28 NASA scientists sue over HSPD-12 checks

NASA scientists are refusing to submit to a Bush administration directive that requires new background checks for employees under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12.

Twenty-eight employees at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory filed a class-action lawsuit Aug. 30 against the directive, which they say violates their right to privacy.

Under HSPD-12, agencies must issue personal identity verification cards to all government employees. Federal workers are required to undergo fresh background checks prior to receiving cards.

If employees refuse the checks, they will be unable to work in an office that deals with sensitive work, as JPL does.

“By signing this supposed ‘voluntary waiver’ I’m giving government investigators or whomever they designate the right to look into all areas of my private life,” said Zareh Gorjianm, a technical staff member in JPL’s Modeling, Simulation and Visualization Group.

A hearing for a preliminary injunction will be held Sept. 24.

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