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Scientists Say NASA Has Begun A Witch Hunt At Cal Tech

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Dozens of scientists and engineers at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have filed a federal class-action complaint claiming NASA, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Cal Tech are threatening their jobs and invading their privacy by forcing them to submit to unconstitutional "background checks" into their sexual orientation, sexual histories, associations and other "dangerously vague" criteria.

The offenses are "putatively based upon Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12." NASA demands "that JPL employees - including senior scientists and engineers, many of whom have been employed there for decades, and none of whom work on classified or national security materials or issues - submit to 1) an open-ended background investigation prying into their protected associational activities as well as myriad private and irrelevant personal information, and 2) a determination of their suitability for employment that includes such wrong-headed and/or dangerously vague criteria as sexual orientation, sexual history, medical and emotional history, financial history, 'attitude,' and 'personality conflict.'" Lead plaintiff Dr. Robert Nelson is a 27-year JPL employee, a senior research scientist and head of NASA's New Millennium Program. Represented by Hadsell & Stormer of Pasadena, plaintiffs demand an injunction. See complaint.

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