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McCaskill-Backed Security Clearance Reform Bill Headed to President’s Desk
U.S. House follows Senate’s lead in passing bipartisan bill to increase oversight of security clearances
WASHINGTON – Bipartisan legislation backed by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill to boost oversight in how the government conducts background investigations is on its way to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law after receiving approval from the U.S. House of Representatives.
McCaskill’s bill—cosponsored by Senator Jon Tester of Montana, and Republican Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin—improves oversight of the security clearance process by empowering the Office of Personnel Management’s Office of Inspector General to use resources from its Revolving Fund to audit and investigate contractors that conduct background checks of government employees and contractors. The background investigations are used by government agencies to determine who should be granted access to sensitive and/or classified information.
“It’s nothing short of a national security threat that these background checks aren’t being conducted with the care needed,” said McCaskill, a former State Auditor and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight. “The ability to conduct a basic audit is a good first step toward reforming the security clearance process, and making sure that we can trust those with access to our country’s secrets and secure facilities.”
The bipartisan bill is a product of a recent joint Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing led by McCaskill and Tester which revealed that the contractor who conducted Snowden’s background check is under investigation. At the June hearing, witnesses testified that a lack of oversight and information sharing threatened the security of classified information.
McCaskill also sent a bipartisan letter to Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Gene Dodaro requesting that the agency examine the security clearance process and report how various federal agencies can streamline and improve clearance investigations.
Click HERE to read highlights of McCaskill’s fight for stronger accountability in Washington.