This week the Department of Justice filed a new complaint against security clearance investigation firm USIS. The filing accuses the company of filing incomplete investigations approximately 40 percent of the time, at least 665,000 cases. USIS has been under fire in recent months, as congress steps up efforts to reform the security clearance process and improve security clearance background checks.
USIS conducted the background investigations for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as well as Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis. The DOJ complaint was filed in Alabama, and alleges at least four years of systemic and deliberate misconduct. In addition to the civil lawsuit, USIS faces accusations of criminal misconduct related to falsifying cases.
“USIS management devised and executed a scheme to deliberately circumvent contractually required quality reviews of completed background investigations in order to increase the company’s revenues and profits,” said the Justice Department complaint.”
A company statement refuted the allegations, highlighting recent changes in company leadership as well as improved oversight procedures. OPM did conduct a review of the Snowden and Alexis investigations, and found no misconduct.
“The alleged conduct referenced in the civil complaint is contrary to our values and commitment to exceptional service,” 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 sponsors of the Security Clearance Reform and Oversight Enhancement (SCORE) Act say the lawsuit points to the need for increased scrutiny of the security clearance process. SCORE puts the spotlight on both the security clearance investigations process, and the companies conducting background investigations.