reply to post by nighthawk1954
I've read the TCBH article, and it's a very distorted description of the NASA v. Robert M. Nelson, et al. case. I won't address the article, because
it's a very poor description of the case and gets a lot wrong. Here are the relevant facts surrounding the case itself:
These were not "security" investigations. They were credentialing investigations, based on NACIs. They do not even begin to approach the
investigations used for granting security clearances. The JPL scientists behind the lawsuit were not being investigated for, or granted, security
NACIs are non-sensitive, low risk investigations. EVERY Federal employee gets at least this investigation, if not higher, and has done so since the
Eisenhower administration. In my Department, EVERY contractor gets at least a NACI, if not higher, because we hold our contractors to the same
standards as our employees. NASA did not hold their contractors to these standards, until HSPD-12 required a uniform set of standards for ID cards and
access to physical and logical systems.
The NACI comprises a check of the FBI's criminal records, verification of the highest degree claimed, and written inquiries to the last five years'
worth of employers asking if the subject screwed up on the job. It also requests local law enforcement records where the subject has admitted being
arrested, sends written character inquiries to references identified by the subject, and checks other Federal registries or indexes as applicable.
That's pretty much it. You'll get a more thorough background check moving into a new apartment or getting a real estate license. CalTech probably dug
deeper into these guys' lives before they hired them.
Nelson, et al., did not believe that was all there was to the investigation. They relied on an obtuse interpretation of the SF-85 release of
information, not supported by reality or how OPM actually conducts investigations. They spread a lot of FUD about how broad and deep these
investigations were to drum up support. On their web page, they refer to NACIs as "investigations of unlimited scope," "open ended and unconstrained."
A NACI is limited to the items in #3 above. After that, it ends. If an agency wants more than that, they have to pay for a reimbursable suitability
investigation, and they only do that when they have really serious doubts about someone.
They also relied on a "suitability matrix" they found in a NASA manual. A few months after they filed their case, OPM released HSPD-12 adjudicative
guidelines that made the entire issue of suitability matrices irrelevant. And even before then, the applicability of NASA's suitability matrix was
is Nelson et al.'s web site, complete with a spammy forum that everyone abandoned when it became clear their
case was hopeless.
is what the Supreme Court had to say.
And of course, it has nothing to do with the Mars Rover, which was launched several years after the lawsuit started, or the Department of Homeland
Security, which did not design the HSPD-12 criteria (that was Commerce) or enforce them upon NASA, which is an independent agency.
8-12-2012 by FurvusRexCaeli because: (no reason given)