Exclusive: Navy Yard Dropped Its Guard, Pentagon Inspector General Says

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Evan Vucci / Associated Press

A police boat and helicopter patrol near the scene of a shooting at Navy Yard in Washington on Sept. 16, 2013

Updated at 4:06 p.m. on September 17, 2013

A soon-to-be-released government audit (Now public, see update below) says the Navy, in an attempt to reduce costs, let down its guard to risks posed by outside contractors at the Washington Navy Yard and other facilities, a federal official with access to the report tells TIME.

The Navy “did not effectively mitigate access-control risks associated with contractor-installation access” at Navy Yard and other Navy installations, the report by the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office says. Parts of the audit were read to TIME by a federal official with access to the document.

The risks resulted from an attempt by Navy officials “to reduce access-control costs,” the report finds.

The audit comes as questions are emerging about how the alleged perpetrator, or perpetrators, of the attack at Navy Yard in Washington on Monday gained access to the facility. At least 13 people are dead in the attack, including the alleged attacker, Aaron Alexis.

Alexis had been working for a company that computer giant Hewlett-Packard hired to help maintain the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, basically the sea service’s in-house Internet. According to a statement from the company, Alexis was employed by The Experts, an entity helping Hewlett-Packard maintain the network. The Federal Bureau of Investigation confirms that Alexis gained access to the Navy Yard with a valid pass obtained as part of his work as a contractor. Alexis had been arrested at least twice in gun-related incidents but wasn’t charged either time.

The audit shows a history of those with criminal records managing to bypass the Navy’s security. Fifty-two “convicted felons received routine unauthorized installation access, placing military personnel, attendants, civilians in installations at an increased security risk,” according to the audit.

The Pentagon inspector general began the audit in September 2012, and in August 2013 posted an update to its website reporting that it was expected to be released within the next 30 days.

Last month’s Pentagon inspector-general newsletter said the audit was intended to determine if “the Navy Commercial Access Control System [NCACS] is mitigating access-control risks to Navy installations.” That was the system restricting access to Navy Yard.

The contractor responsible for the NCACS did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The audit will be released “shortly,” says a spokeswoman for the Inspector General’s office.

— With reporting by Mark Thompson

UPDATE

A previous version of this story asserted that it was unclear how Aaron Alexis obtained the ID card to get access to the Navy Yard building, citing an AP report. After the article was published, the FBI told TIME and other publications that Alexis obtained a valid pass as part of his work as a contractor. The article has been updated with the new information.

UPDATE TWO

Click here to read the released, redacted audit.

37 comments
ttaerum
ttaerum

It's quite remarkable how people who have never had to suffer the day to day annoyance of vehicle searches and baggage inspections lament the "lack of security" at the navy yard. When it comes to ex-servicemen, some of whom suffer from PTSD, there is the catch-22 - they served their country and they're looking for work. They're obviously loyal patriots, who's going to scrutinize their psychiatric behavior all that closely. Then there are the many companies paid to carry out security clearance and process the many immigrants in their visa applications, work permits - including the companies that delivered green cards and work permits to terrorists who had killed themselves flying into the WTC. Then, there's AQ - is this a new strategy to "convert" to Buddism?

Beyond PTSD is the sad fact that most people develop the most severe psychiatric symptoms between the ages of 22 and 32 - frequently it's exacerbated by any kind of neurological stress including recreational drugs, injuries on the battlefield, and almost any trauma. Many people play out their fantasies with trips overseas or to strange and exotic places much like John Nash did in his "secret" contract with the NSA in "A Beautiful Mind".

Anyone who imagines this problem can be easily solved is on a trip no different than John Nash's.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

"The risks resulted from an attempt by Navy officials “to reduce access-control costs,” the report finds."

Isn't that what Republicans would call implementing "small government"?

FainSmith
FainSmith

But what were the felony convictions for. There are different way's of getting a felon conviction. Some or them are B.S. way's and some are valid. Doesn't really matter this communist anti gun government that we have is already trying to use it to force more gun control crap on us. Sorry that people lost their lives and that family's now don't have their family members to come home too. He was more than likely hired by this administration to pull this off anyway.

reikirobyn
reikirobyn

One of those murdered was a 26-year colleague of mine. My heart is breaking for him and all the others.

How will the NRA turn this to its advantage?

JingYagunazie
JingYagunazie

never had a guard. Government only wants to police civilians outside of government facilities. Government knows most people who conduct business with the government are corrupt already.  

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

It's weird how the timing could be so perfect.

wangjinnan.1992
wangjinnan.1992

USA should care domestic affairs .not suck in another war

firmsoil
firmsoil

All children should be taught that this shooter is a BIG BIG COWARD!!!

Openminded1
Openminded1

convicted felons are not the problem. a person can be a convicted felon for writing a bad check, or embezzlement and many other white collar crimes. That does not make them violent , maybe not trust worthy. The background checks should forget about PC and check for mental issues, and ethnic backgrounds relating to religion. Most of these military post issues are committed by religious fanatics namely muslim as the case with the major at fort hood, and this guy Alexis is also a  muslim which will come out when further investigated. This country hires people who hate americans with a passion. even the dumbos at the TSA hire religious morons and so due major airports and port authority locations. what morons. it would be safer to hire a non-violent felon and give them a job then these religious fanatics.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@FainSmith We'd all feel better about the number of guns in circulation if the people advocating for more of them weren't so clearly delusional.


