Blake Percival (USIS Whistleblower) - A Discussion

I am hoping that this link worked. I came across this podcast/youtube interview the other day and listened to it while driving. I figure nearly all of us in this blog have come from USIS, so it would be an interesting debate/discussion. For those who don’t know, Blake Percival is the whistleblower that exposed USIS’ “flushing” of cases. He has a book coming out and I was interested because, like most of us, I was there when all this happened and I was wondering if he was going to name names or expose any juicy details. Well, I don’t think that will be the case after listening to this video. The video is over an hour long, but you only really need to listen to the first 15 minutes or so to hear about the USIS part. The rest is just nonsense. I never knew Percival at USIS and don’t remember ever hearing or reading his name in any email, so I have no personal knowledge of him.

In this video, Percival claims that USIS dumped cases and the subjects were never “vetted.” This part really infuriated me. While USIS was very wrong in what they did…the cases that were “dumped” were fully completed cases with no issues reported. All field work was completed, there was just no reviewer to catch the rogue periods and misspelled words. I also want to add that of the 660,000 cases that USIS flushed, it was reported to congress that not one case was sent back by the agency for additional work. Percival claims that the Snowden case and Aaron Alexis cases were both likely dumped. He implies that no work was ever done on the cases and “proper” background investigations would have caught them. Yet, a Washington Post article about the Snowden background investigation showed that the investigation was completed appropriately given the rules at the time.

I could go on and on about this video…but I am wondering what everyone else thinks of the USIS flushing of cases and Blake Percival.

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The juicy details are in the DOJ complaint.

This is my point…the truth is far from what Percival is claiming in that video. And in terms of juicy details, I wanted him to expose some of those jerks that ran the investigators into the ground while cashing their bonus checks!! Instead, he acts as though he is a national security expert on matters that he has no knowledge and no experience.

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If the topic is whether or not USIS dumped cases in the way the were accused I believe the answer is no. In the old Handbook there was an area on reviewing and adjudication that said something about cases without issue do not need to be reviewed. Mostly old PPR. If someone out there remembers those details I’d love you to post. On bonus checks…yep, and Blake I think got a check as well because the government attached themselves to this case. For government and contractors the choice is simple. If you really care about National Security you would set limits on cases to the field. Or just set the same expectations for contractors AND government investigators. If not, the government is just as culpable. Quantity and Quality DO NOT go hand in hand.


When I was first hired, we were told that not all cases were reviewed by OPM. I remember being told that if I wanted OPM to read the case, I had to code it appropriately. At some point, we moved to 100% review and I don’t know when that happened. I understand that it was a contractual requirement to review the cases and that is were USIS is wrong…but the implication that people weren’t “vetted” for their job is just wrong.

Yeah- Blake got paid…he claims to have gotten 20% of the 30 million recouped from USIS.


As an aside. I worked for USIS on SPINs mainly in San Diego, CA from 2006 until the demise. I was on the way to interview a source when the call came to STOP ALL field work. I think this was in 2014. I am part of the law suit and USIS owes me about $2400 in field work competed that was waiting typing and transmission. I have not heard anything about the law suit in years. Has anyone heard any updates?

Is that the guy who said or heard that cases were flushed down the toilet like goldfish to get rid of them? Did I read that correctly years ago?

You are exactly right. I’ve noticed the same things in interviews, podcasts, etc., Percival doesn’t tell an accurate story. He should know better because he was there first hand and witnessed everything. He continues to beat the drum that the investigations weren’t completed when they were handed off to OPM. That is incorrect. We as Investigators completed the work…the investigations just weren’t reviewed for quality. And even if an investigation didn’t meet quality, OPM review (final review process before a case goes to adjudication) would have kicked it back as being deficient. Percival doesn’t explain what was going on exactly with the process and paints himself more as someone that saved national security.

Though Percival did the right thing by not agreeing to the continuing of the dumping of cases, his story lacks the transparency that paints it with much accuracy according to the actual court documents and charges alleged against USIS. At this point it’s all about selling a book and making the story appear he was instrumental in saving national security when national security was never harmed so long as OPM kicked back any cases that were dumped for quality deficiencies which they always did. That’s why they are the final review process before it goes to adjudication.


Nobody’s buying your book Blake.


I never worked for USIS. I started with CACI. But I wondered ok…so USIS dumped the cases but where was OPM’s accountability. With all these reviews that we have going on, I’m wondering how they allowed that! Seems like because of Snowden and Alexis, USIS was the fall guy. As an investigator, I know for a fact that we cannot turn in a half case! I have never submitted a case and all my items weren’t either rescheduled, canceled or closed! He’s not telling the truth, and is causing concern that wasn’t necessary!!

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I worked for USIS from 01 until they closed but don’t exactly understand what happened except that they didn’t do what dumping cases sounds like. It was something much less, a minor part of the process wasn’t done correctly according to a knowledgeable coworker. My guess is not enough money was flowing in the right direction. I learned about money and Trust Funds during extensive research on how investigations were privatized in 1996. I would say more but I don’t want to end up on someones hit list haha.

