Defense Contractor Fires Employee Linked To White Supremacist Group

A man who had been identified as an assailant at last year's Charlottesville rally and apparent member of a white supremacist organization has been dismissed by defense contractor Northrop Grumman.

Last week, James Joyner wrote about the case of Michael Miselis, a University of California, Los Angeles doctoral student with a U.S. government security clearance to work on sensitive research for a prominent defense contractor who somehow managed to get a security clearance and a job with Northrup Grumman. What made the case unusual is the fact that, as Pro Publica report showed, Miselis had ties to a white supremacist organization and was apparently involved in the alt-right rally in Charlottesville last year that resulted in the death of one woman. Late last week, The Washington Post reported that Miselis had lost his job:

Michael Miselis, a Northrop Grumman systems engineer who allegedly is a member of a white-supremacist organization and participated in a violent rally in Charlottesville last summer is no longer employed at the company, a Northrop Grumman spokesman said Friday.

The news follows a Thursday report by the investigative news organization ProPublica and the television program “Frontline,” which identified Miselis in photos and videos from the rally, where he is seen with arms raised and tape covering his hands. The report also identifies Miselis in a video “pounding on” a black man at the rally.

“The individual is no longer a Northrop Grumman employee,” Northrop Grumman spokesman Tim Paynter said Friday afternoon, referring to Miselis.

Northrop was initially slow to respond to the allegations. ProPublica and “Frontline” reported early Thursday morning that Miselis had remained employed at Northrop even after his superiors had been informed of his actions. On Thursday afternoon Northrop published a statement saying it would “take immediate action to look into” the issue, but a company spokesperson declined to comment on Miselis’ employment at the time.

Then on Friday morning Northrop Grumman chief executive Wes Bush told employees in an internal email that the company would “take the appropriate actions to make sure that our foundation remains strong well into the future,” without saying which specific actions the company would take.

The email was forwarded to The Washington Post by a Northrop Grumman employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the employee feared retaliation. “They would end up firing me and not the white supremacist” for forwarding Bush’s email to a reporter, the person said.

In the email, which did not confirm whether Miselis had participated in the Charlottesville rally, Bush said he had heard from a number of people who “expressed concern for fellow employees” in light of the report’s findings.

“There is no place in our company for those who demonstrate behaviors that are counter to our values,” Bush wrote in the email. “If we allow such inconsistencies to be present in our company, we erode the foundation of our enterprise — our ethics and our integrity. Our leadership team will not allow that to happen, and we are determined to take the appropriate actions to ensure our foundation remains strong well into the future.”

(…)

According to ProPublica and “Frontline,” Miselis is a 29-year-old PhD student studying aerospace engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles. He also worked as a systems engineer at a Northrop Grumman facility in Redondo Beach, Calif., and holds a security clearance for that work, the report says.

The report identifies Miselis in photos and videos taken from a white-supremacist rally last summer in Charlottesville at which one person was killed when a car was driven into a crowd of counterprotesters.

A photo accompanying the report shows a man identified as Miselis. It also cites a video in which he “pushed an African American protester to the ground and began pounding on him.” The report states that Miselis was a member of the Rise Above Movement, or RAM, a white-supremacist group.

While I agree with the concern that James expressed about Frontline and Pro Publica putting resources into reporting about the activities of a non-public figure such as Miselis, especially since there appears to be little direct evidence of his involvement with organized white supremacist groups. That being said, both his participation in the Charlottesville rally and the fact that there is video and photographic evidence that clearly appears to depict him engaging in an what can only be described as a race-related attack on an African-American man. Regardless of whether or not he is formally a member of RAM or any other organization, he’s clearly sympathetic to such points of view, and he clearly seems to have committed a criminal act as part of his participation in the Charlottesville rally. (Whether he has been formally charged in connection with the incident is unclear.

Moreover, as James noted in his post, the fact that Northrop Grumman employs minorities of all types it would be untenable to continue to employ a known white supremacist after he’s been outed in this manner. Whether all of this will go on to effect Miselis’s security clearance, which he appears to have obtained independently of his employment with Northrup Grumman, is unclear.

FILED UNDER: Government, National Security, Race and Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    Cult45 has walled itself off from even the possibility of persuasion. The war of maneuver is over.
    It’s all down to brute political and economic force now: shunning, boycotting, demonstrations and eventually, voting.

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  2. Blue Galangal says:

    As many have said before me, and will say after me, if you don’t do racist shit, you won’t get outed as a racist. I’m not wringing my hands over the idea that a racist – and an anti-Semite – who flew across the country to march explicitly to advocate violence against blacks and Jews – is unemployable.

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  3. gVOR08 says:

    IIRC a lady got fired for a photo of her on her bicycle flipping of Trumpsky’s motorcade. This seems far more appropriate. Apparently the ID was good enough for NG legal.

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  4. teve tory says:

    “So, thanks for being on time for the interview, your resume looks good. It says here your last job was at Northrop Grumman. Why’d you leave them?”
    “Well if you google me you’ll see I belonged to a neo-nazi group and I went to a rally and beat up on a black guy.”
    “Okay, well, thanks for coming in, we’ll be in touch.”

