Los Alamos lets a 17-year employee go after retroactively classifying his published article
James E. Doyle’s ordeal with Washington began one morning in early February last year, when his supervisor stopped by his desk at Los Alamos National Laboratory and told him that senior managers wanted copies of all his publications.
The 55-year-old political scientist asked the reason for the request, and he eventually was told that someone at the House Armed Services Committee wanted to see the publications. But Doyle said officials refused to tell him who it was or why.
Later that day at the lab’s New Mexico campus, he said, two members of a Security Inquiries Team abruptly arrived with a special, silver-colored briefcase for secure documents, and pulled out an article he published a few days earlier on the website of a London nonprofit group.
They claimed that the article, an impassioned critique of the political theories undergirding the nuclear arms race and a defense of President Obama’s embrace of a nuclear weapons-free future, contained classified information.
Doyle, officially a contractor, said he was told that he was being let go as part of a program of layoffs at the New Mexico lab. But he says he believes the sudden firing was instead part of a Washington-inspired campaign of retribution for his refusal to stay on message and support the lab’s central mission, namely its continued development and production of nuclear arms, at a cost of almost $2 billion per year there.
Doyle’s treatment has nonetheless already attracted criticism from former Obama appointees and from his editor at Survival, a journal published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies where the article appeared in February 2013.
“It sure looks like he’s being fired for supporting the President’s policy,” said Jon Wolfsthal, a special adviser on nuclear matters to Vice President Joseph Biden from 2009 to 2012 who knows Doyle.
Related article: Fired from Los Alamos for Pushing Obama’s Agenda via Daily Beast