NASA is reportedly investigating an allegation that an astronaut accessed her estranged spouse’s bank account from the International Space Station, the New York Times reported on Friday.
Anne McClain informed investigators she accessed the bank account from the space station during a six-month assignment but dismissed any claims of misconduct.
The claim is being reported as the first allegation of a crime committed in space.
McClain’s spouse, former Air Force intelligence officer Summer Worden, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that McClain had committed identity theft but said she did not observe that any money had been moved from the account.
McClain’s lawyer Rusty Hardin told the Times that she was worried about the family’s finances, specifically financial support for Worden’s son, whom the couple had been raising before they split up. Hardin said McClain used the password to the account to monitor the couple’s funds while they were together.
“She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” Hardin said, while stressing that McClain was “totally co-operating.”
Worden’s parents filed a second complaint to NASA’s Office of Inspector General alleging that McClain improperly accessed private financial records in an attempt to manage a “highly calculated and manipulative campaign” to gain custody of Worden’s son.
“I was pretty appalled that she would go that far,” Worden told the Times. “I knew it was not OK.”
Worden said the FTC has not yet responded to her claim.
McClain and Worden married in 2014, but the couple filed for divorce in 2018 after McClain accused Worden of assault.
Investigators from NASA’s inspector general’s office have talked to both women, the Times reported. However, McClain asserted in an interview with the office under oath last week that “she is only continuing behavior that Worden had approved to handle the family’s finances.”