keith E. Whitson, attorney for Dr. El-Ganayni, countered that the court can and should intervene to protect his client's right to due process. He further argued that the merits of the case could be reviewed by an impartial career hearing officer in the Department of Energy in a way that protects sensitive information.