News / USA

    All US Defense Security and Clearance Policies Under Review

    An officer (R) checks an ID outside of the Washington Navy Yard in the U.S. capital on September 17, 2013.
    An officer (R) checks an ID outside of the Washington Navy Yard in the U.S. capital on September 17, 2013.
    Luis Ramirez
    U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a thorough review of security at U.S. military bases around the world following Monday's shooting at the Washington Navy Yard that left 13 dead.

    Hagel says there remain big questions on how alleged gunman Aaron Alexis - a Navy contractor - managed to retain a security clearance despite a history of mental problems, and how he got a building pass to enter the Washington Navy Yard, where he shot and killed 12 people Monday.

    Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon the review he has ordered will try to answer those questions.

    “Where there are gaps, we will close them," he said."Where there are inadequacies, we will address them and where there are failures, we will correct them.”

    These images released by the FBI show photos of Aaron Alexis, who police believe was a gunman at the Washington Navy Yard shooting in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013, and who was killed after he fired on a police officer.These images released by the FBI show photos of Aaron Alexis, who police believe was a gunman at the Washington Navy Yard shooting in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013, and who was killed after he fired on a police officer.
    x
    These images released by the FBI show photos of Aaron Alexis, who police believe was a gunman at the Washington Navy Yard shooting in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013, and who was killed after he fired on a police officer.
    These images released by the FBI show photos of Aaron Alexis, who police believe was a gunman at the Washington Navy Yard shooting in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013, and who was killed after he fired on a police officer.
    Alexis, who was killed during the rampage, was a former Navy reservist and had been honorably discharged from active duty in 2011. He held a security clearance despite a number of police incidents that included firing a gun inside an apartment building and shooting out someone's car tires.

    Alexis' mental state has emerged as a central factor in the investigation.  Police say he recently reported hearing voices at hotel where he was staying.  He had been receiving mental health treatment under a veterans' program.

    However, neither the police incidents - which did not result in convictions - nor the psychiatric episodes prompted any action to suspend his clearance.  

    Hagel said the investigation will seek to find out why the U.S. military did not act on the tips.  

    “Why they didn't get picked up, why they didn't get incorporated into the clearance process, what he was doing, those are all legitimate questions that we're going to be dealing with," said Hagel.

    Members of Congress are calling for a review of hiring practices at the Department of Defense, and specifically of the background checks that were done on Alexis.

    The Navy Yard shooting was the worst on a military facility in the United States since 2009 when army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan massacred 12 soldiers and one civilian at Fort Hood, Texas.

    You May Like

    Multimedia US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora