Hagel wants military facility safety study as Pentagon audit finds Navy penny-pinched on clearances

Mike Krumboltz
Yahoo News
A police boat patrols near the scene of a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington. At least one gunman opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Hours after a yearlong audit of safety procedures slammed the Navy for penny-pinching on security clearances, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel was reportedly readying a top-to-bottom review of all American military facilities around the world.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is consulting with top leaders over the scope of the look-see, reports ABC News. The news network also revealed that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus had already ordered two reviews of Navy and Marine Corps installations after Monday's bloodbath at the Navy Yard in Washington.

The new action came after the Pentagon inspector general questioned cost-cutting measures that a report in Time magazine said could tie in to the attack.

The Navy “did not effectively mitigate access-control risks associated with contractor-installation access” at Navy Yard and other Navy installations, the report by the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office says. Parts of the audit were read to TIME by a federal official with access to the document.

The risks were the result of Navy officials' desires “to reduce access-control costs," Time said, and the audit found a "history of those with criminal records managing to bypass the Navy’s security." It asserts that 52 "convicted felons received routine unauthorized installation access, placing military personnel, attendants, civilians in installations at an increased security risk.”

The gunman, Aaron Alexis, was shot dead by police on Monday, but not before at least 12 victims were killed. 


Alexis is reported to have had a history of trouble with the law as well as mental health issues. Law enforcement officials told the AP that Alexis, who held a valid pass to access the Navy Yard, suffered from a sleep disorder and paranoia — and hearing voices in his head. His family said he had received treatment, according to the AP.

Officials are questioning how Alexis still had access to the military facility despite his troubles and a history of misconduct.

On CNN, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray remarked, "It really is hard to believe that someone with a record as checkered as this man could conceivably get, you know, clearance to get ... credentials to be able to get on the base."

Gray said budget cuts associated with the government sequestration might have led to a poor vetting process for access and security. 

"We'll continue with this investigation, but certainly as I look at for example sequestration, which is about saving money in the federal government being spent, that we somehow skimped on what would be available for projects like this and then we put people at risk," Gray told CNN.

A blog from Foreign Policy highlights many of the security gaps that face the Navy Yard and other military facilities.