I worked for USIS as a BI from 2003 until they went away in 2011. They developed and implemented a system that allowed them to send cases to the customer (OPM) without reviewing the cases. The OPM contact required USIS to review every case prior to sending it on to OPM for final review and adjudication. Upper management called this “flushing cases” and joked about it in their upper management internal email correspondence. In a three year period USIS sent approximately 570,000 cases to the OPM without first reviewing the cases. USIS did not have the authority to grant security clearances and the fieldwork was actually completed, the cases were still reviewed by OPM reviewers, and the cases were still adjudicated based on the fieldwork we conducted. USIS defrauded the government by not reviewing 570000 cases and was liable for $5000 per instance. When you are looking at $5000 times 570,000 cases; it was obvious that there was no way that was going to happen. USIS also had a substantial security breach while all of this was going on, which made it easier for OPM to sever ties with USIS. The government never recovered the money due for cases that had already been completed, but not yet adjudicated. This was valued at approximately $30 million. None of the members of the USIS management team (such as Chris Tillery) were ever held accountable for their actions.

USIS ended in 9/2014. You might want to change that part of the story.

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As a non-BI I have a question: what happened to the cases that were “dumped?” Someone claimed that the cases of Snowden and Alexis (the Washington Navy Yard shooter from a few years back) may have had their cases “dumped” but they still had a clearance. So people got cleared or maintained access if if their case was “dumped?”

The contract did not require 100% review by contractors at the time of the incident but was later changed to 100% review. Not sure where or how people get their info. I don’t know who did snowden and shooter or when they were done . Now with CE things should be much better since now cases won’t even make it to the field to be worked so that solves future review problems JK. As I tell my tale spinning subjects…that makes no sense and if your going to tell a story it has to match the facts…haha

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Grrrrrr!!! The old “Handbook” SPECIFICALLY had a section on Reviewing and Adjudication. It was very specific that a case such as a PPR without issues or updates DID NOT have to go through review. At that time even OPM did not review all of the cases. It is always so convenient to blame the contractors for everything. The Government NEVER takes responsibility. As far as Alexis is concerned…their was a police agency who did not cooperate and did not provide that he shot out his girlfriends tires. That would have been a “flag”. As far as Snowden goes…he was way above the level of the local Investigator that did his background. He was the governments “boy”! I’m really tired of USIS getting blamed. If you want to pick on USIS there are plenty of issues to discuss like how they treated some of their Investigators depending on who was the TL. Unless someone is stupid (hmmm wonder who)…if there is a influx of cases that seems to be moving faster than what would be expected then someone should have seen that. No, USIS was the scapegoat to it all and everyone knew it. So much so that right after USIS got the shaft they were being re-created into SCIS. Same players. And now they are getting right back in the lane. It’s all an easy fix. Turn all Investigations over to the Government. Make all Investigators Government employees. Or be quiet.


USIS lost the contract in 09/2014.


Seattle PD is the agency that wouldn’t cooperate with USIS and USIS never did receive the police report of Alexis shooting out the tires of his co-workers or some type of criminal assault charge. But Alexis had problems going back to other investigations and military service and continued to receive his clearance.

Here is the original story of Alexis shooting out the tires of co-workers in 2004 from the Seattle Times:

In addition, Office of Personnel Management and USIS, the government contractor that administered the majority of the Alexis background check, never found information regarding to Alexis’s 2004 arrest because arrest records from the Seattle Police Department were not checked. USIS was placed under investigation for improper screening methods, but was not been blamed for the Seattle oversight. It was my understanding that Investigations were turned away from the Seattle PD because of their lack of cooperation. Elaine Kaplan, who was an acting director of the Office of Personnel Management at one time, said that the Seattle PD records were ignored because the Office of Personnel Management and connected background check contractors were not able to obtain files from the Seattle Police Department in the past.

This is a big concern because many local police departments still to this day don’t cooperate with federal background investigations and refer Investigators to local district and magistrate court repositories. Well…police incident reports are important even if they don’t show an arrest or citation because it can show criminal intent and criminal activity but if these records aren’t available adjudicators aren’t getting the whole story.

Cannot just blame the government contractor…how about the adjudication of Alexis and his prior clearances by the US Navy? This was a failure from top to bottom of Alexis…from OPM to USIS to the law enforcement agency (Seattle PD) to the adjudication.

Snowden went through a normal Phased PR and nothing was ever alerted to his issues or breach from anyone and of course he didn’t self report anything that was going on with his misconduct. Where the Snowden breach could have been avoided is coworkers and supervisors noticing something going on with him and disclosing something through insider threat awareness.


So people like Snowden who do things wrong don’t self report? Oh my! I guess the creators of CE must have missed that memo when crunching numbers on how much money they would save with CE…



Exactly what I tried to explain to one of the moderators recently and was advised I was beating a dead horse…and the comment section was closed.

See the comments I made about the concerns and issues with CE that I foresee as an experienced Investigator.

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