Poorly conducted Snowden security check proves costly

US background security check company to pay $30 million due to poorly conducted background check on Edward Snowden

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

The United States Investigations Services Inc. (USIS), a security-based information company, as well as its holding company Altegrity Inc, will pay $30 million as they ran a poor background security check on Edward Snowden during his recruitment for the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The US company that deals with about 45 per cent of the government security checks has been under investigation for incomplete checks for four years, 2008-2012. Investigators found many cases to be processed insufficiently which were later proved to be unsafe regarding national security.

Additionally, it was revealed that 665,000 cases proceeded to the US government were not investigated properly.

“Shortcuts taken by any company that we have entrusted to conduct background investigations of future and current federal employees are unacceptable," the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, Benjamin Mizer, said on his statement.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint for USIS shortly after the four-year investigation came to an end.

"This particular company failed to meet its obligations of comprehensively reviewing the backgrounds of current and prospective federal employees. This settlement demonstrates our commitment to holding government contractors accountable," acting US Attorney Vincent H. Cohen Jr. of the District of Columbia said according to DOJ.

USIS, being responsible for some 2.2 million security checks had also run the background check for former NSA employee Aaron Alexis who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in 2014.

However, Edward Snowden was the case that attracted more attention.

Snowden faces espionage charges with up to 30 years imprisonment for leaking surveillance plans on mobile and internet by NSA on American citizens.

In June 2013, the Guardian newspaper published a court order by the NSA requesting telephone information from Verizon Communications, Inc. and revealed a surveillance program called Prism on popular internet companies.

Being also a former CIA employee, Snowden is currently living in Russia after he obtained a three-year asylum.

TRTWorld and agencies