Navy Yard Report: Insiders are biggest threat

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The biggest threat to Defense Department employees and facilities is from trusted insiders.

That's the conclusion of an independent review triggered by the Washington Navy Yard shootings last year.

Tuesday, an independent review concluded that major changes are needed to ensure the safety of DOD employees and facilities.

Former Navy Reservist Aaron Alexis had a security clearance which gave the disturbed man unfettered access to the Navy Yard, when he shot and killed 12 civilian employees on September 16th. A Pentagon review of the mass shooting identified how Alexis slipping through some rather large cracks.

"The reviews identified troubling gaps in DOD's ability to detect, prevent and respond to instances where someone working for us, a government employee, member of our military or contractor, decides to inflict harm on this institution and it's people," Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said.

The review said a pattern of misconduct and disturbing behavior was not reported and it blamed Navy officials and the information technology company that employed Alexis. Recommendations include conducting better and routinely updated background checks and setting up a system to evaluate and handle employees who may pose a threat.

Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Stockton said, "For decades, the Department has approached security from a perimeter perspective. If we strengthen our perimeter, build our fences, if you will, against threats on the other side, we'll be secure. That approach is outmoded, it's broken and the Department needs to replace it."

Dr. Stockton said he wants the DOD to ensure those who seek mental health care are not punished for it, saying, "We believe there is more that can be done to further de-stigmatize those in the Department of Defense who seek mental health care."

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is calling for a "continuous evaluation" system that would, in real time, screen federal employees with access to classified information and sensitive facilities. He also wants to establish an insider threat management center.

Concerning the number of security clearances, the review found far too many people have them who don't need them, and it recommended reducing those numbers.

Written by Peggy Fox


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