Senate hearing to explore security clearances

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Associated Press

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 9:37 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate Democrat says he's concerned that the Washington Navy Yard gunman was able to obtain a security clearance despite having a "troubled" and "unstable" past.

A Senate hearing into the nation's security clearance system opened Thursday, weeks after former Navy reservist Aaron Alexis killed 12 people inside the Navy Yard building where he worked.

Sen. Tom Carper, the chairman of the Senate committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, says he also wants to examine whether the current system is identifying the right risk factors and not missing important information about applicants.

Sen. Tom Coburn, the committee's top Republican, says the "process is obviously broken." He says a stricter clearance process would have prevented the shooting.

Alexis had prior brushes with police and a series of angry outbursts.

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