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OPM subpoenaed for records in clearance investigation

Nov. 22, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments

The chairman of a House oversight committee has subpoenaed the Office of Personnel Management for contracts and other documents as part of an investigation into the process for granting security clearances.

“Issuing this subpoena became necessary after OPM’s continued refusal to produce relevant documents,’’ Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a Friday news release.

Among the records sought from the period of January 2007 to the present:

■ All contracts between OPM and USIS, a Virginia-based firm that is the government’s leading provider of investigations into clearance applicants’ backgrounds. The subpoena also seeks clearance-related contracts for two other background check providers: CACI International and Keypoint Government Solutions.

■ All documents — including a handbook or checklist — related to training guidelines for OPM or contract investigators, along with the criteria for evaluating how well they do their jobs.

■ Records related to guidance for reviewing clearance decisions.

The subpoena, issued late Thursday, sets a Dec. 5 deadline for OPM to produce the records, Issa spokesman Ali Ahmad said.

In a Monday email, OPM spokeswoman Lindsey O’Keefe said that the agency has already made the documents available to the committee for review. “We have received the subpoena and plan to respond as appropriate,” she said.

Both Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who has since disclosed sensitive secrets, and Aaron Alexis, another contract worker who killed a dozen people two months ago in a rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, held clearances granted through a process “orchestrated” by OPM, Issa said in a letter this week to the agency’s director, Katherine Archuleta. To fix that process legislatively, he said, Congress needs “complete access to the current policies, training materials and other guidelines currently in place.”

The oversight committee first sought the subpoenaed records Oct. 9, according to Issa’s office. OPM’s offer to let the committee’s staff review the documents privately is “insufficient,” he told Archuleta. Also perplexing, he added, is that OPM refuses to produce information to Congress while having no qualms about issuing many of the same documents “to thousands of federal and contract employees.”

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