USG Employee’s Security Clearance Revoked Because His US Citizen Wife Went to an Islamic School?

US-NationalGeospatialIntelligenceAgency-OrigSealImage via WikipediaU.S. Citizen Mahmoud M. Hegab worked as a budget analyst at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) until last year when his Top Secret/SCI security clearance was suddenly revoked. The revocation of his clearance was apparently due to the fact that his newlywed wife who is a U.S. citizen had graduated from an Islamic school located in the D.C. area. Also that she had participated in an ‘anti-war occupation protest in Washington’” on the grounds of the Washington monument, and that she had engaged in pro-Palestinian political activity while a student at George Mason University.

The wife had since graduated from GMU. And if the anti-war protest happened outside of Washington, would it have made a difference?

Last week Mr. Hegab filed a lawsuit against the NGA seeking reinstatement of his clearance. Mr. Hegab’s complaint includes a rebuttal of the allegations against his wife.

Am I the only one who find this something out of the twilight zone? This is the United States of America. And here is a U.S. citizen forced to go to court to defend himself against “allegations” against his wife?

Quick excerpts from the court filing (h/t to Secrecy News):

5. Mahmoud M. Hegab, plaintiff, is a United States citizen who was employed by defendant, NGA.

8. Plaintiff was employed by NGA on January 4, 2010 in the position of Financial/Budget Analyst.

9. During plaintiff’s employment by NGA, he held a Top Secret security clearance and Access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). There were no problems with plaintiff’s employment and his performance was well regarded by his supervisors.

11. Bushra Nusairat is an American citizen, who at the time of her marriage to plaintiff was residing in Fairfax County, Virginia, and who has continued to reside in Fairfax County Virginia with plaintiff since their marriage.

12. By memorandum dated November 2, 2010, which plaintiff received on November 18, 2010, NGA notified plaintiff of its intent to revoke his security clearance and his access to classified information. The proposed revocation was based in part, on his marriage to Ms. Nusarait, and in part on information previously disclosed by plaintiff as part of his security clearance investigation in 2009 which had been reviewed, discussed and cleared by NGA prior to his being hired and being granted a security clearance by NGA.

24. With respect to his wife, Ms. Nusairat, plaintiff responded that his wife “is a U.S. citizen residing in the U.S. who has never been accused of any illegal activity or being associated with any illegal activity.”

35. NGA’s decision did not resolve all issues. It further continued:

However, the information provided does not mitigate your
spouse’s current affiliation with one or more organizations which consist of groups who are organized largely around their non-United States origin and/or the advocacy of or involvement in foreign political issues. This concern elevates the potential for conflicts of interest between your obligation to protect sensitive or classified United States information and technology and your desire to help a foreign person, group, or country by providing that information. (Emphasis added).

53. Plaintiff renewed his argument that his wife’s employment by Islamic Relief USA did not constitute a security risk, that the action taken was solely due to the anti-Islamic bias of NGA’s security personnel, and that the revocation of Plaintiff’s security clearance and access was in violation of his constitutional rights and privileges.

Read the complaint in full here.

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Filed under Court Cases, Federal Agencies, Huh? News, Security Clearance

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