NASA Investigates First Alleged Crime in Space – Identity Theft

NASA astronaut Anne McClain has refuted allegations made by her estranged spouse, Summer Worden, that she committed a crime in space – a first, if proven.

Worden claims McClain accessed her emails and personal/bank details from a computer located at the International Space Station (ISS) from a NASA-owned computer, alleging that this amounted to identity theft.

Anne McClain and Summer Worden have reportedly been locked in a bitter separation and custody battle over Worden’s 6-year-old son for a year now.

Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer, asked her bank about the locations of computers that had recently accessed her bank account using her login credentials after she was surprised to learn that McClain knew details of her spending habits, reported The New York Times.

The bank found that Worden’s account had been accessed from a NASA computer network.

"“I was shocked and appalled at the audacity of her to think that she could get away with that, and I was very disheartened that I couldn’t keep anything private.”" - Summer Worden to NBC News

Worden then filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, accusing McClain of committing identity theft, however she did not see any sign of funds being transferred or moved from her account, reported The New York Times.

In a tweet, McClain however, refuted these allegations. 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 (Inspector General) process.”" - Anne McClain on Twitter

McClain however, has reportedly admitted to have accessed Worden’s account. Her lawyer, Rusty Hardin, told The New York Times that McClain had accessed the bank account from space to ensure that Worden had sufficient funds to pay her bills and care for the child.

She also reportedly stated that she used the same password she used before to access Worden’s account while they were in a relationship.

NASA’s Office of Inspector General is now investigating the case, The Telegraph reported.

NASA responded to the claims made against McClain.

"“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.”" - Statement by NASA

Also Read: How NASA plans to shield astronauts from radiation on moon

Worden married McClain in 2014.

McClain joined the astronaut programme in 2013 after flying more than 800 combat hours in Iraq and remains a Lt Col in the Army.

She was supposed to be a part of NASA's first all-female spacewalk in March before it was cancelled for lack of appropriately-sized spacesuits.

Also Read: NASA astronaut says she did not hack her spouse's data

(With inputs from IANS, The New York Times and The Telegraph)

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