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U.S. Intelligence Community Allowed Gay Employee to Keep Job and Security Clearance in 1980

NSA headquarters in Ft. Meade
In a landmark decision in 1980, the U.S. intelligence community allowed a middle-level employe at the National Security Agency to keep his job and security clearances despite being found to be a homosexual. Read on to learn more about this important decision.
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When this headline hit the papers in 1980, it was a big deal. A really big deal. Being gay was something that would disqualify you from holding a security clearance.

Below are excerpts from the article printed on December 30th of that year.

In a decision believed to be the first of its kind the U.S. intelligence community, a middle-level employe at the super-secret National Security Agency who was discovered to be a homosexual has been allowed, after an investigation, to keep his job and security clearances that allow access to highly classified material.

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Traditionally, U.S. intelligence agencies, including the NSA, CIA, FBI and military intelligence units, have either fired or forced resignation of employes found to be homosexual on grounds they were vulnerable to being compromised and therefore were poor security risks.

As a condition of being allowed to keep his job, the NSA employe had to tell his family about his homosexuality, to reduce the risk he could be blackmailed into divulging secrets.

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