Security Clearance Checks Under Scrutiny After Navy Yard Shootin - WSPA.com

Security Clearance Checks Under Scrutiny After Navy Yard Shootings

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Federal law enforcement officials say the man accused in a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard that left at least 12 people dead has been identified as Aaron Alexis. Federal law enforcement officials say the man accused in a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard that left at least 12 people dead has been identified as Aaron Alexis.
Aaron Alexis Aaron Alexis
WASHINGTON -

Security clearance checks under scrutiny after Navy Yard shootings

A defense contractor's deadly shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard is raising questions about the adequacy of the background checks done on contract employees who hold security clearances.

Navy and White House security reviews have begun as a picture emerges of the gunman as an agitated and erratic figure whose behavior and mental state had repeatedly come to authorities' attention but didn't seem to affect his security clearance.

Law enforcement officials say they've found no manifesto or other writings that would suggest a political or religious motivation for Aaron Alexis. However, they say he did suffer from serious mental health problems, including paranoia and a sleep disorder.

The Navy says Alexis obtained his security clearance when he enlisted in the Navy reserves in 2007, which was good for 10 years and remained valid after he left the service in 2011. During his time of active service, the Navy says Alexis had incidents of insubordination, disorderly conduct and being absent from work without authorization, but nothing that gave commanders any clue he was capable of such violence.

Obama orders security review after shooting

The secretary of the Navy is ordering a pair of security reviews -- focusing on how well the Navy protects its bases, and how accurately it screens its workers.

And President Barack Obama is ordering a review of security standards for contractors and employees across federal agencies.

The reviews follow yesterday's shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard by a gunman who killed 12 people before dying in an exchange of fire with police.

Officials say Aaron Alexis had been hearing voices and had been undergoing treatment for mental problems including paranoia in recent weeks, but he still kept his security clearance. 

Officials: Gunman treated for mental health issues          

U.S. law enforcement officials are telling The Associated Press that the Navy contractor identified as the gunman in the mass shootings at the Washington Navy Yard had been suffering a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder. He also had been hearing voices in his head, the officials said.        

Aaron Alexis, 34, had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the criminal investigation in the case was continuing. The Navy had not declared him mentally unfit, which would have rescinded a security clearance that Alexis had from his earlier time in the Navy Reserves.   

Family members told investigators that Alexis was being treated for his mental issues.

Police: Navy Yard Gunman Had Valid Pass To Building

The deadly attack at the Washington Navy Yard was carried out by one of the military's own: a defense contract employee and former Navy reservist who used a valid pass to get onto the installation and started firing inside a building, killing 12 people before he was slain in a gun battle with police.

The shooting was the deadliest on a military installation in the U.S. since the tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.

Law enforcement officials say gunman Aaron Alexis carried three weapons at the Navy Yard: an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and a handgun he took from an officer at the scene.

Investigators say his motive is a mystery.

Profile Of Gunman Navy Yard Shooting Emerges

Aaron Alexis seems a study in contradictions: a former Navy reservist, a Defense Department contractor, a convert to Buddhism who was taking an online course in aeronautics. But he also had flashes of temper that led to run-ins with police over shootings in Fort Worth, Texas, and Seattle.

A profile began to emerge of the man authorities identified as the gunman in Monday's mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., that left 13 people dead, including the 34-year-old man. While some neighbors and acquaintances described him as "nice," his father once told detectives in Seattle his son had anger management problems related to post-traumatic stress brought on by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

He also complained about the Navy and being a victim of discrimination.

Gunman in Navy Yard shooting was in Navy Reserves

Defense officials say Aaron Alexis, identified as the gunman who opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, was a full-time Navy reservist from 2007 to 2011 and worked recently as a Defense Department contractor.

He also prayed at a Buddhist temple, was taking online course in aeronautics and was involved in past shooting incidents which attracted police attention in Seattle and Fort Worth, Texas.

It was not immediately clear why Alexis left the reserves, who his latest employer was, or what his motives might have been for going on a rampage. He was one of 13 people killed during Monday's shootings.

