Re: Technical author leading resistance to background checks at NASA

Subject: Re: Technical author leading resistance to background checks at NASA
From: "Pro TechWriter" <pro -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Keith Hood" <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2007 13:37:56 -0400

I think this is veering toward being, OT, but I'd like to add my

I think what the Feds are requiring now for background checking is quite
different, actually, than it was even two year's ago. Well, unless you had a
top secret clearance, then it would be similar. It appears as though what is
required has been increased for even low-level risk positions (which would
be most, but not all, technical writing positions for most agencies).

As an analyst on a software project team, my clearance was considered
"low-risk." For the clearance in 2005 for a low-risk position, the
background check document was 8 pages long and fairly comprehensive, but
didn't include a review of my medical records.

Now, I am going back to a federal facility as a contract technical writer,
and they could not use the 2005 background check material--I had to fill out
a new form that is five pages longer, and allows access to much more

What kind of information? Permission to review *all* of my medical records,
to interview my doctor to see if they think I have or have had in the past,
any condition that would affect my ability to have a clearance. This could
include some rather personal information, right? They also will contact any
mental health professionals you may have seen (been to marriage counseling?)
and review their records. The forms now require primary relatives'
information (mother, father, child, step child, step father, step mother,
birthdays and so on). And yes, you have to give permission that this
information can be checked and re-checked for up to two years, and this is
without your knowledge. This is more than was required just two years ago,
and could be considered more invasive.

The point for the NASA folks is that a lower risk position used to require a
much less invasive background check, and was based on what you did and the
likelihood of seeing sensitive information. Now, it looks like typing up
user instructions for software requires the same level of background check
(or close to) someone who is going into battle and has secret information
about weapons systems? Hmm.

I will be interested to see how this case is decided.


On 9/5/07, Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:
> I don't understand this. How is this any different
> from the background checks I had to go through for a
> security clearance when I went into the Army? That
> still go on for military personnel? I didn't hear any
> uproar about those - why is this NASA thing
> particularly heinous?

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Technical author leading resistance to background checks at NASA: From: Chris Borokowski
Re: Technical author leading resistance to background checks at NASA: From: Keith Hood

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