On 16 November 2012 the following was posted on the Defense Security Service (DSS) website under “User/System Alerts:”
DSS Notice Regarding Secession Petitions
November 16, 2012
DSS personnel have recently received questions from security personnel at cleared contractors about whether contractors should file adverse information reports pursuant to NISPOM paragraph 1-302 regarding cleared persons who sign petitions to allow a state to withdraw or secede from the United States.
It also appears that erroneous statements have been made to the effect that DSS is directing contractors to treat the signing of such petitions as reportable adverse information.
Please note that DSS has not provided any approved direction or guidance. DSS is not directing any contractor to file adverse information reports regarding persons who have signed secession or withdrawal petitions. This issue is under review and DSS will provide information to contractors when that review is complete.
This notice is about the recent petitions posted at the White House’s “We the People” website. According to a 15 November 2012 Washington Post article, petitions have been initiated by people in all 50 states and six of those petitions have reached the 25,000-signature threshold requiring a response from an administration official.
Since the petitions have no legal effect, it’s hard to imagine DSS taking more than a couple of minutes to “review” the situation before advising Facility Security Officers (FSOs) that there is no need to submit an adverse information Report (Incident Report) regarding any of their employees who simply sign one of these petitions. It’s unclear what provision of DOD 5200.2-R or the Adjudicative Guidelines an FSO might think makes this type of conduct reportable under the NISPOM. It’s not an “Allegiance” or “Foreign Preference” issue—at least not until there is a country to which someone wants to transfer their allegiance or they express an intent to renounce U.S. citizenship. Unless it involves violating the law, exercising your First Amendment rights of free speech and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances shouldn’t be reportable conduct under the NISPOM.
I’m reminded of what Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) said when she was mayor of San Francisco and facing a recall petition: “In San Francisco you can get 30,000 people to sign a petition to put overhead sewer lines on Market Street.” I don’t think anyone is taking these petitions as a serious secessionist movement. It’s just a way to let off steam.