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Justice Department Files Formal Complaint Against Company USIS—McCaskill Responds

Complaint follows U.S. House approval of McCaskill-backed bill to improve oversight of security clearance process

Contractor USIS was responsible for background checks into leaker Edward Snowden, Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Justice formally filed its complaint against USIS, the company responsible for conducting the background investigations for both national security leaker Edward Snowden and Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis. According to the Justice Department, the company allegedly directed its background check investigators to take shortcuts in their investigations while representing to the government that the investigations were complete and accurate:

“By now, the stunning failures of this company—and the resulting threats to our national security—are well-documented. But we can’t wait for the next disaster before tackling something as serious as lapses in protecting our nation’s secrets and our secure facilities. We’ve seen swift action to boost accountability over these contractors, and I’m now calling on my colleagues to pass our bipartisan bill that would strengthen background checks through automatic reviews.”


McCaskill—Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight—previously revealed at a Senate hearing that USIS was under criminal investigation, and sharply criticized the company’s oversight practices. McCaskill also questioned the fact that USIS had two separate contracts with the federal government—one to conduct background investigations, the other to oversee background investigations conducted by contractors, including USIS itself. 


McCaskill has introduced a bill with Senator Jon Tester of Montana that improves oversight of the security clearance process by empowering the Office of Personnel Management to use resources from its Revolving Fund to audit and investigate contractors that conduct background checks. Separate versions of that bill have been approved by both the Senate and the U.S. House, and are awaiting final action to resolve those differences before heading to the President for signature into law.   


In October, McCaskill also joined with Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine to introduce bipartisan legislation that would implement an automated review of public records and databases for any information that might affect the security clearance status of individuals who have such a clearance. That legislation is also sponsored by Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.


Click HERE to read highlights of McCaskill’s fight for stronger accountability in Washington.