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Forum Post: How could Snowden and Navy Yard killer get top security clearances?

Posted 11 months ago on Sept. 29, 2013, 8:29 p.m. EST by crammystand (0)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The calls and emails from top executives came toward the end of each month, former managers at USIS recalled. The company needed to swiftly complete investigating security clearances for the government in order to reach its monthly revenue goal, the managers said they were told. Finally, there was an order: "Flush" everything you've got.

The directive to give quick final approval of background investigations without reviewing them for quality — known as flushing — was sent, the managers said, to a branch office of USIS, a company whose 700,000 yearly security checks for the government have included those of Edward J. Snowden, the National Security Agency leaker, and Aaron Alexis, who the police say shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard last week.

In interviews this week, former and current USIS employees detailed how the company had an incentive to rush work because it is paid only after a file is marked "FF," for fieldwork finished, and sent to the government. In the waning days of a month, investigations were closed to meet financial quotas, without a required review by the quality control department, two former senior managers said.

The details of how its contract was structured provide new insight into the workings of USIS, a company that is now the focus of two federal inquiries, including a grand jury investigation in Washington, according to congressional testimony and people with knowledge of the proceedings.

The federal Office of Personnel Management confirmed that it pays USIS on a piecework basis. "The vendor is paid upon the delivery of a completed case," the agency said in a statement. People familiar with the contract said it was intended to give the company an incentive to be efficient.

USIS, based in Falls Church, Va., and the largest outside investigator for security clearances for the federal government, declined to comment.

A person familiar with the USIS corporate structure said that two top executives, a division president and the chief financial officer, had been fired after being found responsible for ordering the flushing.

Continue Reading….http://www.telegram.com/article/20130928/NEWS/309289906/1116

48 Comments

48 Comments


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[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 11 months ago

regardless of our surveillance system

one is only seen when notice by another

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

When you grow the size of what is deemed "top security" to the mammoth that it currently is, things slip through the cracks.

Outsourced or not, when something requires hundreds of thousands of humans to operate, it will have problems.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

Outsourcing usually means cutting corners for cash. This is what has happened here.

[-] 0 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

Outsourced or not, the amount of problems increases exponentially with size, whether private or public.

For every Snowden there is a Manning.

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

Outsourced or not, the amount of problems increases exponentially with size, whether private or public

Not necessarily. The problems that are presented are vastly different. Once you have something outsourced for profit then you start seeing corners cut and/or a lack of accountability. Prime example: Academi.

For every Snowden there is a Manning.

For every Tom there is a Dick and Harry. It's neither here nor there.

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

For every account of outsourcing leading to cut corners, theres accounts of better run and managed operations. Specialists are just that. Sometimes. Sometimes not. The desire for profit can lead to more accountability than not in some cases.

Its here and there, and all around. Its everywhere.

If we want more people with "top secret" clearance to be perfect, we may want to outsource that job to a country with a bit more education and respect for others as a whole, to begin with.

[-] -2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

theres accounts of better run and managed operations.

No, there isn't. Unless you have some that I can take a look at. Not now and not historically.

[-] 0 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

When political campaigns pay their managers, the campaigns become much more effective (profit motive) They also outsource much of their marketing and financial for obvious reasons (outsourcing for improvement)

Paying an accountant is a simple example that most can relate to on an individual level.

Paying private tree crews on the municipal level is probably better than creating an entire tree cutting unit, for example.

Sometimes its good, sometimes its not. All depends on who is managing the operation on both sides, and what the expectations are in light of the field to choose from.

http://www.governing.com/topics/mgmt/pros-cons-privatizing-government-functions.html

[-] -2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

I know what it is, hon, and that article isn't showing me any successes.

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

Check out Occupy Sandy.

Again, all comes down to whose managing it or not.

Has your local government outsourced anything that improved afterwards?

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

That isn't an answer. It's a cop out.

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

Here are the same three examples from before:

"When political campaigns pay their managers, the campaigns become much more effective (profit motive) They also outsource much of their marketing and financial for obvious reasons (outsourcing for improvement)

Paying an accountant is a simple example that most can relate to on an individual level.

Paying private tree crews on the municipal level is probably better than creating an entire tree cutting unit, for example."

