Woman Denied Top US Security Clearance For Being Related to Dictator

A woman was denied top-secret security clearance earlier this year after it was discovered that she was a “close” relative of one country’s authoritarian dictator.

Documents that are publicly available with the Department of Defense’s Office of Hearings and Appeals revealed this information, though the woman was unnamed and the country was as well.

The administrative judge who oversaw the case denied the clearance in what turned out to be an extraordinary case, since the woman is related to “an extremely bad and dangerous person, a dictator of a country that is hostile to the United States.

As CNN reported previously, there were more than 1.2 million people in the U.S. who had top-secret security clearance as of October of 2017.

The information that was included about the woman is just that she’s married to an American citizen who was born in the United States, is in her 30s and has worked for many years for different defense contractors.

In the 1990s, she moved with her family to the U.S. while she was a young girl, and all members became citizens of the U.S. It was also noted that none of the family members in the U.S. are in contact with any of their other family members who are still living in that other country.

The country was only referred to as “Country X” in the DOD document.

In the ruling, the judge said that country “supports international terrorism, and it conducts cyberattacks and espionage against the United States.”

As the record states:

“Applicant was born a citizen of Country X. A close family member (cousin, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew) is the dictator of Country X. Applicant’s parents and their children, including Applicant, immigrated to the United States in the 1990s when she was young. They all became U.S. citizens.”

When they moved to the U.S., the family changed their names. The applicant still said that her mother “still fears retaliation.”

In addition, the document states that this woman had a security clearance already, and that there haven’t been any concerns raised about how she’s handled sensitive information.

Edward Loughran, who was the administrative judge in the case, wrote about how good of an employee this woman was, and how hard the decision for him was. He wrote:

“This is a difficult case because Applicant is intelligent, honest, loyal to the United States, a model employee, and a current clearance holder with no evidence of any security problems. She credibly testified that her connections to Country X and its dictator could not be used to coerce or intimidate her into revealing classified information.

“There is nothing about her that makes her anything less than a perfect candidate for a security clearance except her family connections to a dictator.”

Dr. Marek Posard, who works at RAND Corporation as a military sociologist, spoke to CNN and said that the information that’s contained in the records suggests the woman might be from North Korea.