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(Washington Post)   Great Moments in Privatization of Government Functions: contractor who vetted Edward Snowden also ran the background check on the navy yard shooter   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 64
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1071 clicks; posted to Politics » on 20 Sep 2013 at 8:53 AM (29 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-09-20 07:37:53 AM
Well, the answer is obvious.  We need to outsource more government functions.
 
2013-09-20 07:46:11 AM
The free market will cure this
 
2013-09-20 08:49:48 AM
That some fine background check work there Lou.
 
2013-09-20 08:55:40 AM
Somehow, this is Big Government's fault. Privatization is ALWAYS the answer!
 
2013-09-20 08:56:15 AM

PC LOAD LETTER: The free market will cure this


I'm sure the families of the victims will be able to sue, both the contractor, and the individuals who approved the use of the contractor like they would in the 'free market'.

Oh I'm sorry, the people in gov't are not allowed to be held accountable for their actions.
 
2013-09-20 08:56:44 AM

LordJiro: Somehow, this is Big Government's fault. Privatization is ALWAYS the answer!


But only when the question is 'how can I get paid lots of money for crappy work?'
 
2013-09-20 08:58:59 AM
Capitalists find the cheapest way to do things, not the most efficient or effective.

Cheapest for them, BTW, they still charge us obscene amounts of money to provide their shiatty service. How many of our esteemed representatives are on the kickback list for these guys?
 
2013-09-20 08:59:40 AM
But....  Private companies are always better than the government.
 
2013-09-20 09:01:58 AM
USIS, which was spun off from the federal government in the 1990s, has become the largest private provider of government background checks.

This is just a branch of OPM that was privatized. Basically, they got their start as part of the government... incompetence is all they know.
 
2013-09-20 09:04:03 AM

Aristocles: USIS, which was spun off from the federal government in the 1990s, has become the largest private provider of government background checks.

This is just a branch of OPM that was privatized. Basically, they got their start as part of the government... incompetence is all they know.


This is typical 'privatization'.  Take a gov't department, call it private, funnel it tons of gov't contracts, put your politically connected buddies in charge, when you're voted out of office you work there as a consultant.

Everybody profits.
 
2013-09-20 09:08:20 AM
The important thing is that one background check after another was run.
So we've got that covered...
 
2013-09-20 09:09:21 AM
That sounds shocking and all, but there are only a handful of companies that do background checks. That's like saying every fat person has eaten at a McDonalds.
 
2013-09-20 09:09:23 AM
If only the navy shooter was electrocuted by shoddy wired showers in Iraq built by Haliburton.
 
2013-09-20 09:09:27 AM
readerwoman.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-09-20 09:14:21 AM

RedPhoenix122: Well, the answer is obvious.  We need to outsource more government functions.


Or at least to stop paying the ones that fark up.
 
2013-09-20 09:14:49 AM

MugzyBrown: PC LOAD LETTER: The free market will cure this

I'm sure the families of the victims will be able to sue, both the contractor, and the individuals who approved the use of the contractor like they would in the 'free market'.

Oh I'm sorry, the people in gov't are not allowed to be held accountable for their actions.


Actually, though statutory liability for state actions has been virtually nullified by the rise of broad governmental immunities to suit, private entities performing state functions are not eligible for that broad protection (some still manage to wrangle out immunity specific to them or indemnity from the government entity they are contracting with). It's one of the few silver linings of privatization.
 
2013-09-20 09:29:56 AM
Fark you, subby - Snowden's a damn american hero. without his actions and sacrifice, people would still be telling each other that nobody's spying on them, that the american government would never record conversations without a warrant, and that people who think the government has the capacity to become big brother are just being paranoid.

comparing him to this insane individual is like comparing john paul jones to benedict arnold.
 
2013-09-20 09:31:09 AM
You'd think it would be pretty obvious, but there are still quite a few idiots out there who think that government contracts are 'free market.'
 
2013-09-20 09:34:16 AM

duenor: Fark you, subby - Snowden's a damn american hero. without his actions and sacrifice, people would still be telling each other that nobody's spying on them, that the american government would never record conversations without a warrant, and that people who think the government has the capacity to become big brother are just being paranoid.


Yeah, nobody knew a thing about that until Ed Snowden came along!

I don't want to be around when somebody breaks the news about professional wrestling to you.
 
