Monday, September 15, 2014

BREACH: USIS - Government Employee and Contractor Disclosure

The Office of Personnel Management's decision to stop using U.S. Investigations Services for certain security clearance services, which came a month after a breach of company computers, could be as much a reflection on OPM as it is on USIS.

USIS, which was established in 1996 as a result of the privatization of the investigative branch of OPM, was awarded a five-year contract, which was later renewed, to help with security clearance background investigations for more than 95 federal agencies.

OPM last week declined to exercise its option to continue using USIS services.

The move comes not only after the August breach but also follows work performed by USIS in helping to vet National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis. The Justice Department also is suing USIS related to other work the Falls Church, Va., company performed for the government.

"By not renewing their contract, OPM is showing a lack of confidence both in USIS as an organization, but to another degree, in its own processes and rules," says Evan Lesser, who has closely followed the government's security-clearance apparatus since co-founding the employment site in 2002.

"Security clearance reform is needed to fully review and fix the end-to-end process, as well as update adjudicative criteria to reflect modern concerns," he says. "The non-renewal of USIS services will likely result in a slowdown of clearances being issued and re-investigated and a backlog of investigations piling up."

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