Firm That Vetted Snowden Gets New $190M Contract

US Investigations Services has been accused of massive fraud

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 3, 2014 10:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – You might think that giving a green light to Edward Snowden and Aaron Alexis and allegedly fraudulently submitting 660,000 other background checks without actually completing them would prevent you from getting future government contracts. But you'd be wrong, because the Department of Homeland Security has awarded a $190 million contract to US Investigations Services, the Wall Street Journal reports. Why? Because USIS hasn't actually been suspended, and, as one immigration official explained, unless there is such a suspension in place, "by law and policy, we have to go with the lowest bidder."

USIS isn't barred, the Office of Personnel Management says, because it has taken steps to deal with "actions by their employees and previous leadership." Then again, in 2012 the OPM's inspector general warned that the OPM lacked a strong suspension and disbarment system for contractors—and particularly for contractors performing background checks. However, the inspector general did say yesterday that the agency has bolstered those efforts in the past year. USIS' new contract is for five years, but it could lose it if it is later suspended.

This Thursday, June 6, 2013, file photo, shows a sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md.
This Thursday, June 6, 2013, file photo, shows a sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
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