2013-09-20 09:44:11 AM
The government's security clearance process is not designed to flag people struggling with mental illness, experts said. The aim of the system is to root out individuals at risk of compromising classified information. Mental-health treatment is not a disqualifying factor, and there are few ways to alert security officials when someone with clearance develops mental-health problems, according to analysts and former government security officials.

this is obviously the contractor's fault.
 
2013-09-20 09:48:52 AM
EyeballKid:
I don't want to be around when somebody breaks the news about professional wrestling to you.

I think you missed the point that Snowden's leaks took away the ability to dismiss such things as "Conspiracy theorism."

Maybe that's not an important distinction to you, but the fact that it isn't is prima facae evidence that you're probably an idiot.
 
x23
2013-09-20 09:51:14 AM
USIS? sounds more like ISIS quality work there.
 
2013-09-20 09:51:23 AM

duenor: Fark you, subby - Snowden's a damn american hero. without his actions and sacrifice, people would still be telling each other that nobody's spying on them, that the american government would never record conversations without a warrant, and that people who think the government has the capacity to become big brother are just being paranoid.

comparing him to this insane individual is like comparing john paul jones to benedict arnold.


You're missing the point.  The guys doing the background checks aren't doing a good job.
 
2013-09-20 09:55:19 AM

toomuchwhargarbl: EyeballKid:
I don't want to be around when somebody breaks the news about professional wrestling to you.

I think you missed the point that Snowden's leaks took away the ability to dismiss such things as "Conspiracy theorism."

Maybe that's not an important distinction to you, but the fact that it isn't is prima facae evidence that you're probably an idiot.


So, you never read this kooky conspiracy theory, then?

ecx.images-amazon.com

But, maybe I'm an idiot for not relying on Matt Lauer to be my authoritative source.
 
2013-09-20 09:58:47 AM

jigger: You'd think it would be pretty obvious, but there are still quite a few idiots out there who think that government contracts are 'free market.'


Then there is this gem:
USIS, which was spun off from the federal government in the 1990s, has become the largest private provider of government background checks

Funny how that worked out in USIS's favor, cause it really could have fallen either way.
 
2013-09-20 10:10:26 AM
I'd like to thank Tom Hamburger for contributing to this report
 
2013-09-20 10:16:07 AM
So the people who selected and oversaw this contractor are supposed to be more competent?
 
2013-09-20 10:16:28 AM
Joke's on you, stubby. They have a working fax machine.
 
2013-09-20 10:24:32 AM
I'm going through my reinvestigation now. Thanks to this, it's even more long and drawn out.
 
2013-09-20 10:27:08 AM
I was surprised to hear my father recent take on the argument that the Government can't get anything done right and should be hiring more private companies when he used to regularly b*tch and complain about the horrific abuses or rampant incompetence that he'd seen first hand on the part of contractors. For one instance he went to Iraq for a month to work on some political theater for the Bush administration and while he was there he saw a military that was nothing like what he remembered when he was in it and having forgotten the definition of "self sufficient". This mostly due to the mess hall being run by a contractor putting out swill rather than the 3 hots he used to sling out when he worked mess duty. Or that donated equipment and comforts that his division arranged to have distributed among soldiers would be rifled through and stolen by Haliburton employees (at least his views on Cheney haven't changed any). But lately, with all the leaks and scandals coming out, usually having to do with contractors, he seems to claim it's Obama's fault or Big Government.
 
2013-09-20 10:27:30 AM

toomuchwhargarbl: EyeballKid:
I don't want to be around when somebody breaks the news about professional wrestling to you.

I think you missed the point that Snowden's leaks took away the ability to dismiss such things as "Conspiracy theorism."

Maybe that's not an important distinction to you, but the fact that it isn't is prima facae evidence that you're probably an idiot.


There's overwhelming evidence about how the government spies on you, a lot of it from the COINTELPRO.  We even know it assassinated a US citizen in Chicago.  If you needed Snowden to "prove" this to you, then read a book.
 
2013-09-20 10:28:21 AM

HotWingConspiracy: Capitalists find the cheapest way to do things, not the most efficient or effective.

Cheapest for them, BTW, they still charge us obscene amounts of money to provide their shiatty service. How many of our esteemed representatives are on the kickback list for these guys?


It's not polite to depants an entire political ideology and laugh at its small unit like that you know.
 