Outsourcing isnt always bad.

"...theres accounts of better run and managed operations.

No, there isn't. Unless you have some that I can take a look at. Not now and not historically."

Speaking in absolutes makes a case very hard to keep. Perhaps the government is forced to outsource more these days due to its increasing presence in aspects of life that traditionally would not be applicable.

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[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

He doesn't want the facts to get in the way.

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[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

Yep. He shies away from any failure that he might actually have to address. It is too bad but completely expected.

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

You can't back it up. Campaigns don't count. You have a nice idea that looks pretty on paper but that's it.

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

Why not?

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (30) 0 minutes ago

Kids getting educational help is a success. We do not need anymore educational cost cutting in this country.

This sounds like the Obama bashers over the green initiatives. Yes, some of them do not work, but that does not mean canceling the entire thing and claiming it doesnt work is the right move. ↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink


The success would be measured in outcome. Not in the fact that a contract exists. Got it?

[-] 0 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

The federal government should create a program to make sure that grades are increasing from the tutoring? Create a test subject and a control subject, kids a vs kids b, with differing levels of tutoring dependent on family factors and the educational level of the tutor, considering the environment of the tutoring vs the time of day.

I think its safe to say that its a good thing, and doesnt need a program with statistics in order to justify helping low income kids.

You sound like a Republican.

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (30) 2 minutes ago

Kids getting extra educational help is a success. ↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink


So, the actual success rate was tracked? No?

Here looks like more failure found here:

Home > Our Work > Reports > 2011 > Bad Business: Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Wasted on Hiring Contractors Bad Business: Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Wasted on Hiring Contractors Topics: Contract Oversight Related Content: Contractor Accountability, Government Privatization

POGO’s study analyzed the total compensation paid to federal and private sector employees, and annual billing rates for contractor employees across 35 occupational classifications covering over 550 service activities. Our findings were shocking—POGO estimates the government pays billions more annually in taxpayer dollars to hire contractors than it would to hire federal employees to perform comparable services. Specifically, POGO’s study shows that the federal government approves service contract billing rates—deemed fair and reasonable—that pay contractors 1.83 times more than the government pays federal employees in total compensation, and more than 2 times the total compensation paid in the private sector for comparable services.

Additional key findings include:

Federal government employees were less expensive than contractors in 33 of the 35 occupational classifications POGO reviewed.

In one instance, contractor billing rates were nearly 5 times more than the full compensation paid to federal employees performing comparable services.

Private sector compensation was lower than contractor billing rates in all 35 occupational classifications we reviewed.

The federal government has failed to determine how much money it saves or wastes by outsourcing, insourcing, or retaining services, and has no system for doing so.

[-] 0 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

Kids getting educational help is a success. We do not need anymore educational cost cutting in this country.

This sounds like the Obama bashers over the green initiatives. Yes, some of them do not work, but that does not mean canceling the entire thing and claiming it doesnt work is the right move.

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

[-] 2 points by IrishRevolt (22) 2 minutes ago

You wanted successes, of which were shown to you on three different levels that you as a citizen and activist should be able to relate to.

Even a specific example of the tutoring.

What more would you like? ↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink


You didn't provide successes. The fact that is occurring does not equal success.

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

Kids getting extra educational help is a success.

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

I know how much is being outsourced. I know what it is. That isn't what I asked for.

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

You wanted successes, of which were shown to you on three different levels that you as a citizen and activist should be able to relate to.

Even a specific example of the tutoring.

What more would you like?

[-] -1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

500 Billion in outsourced contracts by the feds: http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/10/news/economy/outsourced-federal-government/index.html

Local and state are on the same level. Outsourced tutoring that wouldnt exist if outsourcing didnt: http://www.aceittutoring.com/funding/

Sometimes outsourcing is the only option due to certain factors. Sometimes its not. Sometimes its good, sometimes its not.

The outsourced tutoring program allows for students to get extra help, and allows the government the flexibility and dynamic ability to help the kids, without having to hire full time people and then lose some of that needed flexibility.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

Start a thread on it.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

"My confidence in the system has been shaken by those two cases," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who introduced a bill that first mandated deadlines for investigations in 2004. "There was a lot of pressure to get rid of the backlog. What OPM did to cut the backlog is it contracted about half of the background checks it's responsible for doing. It seems to me that there are quality questions about the work done by the contractors."


