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Scientists Challenge Background Checks

Posted Aug 31, 2007 11:21 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Twenty-eight contract scientists, engineers and other workers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California have filed a suit claiming that newly instituted security checks invade their privacy.

The suit claims the government is seeking detailed information covering areas such as sexual history and is asking for waivers so past employers and neighbors can be interviewed, the New York Times reports.

The waivers would permit investigators to ask friends and acquaintances about the plaintiffs’ “emotional health, financial integrity and general conduct, including whether they've ever had sex and, if so, what type,” a press release says. The plaintiffs include engineers and scientists on the Mars Exploration Rovers program.

NASA claims the requirements are part of the standard security review required of all executive branch agencies.

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