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Oct 30, 2013

Tester on DOJ lawsuit against USIS: Cutting corners puts national security at risk

(U.S. SENATE) - Senator Jon Tester, who is leading Congressional efforts to reform the security clearance process, today released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that it is joining a lawsuit against United States Investigations Services (USIS). The lawsuit alleges that the government contractor defrauded the government by failing to adequately perform background investigations on individuals applying for a security clearance:

"Cutting corners with our national security puts the entire country at risk. Anyone who knowingly rubber-stamped background investigations and put American lives at risk needs to be held accountable. As the investigation moves forward, I will continue working to improve the security clearance process to keep our country safe."

USIS, which currently conducts 45 percent of the background investigations done by contractors for the U.S. government, is the same contractor that performed the background investigations on Edward Snowden and Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis.

Tester, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee that oversees the federal workforce, introduced the Security Clearance Oversight and Reform Enhancement (SCORE) Act in July. Tester's bill, introduced with Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), increases oversight over how the government conducts security clearance background checks and holds government employees and contractors more accountable for falsifying investigations.

Earlier this month, the Senate passed one provision of the SCORE Act that allows the Inspector General of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to use resources from its $2 billion Revolving Fund to more thoroughly investigate cases where the integrity of background check process may have been compromised. Tester's recent subcommittee hearing revealed that current law blocks OPM from using the funds to investigate the background check process.

The Senate bill now awaits a vote by the entire House of Representatives.

More information on the SCORE Act and the Senators' work to reform the security clearance process is available in a press release HERE and an opinion column HERE.

More information about the Justice Department's lawsuit is available online HERE.

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