2013-09-20 10:31:14 AM

duenor: Fark you, subby - Snowden's a damn american hero. without his actions and sacrifice, people would still be telling each other that nobody's spying on them, that the american government would never record conversations without a warrant, and that people who think the government has the capacity to become big brother are just being paranoid.


Unless you were paying attention during the Bush administration and were already aware this was already legal and probably going on (Snowden just leaked the name of the program proper)

comparing him to this insane individual is like comparing john paul jones to benedict arnold.

You like totally have an awesome grip on history and awesome taste in heroes duder, totally.
 
2013-09-20 10:35:16 AM

duenor: comparing him to this insane individual is like comparing john paul jones to benedict arnold.


If John Paul Jones is Benedict Arnold, does that mean Robert Plant is Cornwallis, or does that go to Bonzo?
 
2013-09-20 10:42:13 AM
They can't be blamed.

At least not until the bidding process ends and the winning contractor with the lowest bid will take the heat, be tried, and pay damages or go to jail.
Something tells me this contractor will bid too high to get that job.
 
2013-09-20 10:45:16 AM
motherfarking can I get a mobile browdet that works in all cases please? I can't farkung quote, rrgh.re: the background checkers aren't doing a good job.maybe because they check backgrounds, not intent, and expecting them to have a great success rate at the latter is folly
 
2013-09-20 10:59:37 AM
Not excusing the contractor but Alexis should have been convicted in Seattle and that conviction should bar him from purchasing a firearm anywhere in the US whether he served time or not. Weapons convictions in national database and background checks for ALL firearms transactions.
 
2013-09-20 11:08:07 AM
A background check is in fact, not an invasive telepathic audit of someone's entire being.  Apparently, some people believed otherwise.
 
2013-09-20 11:09:36 AM
EyeballKid:
But, maybe I'm an idiot for not relying on Matt Lauer to be my authoritative source.

Matt Lauer wrote all those NSA documents?
 
2013-09-20 11:12:05 AM
The concept of privatization isn't a bad thing.  The problem here, and where we're constantly running afoul, is that to politicians, privatization means cronies getting a nice fat chunk of government money and little to no oversight.
 
2013-09-20 11:12:51 AM

toomuchwhargarbl: EyeballKid:
But, maybe I'm an idiot for not relying on Matt Lauer to be my authoritative source.

Matt Lauer wrote all those NSA documents?


No, but all the info about NSA wiretapping and AT&T and other telecom companies giving away their customers' confidential data has been old news, unless you gather all of your news from 7 to 10 in the morning with nuggets of blatherskite, human interest garbage, and celebrity interviews to pad the time for the advertisers. If that's the case, then yes, I can see why the Edward Snowden thing would be shocking.
 
2013-09-20 11:15:36 AM
What was wrong with snowden's background check? was there a problem?
 
2013-09-20 11:16:27 AM

Cpl.D: The concept of privatization isn't a bad thing.  The problem here, and where we're constantly running afoul, is that to politicians, privatization means cronies getting a nice fat chunk of government money and little to no oversight.


You may understand the fark-ups that result when privatization isn't met with stringent regulation better than anyone here. Just wondering, but have you ever wanted to take a trip to the United Arab Emirates to meet a dickish little pipsqueak named Erik Prince?
 
2013-09-20 11:17:02 AM
Let me see if I can figure out the Republican spin on this: the only reason why privatization of government functions isn't generating rainbows and unicorns is because those private companies have no choice but to deliberately suck, because they're forced to compete with the remaining government functions, and as you know, government is irredeemably incompetent. Only once all government functions are in private hands, the awesome switch will flip itself on.
 
2013-09-20 11:20:08 AM

TrollingForColumbine: What was wrong with snowden's background check? was there a problem?


The mind reader machine wasn't working that day?

(And they apparently followed procedure in this, found the initial charges, and maybe he wasn't having mental health issues then?)
 
2013-09-20 11:32:53 AM

BraveNewCheneyWorld: A background check is in fact, not an invasive telepathic audit of someone's entire being.  Apparently, some people believed otherwise.


THANKS FOR DISBANDING THE PSI-CORPS OBAMA!!!

/more like screw Warner Brothers for not wanting to spend any money on Babylon 5, letting TNT mess with Crusade (they are better as a new content producer now it seems)
 
2013-09-20 11:33:53 AM

Cpl.D: The concept of privatization isn't a bad thing.  The problem here, and where we're constantly running afoul, is that to politicians, privatization means cronies getting a nice fat chunk of government money and little to no oversight.


