Senator: Firm that vetted Snowden under criminal investigation
June 20th, 2013
04:05 PM ET

Senator: Firm that vetted Snowden under criminal investigation

By Kevin Liptak

The private firm that vetted Edward Snowden in 2011 is under criminal investigation for routine failures in properly investigating the backgrounds of people in line for security clearances, Sen. Claire McCaskill said during a Senate hearing Thursday.

Additionally, a government watchdog told lawmakers his agency believes the check into Snowden's background conducted by USIS, a Virginia-based government contractor, may have been faulty.

Snowden, who held a top secret clearance, admittedly leaked documents this month detailing two government surveillance programs. At the time of the leaks, he was an employee of defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

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Filed under: Security Brief
soundoff (74 Responses)
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  6. Paddle App

    How did they hire such a person without checking everything out about him.this vending company screwed up big-time . I

    June 11, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  7. franklovesfl

    Fire all Democrats for security sensitive jobs?

    June 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Reply
  8. Depak Raj

    Wake up people !!!!!!!!!! Snowden and Wikileaks are the new Al Qauda !!!!! We need to send in the seal teams and kill them all !!!!!! International law and asylum be damned !!!! Kill em all !!!!! Before they reveal all our secrets !!!!!!

    June 23, 2013 at 8:01 am | Reply
    • just wondering

      who's we....dumb asz

      June 23, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Good grief, Depak Raj, you sound like another hateful. mindless Tea Partier out for the kill! Barack Obama and the majority in Congress are being paid off, but what's your excuse, may I ask? Please tell me here on this web page. I'm curious!!!

      June 23, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Reply
    • Killer O'Bama

      Thank you Depak Raj for being on my side. If more people shared your stupidity, I'd have it made and how!

      June 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  9. jboh

    Let's outsource more government functions to profit only corporations. After Blackwater, ect we see it works so well for the country.

    June 21, 2013 at 10:19 am | Reply
    • just wondering

      just part of the $500 BILLION spent on outsourcing... and that does not include top secret projects... good ole Repuglicons... we will save money out sourcing... no but we sure give a lot of it to there friends and relatives who get these contracts

      June 23, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  10. StanCalif

    Yet another case of government contracting gone awry!

    June 21, 2013 at 8:24 am | Reply
  11. QA

    Well who ever is at fault what's done is done and the blame game goes on. Maybe in a way this could be a good thing that the public knows a little. There's a lot of Pros and Cons to this and the Kid couldn't handle it. He will be caught at some point and he will be detained; I don't doubt that. He is in very serious trouble and I feel a bit sorry for him but he broke the law in a serious way. I look at it this way, maybe this is a little healthy for the public and big government. The Kid sacrificed his future for the Public to know a little of what's going on. I personally wished he did not do this but he did.

    June 21, 2013 at 4:54 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      By doing what he did QA, this man made himself a national hero despite all the ignorant right-wing rants to the contrary! Edward Snowden deserves a medal, not to be persecuted by the lowlifes running things in Washington D.C.! Please QA, do wise up!

      June 21, 2013 at 8:18 am | Reply
      • psuog

        right wing? seems to be pretty much non-partisan from what I've seen.

        June 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
      • QA

        Im on the fence on this one George. I just feel sorry for the guy that's all.

        June 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
      • Pete

        @GeorgePatton,I think Snowdens a traitor and I'm not ignorent as you and vote democrate so you got it wrong both times slugger...I was against Bushs PatriotAct,Homeland Security and was told I wasn't patriotic or American enough and should move..Now I tell republicans after over a decade of it being used and no whinners from the republicans side until it was extended and made more legit to protect Americans by Pres.Obama recently with protecting their rights,liberties legally something Bushs administration never thought of or cared about at that time after 9/11..Remember it was Clintons administration that gave intel to Bushs crew to look into about terrorists and their targets stateside and Bush just threw that Intel away didn't he till 9/11 woke him up in Florida looking like a deer in the headlights after being told ,remember that I do!!So let's keep the updated more effective version of Bushs policies and if you or anyone here don't like it go leave like I was told because if you're not doing anything to upset Big Brother then they won't go after you will he!!

        June 21, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
      • Larry

        He is a traitor, plain and simple. He has helped our enemies and NO spying was done inside the USA. They were seeing "Where calls went to outside of the country" and "To whom outside the country". If there is another terror attack on US soil you will probably be the first to yell about "Why we didn't know something?".

        June 23, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  12. john smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced

    June 21, 2013 at 1:58 am | Reply
    • Tortland pony

      Well posted, john. Thank you.

      June 21, 2013 at 8:19 am | Reply
      • Pete

        @tortland pony,wake up man,he does exectly this on every site..Likes reading the one idea he has...

        June 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Larry john smith... your rant easily marks you as a Muslim jihadist. الخاص خنزير وملحد

      June 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  13. Portland tony

    Some seem to have mixed up this security clearance conundrum. Just having a Top Secret clearance doesn't mean you have access to all top secret information. It's kinda like "need to know" projects are compartmented...some are related to new weapons system, some have nuclear battle planning access, and so on. What happened with this dude is strictly the employers fault. Who. Gave him access to everything the NSA was doing?

