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DoD to conduct federal government background checks

By Sommer Brokaw
DoD to conduct federal government background checks
President Donald Trump is shown Wednesday on the South Lawn of the White House. He signed an executive order that day for the responsibility for federal government background checks to be transferred from the Office of Personnel Management to the Defense Department. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

April 25 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump has ordered the Defense Department to conduct federal government background checks instead of the Office of Personnel Management.

The "primary responsibility" for "government-wide" background investigations shifts from the Office of Personnel Management to the Department of Defense, under the executive order signed Wednesday.

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While the Office of Personnel Management still will be consulted, giving the Defense Department more responsibility was part of "needed reforms," the order said.

"This executive order reflects the administration's commitment to reform the personnel vetting enterprise to ensure a trusted federal workforce and achieve and efficient, effective, and secure operation that meets all government-wide needs for background investigations," a Defense Department statement said.

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"Efforts to undertake the transfer of OPMS's background investigation function and associated personnel, resources and facilities to DOD will begin immediately."

Also, under the order, the Secretary of Defense will rename the Defense Security Service as the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency.

The DCSA will be the primary agency responsible for background checks by June 24 under the order.

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The Trump administration's background check process has been subject to controversy.

Analysts recommended against multiple security clearances, but former White House Personnel Security Director Carl Kline overruled the denial recommendations, whistle-blower Tricia Newbold, who Kline has supervised, told a House Oversight Committee in late March.

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One of the denial recommendations overruled was for Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the Washington Post reported.

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The security clearance process has raised eyebrows since last year when White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned amid allegations of domestic abuse from two ex-wives.

Porter denied the allegations, but there was controversy over when the White House became aware of them with conflicting reports from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

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