Then again in the US you're not going to have privatization of government that isn't going to result in such cronyism, so anyone bringing up the idea is not to be considered seriously.
 
2013-09-20 11:38:18 AM
Here's how privatization works (example)

100 government workers do their jobs and are paid a reasonable salary with benefits, and pay their taxes

Agency is privatized, on paper saving the government, whatever, a million bucks.

All those people lose their jobs and benefits. They cease paying taxes. They go on welfare and medicare, costing the government 2 million bucks.

Replacement workers (not enough to do the job, say 75) are hired by the private company at minimum wage, no benefits. Guy at the top pays himself $800k. The new workers  pay no taxes, as they don't make enough, and they also rely on government handouts to pay their bills

And the quality of the service declines.

So, one guy gets rich, hundreds go on welfare. Net effect is an increase in expense to the government, with a decrease in quality of service provided.
 
2013-09-20 11:52:14 AM

Dubya's_Coke_Dealer: Here's how privatization works (example)

100 government workers do their jobs and are paid a reasonable salary with benefits, and pay their taxes

Agency is privatized, on paper saving the government, whatever, a million bucks.

All those people lose their jobs and benefits. They cease paying taxes. They go on welfare and medicare, costing the government 2 million bucks.

Replacement workers (not enough to do the job, say 75) are hired by the private company at minimum wage, no benefits. Guy at the top pays himself $800k. The new workers  pay no taxes, as they don't make enough, and they also rely on government handouts to pay their bills

And the quality of the service declines.

So, one guy gets rich, hundreds go on welfare. Net effect is an increase in expense to the government, with a decrease in quality of service provided.


BINGO!
 
2013-09-20 12:00:54 PM
Um, why wouldn't Snowden pass a background check? As far as I know he had zero problems before he took the data and ran.
 
2013-09-20 12:03:36 PM

Dubya's_Coke_Dealer: Here's how privatization works (example)


You only covered the human resources aspect. You left out the part where the private company needs the equipment to make the service work, so they make that part of the privatization deal and probably get a tax break on top of it. Then the government has to mothball its own equipment and pay to store it.

Meanwhile, the public loses productivity figuring out the new system, which is no better than the one they had before.
 
2013-09-20 12:09:47 PM

To The Escape Zeppelin!: Um, why wouldn't Snowden pass a background check? As far as I know he had zero problems before he took the data and ran.


I think distorted information presented as the "background check solution" for gun violence has led certain people to have unreasonable expectations of what a background check entails.
 
2013-09-20 12:16:44 PM
www.drawingnow.com

I can has top-secret clearance?
 
2013-09-20 12:46:42 PM

duenor: like comparing john paul jones to benedict arnold.


Well, considering that Benedict Arnold did basically win the war for the US, that could be a fair comparison

// wins battle, France says, "OK, we'll back you", French fleet and Army basically win the battle of Yorktown, forcing Cornwallis' surrender.
 
2013-09-20 12:54:29 PM

BraveNewCheneyWorld: To The Escape Zeppelin!: Um, why wouldn't Snowden pass a background check? As far as I know he had zero problems before he took the data and ran.

I think distorted information presented as the "background check solution" for gun violence has led certain people to have unreasonable expectations of what a background check entails.


But according to the gun control nuts it's the solution to all the mass shootings.  I mean Paulie and Vito who sell guns out of the trunk of a Lincoln behind Gino's pizza will have to run background checks before they sell one of their stolen guns.  It's the law.
 
2013-09-20 01:00:52 PM

Dubya's_Coke_Dealer: Here's how privatization works (example)

100 government workers do their jobs and are paid a reasonable salary with benefits, and pay their taxes

Agency is privatized, on paper saving the government, whatever, a million bucks.

All those people lose their jobs and benefits. They cease paying taxes. They go on welfare and medicare, costing the government 2 million bucks.

Replacement workers (not enough to do the job, say 75) are hired by the private company at minimum wage, no benefits. Guy at the top pays himself $800k. The new workers  pay no taxes, as they don't make enough, and they also rely on government handouts to pay their bills

And the quality of the service declines.

So, one guy gets rich, hundreds go on welfare. Net effect is an increase in expense to the government, with a decrease in quality of service provided.


