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Contractor defends work on latest Snowden security check

Aug. 29, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By JIM McELHATTON   |   Comments
Edward Snowden Speaks To The Guardian
Edward Snowden was fired from his job as a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor after revealing classified information about NSA programs. (The Guardian via Getty Images)

The company that performed a 2011 re-investigation of Edward Snowden’s background check is defending its work, saying federal officials have confirmed that “all standards were met.”

US Investigation Services, LLC, released the statement Wednesday after a report by the Wall Street Journal this week that Snowden’s 2011 background check was “inadequate” because investigators failed to verify important details.

Among the problems, background investigators didn’t verify Snowden’s account of a past security violation or his work for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to the newspaper’s report.

USIS, however, said in a statement the article painted an “inaccurate view” of the company’s work on the Snowden case. At the same time, however, the company said it was unable to refute or confirm allegations in the article because background investigation contractors aren’t allowed to keep information on cases once they’re closed.

“Following the initial disclosure of Snowden’s breach of security, USIS’ work on the case was reviewed by OPM [Office of Personnel Management] and the company was informed that all standards were met,” the company said in a statement.

However, OPM decline to confirm that account.

A spokeswoman, Lindsey O’Keefe, cited an ongoing investigation by OPM’s Office of Inspector General as the reason OPM could not comment Thursday.

Concerns over government security clearance background investigations, which are largely handled by contractors, have drawn more attention after Snowden, a former National Security Agency contract employee, leaked details about classified NSA surveillance programs to the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers.

OPM IG Patrick McFarland told a Senate panel earlier this year that a 2011 reinvestigation into Snowden’s background check by USIS may have been faulty.

In its statement this week, USIS also said sponsoring agencies, not OPM or background investigation contractors, determine the suitability of an individual for getting or retaining a security clearance.

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