Background Checks Faked With Lax Oversight, Watchdog Says

angeldowns1-28129-370x278jpg-039e1a1e3319665bBy Nick Taborek

Investigators charged with conducting background checks of U.S. national-security workers have falsified records and aren’t receiving adequate oversight, according to an inspector general’s testimony.

One worker fabricated 1,600 credit checks before it was discovered her own background investigation had been falsified, Patrick McFarland, inspector general of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, said in prepared testimony obtained by Bloomberg News in advance of a Senate hearing tomorrow.

While 18 investigators, including contract and government employees, have been convicted of falsifying reports since 2006, McFarland said the inspector general’s office lacks the resources to clear a backlog of an additional 36 cases.

“My office has been alarmed for several years about the lack of oversight,” he said in his written testimony. “Our resources remain woefully inadequate, preventing us from performing the level of oversight that such an important program requires.”

McFarland provided few details about the cases.

Passing a government background check is a requirement before the employee or a contractor is granted a security clearance.

The disclosure of secret documents describing two U.S. surveillance programs by Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor who had worked for Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. (BAH) and had a top-secret clearance, has called attention to the government’s process of vetting people who handle sensitive information.

Two Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittees plan to hold a hearing addressing the government’s security-clearance process.

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