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Gov’t. watchdog faults security background check of NSA leaker



Published: Fri, June 21, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON

A government watchdog testified Thursday there may have been problems with the security-clearance background check conducted on the 29-year-old federal contractor who disclosed previously secret National Security Agency programs for collecting phone records and Internet data.

Appearing at a Senate hearing, Patrick McFarland, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general, said USIS, the company that conducted the security-clearance investigation of former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, is under investigation itself.

McFarland declined to say what triggered the inquiry of USIS or whether the probe is related to Snowden. But when asked if there were any concerns about the USIS background check on Snowden, McFarland answered: “Yes, we do believe that there may be some problems.”

Meanwhile, new details emerged about the scope of two recently disclosed NSA programs — one that gathers U.S. phone records and another that is designed to track the use of U.S.-based Internet servers by foreigners with possible links to terrorism.


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