Story Archive

Another Kind of Red Scare

In a move reminiscent of McCarthy-era red scares, agents from NASA’s Office of Protective Services demanded that some employees of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory sign loyalty oaths. Concept development design engineer Cate Heneghan, who has been a JPL employee for 26 years, was threatened with denial of “access” to the lab’s security perimeter — which means she would not be able to do her job — unless she answered questions like “Do you have 100 percent allegiance to the United States?” because she is a dual citizen: Heneghan was born and raised in the U.S., but is also a citizen of Ireland. Other dual citizens at JPL were also targeted, but most were “too frightened to resist” the intrusive questions, which are only appropriate for those with security clearances. JPL management got two of the questions dropped, but Heneghan and others were forced to answer the rest or lose their jobs. When a local congresswoman stepped in, NASA admitted the questions “were not agency approved,” and the OPS agents used “inadequate or misapplied training” in their questioning. “I find this whole thing embarrassing for our country,” Heneghan concluded. (RC/Pasadena Weekly) ...And she doesn’t mean Ireland.
Original Publication Date: 23 November 2014
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

Is There a Problem on This Page? Let Me Know using the Help button lower right, and thanks.

I believe humanity is held back by the lack of thinking. I provoke thought with examples of what happens when we don’t think, and when we do. This is True is my primary method: stories like this come out every week by email, and basic subscriptions are free. Click here for a subscribe form.

Next: Un-Gun

Search for: