SCORE Act Aims to Improve How Government Conducts Background Checks for Security Clearances

A bipartisan group of Senators has introduced legislation – the Security Clearance Oversight and Reform Enhancement (SCORE) Act – to increase oversight as to how the United States government conducts background investigations and awards security clearances. The SCORE Act would also hold government employees and contractors more accountable for falsifying background investigations. A copy of the SCORE Act is available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/152980145/Tester-s-bipartisan-SCORE-Act.

Introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), Jon Tester (D-Montana), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), the SCORE Act would improve oversight of the security clearance process, call for the government to fire background check investigators and suspend others – including contractors – who falsify reports, and force the government to update its policy determining which positions require a security clearance. The bill is a product of the recent joint Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing that revealed the private contractor who conducted a background check on National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden is under investigation.

“With the kind of threats America faces, we need to be sure that the folks trusted with access to classified information have been thoroughly vetted. Private contractors are doing a huge bulk of these background checks, and it’s nothing short of a national security threat if they’re not conducting those checks with the care and attention needed. These new safeguards can bolster accountability, and go a long way to restore Americans’ trust in this area of our national security,” Senator McCaskill stated in a press release available at http://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1946.

The Federal Times reports “at least 19 background investigators or researchers” have plead guilty to or face sentencing for falsifying background checks since 2008. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) – which oversees background investigations for the government – is investigating a growing list of cases involving the alleged falsifying of security clearance background checks while a backlog of similar cases awaits investigation. The government has spent more than $1.5 million to reopen falsified investigations to ensure applicants were entitled to the clearances they received. The full story is available at http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20130707/ACQUISITION03/307070009/Backlog-bogus-background-checks-grows.

Falsified background checks show the importance of accreditation standards for private screening firms. In 2010, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) launched the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) to promote best practices, consumer protection, and legal compliance. To become accredited, background screening firms must pass a rigorous onsite audit conducted by an independent auditing firm that examines policies and procedures related to six critical areas of screening: Consumer Protection, Legal Compliance, Client Education, Product Standards, Service Standards, and General Business Practices. The accreditation standards and a list of accredited screening firms are available on the NAPBS website at http://www.napbs.com/.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’ – is a nationwide screening firm accredited by the NAPBS. For more information, visit http://www.esrcheck.com or call Toll Free 888.999.4474.

Sources:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/152980145/Tester-s-bipartisan-SCORE-Act

http://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1946

http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20130707/ACQUISITION03/307070009/Backlog-bogus-background-checks-grows#sthash.ScrhYUHZ.dpuf

About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):

Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more about ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com or call toll free 888.999.4474.

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