Sept. 4, 2003

Judge Revokes Lockheed Janitor Clearance


PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A judge revoked the security clearance of a janitor at defense contractor Lockheed Martin because of a Defense Department policy that flags workers in financial trouble.

The janitor, Michael Lynch, had argued that nearly all his back taxes had been paid and he had an unblemished 19-year work record at Lockheed's Moorestown, N.J., plant.

Administrative Judge James A. Young ruled Aug. 26 that although Lynch had made progress, he admits that if another family emergency arose, he may let those bills lapse again.

Lynch has 15 days to appeal. His lawyer, James Katz, declined comment Thursday. Lockheed Martin has promised Lynch a job even if he lost the clearance.

Defense Department policy states that people in financial trouble may be tempted to sell military secrets to escape debt. The department asked the judge to revoke Lynch's clearance after finding out he had a 1993 bankruptcy and an unpaid city tax bill.

In the 1980s, Lynch, 50, was out of work for three years after surgery to remove a brain tumor, then in the early 1990s, his wife stopped working to help their blind daughter with her studies. The city tax bill went unpaid when Lynch and his wife chose to pay their daughter's tuition instead.

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