John Doe began work at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1973 as a clerk-typist. Periodic…

John Doe began work at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1973 as a clerk-typist. Periodic fitness reports consistently rated him as an excellent or outstanding employee. By 1977, he had been promoted to covert electronics technician. In January 1982, Doe voluntarily told a CIA security officer that he was a homosexual. Almost immediately, the CIA placed Doe on paid administrative leave and began an investigation of his sexual orientation and conduct. Doe submitted to an extensive polygraph examination during which he denied having sexual relations with foreign nationals and maintained that he had not disclosed classified information to any of his sexual partners. The polygraph officer told Doe that the test results indicated that his responses had been truthful. Nonetheless, a month later Doe was told that the CIA’s Office of Security had determined that his homosexuality posed a threat to security. CIA officials declined, however, to explain the nature of the danger. Doe was asked to resign. When he refused to do so he was dismissed by CIA Director William Webster, who “deemed it necessary and advisable in the interests of the United States to terminate [Doe’s] employment with this Agency pursuant to section 102(c) of the National Security Act.” The statutory section cited by the director allows termination of a CIA employee whenever the director “shall deem such termination necessary or advisable in the interests of the United States.” Doe filed suit against the CIA, arguing that his termination was unlawful under section 102(c) and various constitutional guarantees. The CIA moved to dismiss Doe’s complaint, arguing that the director’s decision was a decision committed to agency discretion by law and thus was not subject to judicial review. Was the CIA’s argument correct?

 

 

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