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Search Tags: background investigations
In the coming months, the federal government will release a detailed plan for implementing more than a dozen recommendations to improve the security clearance process, said Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director for Management Beth Cobert. The government's recommendations, which were included in an interagency report published by OMB last month, call for "continuous evaluation" of clearance holders and strengthened oversight of the background-investigation process.
The Preventing Conflicts of Interest with Contractors Act would block the Office of Personnel Management from contracting with companies to perform final quality reviews if those same companies are also responsible for conducting initial investigations. OPM Director Katherine Archuleta announced in early February that, going forward, only federal employees would conduct final quality reviews. The new bill writes Archuleta's decision into law. Otherwise it could be reversed by a future OPM director.
President Barack Obama signed the OPM IG Act into law this week. The law provides the agency's top watchdog with an additional source of funding to conduct audits and investigations of the security-clearance process.
The Office of Personnel Management has decided that final quality reviews for background investigations will be conducted by government employees -- not contractors. A Feb. 6 statement from OPM Director Katherine Archuleta provided to Federal News Radio said starting Feb. 24 the quality-review process for background checks will be "fully federalized," and that "only federal employees will be conducting the final quality review before the investigative product is sent to the agency for review and adjudication."
The Justice Department has accused the company that performed background investigations of both National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis of defrauding the government, making false statements and breach of contract. DoJ's civil complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Alabama alleges the company, which is the government's largest contractor for background-investigation services, submitted at least 665,000 background investigations to the Office of Personnel Management that hadn't been properly reviewed.
The House gave a boost to the Office of Personnel Management inspector general's office Tuesday, voting to provide the agency's auditors with access to new funding to conduct investigations. In a unanimous vote, the House approved the bipartisan OPM IG Act, introduced by Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) and co-sponsored by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass). The Senate approved a nearly identical measure, introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), in October.
The Justice Department has joined a whistleblower False Claims Act suit against the federal government's largest provider of background investigations. Filed under the False Claims Act, the suit alleges that USIS, which currently has a multimillion-dollar contract with the Office of Personnel Management, failed to properly review its casework before providing it OPM.
Patrick McFarland, the inspector general of the Office of Personnel Management, confirmed to a Senate subcommittee Thursday that his office has been investigating USIS, the government's largest contractor for background-investigation services, since late 2011. He said at least 18 security clearance investigators have been convicted of falsifying investigations since 2007. McFarland said there may be "considerably more" fraud that hasn't been uncovered due to "alarmingly insufficient oversight" of the security-clearance process.
Vice President of Information Technology
January 27th, 2009
USIS has been awarded a new contract that is worth up to $288 million over five years