Focus, a site that covers optics and photonics, has the story of Gordon Gould, who eventually shared in the patents on the laser:
Gould needed money to build his laser and proposed the project to the Pentagon. He was exceptionally good at impressing the military scientists, who imagined the laser as a “death ray” and consequently provided him with more funding than he had originally asked for. But there was a problem: Gould had been related to some communist propaganda activities and the Pentagon could not allow a potential Soviet spy to work on a project that had become classified, despite the fact that this was his own project. Gould was neither authorized to know the results of the experiments he proposed, nor given the security clearance to physically enter the building where they were being performed. TRG, the company for which Gould was working, even had to refurbish the building to allow Gould to go to the bathroom without violating security!Focus does not say so but national security state goons seized Gould's laboratory notebooks and it was decades before he got them back. Wikipedia has more about this, though even it does not relate that the morons of the right seized the notebooks. I suppose Gould should have been glad they didn't kill him to keep his brain away from the commies.
Ironically, or not as the case may be, the commies were just as capable to figuring out light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation as the capitalists and two of them shared the Novel Prize with Townes.
By the way, the "communist propaganda" was Gould's mildly left political views. But rightwingers do not now and have never believed in liberty of conscience.