About Us
Mission Statement
Rules of Conduct
Remember Me

Outsourcing: The best Security Clearance money can buy.
Author: Raine    Date: 2013-06-21 10:34:16

A lot of people are spitting bullets over the NSA scandal and Edward Snowden. I questioned Edward Snowden myself. I don't regret asking those questions. I've wondered about Snowden and how he got such a security clearance. Then, tonite -- I read something very interesting. We are outsourcing background checks for contract jobs that are critical to our national security. .

It's high time we talk about the ongoing privatization of things that used to be governmental responsibilities - Security Clearances in particular. Case in point:
Patrick McFarland, the inspector general at the Office of Personnel Management, said during a Senate hearing that the contractor USIS is being investigated and that the company performed a background investigation of Edward Snowden.

McFarland also told lawmakers that there may have been problems with the way the background check of Snowden was done, but McFarland and one of his assistants declined to say after the hearing what triggered the decision to investigate USIS and whether it involved the company's check of Snowden.
Did you grasp that? let me drive it home a little more :
USIS is a private company based in Falls Church that has done, under contract to OPM, a large portion of the background inquiries, including Snowden’s reinvestigation. USIS, itself, is under investigation.

Michelle B. Schmitz, OPM’s assistant inspector general for investigations, told the hearing that USIS has been under investigation since late 2011 in a “complicated contract fraud case.” Inspector general officials provided no details about that investigation.
This is USIS:
USIS specializes in providing information and security services to government agencies and commercial enterprises. Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, USIS delivers background screening and risk management solutions that not only protect national security, but also support and help empower decision-makers the world over.

Since 1996, USIS has been the leading provider of background investigations to the federal government. Along with its focus on protecting national security, USIS is a preeminent source of comprehensive litigation support services in the legal services market.

So, what we have here, in a nutshell is a situation where the federal government is questioning how a private enterprise approved a security clearance to Edward Snowden who has given state secrets to China and Russia.

Let me tell you what I find incredibly fucked up about this: Security clearances are OUTSOURCED.

You can't have security when everything is privatized.

McCaskill, chairwoman of the other subcommittee, was skeptical about the use of so many contractors doing background checks. USIS, she said, gets $45 million a year for administrative support “to do office work,” plus “several hundred million dollars a year to do background checks.” It takes 999 people to do the office work; only 35 are federal employees.

“Why are we paying contractors instead of hiring people?” McCaskill wanted to know.

An OPM official said contractors cost less but acknowledged that the agency had no cost-benefit analysis.

“I’m tired of this assumption being made that contractors are cheaper” when some studies show they are more expensive, McCaskill said.

Sometimes, the investigators need to be investigated.

“Why are we paying contractors instead of hiring people?” McCaskill wanted to know.

Maybe it's time to stop outsourcing government -- it cannot continue both ways. We cannot have security while embracing privatization. I'm not against government contracting -- I'm against contracting out to private companies that have a say in who gets security clearances.

Security clearances should be solely left to the government -- they should not be outsourced.



88 comments (Latest Comment: 06/21/2013 21:40:58 by Will in Chicago)
   Perma Link

Share This!

Furl it!