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USIS, the Falls Church government contractor that handled the background check for National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, said Thursday that it also vetted Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis for his secret-level clearance in 2007.
The company, which is under criminal investigation over whether it misled the government about the thoroughness of its background checks, said earlier this week that it had not handled Alexis’s case.
The most recent background check of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was so inadequate that too few people were interviewed and potential concerns weren't pursued, according to a federal review following his leak of some of the nation's most closely guarded secrets.
The background checkers failed to verify Mr. Snowden's account of a past security violation and his work for the Central Intelligence Agency, they didn't thoroughly probe an apparent trip to India that he had failed to report, and they didn't get significant information from anyone who knew him beyond his mother and girlfriend, according to the review.
The mystery over how Navy Yard Shooter Aaron Alexis obtained access to the military base despite a history of arrests got a bit clearer on Monday, as federal investigators revealed that Alexis had failed to disclose a prior gun incident and multiple debts when applying for a security clearance with the Navy.
The incident in question was a parking dispute with some local construction workers that led to Alexis shooting out the tires of a car parked before his house. During a 2007 background check to join the Navy, Alexis had answered “no” to a question inquiring about prior arrests.
In addition, a background report given to the Navy by the Office of Personnel Management did not include reference to Alexis’ use of a gun in the incident, simply stating that Alexis had “deflated” the tires. Officials don’t yet know by whom the omissions were made—by the U.S. Investigative Services, who investigated Alexis, or by the OPM itself in compiling the information—but did note that Seattle police declined to share information with investigators, forcing them to rely on court documents that did not detail the arrest.
The Pentagon knows there are problems. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a sweeping review of all military security and employee screening programs. "Something went wrong," he said.
Separately, Congress has asked the inspector general at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to investigate how a clearance was awarded to Aaron Alexis, the Navy IT contractor who killed 12 people Monday inside a Washington Navy Yard building before he was shot to death by authorities. Just weeks ago, the Navy had warned employees under its new "insider threat" program that all personnel were responsible for reporting suspicious activity that could lead to terrorism, espionage or "kinetic actions" - a military euphemism for violence.
"The clearance piece of this is one, I think, we very clearly have to take another look at," said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
WASHINGTON: The CIA will begin calling for the return of employees central to its core missions on Wednesday amid the ongoing US shutdown, its director said.
Those asked to return will include individuals necessary for "foreign intelligence collection, all-source analysis, covert action, and counterintelligence," according to a statement released Tuesday by CIA Director John Brennan.
"Keeping our staffing at the dramatically reduced levels of the past week would pose a threat to the safety of human life and the protection of property," he said.
The number of employees expected to return was not mentioned and managers are still determining who will be recalled under the plan.
Additionally, the guidance does not "guarantee that we will be able to pay our employees during the hiatus," the statement said.
In a similar move, the Pentagon on Saturday announced it would begin recalling most of its furloughed employees.
Chinese hackers are understood to have compromised research at QinetiQ in North America. However the Pentagon still entrusts QinetiQ with sensitive defense technology.
It was reported that between 2007 and 2010, QinetiQ’s North American business was the subject of a cyber-attack. At the time of the incidents, the company said it disclosed all of its breaches to the responsible government agencies and these were resolved to their satisfaction. Cyber security continues to be an issue with a recent Pentagon report saying that Government agencies had been victims of attacks.