Security clearance contractor to lose gov't work

Associated Press

by Stephen Braun

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal Office of Personnel Management plans to terminate its massive contracts with USIS, the major security clearance contractor that was targeted last month by a cyberattack, agency, congressional and company officials said Tuesday. The computer network intrusion compromised the personal files of as many as 25,000 government workers.

An OPM official said Tuesday that agency officials decided not to renew USIS’ background investigations and support contracts “following a careful and comprehensive review.” The OPM oversees background investigation contracting for most federal agencies, but the official said that the move would not immediately preclude some other agencies from still working with the firm.

The early August cyberattack against USIS’ computer network compromised the files of 25,000 Homeland Security Department workers and is under investigation by the FBI. The OPM official spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter remains a criminal investigation. USIS has said it was targeted by what it described as a “state-sponsored attack.”

Marnee Banks, spokeswoman for Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said OPM officials notified Tester’s office earlier in the day that the agency had decided to sever its relationship with USIS by the end of September. Tester also confirmed the move, saying: “This news is a welcome sign that the federal government is finally beginning to hold contractors accountable for taking millions in federal money and then failing to get the job done for the taxpayer.”

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