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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch with several Republican Senators is raising alarm bells with U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Granholm regarding a troubling report on the state of the counterintelligence enterprise at the Department, and questioning whether this report played a role in the reassignment of Steven Black. Black was reassigned to a new position in the Department after leading the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (DOE-IN) for eleven years. The Senators request that, until questions about counterintelligence at the Department are answered, Black not be assigned to any Office in the Department of Energy with a national security mission.  

“We write seeking answers to urgent questions raised by a recent personnel decision within the Department of Energy,” wrote the Senators. “On Tuesday, October 17, we received word that Steven Black, the long-serving Director of the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (DOE-IN) at the Department of Energy, was suddenly and without explanation reassigned. . . We are also aware that a study conducted by an outside contractor, which the Department has had in its possession since April, outlines disturbing findings as to the state of counterintelligence across the Department, to include the national laboratories.”

“If Director Black presided over DOE-IN over a period of time in which there were serious shortcomings with regard to counterintelligence, he should not be reassigned to any office within the Department that has a national security mission.  We request that you refrain from reassigning Director Black to any Department office until we have received answers to these questions,” continued the Senators.

Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and James Lankford (R-Okla.) joined Risch in sending the letter.

The full letter is available here.

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