D.C. Shooting Raises Questions About Security Clearances

WASHINGTON – Yesterday’s deadly shooting at the Washington Navy Yard may raise more questions about the adequacy of the background checks that are done on government contract employees and others who are issued security clearances.

Officials say Aaron Alexis — an information technology employee with a defense contractor — used a valid pass to get into the Navy Yard building where he opened fire yesterday, killing 12 people. But they’re also revealing that Alexis had been hearing voices and was being treated for mental problems in the weeks before the rampage. Still, he was able to keep his security clearance.

And officials say Alexis was given an early discharge from the Navy in 2011 because of insubordination and other problems — but the discharge was an honorable one.

Alexis was killed yesterday in a gun battle with police.

Law enforcement officials now say Alexis used a shotgun and two handguns in the assault — but not an AR-15 assault rifle, as authorities had previously reported. An official says he arrived with the shotgun, and took the handguns away from law officers at the scene.

(Copyright 2013, Associated Press, All rights reserved.)

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