Documents Show Washington Navy Yard Insecure For Years After Mass Shooting In 2013

Jonah Bennett | Contributor

Internal documents show that the Washington Navy Yard still suffered from poor security two years after the installation was hit by a mass shooting in 2013.

The Navy decided to dodge boosting security measures in order to save some money, leaving the headquarters of Naval Sea Systems Command vulnerable, according to this internal audit in 2015,  Navy Times reports.

In 2013, civilian contractor Aaron Alexis pulled out a shotgun he smuggled into the Naval Sea Systems Command building and started shooting. He killed 12 people and wounded eight before police gunned him down. The reason a security review was deemed necessary is because Alexis first managed to successfully smuggle in a disassembled shotgun, and second because he still had security clearance, despite a questionable history with law enforcement.

Alexis also believed he was being racially discriminated against as a black man. At the time, Alexis was involved in a dispute with a company who hired him to “refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet network.”

He was also a reservist in the Navy between the years of 2007 and 2011, but received an honorable discharge following a “pattern of misconduct.”

An inspector general briefing from December 2015 showed two major problems: First, unqualified security guards, and second, failure to deal with insider and terror threats.

In one case, as noted by the report, an undercover investigator from the IG team managed to walk right into the NAVSEA building without being stopped at all.

Additionally, the guards themselves were clueless as to how their own weapons worked and didn’t know proper security procedures.

“Most guards did not know weapons readiness conditions, the maximum effective range of their weapons, or all the conditions under which deadly force is authorized,” the report obtained by Navy Times stated.

To make matters worse, the safe where all the ammunition was stored was left completely open. No one knew the combination and the door was broken, regardless.

Security guards had also failed to attend a mandatory training course.

Moreover, 111 employees at NAVSEA had expired background checks, leaving the Navy open to the possibility of an insider threat.

In order to cut costs, the Navy declined to expand security camera coverage and new metal detector wands.

As of the 2015 report, 85 percent of the security holes had apparently been fixed. It is unclear how many gaps in security still exist at the NAVSEA building.

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