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Serious security flaws at bases revealed in D.C.

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Updated: 10/31/2013 7:15 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There are security concerns for Navy bases in our area and around the country. Those are the findings from leaders in Washington on Thursday.

Leaders outlined new concerns about flaws in background checks for millions of government employees. The problem come to light as Congress investigates the deadly shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington.

Locally, Mike Whalen owns Specialty Marine and Industrial Supplies. He's also a civilian contractor at Naval Station Mayport. He said it was quite the process to get clearance.

"They do background checks and license checks and all kinds of checks before they even give you a badge," he said.

But security concerns are being discussed in D.C. after the lone gunman, Aaron Alexis, opened fire, killing 12 and injuring three more.

Thursday, it was revealed that while the government pulls FBI criminal records, authorities don't always look at police reports -- and in the case of Alexis, warning signs were missed.

"As information came out we discovered that it was somebody who just really, A, should not have had a security clearance. And B, should not have been allowed access to the facility," said retired Navy Adm, Bob Natter.

Alexis had security clearance and suffered from mental illness. He had multiple arrests after his initial background check granting him access. But Thursday, Action News learned re-screenings only happen every five or 10 years.

At Mayport, Whalen said current procedures are thorough and if it's not broken, don't fix it.

"They need to leave it alone. It's working just fine. I don't know what else they could do. The more Congress gets involved the more screwed up it's going to be," he said.

Natter said bases also need to enable individuals to report anomalies in people's behavior without risking a privacy violation. He said that's a chance that can and should happen sooner than later.


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