Hillary’s leaks are just the beginning. A shocking report shows how Obama damaged national security by neglecting the agency that watches the watchers.

Very few people realize just how important it is to make sure we thoroughly vet people we give high-level security clearances to.

We need to make sure people with these clearances are not subject to blackmail because of crimes, substance abuse, ideological axes to grind, or have serious financial problems.

But this vetting is obviously not happening.

Thanks to the lack of oversight by the Obama administration, we let murderers and rapists get the highest-level security clearance.

He hired private contractors to run background checks, and recent audits show these companies did not do a thorough job, resulting in people like Edward Snowden getting the highest-level clearances.

McClatchy reported:

Under a crushing backlog in the issuing or renewing of security clearances, federal authorities have given interim clearances to people they later discovered were murderers and pedophiles, a senior government official said Wednesday.

“This is very, very dangerous,” said Daniel E. Payne, head of the Defense Security Service, a federal office that oversees the granting of temporary clearances.

Payne said roughly 100,000 people hold interim clearances while working for companies with Defense Department contracts or at 13,000 cleared facilities and plants around the country and as they await a full comprehensive background investigation.

“I’ve got murderers who have access to classified information. I have rapists. I have pedophiles. I have people involved in child porn,” Payne said. “This is the risk we are taking.”

Payne spoke on a panel about the backlog in security clearances at the Intelligence & National Security Summit in Washington.

The backlog “grew precipitously” in 2015 and 2016, and stands at near record levels today, said Charles S. Phalen, director of the National Background Investigations Bureau, a federal service provider under the Office of Personnel Management.

The backlog encompasses roughly 700,000 cases, but only 300,000 or so people are seeking a first-time clearance to enter government service,” Phalen said.

This has been an ongoing problem since 2013.  When Edward Snowden leaked a tremendous amount of classified material people started asking “Who granted him a security clearance?”  It turns out it was a private contractor.

“The private company responsible for vetting Edward Snowden for a security clearance is under criminal investigation for systemic failure to adequately conduct background checks.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., announced at a Senate hearing Thursday that USIS, a government contractor headquartered in Falls Church, Va., conducted a background check for Snowden in 2011. The 29-year-old systems administrator’s clearance gave him access to classified documents he later leaked to the media, revealing secret surveillance by the National Security Agency.

“We are limited in what we can say about this investigation because it is an ongoing criminal matter, but it is a reminder that background investigations can have real consequences for our national security,” McCaskill said.

“Federal agencies, like the Defense Department, rely on these background investigations to make assessments of whether people should be trusted with our nation’s most sensitive information. . . . It appears that this trust has been broken.”

USIS is the largest commercial provider of background investigations to the federal government. The company said in a statement that USIS has never been informed that it is under criminal investigation, although it did receive a subpoena for records from the inspector general of the Office of Personnel Management in January 2012. “

USIS complied with that subpoena and has cooperated fully with the government’s civil investigative efforts,” the statement said.

Not only is this important to national security, it is very important to U.S. citizens:

“Given the increasing amount of classified information produced and maintained by our government, and the increasing number of folks with access to that information, we have a real problem on our hands if we can’t get this right,” he said. “And because of the national security implications involved, there is simply no margin for error. None.”

McFarland, the inspector general, said he has been alarmed for years about the lack of oversight of the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Investigative Services program, which uses both contractors and federal workers to conduct 90 percent of all background checks for the U.S. government. He requested more funding so that his investigators can perform regular audits.

McFarland testified that since 2007, at least 18 investigators have been convicted of fabricating background checks, casting doubt on hundreds of security clearances.

In those cases, the background investigators reported interviews that never occurred, recorded answers to questions that were never asked, and documented records checks that were never conducted, he said.

One contractor faked 1,600 credit checks. As it turned out, her own background investigation had been faked by a background investigator in a separate case.

How did it get to the point that there are murderers, rapists, and pedophiles with access to classified information in the United States?

It’s easy to imagine foreign intelligence agents salivating over the possibility of a target-rich environment of individuals holding security clearances having compromising information in their backgrounds.

One would think that a simple background check would yield this information, and if there are multiple aliases someone has previously used, that should be a clear indicator and warning.

The other question one must ask is simple: What are the security checks being conducted during the hiring process by defense contractor firms?

This is such a grave concern and represents a clear and present national security threat for our nation.

Do you think we have an issue with security clearances?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.