It’s been a tough 2018 for aerospace contractor Northrop Grumman, culminating in today’s news that a member of its engineering team with a security clearance is
a member of a white nationalist group and has been filmed attacking protestors at two different events.
The Northrop employee, Michael Miselis, was identified by ProPublica and Frontline during an investigation into the identities of participants in a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year. The event spurred violence and ended in the death of one woman after a white nationalist drove his car into a group of counter-protestors.
In addition to working for Northrop, Miselis is a graduate student in aerospace engineering at UCLA. He is also part of an organization called the Rise Above Movement, or RAM, that espouses hateful views of Muslims, Jews, and immigrants. He was videotaped beating an African-American protestor in Charlottesville and attacking demonstrators at a Trump rally in Berkeley, California.
Northrop did not respond to Quartz’s repeated requests for comment on Miselis and his employment at the company. ProPublica reports that Northrop is aware of Miselis’ membership in RAM and has not taken any action since being informed of it.
Perhaps most surprising is that Miselis was able to obtain a security clearance to allow him to work on projects classified for national security reasons. Background checks included in the clearance process are designed to identify any activity that could make the subject susceptible to potential blackmail.
“I can’t believe that participation in an organized white supremacist group focused on street-level violence wouldn’t jeopardize your security clearance,” Keegan Hankes, a researcher at the Southern Poverty Law Center who tracks white nationalist groups, told ProPublica.
This news is the latest in a bad streak for one of the country’s largest military contractors.
In January, Northrop lost a spy satellite worth billions when its deployment mechanism failed. In June, NASA announced that the company’s efforts to build a next-generation orbital observatory would be delayed again, costing an additional $1 billion, in part because employees used the wrong cleaning solvent, ruining a propulsion system.
Northrop Grumman’s latest bad news: There’s a white nationalist on its engineering team
By Tim Fernholz
July 5, 2018 at 11:09AM
via Quartz https://qz.com/1321903/northrop-grumman-employs-a-white-nationalist-who-attacked-demonstrators-in-charlottesville-in-its-aerospace-division/