In the aftermath of a deadly shooting at a Navy office complex Monday, Rep. Mike Turner is asking military officials if they skimped on security in order to save dollars.
Turner, R-Dayton, is asking the Defense Department’s Inspector General to brief him and other members of Congress on the results of a 2012 audit of the security of Defense installations. That audit looked at four Defense installations in the nation’s capital region. Among them: Navy Yard, where a contractor opened fire Monday morning, killing 12. The audit is supposed to be published sometime this month, according to the Inspector General’s office.
In a letter sent to Lynne Halbrooks, acting inspector general for the U.S. Department of Defense late Monday, Turner, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, said he’s heard an initial draft of the report had been released, and said he’s heard that that report found that “potentially numerous felons” may have been able to gain access to military installations because of insufficient background checks. Early drafts of the report indicated 52 convicted felons were allowed to routinely pass the security barriers and enter the base.
“Given the disturbing events of today, I am highly concerned that the access control systems at our nation’s military installations have serious security flaws,” Turner wrote, saying he’s concerned that the Navy may have implemented an unproven system in order to save money.
Though Turner has focused heavily on sequestration in recent days – the sweeping budget cuts implemented earlier this year – the system in place at Navy Yard predated those cuts.
Some 13 people – including alleged attacker Aaron Alexis – died in the attacks. Alexis was on base working as an IT contractor. The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Alexis used a “valid pass” to gain access to the site, despite the fact that he had had been arrested at least twice in gun-related incidents.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray was among those to wonder if cost-cutting may have helped allow Alexis to gain access to the site, pondering whether “we somehow skimped on what would be available for projects like this and then we put people at risk.” He said it was “hard to believe” that someone with a record like Alexis’ was allowed to have access to the base.
“Obviously 12 people have paid the ultimate price for whatever — you know, whatever was done to have this man on the base,” he said.