Police in Seattle say Alexis was arrested there in 2004 for shooting out the tires of another man's vehicle in what he described to detectives as an anger-fueled "blackout."

More information about the suspected shooter

Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old former Navy reservist, was identified by the FBI on Monday as the gunman responsible for a mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard in which 13 people died, including Alexis. Here are some biographical details on Alexis:

NAME: Aaron Alexis.

AGE: 34 (born May 9, 1979).

HOMETOWN: New York City.

LAST RESIDENCE: Fort Worth, Texas.

OCCUPATION: Worked for The Experts, a subcontractor on an HP Enterprise Services contract to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet network. Navy reservist from 2007-2011; left as a petty officer 3rd class, stationed in Fort Worth. After discharge, worked as a waiter and delivery driver at the Happy Bowl Thai restaurant in White Settlement, a suburb of Fort Worth, until May 2013.

EDUCATION: Was pursuing a bachelor's degree in aeronautics via online classes at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

RELIGION: Converted to Buddhism, according to friends.

ARREST RECORD: In September 2010, Alexis was arrested on suspicion of discharging a firearm within city limits after a neighbor reported she was nearly shot by a bullet fired from his downstairs apartment. He told police his gun accidentally discharged while he was cleaning it, and no charges were filed. In May 2004, he was arrested in Seattle for shooting out the tires of another man's vehicle in what he later described to detectives as an anger-fueled "blackout."

QUOTE: "He was a very nice person," said Afton Bradley, a former co-worker at the Thai restaurant. "It kind of blows my mind away."

Clemson Students Track Washington Navy Yard Shooting Via Social Media

Tweets and posts came in soon after reports of a shooting at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

"We are pulling in over 10,000 tweets," said director Joe Mazer for the College of AAH Social Media Listening Center at Clemson University.

That was at 2:00 p.m. Monday. Since then, Mazer says there has been more than 30,000 mentions of the shooting on sites, like Facebook and Twitter.

Read the rest of the story here.

Biden: US will get to bottom of Navy Yard shooting

Vice President Joe Biden says a shooting Monday at the Washington Navy Yard is a "God-awful reminder" of the need for Americans to stay vigilant.

He says he's confident the nation will get to the bottom of the situation.

Biden says the situation is still unfolding, but that his heart and sorrow goes out to all those affected. He says the tragedy is almost unthinkable.

The shooting rampage in the heart of a U.S. Navy left at least 12 people dead. One shooter was killed, but police were looking for one other possible gunman.

Biden spoke at a port in Savannah during an event highlighting the need to invest in U.S. infrastructure. He was being briefed Monday by his national security team as he visited South Carolina and Georgia.

Mayor: 13 dead, including gunman, at Navy Yard

The D.C. mayor says 13 people have died in the shooting rampage, including the gunman.

Mayor Vincent Gray said at a news conference Monday afternoon that the shooter was among the dead. Officials say the gunman has been identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis.

Earlier in the day, authorities had been looking for two other people who may have been involved in the shooting. One of those people has been identified and ruled out as a suspect.

However, Gray says investigators are still searching for a third individual wearing an olive-green, military-style uniform to determine if he was involved.

Gray says a motive has not yet been determined.

Officials: 3 Navy Yard shooting victims to recover

A hospital official says a police officer and two civilians wounded in the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard are expected to survive.

The shooting rampage left at least 12 people dead.

But the three being treated at Washington Hospital Center are expected to survive. Janis Orlowski, the hospital's chief operating officer, detailed their injuries at a Monday afternoon news conference.

The police officer was still in surgery to treat gunshot wounds to his lower extremities, though Orlowski says he is expected to make a good recovery.

A second victim has a shoulder wound and also is expected to recover.

Orlowski says the third victim being treated at the hospital was shot in the head, but the bullet did not penetrate her skull.

Officials: Navy Yard shooter ID'ed as Aaron Alexis

Federal law enforcement officials say the man accused in a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard that left at least 12 people dead has been identified as Aaron Alexis.

