Firm That Checked NSA Leaker Probed

WASHINGTON (AP) -

The government contractor that performed a background check of the man who says he disclosed two NSA surveillance programs is under investigation, a government watchdog said Thursday.

Patrick McFarland, inspector general at the Office of Personnel Management, said during a Senate hearing that the contractor USIS is being investigated and that the company performed a background check of Edward Snowden.

McFarland told lawmakers that there may have been problems with how the background check was done. He and one of his assistants declined to say after the hearing what triggered the decision to investigate USIS.

“To answer that question would require me to talk about an ongoing investigation. That’s against our policy,” Michelle Schmitz, assistant inspector general for investigations, told reporters. “We are not going to make any comment at all on the investigation of USIS.” USIS, which is based in Falls Church, Va., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.