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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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June 21st, 2013
02:57 PM ET

Web exclusive: Vetting government contractors like Edward Snowden

Following contractor Edward Snowden's leak of classified details about U.S. surveillance programs, many are now questioning whether too many government contractors have too much access to sensitive material.

"There is an alarmingly insufficient level of oversight of the Federal Investigative Services program. The lack of independent verification of the organization that conducts these important background investigations is a clear threat to national security," Patrick McFarland, Inspector General of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management testified at a hearing before Congress Thursday.

Potential employees may pass background checks without a hitch, the real challenge comes later, said former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

"The difficulty is what happens if after they're in the job, something occurs that either ideologically or financial reasons, causes them to become disloyal. How do you detect that?" said Chertoff.

One of the arguments now being made is to have a less cumbersome upfront process, and implement one to continually monitor and review people who have been hired and cleared, "to make sure they don't go off the rails a year or two after they take their job," said Chertoff.

Watch "The Lead" on CNN at 4 p.m. ET for our full interview with former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

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