JPL, HSPD-12, and Larry Mantle

Larry Mantle, host of NPR’s AirTalk, had an interview yesterday with Robert Nelson, a JPL engineer who is part of a group suing the lab over new security requirements for background checks.

The Homeland Security Presidential Directive #12 is one of a series of Executive Orders signed by President Bush in 2004. It calls for background checks and fingerprinting of all federal employees and contractors. In August, 28 JPL employees asked a federal court for an injunction to release them from the requirement to comply with the implementation of HSPD#12. According to the plaintiffs, NASA is insisting that all employees sign a voluntary waiver consenting to these background investigations or risk losing their jobs. The arguments for preliminary injunctive relief will be heard in Federal Court in Los Angeles today. Robert Nelson, a JPL employee and lead plaintiff in the case joins Larry Mantle to discuss HSPD#12 and his refusal to comply.

The section about JPL starts about 35 minutes into the program.

The initial hearing was yesterday, and the group’s website has some details about the judge’s initial inclinations.