Aaron Alexis Lied: Navy Yard Shooter Got Clearance Despite Arrest, Debt

Tuesday, 24 Sep 2013 06:05 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Aaron Alexis, the shooter who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard last week, lied about being arrested and how much debt he had to get a Navy security clearance, officials said Monday.

A Navy report found federal contractors who conducted the background check on Aaron Alexis knew he lied about his arrest record when he enlisted in the Navy, but granted a security clearance anyway, according to The Washington Post.

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The background check, done in 2007, found out that he’d been arrested and left out what the Post called the “most alarming allegation,” that Alexis had a firearms arrest when he was charged with shooting at car tires after a disagreement.

The Huffington Post reported that the investigators deleted the fact that Alexis used a gun, and the absence of that information allowed him access to the Navy building where he went on a shooting rampage last week.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus recommended including all police reports when a background check is done, not just evidence of arrests and convictions. He also said the Navy should increase oversight of sailor evaluations and fitness reports, The Huffington Post said.

Monday’s Navy report contained details of Alexis’s arrest in 2004 for a disagreement, pointing out that the report said the tires were “deflated” instead of more accurately saying Alexis was accused of shooting out the tires, The Huffington Post said. He was charged with malicious mischief but the charges were dismissed.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel demanded reviews of screening programs for military security and for employees.

The fact that Alexis was deeply in debt also came up in security interviews, with details about his struggle to pay bills. A memo reported on by The Huffington Post said, “The subject does not feel that knowledge of any of his financial issues could be used against him for blackmail or coercion.”

The report highlighted other instances of possible misconduct, including failing to show up for work after being arrested for disorderly conduct and an arrest for discharging a firearm at his home. Commanding officers began several times to punish him for the issues, but in each case the punishment was dropped, The Huffington Post reported.

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Related stories:

Cathleen Alexis, Navy Yard Shooter's Mother, 'So Sorry' It Happened

White House Firecracker: Man Arrested After Navy Yard Shooting

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