Tinker, Tailor, Soldier . . . Janitor?

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This security stuff is serious business. Ask Lockheed Martin janitor Michael Lynch, who is set to lose his security clearance because Defense Department officials think he is a security risk. Seems Lynch's previous financial problems have triggered a DoD flag which says that folks with money trouble will sell out their country.

But Lynch's money woes stem from a battle with a brain tumor and struggling to send a blind daughter to music school. Yep, just the type you've got to wonder about.

(via Fark)

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  1. Pardon me for stepping away from pure libertarian utopianism, but I don’t actually think that’s illegitimate. The reason for denying clearances to people in debt is obvious — $10K would go a long way to buying important, classified info from anyone with debts, even if they’re incurred by caring for your daughter and your tumor.

    And it’s not like the guy is likely to have an incredibly hard time finding another janitorial job — it will just need to be in unclassified facilities.

  2. I agree with Steve. The janitor sounds like somebody that foreign intelligence services would love access to — he’s financially desperate, he needs to provide for a daughter he might not be around to support, and he has access to sensitive facilities.

    When you think about it, isn’t the average person a lot more likely to sell out their country for their childrens’ sake than for the sake of, say, too many credit card bills from Macy’s?

  3. “The government is certainly overdoing it. They are leaping to conclusions that are just not there,” Fogel said…..

    Intel on this janitor says he’s a potential threat and needs be pre-emptively dealt with. He can have sensitive material in the hands of the North Koreans in 45 minutes. America must take action, it cannot afford to wait.

    Scuse me folks, I have been watching too much cable news!

  4. The only problem with that is that the janitor probably doesn’t get to see anything much–anything important is locked away where they can’t see it. Maybe they could photograph sensitive equipment, but that would be about it (and I’m not sure they would let janitors in those areas). (I temped in a defense contractor’s office, so saw some of the precautions first-hand.)

    Higher-paid people also tend to run up even higher debts to keep up with the Jonses, who have much more expensive habits than the Smiths, who do the sweeping up. Hence it was Aldrich Ames who spied on the CIA, despite having a pretty good salary.

    But yes, it’s not completely cut and dried.

  5. The other side of this issue is if nothing was done and the janitor ended up selling sensitive material to a foreign group. There would be mass out cry for not connecting the dots.

    How mind-boggling it would be if the janitor won a court decision keeping his security clearance only to be found selling classified material later!

  6. Two points:

    I agree with Steve also – having a personal medical crisis and/or a disabled child is the sort of thing that allows one to morally justify doing something like selling US secrets, more so than just having wracked up personal debt to ‘keep up with the Jones’. So yes there is a possibility here.

    Although it may seem this guy could easily find another janitor job, he’s probably making more than usual for janitors because he’s working for a quasi-government organization (a defence contractor) and may even get extra for the security clearance. So, out of fairness, I think they should just reassign the guy to some less sensitive area since the incentive to do wrong is not by any means proof of actual or even future wrong doing.

  7. This kind of thing actually happens to soldiers/sailors on active duty fairly frequently. My bro-in-law commanded a Stinger missile battery. The manuals, training, etc. for this system require a SECRET clearance, for obvious reasons. Several of his junior-level enlisted guys had to be reassigned because they couldn’t manage their finances well enough to receive the required clearance.

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