WASHINGTON – US Investigations Services LLC, the company that vetted Edward Snowden, risks a federal contracting ban following U.S. fraud accusations, according to former government officials.
The Justice Department said in a filing last month as part of a whistle-blower’s lawsuit that the top provider of government background checks failed to do adequate investigations in at least 665,000 instances.
The contractor, known as USIS, has replaced its CEO and cooperated with authorities. If the company loses the lawsuit, the government will probably take action, said Dan Gordon, associate dean for procurement law at George Washington University Law School.
Losing the lawsuit “in an area so relevant to government contracts would very likely be a basis for suspension or even debarment,” said Gordon, former top procurement official for President Barack Obama.
The company, which received $466 million in contracts last year, performs records reviews, credit checks and interviews for workers’ security clearances. A decision to suspend or ban USIS might shift future U.S. vetting work to competitors such as CACI International Inc.
USIS received $295 million from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which handles most federal background investigations, in the year that ended Sept. 30. USIS’s share of that expanding market declined to 57 percent in fiscal 2013 from 81 percent in fiscal 2010.
“They’re in trouble,” said Bob Meunier, CEO of Debarment Solutions Institute LLC, an Arlington, Va.-based consulting firm, and a former federal official who helped coordinate debarment activities across agencies. “I don’t think USIS, with all of its government contracts, is going to sit back idly.”