Please bend at the knees when picking up heavy loads of bullshiat.
 
2013-09-20 01:11:43 PM
static.oprah.com

YOU GET SECRET CLEARANCE! AND YOU GET SECRET CLEARANCE!
 
2013-09-20 02:01:28 PM

Snarcoleptic_Hoosier: YOU GET SECRET CLEARANCE! AND YOU GET SECRET CLEARANCE!


If five million people are holding clearances, most of that shiat probably isn't that secret.
 
2013-09-20 02:20:48 PM

Dubya's_Coke_Dealer: Here's how privatization works (example)


It's funny but here's how my privatization experience went...(csb)

I was part of a larger contract that took over a specific area of production from the government.  The shop originally had 20 full time govt employees.  We converted 10 of those over to contractors and hired 4 more from the outside, paying all more than the govt employees were previously making.  Within the first year we had far exceeded previous productivity and quality standards.  This resulted in us significantly cutting back the amount of excess product we had to produce with each batch in order to make up for failures.  This also significantly reduced the number of production reruns that were necessary.  Those two things combined significantly cut back on the amount of supplies we needed to purchase.  All told, within the first year we were running $2million UNDER the previous budgets.  Of course, this could not stand.  The government manager who's budget paid for the program was suddenly facing a $2million surplus.  Facing the possibility of his budget now getting cut by $2million (which of course was no longer needed) he ordered us to over buy on supplies and slow our production processes down.  At the end we had well over a years worth of excess raw inventory on top of what was necessary to actually fulfill existing orders.  Some of the inventory had a shelf life and would expire before we could use all of it, which would of course end up needing to be repurchased.  When our senior management fought back against the obvious waste the govt manager pressured the contract (which was much larger than this project) to fire our senior manager and his staff.  I took the opportunity to move to a different area.  Last I heard the project is still under contract but is now consistently over budget.

Obviously different experiences can happen in different situations but in my 10+ years of working both the govt and contractor side, I can tell you that the single biggest problem is no one in charge tolerates a cut to their budget.  Getting your budget cut, even for good reasons, is seen as a negative a something that can hurt your career...the mindset is that if you don't constantly need more money, you're obviously not doing anything important.
 
2013-09-20 02:42:48 PM
There are several kinds of "background checks". There are the ones for criminal behavior, bad credit, security lapses, drug problems, etc. Not all of these are done at all levels, not even for government installations.

Also, when "contractors" do the work, the agency itself may be vetted, but it's up to them to screen their employees as in this case.

So just because Alexis was on a government installation doesn't mean he was necessarily held to any higher standard than, say, a bank teller. If the Navy was satisfied with his contracting company and THEIR checkers, that would be enough.
 
2013-09-20 04:25:19 PM
Maybe, just maybe the contractor did everything they were supposed to do as per the guidelines of the contract.
Don't be so quick to jump on the contractor until the details of the contract and what they were allowed or not allowed to do.
 
2013-09-20 04:28:52 PM

ForgotMyTowel: Dubya's_Coke_Dealer: Here's how privatization works (example)

It's funny but here's how my privatization experience went...(csb)



Obviously different experiences can happen in different situations but in my 10+ years of working both the govt and contractor side, I can tell you that the single biggest problem is no one in charge tolerates a cut to their budget.  Getting your budget cut, even for good reasons, is seen as a negative a something that can hurt your career...the mindset is that if you don't constantly need more money, you're obviously not doing anything important.

This is 100% true.
There is a systemic problem with government agencies where saving money and reducing one's budget while maintaining the same level of service is not only never encouraged but also never tolerated.
 
2013-09-20 05:30:42 PM

Evil Twin Skippy: That sounds shocking and all, but there are only a handful of companies that do background checks. That's like saying every fat person has eaten at a McDonalds.


The FBI did my brackground check. They may have issues, but they were pretty thorough. I got calls from people I didn't list, "So, the FBI called here asking about you. What's happening?"
 
2013-09-20 11:09:39 PM

Bonzo_1116: Snarcoleptic_Hoosier: YOU GET SECRET CLEARANCE! AND YOU GET SECRET CLEARANCE!

If five million people are holding clearances, most of that shiat probably isn't that secret.


Just because you're cleared doesn't mean you automatically get access to all of the information.

Unless you're the sysadmin, and then you can socially engineer your way into accounts belonging to people with higher access levels.
 
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