A Jewish dentist in New York who decided to close his successful practice after 35 years and instead provide his dental services to the US Navy has been refused security clearance because he may have “divided loyalties”.
Dr Gershon Pincus had begun making the 400-mile commute to a naval clinic because “I can think of no better way to experience the sunset of my career than by using my professional skills as a dentist to assist those who have chosen to serve in the United States military.”
As part of a security clearance review, Dr Pincus was interviewed and during the course of his interview, his family connections to Israel were discussed, including that his elderly mother and two siblings live there and that his son tragically died of a drug overdose whilst serving in the Israeli Defence Forces. Dr Pincus has only visited Israel three times in the past ten years, including one visit for his father’s funeral and has no holdings in the country or an Israeli passport. The security investigation concluded: “There is nothing in subject’s background or character that would make him vulnerable to blackmail, extortion, coercion or duress.”
However, in March, Dr. Pincus was subjected to a second interview in which all but one of the questions related to his connections to Israel. In September, Dr Pincus’s security clearance was denied, putting a stop to his dental work. The Statement of Reasons explained: “You have weekly telephone contact with your mother and brother in Israel. You added your mother, sister and brother may have contact with neighbours in Israel. Foreign contacts and interests may be a security concern due to divided loyalties or foreign financial interests, may be manipulated or induced to help a foreign person, group, organisation or government in a way that is not in U.S. interests, or is vulnerable to pressure or coercion by foreign interests.”
Avi Schick, a partner with the Dentons law firm, has taken the case pro bono because he said that when he first heard that someone could be stopped from serving the Navy just for having relatives in Israel, he was so sceptical that he promised to take the case pro bono if the facts turned out to be true.
Schick has now petitioned Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to review Dr Pincus’s case.
Source: Wall Street Journal