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WBU-14-0002 - In the matter of James E. Doyle

On June 24, 2014, the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) issued a decision denying Dr. James E. Doyle’s (Appellant) Appeal of the DOE’s NNSA Whistleblower Program Manager’s (Manager) dismissal of his whistleblower complaint pursuant to 10 C.F.R. §§ 708.4(d) and 708.17(c)(4).  The Appellant alleges that, while employed with Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), he was retaliated against for an article he published in an international journal and his subsequent post-publication challenge of a classification decision relating to the article.  The Manager found that dismissal of the Appellant’s Complaint was appropriate under 10 C.F.R. §708.4(d) because “the complaint is based on the same facts in which you, in the course of a covered disclosure or participation, improperly disclosed Restricted Data, national security information, or any other classified or sensitive information in violation of any Executive Order, statute, or regulation.”  In addition, the Manager dismissed the Appellant’s Complaint under Section 708.17(c)(4) for lack of merit on its face.  The Director of OHA found that Section 708.4(d) does not apply to Appellant’s Complaint because the Appellant did not disclose information “in the course of a covered disclosure or participation,” but rather the Appellant disclosed information, later determined to be classified, in an article that he published in an international journal.  In addition the Director of OHA agreed with the Manager’s conclusion that the Complaint lacks merit on its face and should be dismissed pursuant to Section 708.17(c)(4) because the Appellant did not meet his evidentiary burden of showing that he disclosed information which he reasonably believes revealed a substantial violation of a law, rule or regulation.  Consequently, the Director of OHA denied the Appellant’s Appeal.