Snowden’s Background Check Deemed Inadequate

The Guardian

The Falls Church, Va.-based firm that performed the background check on Edward Snowden missed key concerns in evaluating the Booz Allen Hamilton contractor who went on to leak vital documents on domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency, The Wall Street Journal reported.

An official review by National Counterintelligence Executive Frank Montoya Jr. found that U.S. Investigations Services, during its 2011 background check, “did not present a comprehensive picture of Mr. Snowden” because it failed to interview a sufficient number of contacts and didn't raise potential concerns. The check did not, for example, verify Snowden’s previous work for the CIA, the Journal wrote.

Montoya, an appointee of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, presented his findings to the inspector general of the Office of Personnel Management. OPM continues to employ USIS, which is under a grand jury investigation for allegedly rushing other background checks.

USIS earlier this summer released a statement to clarify that the investigation is not related to the Snowden case and is not a criminal investigation.

Congress, meanwhile, is moving legislation to improve background checks, and to give the OPM inspector general more flexibility to use the OPM Revolving Fund to audit spending on such checks. S 1276, introduced by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on July 31.

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