40pc of background checks by USIS were incomplete: Justice Department

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 January, 2014, 11:31pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 January, 2014, 11:31pm


The company that handled a background check on National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden allegedly defrauded the government by submitting at least 665,000 investigations that had not been properly completed, and then tried to cover it up when the government suspected what was going on.

The number of investigations amount to 40 per cent of the cases that the company, US Investigations Services, sent to the government over a four-year span, continuing until the end of September 2012, the United States Justice Department said on Wednesday in a civil complaint. USIS was involved in a background investigation of Snowden, but his particular job did not form part of the lawsuit.

In a statement, USIS said "these allegations relate to a small group of individuals over a specific time period and are inconsistent with the strong service record we have earned since our inception in 1996".

The government said that USIS engaged in a practice known inside the company as "dumping" or "flushing," involving the release of uncompleted background cases and representing them as complete in order to increase revenue and profit. The government paid the company US$11.7 million from 2008 to 2010, according to the filing.

"If the allegations are true, allowing somebody who is not qualified to access classified information is just simply awful, and is potentially dangerous," said Alexander Brittin, a government contracts attorney.