The Los Angeles Times sheds more light on how Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis was able to get secret-level security clearance from the Navy, despite the fact that he had been arrested in 2004 for an incident involving a gun. Alexis did not mention the incident on the security questionnaire he filled out three years later, but the Navy's Office of Personnel Management learned about it after doing a fingerprint check. He was asked about it and claimed all he did was deflate a man's tires. In reality, he shot out the man's tires, according to the police report filed in Seattle. Alexis said he did not disclose the incident because the charge was dismissed and his lawyer had told him it would be wiped from his record.
Investigators did not interview anyone else about the incident, the Washington Post reports, and Seattle police refused to provide the records related to the incident, according to the personnel office. So the Navy cleared Alexis in March 2008 based on what it knew. (The LAT notes the only red flag was his credit history.) The full picture of the 2004 incident didn't emerge until after the Navy Yard shootings, says a senior Navy official. Now, the secretary of the Navy has recommended to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that security reviews in the future include all police reports—even those that did not result in charges, the New York Times reports.