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NASA investigating allegations Army astronaut committed cyber crime in space

NASA astronaut Anne McClain watches as the Soyuz MS-11 descent capsule carrying the ISS Expedition 58/59 crew members lands near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on June 25, 2019.

SERGEI MAMONTOV/TASS/ABACCA PRESS/TNS

By LEADA GORE | Alabama Media Group | Published: August 25, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — NASA is reportedly investigating one of its astronauts in a case that appears to involve the first allegations of criminal activity from space.

Astronaut Anne McClain allegedly told investigators she accessed her estranged spouse’s bank account while serving on the International Space Station, the New York Times reported. McClain’s wife, Summer Worden, and her parents have filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and NASA’s Office of Inspector General related to the alleged identity theft incident.

The two women were in a dispute over custody of Worden’s 6-year-old son, the Times reported. There are no allegations money was taken or moved and McClain allegedly told investigators her check of the account was to ensure the child was being cared for.

In a statement, NASA praised McClain’s service but declined to address the allegations.

"Lt Col. Anne McClain has an accomplished military career, flew combat missions in Iraq and is one of NASA’s top astronauts," a statement from NASA read. "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."

McClain did address the allegations in a message posted to Twitter.

McClain and Worden filed for divorce in 2018 after four years of marriage. The astronaut is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, joining NASA’s astronaut corps in 2013 before spending 204 days aboard the International Space Station from December 2018 to June of this year.

McClain was a Kiowa helicopter pilot in the Army and flew 216 combat missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom. After Iraq, she was assigned to Alabama’s Fort Rucker as battalion operations manager and Kiowa instructor pilot.

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