Firm that vetted Snowden fails up, is awarded new government contract

posted at 10:41 am on July 3, 2014 by Noah Rothman

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.


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Kind of like our Fearless Leader, huh?

formwiz on July 3, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Do we know Snowden is a traitor or a hero yet?

Bmore on July 3, 2014 at 10:50 AM

BTW, when they come around to do security interviews now, there is a supervisor accompanying them. This is how they’re handling the scrutiny.

GWB on July 3, 2014 at 10:50 AM

*if

Bmore on July 3, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Do we know Snowden is a traitor or a hero yet?

Bmore on July 3, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Troublemaker.

Happy Nomad on July 3, 2014 at 10:51 AM

BTW, when they come around to do security interviews now, there is a supervisor accompanying them. This is how they’re handling the scrutiny.

GWB on July 3, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Sounds to me like the supervisors could do the interviews and save the taxpayers a little money.

Bitter Clinger on July 3, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Are we avoiding the rowdy crowd in California that detoured a couple of bus loads of illegals or did I miss it?

Cindy Munford on July 3, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Cripe

cmsinaz on July 3, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Interview With Former NSA Boss Bill Binney

Some excepts:

Q “As far as you know, nothing in the Snowdon revelations is incorrect or exaggerated.”

A “Uh, no. I mean, because it’s all the documentation of the government. It’s their documentation. That’s the best evidence.”

“My understanding is that he [Snowdon] turned all of the data over to reporters in Hong Kong. He had none of it with him” when he got to Russia.

If Snowdon came back to the US “He wouldn’t get a fair trial…. any exculpatory evidence they would just claim state secrets, which is what they did with Tom Drake.”

“They’re spying on everybody in the US, that’s why I left.”

“It’s all content, not just metadata.”

“All your Internet activity… whatever you do on the Internet.”

“Transcription [mechanical] of 3B phone calls a day.”

“Without a warrant… full transcription.”

Akzed on July 3, 2014 at 11:08 AM

It’s easy to submit the lowest bid when you don’t plan to do the work.

IndieDogg on July 3, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Crime doesn’t pay, unless it’s blackmail, then it pays real well.

Flange on July 3, 2014 at 11:10 AM

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.

Was Lois Lerner vetted by this software?

Rovin on July 3, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Was Lois Lerner vetted by this software? Rovin on July 3, 2014 at 11:12 AM

NSA has every one of the emails in question.

Akzed on July 3, 2014 at 11:13 AM

You expect competence from a government contractor these days?

rbj on July 3, 2014 at 11:25 AM

The phrase “good enough for government work” comes to mind.

My father spent half his life in the military and the other half in the post office. While in the post office, he received a $250 award for his suggestion that when they needed an emergency part, they use the post office for shipment instead of Fed Ex. So, am I surprised by this? No.

bandutski on July 3, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Sorry, been away awhile. Can anyone help me out?

Is to “fail up” a common expression? or just something cobbled together here? Also, if I’m not mistaken, Edward Snowden was never really a “client” of USIS, right?

Lolo on July 3, 2014 at 11:37 AM

You expect competence from a government contractor these days?

rbj on July 3, 2014 at 11:25 AM

That used to be more the exception than the rule.

Welcome to the world of Obama.

Bitter Clinger on July 3, 2014 at 11:37 AM

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:

…which one of the Obama’s is the principle a classmate of…or how much did they contribute to JugEars?

JugEarsButtHurt on July 3, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Do we know Snowden is a traitor or a hero yet?

Bmore on July 3, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Traitor. How many of us have changed how we communicate as a result of the revelations Snowden made? I sure haven’t, because long ago we were told that the Russians were intercepting all microwave communications from the Gulf of Mexico, including telephone company transmissions. I do have to admit that I care more about the Russians knowing to whom I am talking than I care about our own country knowing. And the Russians are getting CONTENT, which the NSA didn’t do unless the call went out of country — that’s the other traitorous revelation (but not by Snowden) — that we were intercepting phone calls with one endpoint out of country.

