Obama Orders Review of Clearance Standards for Federal Contractors

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Wednesday, 18 Sep 2013 11:11 AM

By Melanie Batley

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President Barack Obama has ordered a review of security clearance standards for federal contractors and employees across all government agencies in the wake of Monday’s Navy Yard shootings by a defense subcontractor who killed 12 people.

According to Politico, the White House said the review will focus on the "oversight, nature and implementation of security and suitability standards for federal employees and contractors."

"At the president's direction, OMB [Office of Management and Budget] is examining standards for contractors and employees across federal agencies," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. "This is a matter that the president believes and has believed merits review."

The Navy has also ordered a review of security at military installations, while a report released Tuesday by the Defense Department inspector general found that the Navy failed to "mitigate access control risks associated with contractor installation access" because of cost reduction efforts, Politico reports.

"Our sailors, Marines and civilians are familiar with the dangers of service, but our security is something we can never take for granted," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said. "I ordered a review of every Navy and Marine Corps base in the United States to ensure that we live up to our responsibility of taking care of our people."

The president had already ordered a review of intelligence community contractors after former contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified details of the National Security Agency’s phone and Internet data collection programs. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is also expected to order a worldwide review of physical security and access at all military installations, Politico noted.

Meanwhile, questions continue to mount as to how Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old former Navy reservist with a reported history of mental issues and police run-ins, was able to obtain a security clearance to access the Navy Yard.

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