• New Afghan Army unit nabs Taliban bomber
    Published: Sept. 14, 2007 at 11:16 PM
    During a recent mission in the Afghanistan's Nangahar province, a new battalion of the Afghan National Army apprehended a well-known Taliban facilitator.
  • Iraqi operations kills eight terrorists
    Published: Sept. 14, 2007 at 10:49 PM
    During operations in central and northern Iraq Thursday and Friday coalition forces killed eight terrorists and detained more than 20 suspected terrorists.
  • MRI launches biological safety center
    Published: Sept. 14, 2007 at 6:42 PM
    The non-profit Missouri-based Midwest Research Institute has announced the launch of its Center for Biological Safety and Security.
  • Analysis: Poll cuts Bush, Congress at war
    Published: Sept. 14, 2007 at 11:36 PM
    Most Americans remain opposed to the war and give both President Bush and Congress thumbs down on its Iraq war effort, according to a new UPI-Zogby Interactive poll.
  • Analysis: EU police mission troubled
    Published: Sept. 14, 2007 at 2:45 PM
    The European Union’s Afghan police-training mission is running into severe problems: Its commander has been sent home just months after his appointment, and Germany has refused to send its police trainers to the volatile southern provinces of the country.
  • Iraq Press Roundup
    Published: Sept. 14, 2007 at 10:42 AM
    Azzaman newspaper reported Friday that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the release of Iranian prisoners convicted of drug smuggling, stealing and destructive actions in Iraq.
  • Commentary: Musharraf meltdown
    Published: Sept. 14, 2007 at 10:40 AM
    Some 80,000 Pakistani soldiers who man the non-existent border between the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the Afghan border have stood down, but no one knows who gave the order or whether they are even taking orders. Taliban and al-Qaida terrorist training camps are up and running again with the acquiescence -- or impotence -- of the Pakistani army. That’s the word by satellite phone from this reporter’s sources in Miranshah and Wana, the capitals of North and South Waziristan.
  • Analysis: Thousands may join Sept. 11 list
    Published: Sept. 13, 2007 at 9:20 PM
    The list of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks will swell by hundreds or even thousands in the coming years, say experts, as more die from diseases resulting from their exposure to the huge plume of toxic dust thrown up by the collapsing towers of the World Trade Center.
  • Iraq Press Roundup
    Published: Sept. 13, 2007 at 12:19 PM
    Al Adada newspaper reported Thursday that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said terrorist organizations had become imbalanced after losing their hideouts and havens because Iraqis were not afraid anymore to cooperate with security forces.

Lawmakers slam ID rules that prompted suit

Published: Sept. 5, 2007 at 4:48 PM
WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. lawmakers are slamming new rules requiring background checks for federal employees, which have provoked a lawsuit from NASA scientists.

Last week 28 senior researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California -- none of whom does work requiring a security clearance -- filed a lawsuit, claiming waivers they were required to sign to get new, secure IDs, violated their constitutional rights.

"We must make sure that any intrusion into the privacy of those who work at JPL -- or any other lab -- is narrowly tailored to meet the government's security interest and goes no further," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told United Press International. "Otherwise, we will discourage the nation's best and brightest from joining the workforce."

Under President Bush's Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, promulgated in 2004, all federal departments and agencies have to issue new secure IDs to their employees and contractors that will grant them access to U.S. government buildings and computer networks.

But as part of the issuance process for the new "smart" cards, employees are required to sign a broad waiver allowing investigators to look at their employment, financial and medical histories, and to question friends and colleagues about their psychological health, political background and sexual proclivities.

The new requirements apply even to those employees who have no access to classified information and who do not require a security clearance.

The lawsuit says the 2004 presidential directive was supposed to be only about establishing common ID standards across the federal government and "contemplates no additional background investigation or suitability determination beyond that already required by law."

Schiff told UPI that privacy interests and the need for a free flow of information to assist scientific inquiry had to be balanced "against legitimate security needs."

"I am not satisfied that it has been done here. The broad privacy waivers that are being required of scientists working on non-sensitive matters must be re-examined and if not justified, must be reined back."


Shaun Waterman, UPI Homeland and National Security Editor

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