What’s the definition of insanity? That’s just one of the questions the Department of Homeland Security does not pose to its prospective contractors.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, DHS just awarded a $190 million contract to US Investigations Services LLC, a firm accused of “methodically defrauding the government” while carrying out background checks on candidates for sensitive positions.
One of USIS’s most famous clients: NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
USIS was able to win the contract because regulations require agencies to follow strict procurement procedures unless a bidder has been suspended or barred by the government from contracts. Despite questions about its work on background checks, USIS was never blocked from federal work.
One US official said that the government is obligated “by law and policy” to accept the lowest bid on service contracts unless the firm in question has been suspended or barred from applying for government contracts.
Apparently, being accused by the Justice Department of defrauding the federal government is not justification enough to put USIS on the list of suspended firms. In June, the DoJ did just that:
The DOJ accused USIS of receiving millions of dollars that it otherwise would not have received had the government been aware that the background investigations had not gone through the quality review process required by contract.
Through a software known as “Blue Zone,” USIS was able to quickly make an electronic “Review Complete” notation without fully going through the mandated review process, DOJ said.
The phrase “good enough for government work” comes to mind.