NGA sued over loss of security clearance

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) was recently sued by a former employee over the loss of his Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) clearance.

According to the story on the FAS website:

Mahmoud M. Hegab was a well-regarded budget analyst at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) until last year when his Top Secret/SCI security clearance was abruptly revoked.

Among the issues precipitating his loss of clearance were the fact that his newlywed wife had graduated from an Islamic school, that she had participated in an anti-war protest, and that she had engaged in pro-Palestinian political activity while a student at George Mason University.

This week Mr. Hegab filed a lawsuit against the NGA seeking reinstatement of his clearance.

“The revocation of plaintiff’s security clearance and access to classified information by NGA was based solely on plaintiff’s wife’s religion, Islam, her constitutionally protected speech, and her association with, and employment by, an Islamic faith-based organization,” wrote Sheldon I. Cohen, Mr. Hegab’s attorney.  None of her actions or affiliations posed any national security concern, the lawsuit said.

One response to “NGA sued over loss of security clearance

  1. This will be a very interesting case to follow. The government will most likely seek to dismiss the case because of its discretion to determine who does or does not receive a security clearance. Generally, the government has the power to err on the side of caution (pursuant to the United States Supreme Court) and not grant a security clearance when potential issues are identified. However, it is noteworthy that the government accepted mitigation of the spouse’s Islamic Saudi Academy education, but not of her current affiliation with Islamic Relief USA. If the spouse simply resigned, would the clearance be reinstated? Also, should the government need to provide any evidence that the non-profit Islamic Relief USA organization actually engages in questionable activities detrimental to the United States? I suspect that we will not learn whether the government has actual knowledge of questionable activities by the non-profit, or if the government simply has no idea and does not want to risk anything.

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