U.S. Joins Suit Charging Large Firm With Bad Security Background Checks


The Obama administration has accused the largest private firm that conducts security-clearance background checks for the federal government of failing to perform quality-control reviews in its investigations of potential government workers, reports the Washington Post. The Justice Department intervened in a civil lawsuit against Virginia-based USIS, the company that conducted background checks of both former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and government contractor Aaron Alexis, who shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.

The Justice Department decision marks an increase in the legal pressure on USIS, which is already under criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C. The lawsuit alleges that USIS engaged in a practice known as “dumping.” Using its own software program, USIS released to the Office of Personnel Management background investigations that had not gone through the full review process, the lawsuit alleges. USIS concealed its dumping practice and maximized its profits by improperly billing the government for investigations the firm knew were incomplete, says the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Alabama by a former USIS employeee under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act.

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