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Firm Vetted Snowden While Under Criminal Probe

From the Wall Street Journal:

Feds Probe Firm that Vetted NSA Leaker

By DION NISSENBAUM | June 21, 2013

WASHINGTON—Federal inspectors have been conducting a criminal investigation for more than a year of the company that performed a background check on Edward Snowden, the former systems analyst who leaked some of the nation’s most closely held secrets to the media, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Lest we forget, Snowden was only hired by Booz Allen Hamilton back in April. So this investigation would have started even before they hired him.

USIS, the largest contractor involved in conducting security background checks for the federal government, is being scrutinized over allegations about a "systematic failure to adequately conduct investigations," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) said during a special congressional hearing. Those allegations aren’t related to Mr. Snowden.

Federal officials confirmed the investigation Thursday and added that there also may have been problems with USIS’s 2011 security background check of Mr. Snowden, 29 years old, who fled to Hong Kong to avoid prosecution for admittedly taking years of classified documents while working as a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor at a National Security Agency office in Hawaii.

Later that year, inspectors at the Office of Personnel Management—which oversees more than 90% of the government’s security background checks—launched the continuing contracting-fraud investigation of USIS.

Patrick McFarland, inspector general for the Office of Personnel Management, said that there appear to have been problems with the USIS investigation of Mr. Snowden in 2011, though he didn’t provide any details. The 2011 background check of Mr. Snowden was a re-investigation for his security clearance.

We are not quite sure how significant this is, since Mr. Snowden got his ‘Top Secret’ clearance back in 2007. So any background check on him in 2011 would have been more of a ‘cursory update’ at most.

But Snowden aside, there are very disturbing problems:

"We do believe that there may be some problems," Mr. McFarland said during the hearing…

The federal agency spends more than $1 billion a year to conduct 2 million investigations of people seeking security clearances… Most of that money goes to contractors like USIS…

These background checks used to be conducted by the FBI. Now they are done by rental cops.

Since 2007, 18 people have been convicted of falsifying records while conducting background checks, officials said. Eleven of those were federal workers; seven were contractors.

The latest case came Thursday when Ramon Davila, a former Virgin Islands police commissioner who worked as an independent contractor conducting background checks, pleaded guilty to making false statements about his work. Mr. Davila, who worked at one time for USIS, admitted he didn’t conduct a thorough inquiry while working as a contractor for the agency in 2007.

On Thursday, Mr. McFarland said such cases may be the tip of the iceberg. "I believe there may be considerably more," he told lawmakers. "I don’t believe that we’ve caught it all by any stretch." …

Lest we forget, all of the current amnesty plans in Congress promise to do thorough criminal background checks on the (at least) 11 million illegal aliens in our country before legalizing them. Try to imagine how effective those will be.

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This article was posted by Steve on Friday, June 21st, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Firm Vetted Snowden While Under Criminal Probe”

  1. Noyzmakr

    “….current amnesty plans in Congress promise to do thorough criminal background checks on the (at least) 11 million illegal aliens in our country before legalizing them. Try to imagine how effective those will be.”

    Especially when it’s going to be La Raza’s minions and alike that are going to be the ones doing the checking.

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