The PJ Tatler

Great: Contractor that Vetted Snowden, Also Cleared Alexis

It does stand to reason, that a firm charged with performing the background checks on two-thirds of American government contractors considered for security clearances, would end up clearing both of the last two who have become infamous security clearance holders. Still, this is not good.

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.

USIS spokesman Ray Howell said the company got new information Thursday.

“Today we were informed that in 2007, USIS conducted a background check of Aaron Alexis” for the Office of Personnel Management, Howell said in a statement. “We are contractually prohibited from retaining case information gathered as part of the background checks we conduct for OPM and therefore are unable to comment further on the nature or scope of this or any other background check.”

The Navy needs to come in for its own share of criticism here too. Alexis was apparently nearly kicked out of the service over discipline issues, but he ended up getting an honorable discharge that he did not deserve. Not only does this insult those of us who were legitimately honorably discharged from the military, it set him up to obtain security clearances later in life. Had he been generally discharged, that would have been a red flag to USIS that he deserved serious scrutiny. It takes major misconduct — maybe too much misconduct — to earn anything less than an honorable discharge from the military.

Alexis also reportedly received glowing performance evaluations while he was in the Navy, which was having problems with his discipline. How does this happen? It happens because the military’s eval system is a joke, or at least, it was a joke when I was in the Air Force. It was far too subjective and too prone to giving everyone the highest possible recommendations. Anything less than that could be a career wrecker. The slacker got the same eval rating as the guy who busted his tail. It had become an “everyone gets a trophy” system. If that hasn’t changed, it needs to.

h/t Hot Air