Navy: Local Cops Block Feds From Doing Full Security Clearance Checks

The Washington Times
February 11, 2014

Many of the country’s biggest cities — including Washington, New York and Los Angeles — refuse to cooperate with federal security clearance investigators, often leaving them in the dark about potential red flags, according to a report Tuesday that says the lack of cooperation contributed to last year’s Navy Yard shooting.

Once the government does dole out a secret clearance to an individual, there are few avenues for revoking it. House investigators said that is one reason Aaron Alexis was still on the cleared list and was able to access the Navy Yard in September, going on a deadly shooting spree that revealed gaping holes in the screening process.

The report, by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, calls for clearances to be reviewed regularly, proposes withholding some federal aid from localities that refuse to cooperate in background investigations, and says investigators should be able to look at what people are posting publicly on social media websites before granting clearance — something that is barred under existing policy.

“No legislation or congressional action can repair the damage that Aaron Alexis inflicted on both the families of his victims as well as the nation as a whole,” the report concludes. “Nonetheless, Congress has a responsibility to investigate the process that permitted Aaron Alexis to receive and maintain a security clearance, and Congress must take steps to improve that process to prevent dangerous people from gaining access to secure federal facilities and information.”

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