In 2006, according to internal emails in the possession of Congress and the FBI, the upper management of USCIS was engaged in a heated debate which accused the National Benefits Center under Rob Cowan of approving immigration benefits without completion of the FBI background check. Cowan himself admitted that had been the practice at the NBC and argued lamely that it was only an administrative step that could be adjusted later in the process. The truth was that the administrative step could not be adjusted later in a timely and efficient manner and that Cowan’s NBC was passing the backlog on to the backs and books of other parts of the USCIS, often resulting in benefits being issued to applicants who were never background checked and mucking up the issuance process altogether.
So why has the Justice Department over the years, and spanning more than one administration, failed to look into Cowan’s practices at INS and later USCIS? One very likely answer is that investigating and prosecuting Cowan’s blatant disregard to lawfully apply the Congressional intent and statute that requires a full background check of applicants for immigration benefits would expose the Justice Department and its lawyers to ethical, and perhaps even criminal charges themselves. Read the following case from 2008, specifically the government’s argument in the later half of document to the court rulings concerning FBI name check and full background check.