Green Room

Navy Yard shooter had “secret” clearance

posted at 11:22 am on September 17, 2013 by

Interesting, but not terribly surprising or unusual, and it’s nothing like Edward Snowden:

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 chief executive told Reuters.

“He did have a secret clearance. And he did have a CAC (common access card),” said Thomas Hoshko, CEO of The Experts Inc, which was helping service the Navy Marine Corps Intranet as a subcontractor for HP Enterprise Services, part of Hewlett-Packard Co.

Alexis, of Forth Worth, Texas, is suspected of opening fire at the Naval Sea Systems Command building in the Washington Navy Yard in a shooting that left 13 people dead, including the shooter.

I’m seeing some commentary about clearance approvals that link this with Edward Snowden, but in reality they are miles apart.  Snowden got clearances to access the most sensitive SIGINT data the US possesses, but a “secret” clearance for a contractor is a low-level clearance.  It’s one step up from the basic”confidential,” which is also called a “public trust” clearance.  I’ve held the secret clearance level twice, both times decades ago, and it’s more associated with facility access than materials access.

The issue with this shooter is probably how he got hired at all for this job, considering all of the issues he had in his background, more than the clearance assignment.

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The issue with this shooter is probably how he got hired at all for this job, considering all of the issues he had in his background, more than the clearance assignment.

That’s exactly right. A secret clearance is just done at an administrative level and most contractors on military facilities and defense contractor’s factories are required to have one if they deal with even the most mundane data pertaining to DoD work.

How did this guy get the job? I know I’ll be called a RAAAAACIST for inferring this, but could this have possibly been an affirmative action hiring?

simkeith on September 17, 2013 at 11:27 AM

simkeith on September 17, 2013 at 11:27 AM

I’d have said it if you didn’t. I am sure race played into his ability to withstand 8 reprimands and get out with an honorable discharge. My bro in law told me almost 15 years that the military was no place for a white boy. Any misstep of the most minor kind knocked you off the career track. He said it was nerve wracking to put up with it knowing you could be called out so easily for things minorities and women had no consideration of.

DanMan on September 17, 2013 at 2:26 PM

There is no way given his level of discharge when he left the service. This points to a far larger problem in the process of vetting, and the outfits(both public and private) that are doing it. We got a very big security problem on our hands.

flackcatcher on September 17, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Nearly everyone in the Navy has a secret clearance. He was an aviation electrician’s mate and wouldn’t have been allowed to work on the aircraft without that clearance. That said, some of the stuff that’s considered ‘secret’ is ridiculously common knowledge.

Ishmael on September 17, 2013 at 3:54 PM

The issue with this shooter is probably how he got hired at all for this job, considering all of the issues he had in his background, more than the clearance assignment

…there it is!

KOOLAID2 on September 17, 2013 at 7:57 PM

I’m finally starting to make sense of the left’s crazy-quilt-style beliefs on gun-control thanks to this tragedy. I mean, if you truly believe that there are no crazy people, that everyone has a right to his or her own moral code, why then, of course you have to take everyone’s guns away. Probably be a good idea to outlaw sharp objects while they’re at it.

Knott Buyinit on September 17, 2013 at 11:50 PM

One can also have a secret clearance without having a secret access. Even then, clearances and access are on a “need to know” basis. Working in Navy/Marine avionics requires a secret clearance, however, at least in the Corps, getting into as much trouble as this guy did would generally result in loss of clearance and doing garbage jobs because of not being allowed in your work area. Clearances may or my not be restored depending on the infractions etc.
Of course this was how it was when Moby Dick was a minnow and Jesus was a lance corporal.

cartooner on September 18, 2013 at 9:59 AM