Clearance lost, Muslim scientist returns to Egypt

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PITTSBURGH: An Egyptian scientist who claimed his rights were violated when the Department of Energy revoked his security clearance has left the country after 28 years and returned to his native Egypt after losing his federal lawsuit.

Moniem El-Ganayni, 57, worked at the Bettis Laboratory, which makes parts for nuclear warships, in suburban Pennsylvania for more than 17 years.

He has been a US citizen since 1988.

His security clearance was revoked last late year, and he was fired in May.

The Energy Department said it had reliable information that El-Ganayni was a security risk but refused to let him see any evidence or defend himself. The department said its reasons were classified and could violate national security if made public.

El-Ganayni sued, claiming he was being retaliated against for comments he made opposing the Iraq war and President George W. Bush s treatment of Muslims after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. His lawsuit said Energy Department officials and FBI agents questioned him about speeches he made, his views on suicide bombings and the Quran.

I criticized the government for a war based on deception … but many Americans were saying the same thing or worse. Yet they retaliated against me, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

El-Ganayni said he should have been given the opportunity to challenge the accusations.

On Tuesday, US District Judge Terrence McVerry dismissed his suit. The American Civil Liberties Union plans to appeal.

El-Ganayni and his wife returned to Cairo on Wednesday. -AP

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