    June 20, 2013 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  14. Minimum wage should be $15

    Minimum wage should be $15

    June 20, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Reply
    • Portland tony


      June 20, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Reply
    • USMC1371

      Minimum wage should be zero. Work for what your worth.

      June 21, 2013 at 5:23 am | Reply
      • Pete

        @usmc1371,hey use the barder system so even you will starve unless you've got something everybody wants ,right!!

        June 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
      • Larry USMC1371...I want you to work for me. Your worthless so I wan't pay you anything you POS

        June 23, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  15. Honey Roasted Pea Nut

    Snowden is a Post Toastie. Stay tuned for more spin and sway.
    EVERYTHING must be this way. Everything must spin and sway.

    June 20, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  16. Don Wong

    Looks like the government uses contracting companies the same way as private enterprise likes to do. Blame the contractor!

    It is a convient way to avoid all accountability!

    June 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Reply
  17. Jman44112

    I hope they investigate how a high school drop out was considered more qualified for this position than college graduates. I don't even know any IT companies that would look at your resume if you don't have at least some college education, nevermind not even completing high school.

    Something sketchy went on in his hiring, and whoever did hire him should be thoroughly investigated.

    June 20, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Reply
    • Susan

      Don't ever been presumptuous to assume that people who do not hold a degree are not highly intelligent.

      June 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Reply
      • Portland tony

        @ Susan Snowden Proves your point.

        June 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  18. P3

    Hmmm, interesting... I thought it is the government that gives out top secret clearances, not the contracting firm...

    June 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Reply
    • ig88a

      The government gives out the security clearance after their contractor does a background check and any other type of investigation needed for the government to be able to issue the clearance.

      June 20, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Reply
    • AgonyF

      NEXT up Subcontracting out the entire DOD.
      That way the Government just has to decide to have a war and then let the taxpayers pay for it. /s

      June 20, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Reply
    • Pete

      @P3,contractors are approved to do background checks like Wackenhut,Bechtel and others who also have clearences themselves..Takes months to get clearences for any government job or before working as a sub contractor in them like in the nuclear power industry or like the Pentagon of which I'm both cleared for taking a 5 year background check and a series of psychological exams like the MMPI a 680 question psych exam ,urine test,blood check...Takes about 6 months to get initial clearence but until then you're escorted everywhere you work by approved facility guards or vetted coworkers and are checked on everything you touch or use electronicly...Nothing new if you've done it as I had and its nice to see the country making sure everything is ok with your background and you're legit!!

      June 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Reply
  19. AgonyF

    WHY does the Government subcontract out its Security Vetting?

    June 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Reply
    • Larry L

      We subcontract the process – not the decision. Those who want a TSCSI clearance fill out a 30 page application (about) and list all former addresses, jobs, schools, and people associated with those things. They contact a good number of the people listed and some secondary individuals – if the case looks like it requires additional probing. Some jobs require a polygraph test as well. Contractors handle the administrative details and verification but the decision is made by the government. Still, contractors are required security clearances and the difference between contractors and government employees is not really critical – especially since so many contractors are retired military or civil service.

      June 20, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply
      • AgonyF

        I understand, but why trust any Private Company whose primary interest is making money not our Nations Security, with this responsibility? As well as who monitors these private companies ownership and policies changes?

        June 20, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
      • Larry L

        Good point AgonyF. At times contractors are the best choice... But the whole "privitize" concept often just feeds taxpayer money to sweetheart corporations. Halliburton is a good example. The DoD IG found them cheating the government in Iraq and still they were granted a bonus. Google-up the "Halliburton loophole" and you'll see a good example of dishonest government association (Cheney) with contractors. Republican plans for healthcare and Social Security would do exactly the same thing. How much do you trust insurance companies to make decisions regarding your healthcare. Would they choose your health or their profits? Would Wall Street take advantage of people who think they can invest their Social Security money? You bet.

        June 20, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
      • StanCalif

        This is what is supossed to happen, but rarely does! My son got a top secret clearance (working for a contractor), but I was never contacted by anyone! The "system" is all paper, not reality!

        June 21, 2013 at 8:30 am |
  20. Aurora Chuck

    That's funny the liberal mainstream media never vetted Obama.

    June 20, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Reply
    • Larry L

      It's laughable to hear the Fox News drones talk about the "mainstream media". Fox News has the largest listening audience of any of the media outlets – yet doesn't even pretend to be accurate or truthful. All of the right-wing political losers end up as commentators on Fox. Every manufactired conspiracy and scandel is aired on Fox like it was real – and the drones lap it up like pigs at a slop trough.

      June 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Reply
      • Scott

        Well spoken but...that's not what his reality tells him.

        June 20, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Scott

      What a senseless remark. You do know that you have no idea what you are talking about? Go, crawl back in to your time capsule so that you can be observed as an anomaly to mankind 100 years from now.

