This is pretty troubling. NASA is reportedly requiring longtime career scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Goddard Space Flight Center to go through FBI screening similar to what you need to get a security clearance. The new scrutiny is allegedly pursuant to a Homeland Security directive, but that directive seems to allow considerably more leniency than NASA is in fact applying to these top labs, which do very “little or no” classified work. Employees are, in turn, suing NASA over the new strictures.
I’m just reporting what others have reported–in this case, my source is The Nation–but this sure sounds like another case of the Bush administration unreasonably clamping down on the activities of government scientists.