Intelligence agency discriminating against Muslim worker
Discrimination on the basis of religion is illegal. They had his security clearance pulled and there appears to be no basis for this other than the agency’s possible bias against Muslims. Being an American Muslim is fine.
True is that any material change in status must be reported and is subject to review, such as getting married.
“Worker suing intelligence agency claims anti-Muslim bias
By Ed O’Keefe, Published: November 1
A Northern Virginia man is filing a discrimination lawsuit against a federal intelligence agency, claiming it revoked his security clearance because his wife attended an Islamic school and works for a Muslim nonprofit group.
Mahmoud M. Hegab, hired in 2010 as a budget analyst for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, sued in U.S. District Court in Alexandria last month. In court papers, Hegab, who lives in Alexandria, said he joined the agency in January 2010 and informed officials during his orientation that he had married Bushra Nusairat between the time of his security clearance investigation and the date he reported to work.
The NGA supplies satellite imagery to the military and requires its 16,000 workers to obtain a top-secret security clearance as a condition of employment. The agency revoked Hegab’s clearance last November, citing concerns about Nusairat’s background. Hegab, 30, was placed on unpaid leave in January.
Nusairat, 24, is a program associate withIslamic Relief USA, a global nonprofit that provides food aid and public health andeducational programs in poor or disaster-prone regions and whose director advises the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department.
Hegab’s lawyer, Sheldon Cohen, argued in court papers that the decision to revoke his clearance “was based solely” on Nusairat’s “religion, Islam, her constitutionally protected speech, and her association with, and employment by, an Islamic faith-based organization.”
The couple declined to comment. But Cohen, an Arlington lawyer who has represented hundreds of federal employees in security-clearance disputes, said NGA officials closely probed Nusairat’s background once they learned of Hegab’s marriage.
Cohen described Islamic Relief USA as a “noncontroversial organization,” and said he did not know of other cases in which someone lost a security clearance because of a spouse or a close relative who worked for such a group.
Several lawyers who work in security clearance agreed, saying it was the first instance they knew of in which clearance was revoked because of a spouse’s ties to Islamic organizations. Federal agencies, however, have a well-documented history of revoking clearances because of an employee’s family or marital ties.
During the Cold War, intelligence agencies regularly denied clearances to individuals whose spouses were involved with communist or “fellow traveler” organizations. People with relatives in or from Russia or other Warsaw Pact countries also were denied clearances.
More recently, agencies have rejected applicants and employees because they have family living in the Middle East or Afghanistan, said Mark F. Riley, an Annapolis lawyer who also handles security-clearance cases. Riley recalled a client who dropped legal challenges against his federal employer because he needed to travel to a Middle Eastern country to bail out an imprisoned brother.
A Fairfax native, Nusairat graduated in 2005 from the Islamic Saudi Academy, a Saudi-backed school that came under close scrutiny for using textbooks that promoted violence and religious intolerance. The school’s 1999 valedictorian also was convicted of plotting with al-Qaeda to kill George W. Bush.”