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Posted by on Sep 17, 2013 in Crime, Guns | 4 comments

Vetting military contractors: How did Navy Yard gunman get in?

The questions are now flying about how the shooter at the Washington Navy Yard ever got in despite having a batch of glaring red flags:

The shooter at the Washington Navy Yard had a “pattern of misconduct” as a Navy reservist, had sporadic run-ins with the law, and had contacted two Veterans Administration hospitals for apparent psychological issues, sources have told CNN.

Other than that, there were no signs that he could be a problem…

Somehow, none of that prevented Aaron Alexis from getting clearance to the Washington Navy Yard as a subcontractor.

In the wake of the horrific incident that left 12 victims and the gunman dead, lawmakers and military experts are calling out the vetting process for contractors and subcontractors. Did the military even know the things about Alexis that news agencies managed to find out within hours?

Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican who serves on the Intelligence Committee, said she now questions “the kind of vetting contractors do.”

“Washington needs a lot more answers,” Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-Washington, said in an interview Tuesday with CNN.

Yep. And after tragedies there’s always the “we should have done this…how could we not see the signs.” But these signs seemed as big as a billboard. Digital. At night.

The incidents in Alexis’ past “should have been a red flag that maybe we need to delve a little deeper into this individual,” said retired Navy Cmdr. Kirk Lippold.

The Navy had sought to give him a “general discharge” due to at least eight incidents of misconduct while on duty, but ultimately had to give him an honorable discharge due to lack of evidence to support the sterner measure, a U.S. defense official said Tuesday.

But he went on to work for a group called The Experts, which was subcontracting with Hewlett Packard on a large military contract.

With security clearance, he worked from September 2012 through January in Japan. His clearance was renewed in July, and he worked at facilities in Rhode Island, North Carolina and Virginia for weeks at a time upgrading computer systems, according to Thomas E. Hoshko, CEO of The Experts.

No one reported having any problems with him, Hoshko said.

Hey, the there’s always a first, second, third time.