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  5. Stormy Dragon says:

    Well, at least that answers the “was it really him?” question.

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  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    I am fascinated by the degree to which business – from tiny Red Hen to massive Starbucks to more far more massive Disney – are allying themselves with the resistance. A bunch of cold-eyed business folk have looked at the trends and decided to bet against Trump. They may like his tax cuts for rich people, but they reject him on social issues.

    We all watch the polls but this is something different. This is a bet on the future, and business is betting the future looks diverse, not white. Service-oriented industries are opposed to Trump, and more industries are turning against him over his clumsy tariffs. The GOP has two components: the deplorables and the billionaires. The deplorables are cult members and have lost all capacity for independent thought. Business people however retain a clear focus on profits. It’ll be interesting to see how much weight business still swings in the GOP.

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  7. Lynn says:

    @gVOR08: IIRC a lady got fired for a photo of her on her bicycle flipping of Trumpsky’s motorcade.

    I’m looking forward to the outcome of this.

    “Now Briskman has filed a lawsuit against her former employer, claiming unlawful termination. Briskman’s lawyers allege that Akima, a government contractor, forced her to resign “out of fear of unlawful retaliation by the government,” suggesting that such behavior violates “the basic tenets of Virginia employment law.” They argue that Briskman’s “expression of disapproval” of the president is protected by the First Amendment.”

    http://fortune.com/2018/04/05/woman-flipping-off-trump-fired-job-lawsuit/

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  8. Kit says:

    Even six months ago, I would have felt uncomfortable with outing people, and deeply suspicious of businesses terminating employment for reasons unrelated to work. Those days are over.

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  9. Mister Bluster says:

    @Lynn:..I’m looking forward to the outcome of this.

    I believe that this was tossed by the judge about a week ago.

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  10. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It seems to be going both ways. People who act terribly get their comeuppance, which is a good thing. The recent example from the other side is the guy who assaulted a teenager for wearing a MAGA hat in Whataburger.

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  11. Scott says:

    I am curious about his security clearance. Would his association with these groups imply that he could be a security risk? Apparently, he received one prior to his employment with NG. His previous employer would have had to transfer sponsorship of the clearance to NG. I wonder how he got one in the first place.

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  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I don’t like that someone got terminated because “some workers expressed concern” on such flimsy basis given that his work record would appear to show that his “hobby” stayed out of the workplace. On the other hand, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn) back while I was in Korea expressed the need to have some kind of pledge of loyalty from her fellow Congresspersons because she was afraid subversive elements were creeping into the government. As MBunge noted to me a few days back, “we” (specifically me in that case) shouldn’t be asking for this type of shunning of others for fear it will happen to us. As I said at the time, his side was the one proposing and doing the shunning in the recent past, so if people whose ideas he supports get the same treatment, it seems okay to me. I don’t see any reason to change my opinion for this cracker even though I would agree that he has been caught up in a maelstrom not of his own making. Laissez les bon temps rouller!

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  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    his work record would appear to show that his “hobby” stayed out of the workplace.

    His work record shows only that nobody complained about it, or that any complaints that were made got buried.

    I would agree that he has been caught up in a maelstrom not of his own making.

    ??????????????????? Really? He flew across the country to join in a white supremacist rally and partook in the beating of a black man. Was somebody holding a gun to his head? He did this with the full and certain knowledge that the news media would be there. Probably channel surfed for footage showing him in his “moment of glory.”

    This was entirely of his making, he just never thought he’d have to pay a price for it.

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  14. Franklin says:

    I expect he’ll be picked up by the Administration in short order, maybe in some capacity for the Space Force.

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  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m glad we agree that there is no record. That someone might have buried it prior to now only speaks to the corruption of the system in which we live (and may serve to explain how people decide to vote for a Trump, but YMMV).

    The “we should shun and threaten people who don’t agree with us” is the maelstrom not of his own making in that he’s not the guy who stood up on stage and said “…I’ll pay the legal bills,” he only followed along. His immediate maelstrom is, as you note, certainly of his own making. I was speaking of the zeitgeist. He didn’t create that; he only belongs to a societal group that has wanted it for decades, if not over a century. Ironic isn’t it?

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  16. teve tory says:

    @Franklin: Hugo Drax did want his space force to be genetically pure IIRC. So he could have opportunities there. 😛

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  17. Tyrell says:

    @Andy: But where is the line? Who decides what acting terribly is? How about “acting terribly” at home? Is it legal to dismiss a worker for expressing views at home on their time?
    What if I go to the park and wear a t-shirt with a Confederate flag or Che Guevara on it? Do I get dismissed from work if someone sees it and reports it? The shoe is on both feet with this one.
    “who is monitoring the monitors?”

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  18. Andy says:

    @Scott:

    Speaking as a former security manager, yes, it would impact his clearance. If he has a standard “secret” level clearance, which is what it sounds like, the investigations for those primarily consist of national and local agency checks. So, if he didn’t have something in any official record to indicate his affiliation, the government probably didn’t know about it.

    @Tyrell:

    But where is the line? Who decides what acting terribly is? How about “acting terribly” at home?

    Good questions. The answer seems to be whatever the crowd thinks and whatever goes viral. That’s not a great standard.

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