      June 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Reply
    • Tortland pony

      Get real Aurora, will you? There is no "liberal" mainstream, only a right-wing one and most people are dumb enough to follow it. The problem is, is that most people don't bother to think for themselves!

      June 20, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  21. robert

    Who cares. Tell us about the aliens!

    June 20, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  22. Susan

    Employees within this company have a very easy position to take. Their own govt. has defined and set THE perfect example of completely acceptable behavior by their own actions. When asked a question there should only be two kinds of responses. First, "I don't remember" and Second, "I plead the fifth amendment". There should be no charges, hostility or anger emanating from govt. employees when these occurs.

    June 20, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  23. tim

    What about the Numerous times a government person gave out secrets. Walker, Ames and others were not contractors. And most of the country may not know that a huge percentage of the countries national security is run by contractors. And lets not forget about the military person being tried right now.

    June 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  24. John Wilson

    It's really amazing that the government tells us basically that "we want robots who just do as they are told to have access" and all the "sheeple" are in agreement. We are a nation of simple people with a slave mentality. We don't want the elites to be bothered in ANY way...because all of you think you will be one of them one day. Hate to break it to will NEVER be one of them...EVER.

    June 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  25. Conor

    It seems to me Sen. Claire McCaskill is missing the point altogether..

    June 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  26. Name*penguin

    The guy worked for the CIA before working at Booz Allen Hamilton. He had to have a top secret security clearance to work for the CIA so why blame the vetter- Snowden was already vetted

    June 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  27. PanzerJager


    June 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  28. charles

    I am going to start up a fire "Would he have been cleared if he wasn't White"

    June 20, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • Jubril

      Absolutely not, My Obama would not have been able to get a Top secret based on their rules, One of the rule is that you must not have a foreign relative .(Most of this rules favor whites)

      June 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Reply
      • Doh


        June 20, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
      • chris

        That is completely incorrect, as my wife has foreign relatives and has a clearance. Anytime I go up for review (I also have one), I annotate it and keep moving. Please gets your facts straight, and yet another reason why these boards are counterproductive!

        June 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
      • Pete

        @jubril,boy where did you come up with that crock....I've worked more highly classified areas in the Pentagon and nuclear facilities nationwide in over 30 years probibly than anyone here and have had specialists from foriegn countries come in for me to escort bud..Get your facts straight because that ones BS!!

        June 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
  29. Mike

    And that's what we call scapegoating...

    June 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Reply
    • chrissy

      That it is, Mike. Like George Patton already said below, scapegoating is how Julius and Ethel Rosenburg got theirs. People can be sooooo stupid, especially nowadays!

      June 20, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  30. Pablo695

    The government agencies that implemented these illegal spying programs should be the subject of a criminal investigation!

    June 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  31. kafantaris2

    "There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear. There's a man with a gun over there, telling me I got to beware. * * * Paranoia strikes deep - into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid. You step out of line, the man come and take you away. We better stop, hey, what's that sound, everybody look what's going down."

    June 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Reply
    • poltergiest

      Duck, hellfire!

      June 20, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Reply
  32. Tom

    never hire a firm who's first name is Booz, even with a a thorough background check people still can leak information nothing is a guarantee.

    June 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  33. George Patton

    Now it appears that the right-wing thugs in Washington again need a scapegoat like they did back in 1950 when Russia successfully developed the A-bomb. For that, they arrested Julius and Ethel Rosenburg and had then convicted in spite of their innocence and subsequently executed in 1953 closing out a true tragedy in the annals of American history!

    June 20, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • vad

      Dianne Feinstein and President Obama are right wing thugs now? They are two of the loudest voices calling for his Snowden's head. Time to get out of the right vs. left box man. That is exactly where they want us.

      P.S. Tom, the Booz thing is pretty funny.

      June 20, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Reply
      • chrissy

        Diane Feinstein and Barack Obama may call themselves "liberals" but their actions speak louder than their words! Of course they're right-wing thugs being paid off by the powerful war lobby in Washington either directly or indirectly. Otherwise, this country would be constantly at war!

        June 20, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
      • Larry L

        Chrissy – your comment makes no sense. The President is of course not a "thug" and we've been at war for 11 years – a war started by George Bush and "Uncle Dick" with falsified intelligence data. They also were in charge when the Patriot Act was passed. What are you saying?

        June 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
      • Pete

        @Larry L,chrissy he's right its republicans and their love for the MIC that keep us at war and republicans rich for creating them nothing else.And why do you think Cheneys Halliburton got a no bid contract handling all logistics over in Iraq,Afghanistan to make billions at our kids and tax payers expense,remember that and that's fact..Pres.Obama I voted for is no thug,Issa and his republican congress are holding America and its citizens hostage ,they're the thugs who should be run out of Washington,plain and simple...Sorry to disagree with yah chrissy on this one but facts are there,that's all!!

        June 21, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Tortland pony

      Good posting, George. Thank you.

      June 20, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  34. James Clark

    The firm that created the job needs to be under criminal investigation.

    June 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Reply

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