NASA Investigates Allegations Astronaut Accessed Wife's Bank Account From Space
NASA is investigating allegations one of its astronauts illegally accessed her estranged spouse's bank account from the International Space Station - potentially making it the first crime committed from space.
Summer Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer, lodged a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that her wife Anne McClain gained access to her account during a six-month mission, The New York Times reports.
Ms Worden's parents also filed a complaint with NASA's Office of Inspector General, which alleged Ms McClain had accessed Ms Worden's private financial records as part of a 'highly calculated and manipulative campaign' to gain custody of Ms Worden's son.
Speaking to the publication, Ms Worden said: "I was pretty appalled that she would go that far. I knew it was not OK."
She also told the publication the FTC had not yet responded to the identity theft allegation and investigators, including criminal case specialist Michael Mataya, were assessing the complaint.
Ms McClain has since taken to social media and denied the allegations and said she had 'total faith' that the investigation will find her innocent.
Writing on Twitter, she said: "There's unequivocally no truth to these claims. We've been going through a painful, personal separation that's now unfortunately in the media. I appreciate the outpouring of support and will reserve comment until after the investigation.
"I have total confidence in the IG process."
Ms McClain's lawyer Rusty Hardin has also come to his client's defence, telling the Times that the astronaut 'strenuously denies that she did anything improper' and 'is totally cooperating'.
He went on to tell the paper that McClain had been monitoring the account to ensure the well-being of Worden's son, who the couple had been raising together.
Mr Hardin added that his client used the same password to access the account that she had prior to their separation.
There's unequivocally no truth to these claims. We've been going through a painful, personal separation that's now unfortunately in the media. I appreciate the outpouring of support and will reserve comment until after the investigation. I have total confidence in the IG process.
- Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) August 24, 2019
CNN reports that NASA has contacted both women with regards to the allegations, however, a spokesperson said they would not comment on individual cases or 'personal matters'.
They said: "Lt Col. Anne McClain has an accomplished military career, flew combat missions in Iraq and is one of NASA's top astronauts. She did a great job on her most recent NASA mission aboard the International Space Station.
"Like with all NASA employees, NASA does not comment on personal or personnel matters."
According to reports, the couple married in 2014, before Ms Worden filed for divorce just four years later when Ms McClain accused her of assault. The case was later dropped and Ms Worden claims it was part of her partner's attempts to gain custody of her son.
A few months after divorce papers were filed, Ms McClain went to space, and it was during this time that Ms Worden discovered her bank account had been accessed.
NASA told the Times that they were not aware of any crime having been committed on the International Space Station.
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