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D.C. Shooter's Security Clearance Stuns Contractors

3:55 PM, Sep 17, 2013   |    comments
(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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Oren Dorell, USA TODAY 

WASHINGTON - Contractors who do government work in the Navy Yard area said Tuesday that they don't feel safe at their jobs after learning that contractor Aaron Alexis was cleared to work at the military facility despite a discharge from the Navy following aggressive and violent behavior.

"It's shocking," said Sidney Antommarchi, an enterprise architect for a firm that manages contracts for the Department of Defense. "I would expect a security clearance investigation would have turned up something like that."

Antommarchi spoke Tuesday outside his workplace near the Residence Inn, the hotel where Alexis was staying with other contractors who worked at the Navy Yard. The hotel is a few blocks away from the facility, where police on Monday shot and killed Alexis after he killed 12 people with a shotgun he brought to work.

The hotel neighborhood is full of cafes and fast-food restaurants where government workers and contractors who work in the government installations nearby go for lunch. The security badges that give workers access to the buildings and offices were visible around almost every neck Tuesday.

Antommarchi said he has held "top-secret" clearance in the past and said he was mystified that Alexis would qualify for legitimate access to the Navy Yard.

Antommarchi says many non-government workers who fill numerous jobs within the military in Washington are shocked that Alexis was cleared by security protocols to work at the Navy Yard given his history.

A Navy official speaking on the condition of anonymity said Alexis was honorably discharged in January 2011 for "a pattern of misconduct" that included a 2010 gun incident in his Fort Worth, Texas, apartment in which he fired a bullet into his ceiling. The bullet blasted through the floor of his upstairs neighbor, a woman who had been feuding with Alexis about noise issues.

Alexis was arrested but never charged due to lack of evidence of a crime. He told police he was cleaning his weapon and it went off accidentally, according to news media reports including the Associated Press.

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