The shooter at the Washington Navy Yard had a "pattern of misconduct" as a Navy reservist, had sporadic run-ins with the law, and had contacted two Veterans Administration hospitals for apparent psychological issues, sources have told CNN.
Somehow, none of that prevented Aaron Alexis from getting clearance to the Washington Navy Yard as a subcontractor.
In the wake of the horrific incident that left 12 victims and the gunman dead, lawmakers and military experts are calling out the vetting process for contractors and subcontractors. Did the military even know the things about Alexis that news agencies managed to find out within hours?
Contractors can receive three levels of clearance: confidential, secret and top secret. Alexis had secret clearance, the middle category.
A Defense Department office oversees clearance. Applicants fill out a very long form, which asks about any contact with police, charges, and convictions. The form also asks about mental instability.
Interviews with applicants follow.
If the department did a background check on Alexis, information about his Navy experience and run-ins with the law would have turned up.
So why was he given clearance?