DC Shooter Had ‘Secret’ Security Clearance

Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Move along, nothing to see here.

Aaron Alexis, the 34-year-old suspect in Monday’s shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, had “secret” clearance and was assigned to start working there as a civilian contractor with a military-issued ID card, his firm’s CEO told Reuters.

You know what nobody seems to know? When was he supposed to begin working under his “secret” clearance:

Asked when he was supposed to start work, Hoshko said in a telephone interview: “That’s what I got to find out, if he was supposed to start today … It’s not clear to me.”

So much for that workplace violence theory, huh? Considering his Navy discharge and record of arrests, how did he get cleared? Apparently the government did a more thorough investigations of Fox’s James Rosen than they ever did of this guy.

We guess this news from Friday is a mere coincidence.

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri urged small-scale attacks inside the United States to “bleed America economically”, adding he hoped eventually to see a more significant strike, according to the SITE monitoring service.

In an audio speech released online a day after the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 strikes, Zawahri said attacks “by one brother or a few of the brothers” would weaken the U.S. economy by triggering big spending on security, SITE reported.

That one via AoS. Alexis reportedly spent about a month in Thailand recently. Would be interesting to know what he was doing there.

Update: His family apologizes for the inconvenience.


6 Responses to “DC Shooter Had ‘Secret’ Security Clearance”

  1. Dwayne the canoe guy on 17/17/13 at 9:21 am

    I went to work for a contractor on a military base back in 98. Found out 4 months later that they finally got around to checking my references and THEN my clearance was approved. Yup, I was on base working with Secret level stuff for four months.

  2. J. Locke on 17/17/13 at 9:56 am

    Just want to make a comment about Secret security clearances.
    1. It’s the easiest to get. Every Staff Sergeant and up, Warrant Officer, and Commissioned Officer must have a Secret Clearance. That goes for mechanics, radio repairers, chaplains, food service personnel, and so on. If you think about the numbers of personnel that fall into those ranks just in the Army, that is a large number of folks

    2. Back in the old days, about 7 years ago, if you answered ‘yes’ on question 21 of the questionnaire (have you ever sought the help of a mental health professional) you were automatically denied a security clearance. That’s EVER, for any reason. No distinction for differences in severity.

    Given the numbers of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTS, soldiers weren’t answering truthfully. Because, if you can’tmaintain a security clearance, and you are a Sergeant First Class (or one of the other ranks listed above), you’re done. That would have decimated the military, at least the Army.

    So the rules were changed to remove the automatic denial of a security clearance. After all it is better to identify those that need treatment and get it to them, rather than have them lie and go untreated.

  3. Lost in Maryland on 17/17/13 at 10:43 am

    J. Locke,

    When I got my Secret clearance (which took about 3 days), I don’t remember filling out any paperwork.

    Different story with my TS/SCI clearance. They did ask about mental health on that form. However, today if you’ve only gone to a shrink for “relationship/marriage counseling,” that’s not held against you.

  4. bonhomme on 17/17/13 at 12:51 pm

    The commenters so far are pointing out how Secret clearance isn’t that big of a deal. Still, given that Alexis had two shooting events in his past in Seattle, I’m shocked he got through. This was 2004, not 1995. You’d think those events would be in a database somewhere. Especially the one where he shot the tires of a construction worker’s car for taking up too much parking near his apartment. That shouldn’t have been too difficult to find. Especially if he had to list his places of residence going back a few years. I had to do that to get my non-government, non-secret job in software.

  5. TimothyJ on 17/17/13 at 1:11 pm

    When I was in the Navy, any Commanding Officer on any ship could grant a secret clearance. This was in the Vietnam Era, but I doubt much has changed in the meantime.

  6. havc on 17/17/13 at 2:17 pm

    Secret clearances are a bit of a quagmire. Really depends on who is reviewing the matierial. Someone can have a provisional clearance granted by a local authority while the more homework is done. (and yes there is a form and a bunch of referances – at least I had to get these done for my team preparing for a deployment.)

    It might be that Aaron Alexis had the Secret clearance as a reservist (many units would go ahead and request clearances for all members to avoid a problem at deployment time). The clearance is good for several years and simply not revoked.