Sam Brinton, an MIT graduate and LGBTQ+ activist specializing in handling nuclear waste, has been arrested for stealing a woman's $2,000 bag at the airport.

Biden’s Non-binary DOE Nuclear Waste Chief Accused of Stealing Woman’s $2k Bag at Airport

Sam Brinton, an MIT graduate and LGBTQ+ activist specializing in handling nuclear waste, has been arrested for stealing a woman’s $2,000 bag at the airport.

What Happened?

The Department of Energy’s recently appointed head of spent nuclear fuel management has been charged with felony theft after allegedly taking someone else’s bag from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, court documents show. 

Sam Brinton, a non-binary drag queen, 35, started working in June as the deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition.

Brinton was seen on September 16 on surveillance footage taking a bag from a baggage carousel that appeared similar to one which had been reported missing, an October court filing alleges.

Brinton, who uses they/them pronouns, appeared to remove the “bag’s tag and put the bag tag in the handbag he was carrying,” and “left the area at a quick pace,” the filing continues.

Stolen Luggage?

The Department of Energy’s recently appointed head of spent nuclear fuel management has been charged with felony theft after allegedly taking someone else’s bag from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, court documents show. 

The official complaint says Brinton initially told law enforcement: “If I had taken the wrong bag, I am happy to return it, but I don’t have clothes for another individual,” adding, “That was my clothes when I opened the bag.”

Brinton allegedly contacted authorities at the airport later to say he hadn’t been “completely honest” and “admitted to taking the blue bag,” explaining that he was “tired and took the suitcase thinking it was theirs.” Brinton has been on leave from the DOE for at least a month, according to reports. A hearing is scheduled in the case for Dec. 19.

If convicted, Brinton faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Who is Sam Brinton?

Sam Brinton’s entire career has been focused on nuclear energy and the best ways to dispose of the radioactive waste and nuclear fuel that comes from it.

His work led him to become Deputy Assistant Secretary for Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition for the Department of Energy, making Sam the first openly gender-fluid person in the federal government.

In an interview with Yahoo Life, Sam said, “I can’t change my identity more than anyone can change intrinsic parts about themselves, but I can change my openness. And so I am given the opportunity to serve my country as I am, and that’s a really important aspect of my work because I work on nuclear waste management where transparency and honesty and trust building are so critical.”

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