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Webster v. Doe

Supreme Court of the United States

January 12, 1988, Argued ; June 15, 1988, Decided

No. 86-1294

Opinion

 [*594]   [***639]   [**2049]  CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.

 Section 102(c) of the National Security Act of 1947, 61 Stat. 498, as amended, provides that:

] "The Director of Central Intelligence may, in his discretion, terminate the employment of any officer or employee of the Agency whenever he shall deem such termination necessary or advisable in the interests of the United States . . . ." 50 U.S.C. § 403(c).

In this case we decide whether, and to what extent, the termination decisions of the Director under § 102(c) are judicially reviewable.

Respondent John Doe was first employed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA or Agency) in 1973 as a clerk-typist. He received periodic fitness reports that consistently rated him as an excellent or outstanding employee. By 1977, respondent had been promoted to a position as a covert electronics technician.

 [*595]  In January 1982, respondent voluntarily informed a CIA security officer that he was a homosexual. Almost immediately, the Agency placed respondent on paid administrative leave pending an investigation  [****7]  of his sexual orientation and conduct. On February 12 and again on February 17, respondent was extensively questioned by a polygraph  [***640]  officer concerning his homosexuality and possible security violations. Respondent denied having sexual relations with any foreign nationals and maintained that he had not disclosed classified information to any of his sexual partners. After these interviews, the officer told respondent that the polygraph tests indicated that he had truthfully answered all questions. The polygraph officer then prepared a five-page summary of his interviews with respondent, to which respondent was allowed to attach a two-page addendum.

On April 14, 1982, a CIA security agent informed respondent that the Agency's Office of Security had determined that respondent's homosexuality posed a threat to security, but declined to explain the nature of the danger. Respondent was then asked to resign. When he refused to do so, the Office of Security recommended to the CIA Director (petitioner's predecessor) that respondent be dismissed. After reviewing respondent's records and the evaluations of his subordinates, the Director "deemed it necessary and advisable in the interests  [****8]  of the United States to terminate [respondent's] employment with this Agency pursuant to section 102(c) of the National Security  [**2050]  Act . . . ." 2 Respondent was also advised that, while the CIA would give him a positive recommendation in any future job search, if he applied for a job requiring a security clearance the Agency would inform the prospective employer that it had concluded that respondent's homosexuality presented a security threat.

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486 U.S. 592 *; 108 S. Ct. 2047 **; 100 L. Ed. 2d 632 ***; 1988 U.S. LEXIS 2724 ****; 56 U.S.L.W. 4568; 46 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 1671; 46 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P38,034; 3 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 545

WEBSTER, DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE v. DOE

Prior History:  [****1]  CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT.

Disposition: 254 U.S. App. D. C. 282, 796 F.2d 1508, affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

CORE TERMS

termination, Intelligence, colorable, homosexuality, unreviewable, hiring

Governments, Federal Government, Employees & Officials, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Reviewability, Preclusion, Reviewable Agency Action, Standards of Review, General Overview, Civil Rights Law