Tester pushes Administration for answers on flawed security clearance process

Senator meets with OPM Acting Director to discuss national security issues

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester today pushed for the completion of a multi-agency review that will improve security clearance background investigations and protect our nation from insider threats.

Tester met with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Acting Director Beth Cobert in advance of her nomination hearing to become the permanent OPM Director. Tester asked Cobert about the status of the overdue 90-day review that was commissioned last year to strengthen the security clearance process.

“We must be able to say with full confidence that the folks receiving security clearances will keep our nation secure, and right now we can’t say that,” Tester said. “The results of this review will lay the groundwork for strengthening our seriously flawed background investigation process and help Congress reform the system to prevent potential insider threats.”

Last July, Tester called on the OPM Inspector General to further investigate the potential security vulnerabilities of a critical OPM data system that houses personal background investigation information. These efforts helped spark a 90-day review of the federal security clearance process. The 90-day review commenced last July.

In October, Congress passed Tester’s security clearance reform measure that updates how criminal history records are shared between law enforcement agencies and background investigators.

Tester, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, first introduced legislation to reform the security clearance process after the high-profile cases of Edward Snowden and Aaron Alexis revealed serious lapses in the screening process.

Tester’s meeting with Cobert also comes after a 60 Minutes investigation exposed further flaws in the background investigations done prior to issuing security clearances.