Letter: Background checks have been required for years

Regarding “Court grants injunction on HSPD-12 background checks for NASA plaintiffs,” I think an important factor in this case that has been overlooked -- and apparently not argued by NASA's attorneys -- is that the background investigation requirement that is tied to the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 mandate is not new. The required background investigation for HSPD-12 is the National Agency Check with Written Inquiries (NACI). This requirement was established by the Eisenhower (yes, Eisenhower) administration via Executive Order 10450 on April 27, 1953. The decision to tie HSPD-12 into an existing requirement was an extremely deliberate one. Because the minimum public trust and clearance levels vary across federal agencies, there was a push to define a standard across the federal government without creating a new requirement that might mean an agency has to reinvestigate all of its employees. Very conveniently, there just happened to already be a standard.

While I sympathize with the federal employees who have never been investigated and now risk losing their jobs if their NACI is unfavorably adjudicated, this shouldn’t be painted as a new, invasive requirement from an administration that cares not for personal privacy. I think a better question in this case -- and in many agencies -- is why there are so many people who have never had a background investigation when it’s required by an executive order they’ve had 54 years to implement.


Anonymous


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