Openminded1
Openminded1

@reikirobyn the only solution bleeding heart liberal would to out law guns completely . know this bad guys can always get guns as can mental midgets. the NRA is not at fault for morons getting a hold of a gun. there are dirt bags out there that sell guns to any one which as nothing to do with the NRA. gun traders that sell guns to regimes and gorilla outfits and country have nothing to do with the NRA either. You bleeding hearts blame them for every act of violence via the use of a gun. most of these mass murder suspects and killers are religious fanatics or just plain nut cases and the NRA has nothing to do with there actions. 

noble
noble

@reikirobyn I am sorry for your loss I know the feeling to loose a friend at the hands of a sick person,but the gun in this case did not commit the crime a sick minded  person did. Had your friend been allowed to carry a side arm they very well could still be alive today. Again our prayer are with you and all the family's touched by this.


sacredh
sacredh

@reikirobyn, I'm very sorry for the loss of your colleague and the others that were murdered in this tragedy. 

anon76
anon76

@Openminded1

"this guy Alexis is also a  muslim which will come out when further investigated"

Hey Azzhat, he's a buddhist.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@Openminded1

this guy Alexis is also a  muslim

 Your bigotry and appalling ignorance is duly noted.

PoppaCharlie
PoppaCharlie

@Openminded1 Please, sir, expand your knowledge in the few years you have left.  oh, and open that mind up while you;re at it.

jmac
jmac

@Openminded1 "Guns don't kill people, people kill guns."   

It's about guns.  We're a nation owned by the NRA.  

manlyman
manlyman

"Gun traders that sell guns to regimes and gorilla outfits and country". Very likely obama campaign donors.

anon76
anon76

@noble

Absolute and total bullpucky.

The AR-15 and sidearm that the killer used to fire on the crowd were taken from security guards that he also gunned down.  The fact that they were armed did nothing to spare their lives, and in all likelihood their weapons added to the injuries and death yesterday.

This idea that if everyone just walked around with a sidearm in their holster there would somehow be less gun violence is a complete fantasy dreamed up by the companies that sell those sidearms.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@anon76 @Openminded1 number#1 ass wipe the investigation is not over, number#2 he has been linked to buddhism  but Thailand has many muslims as well. Do a little reading and reserch  a religious fanatic is a religious fanatic. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@PaulDirks @Openminded1 You know paulie you living in the virgin islands has you thinking like most dummy liblerals. I have spent a lot of time in the american and british VI and love the isalnds and the people great beaches and laid back atmosphere. great scuba area which i love, but i think all the sun and tropical drinks have gone to your liberal head slow up on the booze.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@PoppaCharlie @Openminded1 My knowledge is first hand experience from vietnam to 30 years as a cop, working the streets of a major city. I have heard it all and seen most. You poppa are not even close to being in the same league. my college degree did not teach me much i just needed it to advance in rank. my life and education has been real dealing with dirt bags thugs ,killers, child abusers and on and on. And i know BS when I hear it and see it. my mind is wide open poppy far more then you could comprehend . so when you read my post as harsh as they are at times they are from true life experiences not TV and media bs. I do not believe in PC. Pc is for political types and kiss asses. do not worry about my time left on earth I will go with as smile and a loving family and many friend i am content.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@manlyman They are dirt bags in it for greed the same old story. Obama is a muslim case closed with his ass.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@anon76 @Openminded1 Hey moron 39 dead and 150 wounded because they were not muslims at a mall this weekend in Dubai. tell me how non-violent they are dummy, killing women and children after telling all muslims at the mall to leave as they shot all non-muslims. You dumb bleeding heart moron.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@anon76 @Openminded1 I know as well he is not Thai, and that he has alleged ties to buddhist thinking, that does not mean he has not been involved with muslims in Thailand . he was a very confused man. And it is not bigotry toward muslims it is total distrust of muslims based on facts about them and experiences with them. I would not trust one has far has a I could trust the moron in Syria Assad.

anon76
anon76

@Openminded1

I actually know that Thailand has many Muslims as well, but this guy isn't Thai.  The only known religious affiliation he has is Buddhist.  It's your (completely unsupported) assertion that he is Muslim, apparently made only on the evidence of your extreme bigotry towards Muslims.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@PaulDirks @Openminded1 39 dead at a mall 150 wounded read and learn pauly. Muslims shooting innocent women and children at mall just because they were not muslim. They told muslim shoppers to leave and shot at everyone who was not a muslim.You have a lot to learn you stupid bleeding heart liberal.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@ZacPetit @Openminded1 @PaulDirks Let me guess you lean in the direction of Islam? And for your information the philosophies are far from identical. But since I do not care about either one think what you will. I do know Christians did not hit us on 9/11.

MrBenGhazi
MrBenGhazi

@Openminded1 @PaulDirks Ridiculous. Islam and Christianity preach nearly identical philosophies. You truly are ignorant to not know or foolish to ignore.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@PaulDirks @Openminded1 I am always dry island boy, how know how many are allegedly out there and as i said i would not trust any of them, if you want to that is your dumb call . Unsupported allegations i think not mr lib, do some real research you find most of the middle east and africa's problems have been involving muslims even certain sects killing other muslim because they can not agree. you are very naive lost in the sun. Here 9-11 is remembered, Ft hood is not forgotten, the boston brothers are fresh in our minds and i can go on and on . all those acts were done by Muslim fanatics and that is just a few. they were not catholics,or baptist, or even mormons they were muslims.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@Openminded1 @PaulDirks I'm not the one lobbing unsupported allegations about someone's religion based on absolutely nothing. Islam has over 1.3 BILLION practitioners. If you're going to wet your pants over all of them, you'll NEVER be dry.