The last thing I want is a terrorist attack on US soil, and so there must be a proper balance between freedome and security — for security is worth nothing without freedom and freedom won’t endure without security.

Ask the same question regarding comm changes about, say, Germany, or China, or even the stateless terrorists. The answer is radically different and shows the damage Snowden has done.

Traitor. And he’s welcome to stay in Russia, with whom he’s thrown in his lot. After all, Putin doesn’t listen in on his phone calls, right?

unclesmrgol on July 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

And the Russians are getting CONTENT, which the NSA didn’t do unless the call went out of country — that’s the other traitorous revelation (but not by Snowden) — that we were intercepting phone calls with one endpoint out of country. Traitor. And he’s welcome to stay in Russia, with whom he’s thrown in his lot. After all, Putin doesn’t listen in on his phone calls, right? unclesmrgol on July 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

There’s more than one error in your post. Go here.

Or just see this above Akzed on July 3, 2014 at 11:08 AM.

Akzed on July 3, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Are we avoiding the rowdy crowd in California that detoured a couple of bus loads of illegals or did I miss it?

Cindy Munford on July 3, 2014 at 10:56 AM

The royal HA we is avoiding it. Ironic that Katie, a Townhall employee is all over it, but HA won’t touch i.

Not until Noah tots out this evening to talk about how rude and unChristian it was for a gang of privielged Californians lay seige to several coaches filled with terrified wimmen & chilluns, forcing the convoy to turn around.

Heh, Hope it catches on so that by next week, the buses won’t even be able to depart their origination due to Americans standing up.

Can you imagine the optics of Oboobie having armed MRAP escorts and armorded buses busting thru blocakdes at Ft Sill with a bunch of illegals, destination unknown (wherever it is, you know it’s going to be 123 Main Street ,Anytown USA) teeming with diseases and who knows what?

AH_C on July 3, 2014 at 11:51 AM

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.

Erm, no. “Best value” is a thing, even on PSS contracts. It’s only “lowest cost/technically acceptable” if you bid it as such and then you can argue “defrauding the government and having terrible past performance” can make something not “technically acceptable”.

Spade on July 3, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Traitor. How many of us have changed how we communicate as a result of the revelations Snowden made? I sure haven’t, because long ago we were told that the Russians were intercepting all microwave communications from the Gulf of Mexico, including telephone company transmissions. I do have to admit that I care more about the Russians knowing to whom I am talking than I care about our own country knowing. And the Russians are getting CONTENT, which the NSA didn’t do unless the call went out of country — that’s the other traitorous revelation (but not by Snowden) — that we were intercepting phone calls with one endpoint out of country.

The last thing I want is a terrorist attack on US soil, and so there must be a proper balance between freedome and security — for security is worth nothing without freedom and freedom won’t endure without security.

Ask the same question regarding comm changes about, say, Germany, or China, or even the stateless terrorists. The answer is radically different and shows the damage Snowden has done.

Traitor. And he’s welcome to stay in Russia, with whom he’s thrown in his lot. After all, Putin doesn’t listen in on his phone calls, right?

unclesmrgol on July 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Your traitor is my hero. A statist big govt attempt to destroy or minimize my inalienable rights is a bigger threat to my liberty that the hordes of huns and mongols forming up to attack us. It’s easier to fight a visible army invading the land than it is to ferret out the enemy within. A terrorist attack(s) will only kill/maim a certain # of people, but a statist govt will crush all Americans, save the privileged elites.

If you want to live like it’s 1984, so long as terrorists are kept at bay, have at it. As for me and my house, no thanks – give me liberty.

AH_C on July 3, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Are we avoiding the rowdy crowd in California that detoured a couple of bus loads of illegals or did I miss it?

Cindy Munford on July 3, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Well Sweet Lips, have you made application to accept a couple hundred of these folks at YOUR house. You know, do your part for your Obamassiah’s immigration policy.

