The Hatch Act only applies to Federal employees, however, open condemnation of elected government officials is frowned upon in the workplace and as @amberbunny indicated, could be viewed as creating a hostile work environment. It in itself is not disqualifying, but casts doubt on the persons judgement.
You certainly have freedom of speech and dissent. With the wisdom of age I can tell you that is protection mainly from formal government squashing…and any contract company will cut ties if they feel you are endangering their contract. That isn’t censorship. I too was young once and had strong political opinions on active duty. I was confronted about some of my comments from a superior. The showed me in writing where I was specifically prohibited from speaking in disparaging terms towards the President. I was mentored. And I adjusted my public sharing of displeasure. The displeasure remained…that isn’t questioned. But one can easily get removed from a contract particularly in an At Will state. Certain topics are just not acceptable in the work environment. Disparaging the President can be interpreted as potentially disloyal based on some of the heated rhetoric. Again, I am not referencing one president over another. It applies to any sitting president. In a cleared environment if one indicated a desire to use violence to overthrow this president…that is a clearance issue. No matter your age, politics or passion.
@EdFarmerIII, I personally don’t think you should report this to FSO. Based on what you said, I don’t see anything indicating it’s a security concern. Then again, I’m not a security professional. Nonetheless, Hatch Act wouldn’t apply as I don’t see anything political about the colleague’s remarks. There’s nothing in The Act that forbids making not-so-nice comments about a sitting president or such. Additionally, the Act doesn’t prohibits talking about current events. However, a company (prime) might have its own policy on that.
If it makes you uncomfortable, you should tell the person or a superior as first step. If it doesn’t stop, then it becomes a hostile work environment thus EEO clause will apply to the contract that the prime has with the Government (depending on dollar threshold of the contract).
@EdFarmerIII - As of present day, I’m glad President Trump is concerned with putting this country “back on track.” I would, however, like to ask him why he didn’t appear very concerned with the state of this nation during the Vietnam War at which time he was dodging the draft. I suppose some people reserve their patriotism for politics instead of military service…
Having said that, in my opinion, your coworkers conduct won’t put his clearance in jeopardy. At most, a supervisor may counsel him regarding his political comments in the workplace and about how they are not welcome. And as @Marko said, given that your coworker is a contractor, the Hatch Act is not applicable.
I’ve experienced the same exact scenario. Working a DOD IT contract with a particular person whom was just out of college like me, but she was pretty radically left leaning.
This person constantly slammed every member of this Administration. Particularly President Trump. This girl was also born in Pakistan and immigrated to the US at a very young age. Craziest part is that she, on multiple occasions, ranted about how the US Military was evil and liked killing Muslims. She also claimed her birth country was “great” on multiple occasions.
Luckily, she was working on an interim Secret with an investigation on going. Needless to say, I reported her to the FBI. She mysteriously disappeared from the contract a couple months later.
People should speak up about these things. It doesn’t matter whom is President or what your politics are. If you have people openly ranting and raving about the leaders of our country while simultaneously accessing SIPRnets and classified information, they should be spotlighted and investigated.
It never ceases to amaze me how individuals like the one you describe are able to get through a BI process.
At the same time, more qualified individuals are not hired.
Threatening violence against any POTUS is a federal crime in itself, irrespective of whether one holds a clearance or not.
In the military, it’s important to remember that the POTUS is technically part of your chain of command!
This is not a security issue. It seems there’s some potentially inappropriate comments being made in the workplace simply due to the nature of the environment. But it appears you’re letting your politics affect your impression of this individual and perhaps vice versa.
If it ever gets to the point of him/her acting or talking in a way that would suggest taking forceful actions against the US government or its associated personnel, or talking/acting in a way that suggests engaging in or supporting activities detrimental to US interests then you should speak up.
False. If you look at the last major leakers: Snowden, Manning, even “Reality Winner”, there was a pattern of them making radically disparaging comments against the US Government in the work place.
You also don’t make slanderous accusations about the same military members that are working in the cubical next to you. You also don’t praise a foreign country’s government, especially one that is a hotbed of terrorism and has actively harbored terrorist that have committed atrocities against both our military members and our civilians.
Freedom of speech is a right. A security clearance is not.
Those are valid points, yet objectively that’s not what OP’s coworker seems to be doing based off his description. But if he feels something is truly off then he should consult with security. He really should. If you’ve ever had insider threat training, you should know what to look out for.
Let’s take a step back here—people talk politics in the workplace whether its appropriate or not. The federal and contractor workforce is filled with people with differing ideologies… this is the reality and we’re only human. We voice our opinions but opinions themselves are not an indicator of intent to harm. Dissenting opinions/speech in and of itself is not a reason to deny/revoke someone’s clearance.
