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Senators Push Security Clearance Overhaul After Navy Yard Shooting Report

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There appears to be bipartisan support for doing something to mitigate the risks of another Navy Yard shooting.  

Senators are renewing their calls to overhaul federal security clearance checks after an independent review of the events leading up to the 2013 mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.  

“As these reviews have found, there is a gaping hole in the current security clearance process that has enabled people who exhibit obvious signs of high-risk behavior to remain undetected,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in a statement.  

Collins has worked with Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, along with Republican Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, on security clearance legislation.  

McCaskill said the new report underscores previously reported “systemic failures in the current process that are jeopardizing our ability to protect our nation’s secrets and our secure facilities.”  

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., pledged that his panel would review proposals made by the administration and in several reviews to figure out which recommendations will need legislative remedies.  

“The inter-agency review of the security clearance process, led by the Office of Management and Budget, offers a comprehensive set of common-sense reforms to address vulnerabilities in the government’s process for determining security clearances,” Carper said in a statement. “And the reports issued today by the Department of Defense and the Navy underscore the urgency of these reforms. I will work closely with the Office of Management and Budget’s Deputy Director for Management, Beth Cobert, as well as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, Katherine Archuleta, as they work with other agencies to properly implement the reports’ recommendations.”  

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement issued earlier in the day that the findings of the new Defense Department report matches up with what his own panel’s investigators had found, signaling the extent of bipartisan agreement about the conditions that made it easier for Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis to have access to the Washington Navy Yard facility.  

Hannah Hess contributed to this report.

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