NASA Astronaut Accused of First Space Crime

Just a few weeks ago, we posted a whimsical piece on the possibility of criminal activity in the final frontier - and the jurisdictional issues that might arise as a result. Now, humanity has officially taken that giant leap. As the New York Times reports, U.S. astronaut Lt. Col. Anne McClain has been accused of cybercrime committed from space. McClain’s estranged wife, Summer Worden, discovered that someone had accessed her bank account while McClain was on board the International Space Station — and the computer network that person used was registered to NASA.

NBC reports:

A NASA astronaut is accused of hacking her estranged spouse's bank account from space.

Anne McClain, whom the space agency says is "one of NASA's top astronauts," allegedly accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse, Summer Worden, while aboard the International Space Station earlier this year, according to NBC affiliate KPRC in Houston.

The two women are in the process of a divorce and battling over custody of a 6-year-old son, Worden told KPRC. She said she conceived the boy through in vitro fertilization and carried by a surrogate.

Worden, who according to The New York Times is a former Air Force intelligence officer living in Kansas, said her son was a year old when she met McClain. The women got married in 2014, the Times reported. After about three years, they began having difficulties, Worden told KPRC.


[Rusty] Hardin [McClain's attorney] said in a statement to KPRC, “Family cases are extremely difficult and private matters for all parties involved. Neither Anne nor we will be commenting on this personal matter. We appreciate the media's understanding and respect, as maintaining privacy, is in the best interest of the child and family members involved.”

He told The New York Times that McClain was merely checking the account to make sure the family’s finances were in order.

“She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” Hardin said, adding that McClain continued using a password for the account she had used before and that she had never been informed by Worden that the account was off limits.

The New York Times reported that Worden has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission accusing McClain of “identity theft and improper access to Ms. Worden’s private financial records,” as well as a complaint with NASA’s Office of the Inspector General.