Via the Blaze, skip to 2:40 for the key bit. What’s worse? The fact that Gray’s obviously spitballing here, chattering reflexively about sequestration when a camera’s stuck in his face without any idea whatsoever of whether it played a role or how (“it’s hard to know”), or the fact that this blather warranted a headline and an uncritical item at WaPo?
Whatever else sequestration might be doing to the Pentagon, it didn’t stop them from doing a background check on Alexis in July:
Thomas Hoshko, chief executive officer of The Experts, said he was disturbed to learn from the Washington Post and other news outlets about police reports alleging that Alexis shot out a construction worker’s tire in Seattle in 2004, and into the ceiling of his Fort Worth apartment in 2010.
“If I can find this out just by doing a Google search, that is sad,” Hoshko said. “Anything that suggests criminal problems or mental health issues, that would be a flag. We would not have hired him.”
Hoshko said he and other contracting firms rely on the military to approve the security clearances of their employees, and fears that budget crunches have led to faster and less thorough checks…
Alexis had a secret-level security clearance starting in 2007, and it was most recently updated this July. The most recent security review, approved by the Defense Security Service of the Department of Defense, included hiring Lexis-Nexis to run a background check through court records. It’s unclear what time frame the review scrutinized and whether previous police reports alleging Alexis had shot at a car in Seattle in 2004 and into his apartment ceiling in Fort Worth in 2010 were reviewed.
Even if the 2004 and 2010 police reports were found and reviewed, how likely is it that DoD would have denied him a security clearance? He had an honorable discharge, despite his history of (relatively minor) misconduct. His most serious non-military offense, the 2004 episode where he shot at someone’s tires, was nearly a decade old by the time of the July background check. As far as we know, he’d never done anything like that again. Seems likelier to me that the feds knew about his past and dismissed it as no big deal than that sequestration somehow blinded them to it. In fact, per David Freddoso, the Pentagon was concerned about lax scrutiny of contractors at the Navy Yard long before sequestration went into effect. The security audit noted in this morning’s Time mag report began in September 2012, four months before the sequester began to bite. We’ll have to wait to see if routine attempts at cost-cutting contributed to lower standards for background checks, especially with regards to mental-health issues, but there’s no reason for Gray to be wheezing about the sequester here except to exploit a massacre for Democratic political gain.
By the way, am I hallucinating or weren’t defense cuts included in the sequester precisely because it was Republicans, not Dems, who opposed them? The whole point of sequestration was to pressure the Super Committee to act by making the price of inaction unacceptably high to both parties. That meant indiscriminate cuts to domestic programs, to the consternation of liberals, and indiscriminate cuts to the Pentagon, to the consternation of generally hawkish conservatives. If Democrats suddenly don’t like the latter either, they’ll find plenty of Republicans in Congress willing to help reinstate them.