DoD releases report on Navy Yard shooting

The Department of Defense released a report on Tuesday that concluded concerns about the Navy Yard gunman’s mental health were not properly handled.

After the report’s release, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) called for support of legislation Collins and McCaskill authored in October that would overhaul the security clearance system. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) are also cosponsors of the legislation.

The legislation would require the Office of Personnel Management to establish an automated system to review public records and databases for information about people who have security clearance at least twice, at random times, every five years.

“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,” Collins, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said. “There needs to be a balance between the processing of clearances quickly enough to allow individuals to do their jobs, but also thoroughly enough to flag potential problems. Our legislation represents a sensible path forward to protect national security and to help prevent future tragedies.”

The random background checks would include information related to criminal and civil court proceedings, financial information, data maintained on criminal or terrorist watch lists, changes in ideology and public information that suggests ill intent.

“(Tuesday’s) report further highlights the systemic failures in the current process that are jeopardizing our ability to protect our nation’s secrets and our secure facilities,” McCaskill, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said. “Senator Collins and I recognize the need for greater oversight in our security clearance process and our bill is aimed at doing just that.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said there were missed opportunities to intervene and prevent the Navy Yard shooting.

“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 a contractor, decides to inflict harm on this institution and its people,” Hagel said.