When I was in the military I was astounded by the amount of extreme disrespect directed toward the Obama administration and supporters by fellow service members (publicly!)—just downright inappropriate. But I knew they were just being vocal. At no point in time did I feel their ideaologies affected their ability to do their jobs or seem to materialize in a way that requires reporting… they wanted to vent (and maybe got a talking to from the chain of command)
We like to believe we can always predict someone’s future behavior based on what they’ve done in the past, but we can’t; we can only recognize patterns, trends, and correlations. Pay attention to your training and consult with security if you need to.
That is a fair response.
I will say that way too many people conflate personal politics with things that are,have been, and always should be objectively apolitical.
@Marko, Hatch Act does apply to some contractors
Thanks for sharing. There are always some exceptions, but generally speaking the government does not consider contractors as government employees by definition and relay on the company for who the contractor is working for to have their own policy to address this.
Thanks for all of the replies . . . Some went a little overboard but I still appreciate it all.
At this point, I’m not doing anything.
For those posting:
If you steer clear of referencing either this administration or the last…keep it generic…it remains a valid topic for discussion on this forum. If you bring personal politics or emotions to play…it will get shut down. As it should.
As a general rule, politics and religion, along with sexual items should not be discussed in the work place. Many of those ending up as problems begin in a casual and acceptable conversation. From there one or more get heated, stronger terms are used…and it devolves from there. Not good for anyone. The quiet person sitting there taking it all in? Its possible you create a hostile work environment for them. Once that complaint is launched it can cause problems.
It is possible to see good things under both administrations (cherry picking) and possible to bring out bad things. When it gets heated regardless of where your heart is, or your politics…people can say things they cannot pull back in. I will not call anyone a traitor or not patriotic based on pro or con opinion of either administration.
For this forum, the question should be…at what point…does it cross the line from dissent to advocacy of violence? Attempt to overthrow, not by ballot box? One person’s trash…another person’s treasure. I have heard people during both administrations say things I believe crossed the line and the person kept saying it. And in both cases they got in trouble for it and had to sit for uncomfortable interviews. There isn’t anything wrong with not liking a left or a right leaning administration. Giving voice to a desire to see overthrow, willingness to participate in this event…gets you into trouble fast.
It is one thing to say I do not like Fascism (as my fave webpage defines it). One can be a peaceful counter demonstrator against things they feel are fascist…however, no matter how abhorrent the speech of another is…law says you cannot randomly engage them violently. There are many who believe they are free to attack a person claiming to support Nazism. No, you cannot. Same with those who feel you can attack an Antifa member because they wore a mask and were likely up to no good. Yes you can defend yourself but attacking anyone or thing physically…indicates a willingness to use violence…and that will put a clearance on thin ice fast.
So it matters not if you are left or right. How you conduct yourself in this pursuit of happiness matters to keeping your clearance. Get arrested? Even if released you need speak to the arrest and then your behavior is adjudicated. If you are cleared and participate in violence and get charged…you must report this. Again, a clearance decision will be made based on behavior…not ideology.
So be careful when you think everyone agrees with your opinion right or left. It can be a hostile work environment situation or a clearance issue…based on how you behave. And that belongs in this forum.
There were several active duty members who were booted for participating in violence during demonstrations. It matters not if you call yourself left or right. Commit or advocate violence against an administration…and you quickly enter a grey area.
From the scenario, it sounds more like a workplace relations issue and does not rise to the level of requiring reporting. However, keep in mind that ALL cleared individuals are required under ODNI’s SEAD 3 not only to self report certain incidents but to report behaviors of others that may be of a potential security or insider threat concern.
I have some advice for you, I would not get involved in politics at work. We as American citizens are able to speak freely, however, it is in poor taste to speak negatively about public officials during the course of work. Question, if Hillary was elected would you feel the same way?
I would suspect that the response to that last question would likely be negative!
Thanks for the advice but it is not needed . . . It’s not my politics or my voice that is at issue. It’s what I must put up with in work. I don’t care what my coworker thinks about the president. I didn’t like the previous one even a little bit.
The question was far more about what responsibility a cleared individual, inside of a classified DoD worksite, has when speaking about the president.
If Hillary had been elected, I would feel exactly about her that my coworker does about President Trump. But, I would keep my mouth shut during work hours.
Thanks, I don’t think that because a person has a clearance that they now do not have freedom of speech. It’s the folks that do not say much that we should worry about.