The two officials spoke Monday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

One of those officials says Alexis was a 34-year-old from Texas. He is believed to have a criminal record there and to be a holder of a concealed carry weapon permit.

That official says Alexis is believed to have gotten into the Navy Yard by using someone else's identification card. It is not yet clear if that individual was an accomplice or if that person's ID card was stolen.

Senate officials shut complex while shooter sought

Senate officials say no one is being allowed in or out of Senate buildings while authorities search for a potential second suspect in the Navy Yard shootings.

Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer said Monday that people could move around the buildings but could not leave or enter. He said he had no information to suggest the Senate, its members or staff were in danger but took the step out of an abundance of caution.

The House remained open.

Authorities said as many as two gunmen opened fire Monday morning inside the Washington Navy Yard, killing at least 12 people in an attack on office workers at the heavily secured military installation in the nation's capital. One gunman was dead and police hunted for a second possible attacker.

DC police chief: 12 dead in Navy Yard shootings

Senate officials say no one is being allowed in or out of Senate buildings while authorities search for a potential second suspect in the Navy Yard shootings.

Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer said Monday that people could move around the buildings but could not leave or enter. He said he had no information to suggest the Senate, its members or staff were in danger but took the step out of an abundance of caution.

The House remained open.

Authorities said as many as two gunmen opened fire Monday morning inside the Washington Navy Yard, killing at least 12 people in an attack on office workers at the heavily secured military installation in the nation's capital. One gunman was dead and police hunted for a second possible attacker.

Witnesses describe gunfire at Navy Yard

A man who works at the Washington Navy Yard says he and some co-workers encountered a gunman this morning in a long third-floor hallway of the building where they work. Todd Brundige says the man "just turned and started firing."

Co-worker Terrie Durham says the gunman fired toward her and Brundige, but that he "aimed high and missed." She says the gunman said nothing.

Rick Mason, who's a civilian working for the U.S. Navy, says a gunman was shooting from a fourth-floor overlook in the hallway outside his office, aiming down at people in the building's cafeteria. He says he could hear the shots, but couldn't see the gunman.

Shortly after the gunfire, he says someone on an overhead speaker told workers to seek shelter -- and later, to head for the gates at the complex.

Patricia Ward says she was in the cafeteria when the shooting began. She says she heard three gunshots in a row, followed by several more. She says, "We just started running." Security officers were directing people out of the building, with guns drawn.

6 dead in shooting, police look for 2 other possible gunmenPolice in Washington, D.C., are looking for two other possible gunmen, after a shooting today at the Washington Navy Yard that left six people dead.

Officials say at least four others were wounded, including a law enforcement officer. Police say a third gunman has died, though they're not saying how.

Witnesses describe a gunman opening fire from the fourth floor, aiming down at people in a first-floor cafeteria. Others say a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway. It's not clear whether they're describing the same shooter.

Police say the two other potential gunmen were wearing military-style uniforms, including one who was wearing a beret. The police chief says one of them had a long gun, and the other was also armed.

The shooting prompted nearby schools to be put on lockdown. And planes at Reagan National Airport were briefly grounded so they wouldn't interfere with police helicopters. Less than two miles away, security was beefed up at the U.S. Capitol, but police said there was no known threat there.

About 3,000 people work at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters. It builds, buys and maintains the Navy's ships and submarines and its combat systems.

Obama: 'Cowardly act' at Navy Yard kills patriots

President Barack Obama is mourning what he called "yet another mass shooting" in the United States that he says took the life of American patriots.

Obama promised to make sure, quote, "whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible."

He said several people were shot Monday morning at the Washington Navy Yard about 3 1/2 miles from the White House, and some were killed.

He said the victims were "courageous Americans" who knew about the risks of serving overseas, but wouldn't have expected such "unimaginable violence" at home.

The White House says the president has been receiving frequent briefings about the unfolding situation by senior aides.

Police: 2 more possible suspects at Navy Yard

Authorities say they are looking for two additional suspects in the shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard.

District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier says witnesses reported seeing two additional gunmen, both dressed in military-style clothing.

