(finding NRC’s use of contact employees to perform testing procedures involved in licensing operators not to involve the performance of inherently Governmental functions, where NRC guidelines for testing were so comprehensive and detailed regarding all aspects of the testing procedures that contract employees exercised minimal discretionary authority and made limited value judgements in preparing recommendations for NRC employees who decided whether or not to grant operator licenses).
It cannot, however, be reasonably asserted that the ultimate determination whether or not to issue a passport is anything other than an inherently Governmental function. A passport serves as the attestation of the United States Government to the identity and nationality of the bearer. In the NRC case cited above, the NRC’s Office of General Counsel stated that the licensing of nuclear operators was an inherently Governmental function, but that the contract examiners were only assisting NRC staff who performed the licensing function. Similarly, the ultimate decision to issue a passport or to deny a passport application is a Governmental act that may properly be performed only by a Government employee.