A federal appeals court on Friday granted a temporary injunction blocking implementation of a policy that would require scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to undergo intrusive background investigations as a condition of continued employment.
The requirement stems from President Bush’s Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, under which all federal employees and contractors are obliged to obtain secure forms of federal identification.
As interpreted by NASA, this provision means that JPL employees must not only provide verifiable proof of identity, which all are willing to do, but must also accept an open-ended background investigation into their personal conduct.
Under the NASA standard, according to critics, “any investigator” from “any federal agency” would be permitted to collect “any information” regarding the employee.
A lower court rejected their request for an injunction against the policy on October 3. But the appeals court granted it on October 5, until further proceedings can be held. For background on the case see here.
“We cannot drive scientists into our laboratories,” said President Truman in a September 13, 1948 speech to the AAAS, “but, if we tolerate reckless or unfair attacks, we can certainly drive them out.”
FAS experts believe government shutdowns are science shutdowns: costly and ineffective standoffs that stifle scientific pursuits and do harm.
We always knew that healthy children do better in school. Now we have rigorous empirical research to back it up.
Truly open science requires that the public is not only able to access the products of research, but the knowledge embedded within.
Over the last year we’ve devoted considerable effort to understanding wildfire in the context of U.S. federal policy. Here’s what we learned.