So, just so we are clear. The work was outsourced and it failed. I am shocked. SHOCKED!

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

[-] 0 points by IrishRevolt (30) 1 minute ago

The federal government should create a program to make sure that grades are increasing from the tutoring?

I think its safe to say that its a good thing, and doesnt need a program with statistics in order to justify helping low income kids.

You sound like a Republican. ↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink


So, you got nothing. Again. :/

Not surprised.

Further, another program would not be necessary.
Again. Nothing.

Again. Not surprised.

That is why you fail

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

No actual proof. Better cancel the program, its not working.

How do you judge a successful relationship?

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

By establishing a criteria. Public schools, usually, provide tutors either through successful students or meeting with the teachers directly. Local colleges also have tutoring programs for k-12.

You missed Libertopia. It was further back and on the right. It confuses some people because it resembles a McDonald's PlayPlace.

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

" provide tutors either through successful students "

And who are these "successful students" accountable too?

Like it or not, this is an example of outsourcing -albeit on a small scale- because it makes logistic sense.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

Sweet pea, I don't care how the hell that you try to twist it---you're done.

[-] 0 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

Providing successful students is another example of outsourcing that makes sense.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

You got nothing. But, hey, thanks for playin'.

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

You've had many successful examples put right in front of you. Do you understand what outsourcing is, perhaps we should start with that?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outsourcing

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

You haven't provided any privatization successes. Again. Get the fuck off your ass and do some research. You passed the Libertopia exit. Yes, we throw the baby out with the bathwater.

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

You just listed one a minute ago, not realizing it perhaps?

Hiring specialists can be very beneficial in some cases, or simply more practical.

To deny that only shows an ignorance towards how governments in general function.

Is it always perfect? No. Who do you think comes up with all the statistics in the bills that you yourself vote for? Outside companies. Who helps to implement them? Outside companies. Who runs the campaigns that convince you to vote for people who have a failing record? Outside companies.

Who do you think just put together that UN climate change report? The politicians?

All government and business partnerships dont result in a worse product.

Take the food stamp program. Do you think it makes more sense for the government to create their own card manufacturing facility? And then their own distribution processes as well? Or does the outsourcing make sense?

Some things dont have studies, because its such an obvious benefit.

Speaking of outsourced jobs, usually those "studies" on efficiency and success are outsourced as well.

How ironic.

It has nothing to do with "libertopia" - very clever- but simply reality of how the world functions.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/politics/2012/10/local-governments-shrink-private-consultants-reap-rewards/3648/

Yep, it has everything to do with Libertopia.

Since you are desperate to alter the course of the discussion let's be very clear. Consultants have ulterior motives. They are thieves. Nothing more and nothing less. Two dollar whores.

ANY time that tax dollars go anywhere there should be accountability. Not just because you and your cohorts think it sounds swell.

Most of your local towns/cities and counties have people that cut trees. There is an entire department that handles that. So, let's cut the shit.

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

It took you 48 hours to come up with that pathetic reasoning? Another total "lump them all together" hack job? What?

Where are you from? Lets see how many private companies get state contracts for tree work. Im assuming a ton. And Im not surprised you dont like consultants, based off of your inability to listen to anyone besides yourself.

" Consultants have ulterior motives. They are thieves. Nothing more and nothing less. Two dollar whores."

Yes, all those groups that work to promote green energy, to streamline healthcare overhead, help with education, to basically just take their experiences and partner with others, lets group them all into one neatly defined group and lable them "thieves" and "two dollar whores"...

What level of education do you have? This is getting more laughable as it goes.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

Some of us work for a living. I understand that your paid for shill job allows you to sit on your ass and act like a dick but the rest of us don't. You don't have jack. You didn't have it before and you don't have it now.

I would lay money that my education is higher than yours.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 months ago

I'll deal with you later. Make sure that all of your changes to your post are finalized.

[-] 1 points by IrishRevolt (5) 11 months ago

Stating that outsourcing "never" works is a hard statement to defend in light of a 3.5 trillion dollar budget. If you need more examples let me know, they are not hard to find. Similar to examples of outsourcing disasters, tons of em.