Immigration Service Awards New Contract to Background Check Company Charged with Fraud
A leading security contractor accused of defrauding the U.S. government has received a $190 million contract from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to provide administrative support.
US Investigations Services LLC (USIS) got into trouble three years ago when a whistleblower claimed the company was defrauding the government while performing background checks. It was later sued by the Department of Justice for “cutting corners while conducting investigations of people seeking clearance for sensitive government jobs,” according to Dion Nissenbaum of The Wall Street Journal.
The firm also was embarrassed in two high-profile incidents last year when it was reported that USIS had performed the background checks for National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis.
Despite these troubles, USCIS officials awarded a contract to the company, which put in the lowest bid for the work. Officials said under federal procurement rules, only businesses that have been suspended or barred from contract work can be disqualified from receiving new deals. Since USIS’s problems did not rise beyond the level of allegations, it was still allowed to bid for new opportunities.
The new contract, according to Nissenbaum, “is the first major federal award USIS has won since it became the focus of scrutiny last summer over its practices as the government’s largest provider of background checks for security clearances.”
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) questioned the awarding of the contract. “USIS has gone through a major restructuring, but since we’re still talking about a company under investigation doing critical work to our national security, I’m going to keep a close eye on this contract and want the Homeland Security Department to do the same,” she said.
To Learn More:
U.S. Gives New Contract To Firm That Vetted NSA Leaker Edward Snowden (by Dion Nissenbaum, Wall Street Journal)
Background Check Companies Working for Government Still Doing Amateurish Jobs (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
U.S. Charges with Fraud the Security Firm that Approved Snowden and Navy Yard Murderer (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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