Federal Contractors Scrutinize Employees; Homeland Security Doesn’t Track Training

Susan Hall

It’s not surprising, after Edward Snowden’s leaks about National Security Agency surveillance programs, that federal contractors are scrutinizing employees more closely.

"Some of them are probably asking HR, 'Hey, take another hard look at all of our people, particularly those who are in very sensitive positions, and see if we're missing anything; if there's anything in their background or something that we didn't get at first blush that might indicate that they might be a problem,'" analyst Rob Levinson of Bloomberg Government told Federal News Radio.

Steve Ryan, leader of the government strategies practice group for law firm McDermott, Will and Emery, also told the site about the damage to Snowden’s former employer:

"The American public didn't know who Booz Allen was. Now they know one thing about the company, and that one thing isn't particularly attractive."

A new audit by the Office of Inspector General at Homeland Security points out another problem: The agency does not keep track of whether contractors’ employees, who monitor vulnerabilities on federal networks, have completed required training, reports Nextgov.

Contract system administrators monitor CyberScope, a central system of incoming information from which it tracks computer security of each federal agency. Yet DHS doesn’t keep records on whether the contract employees have completed security awareness and specialized information technology training.

"CyberScope contractors may not have received the appropriate skills or knowledge to properly administer and secure the systems against potential cyber threats," the report states, a finding similar to that reported in 2011.

Meanwhile, USA Today rounded up three former NSA whistleblowers who had been trying for years to draw attention to what they believed were fundamental violations by the agency of U.S. citizens’ constitutional rights. They said the programs Snowden has revealed are only the tip of the iceberg.

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