Colleagues protested the firing of James E. Doyle, a political scientist with 17 years of employment with the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) after he published an article written on his own time and with his personal views that questioned US nuclear weapons policy. The agency, that had reviewed the article before publication, claimed that material that had not been deemed classified when he published was actually classified and fired him for disclosure, while Doyle believes his firing was retaliation for his views. CCS joins colleagues in what seems denial of free speech by Doyle.
- Los Alamos Firing Demonstrates Exactly What’s Wrong with Scientific Integrity at the Department of Energy (ucsusa.org)
- LANL fires anti-nuke article author (abqjournal.com)
- Science group asks U.S. energy secretary to intervene in case of fired Los Alamos researcher (news.sciencemag.org)
Dr. Ernest Moniz
Secretary of Energy
US Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave. SW
Washington DC 20585
September 4, 2014
Dear Dr. Moniz:
We are writing in concern for Dr. James E. Doyle.
According to news reports, Doyle, a political scientist, was fired from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) because of an article he published in an international journal that questioned the value of nuclear weapons and because of his post-publication challenge of a classification decision relating to the article. Doyle, an employee of 17 years, wrote the article on his own time and stated that the views were his own, but he asked and obtained clearance from LANL before publishing, according to an August 4, 2014 blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) wrote a letter to you stating that “it is hard to see this turn of events as anything but tacit retaliation against Doyle for his outspokenness and his embrace of what may be a dissenting view on national nuclear policy.” FAS, a group associated with arms control efforts, said that such actions would have a chilling effect on the ability of the labs to conduct independent, impartial assessment of national policy options.” The DOE Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) on June 24, 2014 denied Doyle’s whistle-blower appeal in a pro-forma decision.
Based on our experience with our colleagues’ denials of freedom of speech and expression around the world, we believe that one of the strengths of the United States is the ability of individuals to engage in vigorous, unfettered debate about issues of national policy, within and without government. We urge you to investigate this situation and, if there has been retaliation for Doyle’s expression of opinion, to reinstate him in his position, as well as to compensate him for any loss he suffered.
Sincerely,Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Union of Concerned Scientists
Two Brattle Street
Cambridge MA 02138