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FBI Must Give Up Records in Gay Agent’s Suit

<i> Associated Press</i>

A judge hearing the case of a veteran FBI agent who claims he was fired because he is gay ordered the agency to turn over any records indicating whether it denies security clearances to homosexuals.

U.S. District Court Judge Eugene F. Lynch also ordered several top FBI officials to submit to pretrial questioning by attorneys for the San Diego agent who sued the agency.

Lynch gave the FBI until Dec. 31 to file objections to his ruling in the case of Frank Buttino, 45, who has filed a discrimination suit against the agency.

Lynch refused, however, to allow the agent’s lawyers to take a deposition from FBI Director William Sessions, who has declared under oath that he did not participate in the decision to revoke Buttino’s security clearance.

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Buttino was fired in June after 20 years with the FBI. His security clearance, required for all agents, was revoked the previous month.

In papers that sought to dismiss Buttino’s suit, the Justice Department said Buttino’s clearance was lifted not because he was a homosexual, but because he had lied repeatedly to FBI investigators and placed himself in a position vulnerable to coercion.

The agent has stated that the only lie he told, in hopes of saving his career, was to deny initially to investigators in 1988 that he had written a social letter to another person that indicated his homosexuality. The letter had been anonymously forwarded to the FBI.

The court ordered the FBI to make available for depositions agent Thomas Kuker, in charge of the probe that led to revocation of Buttino’s clearance; Security Officer Jerry Rubino of the Department of Justice, who approved the lifting of Buttino’s clearance; FBI employee William Teagan, who administered a lie-detector test to Buttino; and agent Gary Stoops, FBI security programs manager, who made the first decision to revoke the clearance.

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Lynch ruled that Buttino “is entitled to information regarding whether defendants (the FBI) have a policy of considering one’s sexual orientation in deciding whether to grant security clearances and information regarding whether such policy, if one exists, was applied to plaintiff.”

The judge ordered the agency to turn over all documents created since 1985 “relating to the employment of gay persons by the FBI, including documents relating to the termination of FBI employees for gay or bisexual reasons.”


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