Constitutional Rights and Clearances
Earlier today I wrote about the case of Mahmoud Hegab, a Virginia man who sued the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and its Director for revoking his top secret clearance.
The agency maintains it had significant concerns about his clearance, such as his
- recent residence in, and dual citizenship with, Egypt;
- extensive contact with foreign nationals, many living outside the U.S.; and
- his holding of an Egyptian passport that would require contact with Egyptian officials to renounce his citizenship and turn in his passport, thus increasing the potential he would be monitored by foreign intelligence services, etc.
But after his marriage to Bushra Nusairat, a graduate of the Islamic Saudi Academy, it seems their fears heightened. The Islamic Saudi Academy is located in Fairfax County, Va. and is funded by the Saudi government-funded. (You can read more about her activities that raised eyebrows with the agency here.)
Certainly, everyone has the right to freedoms of religion, expression, and association. But no one has the right to a security clearance. (Something with which Mr. Hegab states he agrees.) The court declined to rule on the merits of his constitutional claims and instead deferred to the executive branch’s discretion over such matters. Long and short: it’s a separation of powers issue.
While the court never touched the merits of the issue, I invite you to in the comments section. Is Mr. Hegab’s question of lawfulness a legitimate one? (And you need not be a civil rights litigator to post a comment.)
His rights weren’t violated at all. If you choose to maintain things like dual-citizenship and foreign contacts you are making the decision to potentially lose your clearance. Nobody is saying you can not do those things, you are just being told you will not have access to classified information due to those decisions. The fact that he just now had it revoked concerns me frankly. It sounds like he has had the clearance for a while and most of these issues have been present for years. Should have been revoked a while ago even before this marriage that pushed it over the top.
Seems like an easy denial.
And what happened to the redesign of this website? I’m still waiting for a discussion forum.
If being monitored by foreign intelligence services is grounds for denial of clearance, do I stand no chance of getting a Top Secret clearance if I visited North Korea for 8 days on an academic tour last summer?