Top Security Clearance Needed to Help Steer the Curiosity Rover?
Thanks to the zealous wackos at the Department of Homeland Security, back in 2007 during the latter part of the Bush administration an order went out that all workers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena–an organization that is run under contract to NASA by the California Institute of Technology, had to be vetted for high security clearance in order to continue doing their jobs. Never mind that not one of them was or is engaged in secret activities (NASA is a rigorously non-military, scientific agency which not only publishes all its findings, but which invites the active participation of scientists from around the world). In order to continue working at JPL, even scientists who had been with NASA for decades were told they would need a high-level security badge just to enter the premises. To be issued that badge, they were told they would need to agree undergo an intensive FBI check that would look into their prior life history, right back to college.
What upset her most, she says, was NASA’s plan to use the information it obtained on its scientists’ and employees’ lives to create a “suitability matrix,” which would be used to see if they merited continued employment. In questioning JPL management, Foster says people learned that this “suitability matrix” would be considering things like “whether JPL scientists had participated in political demonstrations that could qualify in NASA’s scheme of things as disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, unlawful assembly” — all activities that she says many of JPL’s scientists had engaged in over the years. Says Foster, “Criteria such as ‘attitude’ are pretty frightening in their subjectivity, and ‘striking against the government’ is chilling to anyone who has supported, say, a legitimate teachers’ action.”
Remember, this is all in order to be allowed to work at a very open science agency that by law publishes all its findings.
Phi Beta Iota: Sean O’Keefe would never have approved something this dumb — nor would a Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) who combined intelligence with integrity. It’s bad enough that the federal government is 50% fraud, waste, and abuse. Piling this insanity on top is like driving a stake into the heart of a comatose patient–it’s death is assured. Insanity rules — or more accurately, the clerks are in charge of asylum, and doing nothing that might be construed as intelligence with integrity.