The private contractor responsible for the security clearance screening of Edward Snowden – who later leaked classified documents to the media that revealed a secret surveillance program by the National Security Agency (NSA) – is under investigation by the federal government for allegedly conducting inadequate background checks, according to a report by The Charlotte Observer. The full story is available at http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/20/4119462/contractor-responsible-for-snowdens.html.
The Charlotte Observer reports that USIS – described in the story as “the largest commercial provider of background investigations to the federal government” – conducted a background check for Snowden in 2011 that gave him access to classified documents he later leaked to the media. Inspector General Patrick McFarland confirmed during the hearing of a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee that an investigation was underway and that “there may be some problems” with Snowden’s background check.
According to The Charlotte Observer report, McFarland testified that “at least 18 investigators have been convicted of fabricating background checks” since 2007, “casting doubt on hundreds of security clearances.” Approximately 75 percent of all background investigations done for the federal government are conducted by contractors. Overall, nearly 5 million people have been granted security clearances by the U.S government and 1.4 million have top-secret clearances, the Charlotte Observer reports.
On June 20, 2013, USIS released a statement on Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing that stated in part: In the same Senate hearing, questions were raised as to whether USIS had conducted the initial background investigation, or a periodic reinvestigation, for the security clearance of Edward Snowden. USIS conducts thousands of background investigations annually for OPM (U.S. Office of Personnel Management) and other government agencies. These investigations are confidential and USIS does not comment on them.
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