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US - Navy Yard shootings raise concerns about contractor checks

September 18 2013

The shootings at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday prompted concerns about how contractors gain access to sensitive facilities. And one senator cited a recent report critical of a Navy background check program.

The shooter, Aaron Alexis, 34, killed 12 people at the complex before being shot himself by police. The Washington Post reported Alexis had previous arrests on his record — one for shooting out the tires of a car in 2004 and another in 2008 for firing a shot into the ceiling of an apartment. The paper also reported Alexis was hired on by The Experts, a subcontractor to Hewlett-Packard.

The Experts, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based information technology consulting firm, issued a statement on its website Tuesday regarding the incident.

“The Experts would like to express our deepest condolences and sympathies regarding the incident that occurred at the D.C. Naval Yards. We are cooperating fully with the FBI and other authorities in relation to the investigation on the suspect,” read the statement.

“At this time, we can confirm that the suspect had been employed by The Experts for approximately six months over the last year, during which time we enlisted a service to perform two background checks and we confirmed twice through the Department of Defense his Secret government clearance,” the statement continued. “The latest background check and security clearance confirmation were in late June of 2013 and revealed no issues other than one minor traffic violation.”

And on Thursday Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., cited a new report  by the Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General that detailed deficiencies  in a program used to grant contractor employees unrestricted access to Navy installations. McCaskill sent a letter to the U.S. Navy Secretary demanding answers.

“This program wasted money, allowed dozens of felons access to installations they should never have had, and utterly lacked competent oversight,” McCaskill said in a press release.

However, the Washington Post reported the program does not apply to workers such as Alexis.

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