Lanier says one police officer was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with a shooter. She says one shooter has been killed.

Two Navy officials say at least six people were killed in the rampage.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said at a Monday news conference four people were wounded and taken to hospitals.

Officials: At least 6 dead in Navy Yard shooting

Two Navy officials say at least six people have died in a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity on Monday because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

A Defense Department official and a federal law enforcement official have said a shooter had died, though it was not immediately clear how.

Police are also looking into the possibility of a second shooter.

As many as 10 were wounded.

Officials: At Least 1 Shooter Dead At Navy Yard

Officials say at least one shooter has died at the Washington Navy Yard, where several people were killed and as many as 10 were wounded.

A federal law enforcement official and a Defense Department official said Monday morning that a shooter had died. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation.

Two other officials have said they are looking into the possibility of a second shooter at the Navy Yard.

Officials: 2nd shooter possible at Navy Yard

Two officials say police are looking into the possibility of a second shooter at the Washington Navy Yard where several people were killed.

A Defense Department official and a law enforcement official spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation.

At least one gunman opened fire inside the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, where about 3,000 people work just miles from the Capitol.

Among the wounded was a D.C. police officer, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation.

At least 10 were wounded.

Obama getting updates on Navy Yard shooting

President Barack Obama is getting frequent briefings on a deadly shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

The White House says the president had several briefings about the unfolding situation by senior aides.

The Navy says shots were fired Monday morning at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, where about 3,000 people work. A Defense Department official is reporting several people were killed and as many as 10 wounded.

The White House says Obama directed his team to stay in touch with the Navy, FBI and local officials.

Defense official: Several killed, up to 10 wounded

A Defense Department official says several people have been killed and as many as 10 have been wounded in a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The official also says the shooter is "contained" but not yet in custody.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. Navy said it was searching for an active shooter at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, where about 3,000 people work.

The exact number of people killed and the conditions of those wounded was not immediately known.

Navy confirms several injuries in shooting

The Navy says several people have been injured in a shooting at a building at the Washington Navy Yard. Authorities are still looking for the shooter.

Officials say the shots were fired at around 8:20 this morning at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, where about 3,000 people work.

Police and federal agents are on the scene. Ambulances are parked outside the building, and streets in the area are closed. Flights at Reagan National Airport have been temporarily halted.

A U.S. Park Police helicopter hovered over the building and appeared to drop a basket or a stretcher with a person onto the roof.

Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy's five system commands and accounts for a quarter of the Navy's entire budget. It builds, buys and maintains the Navy's ships and submarines and their combat systems.

Police respond to shooter at Navy Yard

The U.S. Navy says one person is injured after a shooting at a Navy building in Washington.

Police and emergency crews gathered Monday morning outside the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, where the shooting was reported.

The Navy says three shots were fired and that that about 3,000 people work in the building. People inside the building have been directed to stay in place.

Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy's five system commands and accounts for a quarter of the Navy's entire budget.

It builds, buys and maintains the Navy's ships and submarines and their combat systems.

Police from multiple local and federal agencies were responding along with SWAT crews.

U.S. Navy News Release

Several people were injured in a shooting at the Washingotn Navy Yard Sept. 16.

An active shooter was reported inside the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building (Bldg. 197) on the Washington Navy Yard at 8:20 a.m. (Eastern Time).

Emergency personnel remain on scene and a "shelter in place" order has been issued for Navy Yard personnel.

This release will be updated as new information is confirmed.

The Naval Sea Systems Command's headquarters is the work place for about 3,000 people.

The organization is comprised of command staff, headquarters directorates, affiliated Program Executive Offices (PEOs) and numerous field activities. Together, we engineer, build, buy and maintain ships, submarines and combat systems that meet the Fleet's current and future operational requirements.

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) is the largest of the Navy's five system commands. With a fiscal year budget of nearly $30 billion, NAVSEA accounts for one quarter of the Navy's entire budget. With a force of 60,000 civilian, military and contract support personnel, NAVSEA engineers, builds, buys and maintains the Navy's ships and submarines and their combat systems.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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