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Why Navy Yard shooting raises tough questions for Pentagon (+video)

The Navy Yard shooting has raised questions about security clearance and mental health, but with many vets dealing with combat-related stress, any solutions are fraught with complications.

Navy Yard shooting: How did gunman maintain security clearance?
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In the wake of the mass shooting this week that killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, senior Pentagon officials have vowed to review the process for granting security clearances.

“Obviously, something went wrong,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told reporters on Wednesday. 

“We will review everything,” he added. “Where there are gaps, we will close them. Where there are inadequacies, we will address them. And where there are failures, we will correct them.”


In the end, the alleged shooter, Aaron Alexis, had multiple red flags, including run-ins with the law that involved firearms and complaints he made to a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital that he was hearing voices.

But the broader issue of security clearance and mental health is one fraught with complications for the Defense Department as veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan seek to assimilate back into society – and, in many cases, get Pentagon jobs.


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