Tester to Obama: Fix the gaps in the security clearance background check process

Now that the Administration has acknowledged there are gaping holes in the federal security clearance background check process, Senator Jon Tester is calling on the President to follow up his words with action.

Tester has been leading Congress in calling for sweeping changes to the security clearance background check process following failures that allowed Edward Snowden and Navy Yard Shooter Aaron Alexis to access America’s most sensitive information and secure facilities.

The White House last week revealed it would establish a new entity, the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB), which will take over all background checks currently conducted by Federal Investigative Services under the Office of Personnel Management.

Tester, in a letter to President Obama, called on him to ensure that NBIB makes significant technological improvements to prevent cybersecurity attacks and coordinates with other national security agencies and Congress to ensure that everyone who receives a background check is thoroughly vetted.

“The costly failures to properly vet Edward Snowden and Navy Yard Shooter Aaron Alexis endangered our security interests and led to tragic and deadly results,” wrote Tester, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “The NBIB must prioritize our national security above all else.”

Tester held a series of oversight hearings on the background check process last Congress. As a result, he introduced and passed the SCORE Act which allows for more resources to investigate cases where the background check process may have been compromised.

Tester also introduced the SCARE Act to prohibit federal contractors and employees who have compromised the integrity of a background investigation from performing security clearance investigations in the future. This bill unanimously passed the Senate Homeland Security Committee six months ago and has been waiting on committee leadership to report it out.

Tester’s letter to President Obama is available online HERE.