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DC Navy Yard Shooting: Fixing the Security Clearance Process

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Staff Report: Slipping Through the Cracks: How the D.C. Navy Yard Shooting Exposes Flaws in the Federal Security Clearance Process, February 11, 2014.

“The Committee on Oversight & Government Reform plans to consider legislation to improve problems identified in the security clearance process during this investigation. Section IV of the report discusses potential legislative fixes that the Committee is considering. The notion of a continuous evaluation is something that has been heavily discussed over the past decade, but has yet to become a reality. OPM must implement a continuous evaluation system to ensure that questionable conduct, such as Aaron Alexis’, will be reported to adjudicating authorities in near real-time. Congress should force OPM’s investigative practices into the twenty-first century by allowing investigators to use the internet and social media sources in particular for the first time. Legislation could also finally allow agency adjudicators to directly speak with OPM investigators, giving adjudicators additional information on an applicant when deciding whether or not to grant a clearance. Congress must take steps to address OPM’s need to capture information on the mental health of those holding security clearances. Finally, Congress should consider measures that will require local law enforcement offices across the country to cooperate with OPM investigators by providing specific information to security clearance investigators when they seek legal information on applicants. Though these offices are required under current federal law to cooperate with OPM, over 450 of these offices do not, and OPM has not taken the necessary steps to obtain better cooperation.”

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