GarandFan on July 3, 2014 at 12:02 PM

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.

Erm, no. “Best value” is a thing, even on PSS contracts. It’s only “lowest cost/technically acceptable” if you bid it as such and then you can argue “defrauding the government and having terrible past performance” can make something not “technically acceptable”.

Spade on July 3, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Yup – they’re lying – big surprise.

They only have to award to the lowest bidder IF they set it up as a low bid contract. And past performance is always in play – and not just being suspended or barred.

dentarthurdent on July 3, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Bmore

Schadenfreude on July 3, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Bmore

Schadenfreude on July 3, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Missed it by that much….

dentarthurdent on July 3, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Bmore

Schadenfreude on July 3, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Missed it by that much….

dentarthurdent on July 3, 2014 at 12:48 PM

THAAAAT much…

dentarthurdent on July 3, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Clearly Bmore is a better judge of page count than we are….

dentarthurdent on July 3, 2014 at 12:49 PM

What the hell does “fails up” mean?

tomshup on July 3, 2014 at 12:51 PM

What the hell does “fails up” mean?
tomshup on July 3, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Being rewarded for failure. Sheesh.

Akzed on July 3, 2014 at 12:54 PM

What the hell does “fails up” mean?
tomshup on July 3, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Being rewarded for failure. Sheesh.
Akzed on July 3, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Yah – kinda like the peter principle.

dentarthurdent on July 3, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Being rewarded for failure. Sheesh.

Too clever! This is what social media and smart phones have wrought. Chaos is likely to ensue because no one can communicate normally. Up is down, etc.

tomshup on July 3, 2014 at 1:32 PM

I hope they’re working at the IRS next. Snowden was a whistleblower and a patriot.

ezspirit on July 3, 2014 at 2:05 PM

“The phrase ‘good enough for government work’ comes to mind.”

Ironic, isn’t it, that this phrase originally meant that the work was of the highest quality?

Kritikal on July 3, 2014 at 2:13 PM

I strongly doubt that anyone in the Obama administration will admit error, incompetence, or regret.

The Obama regime is sooooooooooo committed to the rule of law and administrative regulations that they MUST follow them ALWAYS. Besides, USIS is a loyal contributor .

pilsener on July 3, 2014 at 3:04 PM

This is what social media and smart phones have wrought. Chaos is likely to ensue because no one can communicate normally. Up is down, etc. tomshup on July 3, 2014 at 1:32 PM

There were figures of speech before the iPhone.

Yah – kinda like the peter principle.
dentarthurdent on July 3, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Actually the PP is that everyone in business who stays around long enough eventually reaches his level of incompetence.

E.g., the young salesman is setting records so he is made asst regional manager, and sales continue to increase, so he is made regional manager and sale continue to increase, then he is brought inside at home office as manager of corporate sales and bombs.

The point is that just because he was great in the lower levels of his specialty doesn’t mean that he is well suited to perform well at a higher level of responsibility. Past performance is not a predictor of future success, if you will.

There’s another PP that states that when a company doesn’t want to fire Mr. A, they may promote him (“kick him upstairs”) to make way for new blood in his old job. This could also lead to Mr. A causing damage in his new position because he has more responsibility though his non-merit based promotion almost ensured that he would fail.

I found that book when I was in ninth grade and read it cover to cover and it made a big impression.

Akzed on July 3, 2014 at 3:08 PM

The phrase “good enough for government work” comes to mind.

“Kickbacks to cronies” follows close behind.

AesopFan on July 3, 2014 at 3:41 PM

GarandFan on July 3, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Did you somehow manage to assume from my question that I am pro amnesty? New here?

Cindy Munford on July 3, 2014 at 4:42 PM

How were they supposed to know he would see the government do illegal things and have the courage, morals, and bravery to blow the whistle?

ebrawer on July 4, 2014 at 5:44 PM