Thursday, December 20, 2007

NASA Security resorts to threats

From the "Ask the Administrator" section of a NASA website:

From: Anonymous (Johnson Space Center)
Date: 18-Dec-2007

Reports are coming in from JSC that people who are waiting to sign the newly required HSPD-12 release of information forms are being brought into rooms where security agents make threats to get them to sign forms immediately.

These threats are reported to include the immediate removal of all access if forms or letters of intent are not signed on the spot. Also reported is the threat of a permanent ban to all NASA facilities and statements saying that the employees immediate actions will be irreversible, even if they change their mind later!!

These threats are also reported to be infused with constant statements saying "Just sign the forms and this will all go away and be much easier". All of this is being done without any involvement of NASA or contractor management, claiming confidentiality concerns, leaving these "uncooperative individuals" scared and fearful that their immediate actions might affect their livelihood for the rest of their lives.

This is insane! This gustapo-like behavior must stop! NASA management must take an immediate stand to start protecting their employees and contractor personnel! I wish I could tell these employees to report this up the chain, but they all fear retaliation.

Please respond to this outrageous behavior.


As I have written in previous responses to similar questions, there is no Constitutional "right" to a security clearance or to federal employment. A requirement of NASA employment is that we voluntarily submit to background checks through the HSPD-12 process. That being said, allegations of threatening behavior in this process are serious, and such conduct would not be acceptable. Any employee who has such concerns should report them through their management chain or to their local IG's office.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

One person's advice

I received information from an individual who will be terminated for his refusal to submit to the background investigations required by JSC. I am very saddened that people's livelihoods will be threatened by this.

His advice:
May I suggest that you (and the others in your group) make Privacy Act requests for the security information NASA already has in your files, and that you also make Privacy Act requests for the information in the files resulting from the HSPD investigation [if you consent to it]. The HSPD request will have to be directed to the OPM but the requests for the existing records can be started at your local security office.

If you don't know, the relevant legal reference is Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. § 552a), paragraph (d) Access to record, which states: Each agency that maintains a system of records shall-- (1) upon request by any individual to gain access to his record or to any information pertaining to him which is contained in the system, permit him and upon his request, a person of his own choosing to accompany him, to review the record and have a copy made of all or any portion thereof in a form comprehensible to him, except that the agency may require the individual to furnish a
written statement authorizing discussion of that individual's record in the accompanying person's presence.

When you make the request, be sure to make it very clear that it is a Privacy Act request (and you can cite the specifics as above), not a Freedom of Information Act request.
Thanks for the advice.

Also, I want to point out another link with more details about the proceedings with the JPL court case here.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Federal Judges hear arguments from JPL

I thought this news posting concerning the court proceedings yesterday was a good read. Good luck to all of the JPL employees fighting unnecessary invasion of privacy.