Biden Administration Official Facing Jail Time for Felony Theft

Biden Administration Official Facing Jail Time for Felony Theft
The exterior of the White House on Feb. 6, 2022. (Al Drago/Reuters)
Zachary Stieber

A top Biden administration nuclear official is facing jail time after allegedly being caught on camera stealing a bag containing thousands of dollars of items.

Samuel Brinton, a deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, intentionally stole the bag from an airport in Minnesota, authorities say.

Brinton admitted to the theft, according to charging documents.

“Sam Brinton is on leave from DOE, and Dr. Kim Petry is performing the duties of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition,” a spokesperson for the Department of Energy told The Epoch Times via email.

The Office of Nuclear Energy declined to comment further.

A lawyer representing Brinton did not return an inquiry.

Brinton could not be reached.


Law enforcement officers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport were alerted on Sept. 16 to a missing suitcase by a woman who said her checked bag was not on the carousel despite being scanned as arriving at the airport.
Officers obtained video surveillance for the carousel in question and observed a suspect remove the bag from it. The suspect, later identified as Brinton, removed the tag from the bag and quickly left the area, according to a statement of probable cause obtained by The Epoch Times.

The Epoch Times has filed a public records request for the surveillance footage.

Officers confirmed Brinton arrived at the airport on a flight from Washington about 20 minutes before removing the bag from the carousel. Flight records from American Airlines showed Brinton never checked a bag. The defendant was tracked throughout the airport before leaving the facility with the bag and getting into a rideshare vehicle.

Video surveillance from a hotel showed Brinton checking in with the bag.

Brinton returned to the same airport two days later. Brinton checked the bag for the flight back to Washington.

Video surveillance showed Brinton with the bag at the airport in Washington after returning from a trip from Europe.

The woman viewed a digital photograph of the bag and confirmed it was hers. She provided an itemized list of its contents. Officials estimated the value of the contents and the bag itself came to $2,325.

Brinton was charged with felony theft and faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted.

Sam Brinton. (Department of Energy)
Sam Brinton. (Department of Energy)


Brinton, the deputy assistant secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy, was contacted by authorities. Asked if Brinton took anything owned by others, Brinton said, “Not that I know of.”

Brinton later admitted to taking the bag and still possessing it.

“If I had taken the wrong bag, I am happy to return it, but I don’t have any clothes for another individual. That was my clothes when I opened the bag,” Brinton was quoted as saying.

About two hours later, Brinton called back the officer and apologized for not being “completely honest.”

Brinton not only took the bag but knew it belonged to another person after opening it at the hotel, Brinton acknowledged.

Brinton “got nervous people would think they stole the bag and did not know what to do,” according to the statement. Brinton left the clothes from the bag at the hotel. Brinton took the bag onto the flight, claiming it was “weirder” to leave a bag behind.

Brinton was given instructions for how to return the bag to officials at the Washington airport to make sure the victim received it but as of late October had not returned it, authorities said.

Travelers arrive at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Bloomington, Minn., in a Nov. 27, 2019, file image. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Travelers arrive at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Bloomington, Minn., in a Nov. 27, 2019, file image. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)


Brinton, a biological male, identifies as “non-binary.”
“Sam is also a well-known advocate for LGBTQ youth and helped to secure protections against the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy in more than half of the country,” Brinton’s government profile states. “They identify as gender-fluid and use the pronouns they, them, and theirs.”

Brinton is listed as part of the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy leadership.

Upon accepting the position in early 2022, Brinton wrote on LinkedIn: “I’ll do all I can to bring innovative thought into this government role. I’ll even be (to my knowledge) the first gender fluid person in federal government leadership. But most importantly, I am going to be responsible for finding solutions to a problem I have dedicated my life to that has been stymied for decades.”

“Yes, I know it won’t be easy. Yes, I realize this is an enormous challenge. Yes, I am ready to take it on. You cannot fathom how excited I am. Nervous, but so so so excited,” Brinton added. “I truly wish I could be celebrating with each of you in person since this is a day I have dreamed of for more than a decade.”

Brinton holds a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has in the past worked for Deep Isolation, which disposes nuclear waste, and the Trevor Project.

Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]
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