Probe of Snowden Background Check May Be Botched

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden. AP photo

A probe of the background check of U.S. spy-program leaks source Edward Snowden may itself have been faulty, a government inspector general told lawmakers.

"We do believe that there may be some problems" with the reinvestigation of Snowden's background check, Office of Personnel Management Inspector General Patrick McFarland told a Senate panel when asked by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., if he had concerns the background-check reinvestigation wasn't carried out appropriately.

McFarland did not elaborate on what the problems might have been.

But he said his office was investigating U.S. Investigative Services, a company that handles nearly half of the U.S. government's contracted background checks, for contract fraud.

The company conducted the reinvestigation into Snowden in 2011, he said.

USIS, which calls itself "the leader in federal background investigations," said in a statement it received a subpoena for records from McFarland's office in January 2012.

It said it "has cooperated fully" with the government's civil investigation but said it has not been told it is under criminal investigation.

USIS would not comment on whether it conducted any investigations into Snowden, saying those investigations are confidential and under investigation, the Federal Times publication reported.

Snowden, who disclosed top secret documents about U.S. phone and email eavesdropping, was hired by National Security Agency contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.

He fled his base in Hawaii for Hong Kong last month and then leaked the NSA information.

Booz Allen has said it "will work closely with our clients and authorities in their investigation of this matter."

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