OPM, background contractor on vetting of Navy Yard shooter


Before he shot and killed 12 people in the Navy Yard rampage, Aaron Alexis had a string of arrests spanning years. That’s led many to wonder how he could’ve received and retained the security clearance that enabled him to enter the secure building in the first place. On Thursday, the company that performed the background check on Alexis in 2007 and the agency that oversaw the work issued separate statements in response to questions about the shooting. Here they are in their entirety:

“The security clearance process begins when an agency identifies a person who will require eligibility for access to classified information.  The scope of the investigation will vary, depending on the level of access required. As the risk to national security increases, so does the level of investigation.  The existing investigative standard for a Secret clearance is a National Agency Check with Law and Credit (NACLC).  The NACLC consists of a questionnaire completed by the person being investigated and checks of federal records, credit history records, and criminal history records. When OPM undertook the background investigation for Aaron Alexis in 2007, with support from a Government contractor, USIS, the appropriate federal records were obtained, and the required fieldwork was performed.    OPM has reviewed the 2007 background investigation file for Aaron Alexis, and the agency

believes that the file was complete and in compliance with all investigative standards.”

“Background investigations are conducted by OPM at the request of an agency and done in accordance with Executive Order 12968 and applicable investigative standards as a part of the overall security clearance process. Once the investigation is complete,

it is submitted to the adjudicating agency for review. Adjudication officials at the relevant agency evaluate the investigation and make the decision to grant or deny the security clearance. If the officials have any concerns with the investigation

once it is received, or would like additional information beyond that required by the standards, they have the opportunity to request that OPM perform further work before the agency makes its final decision.”

“OPM’s involvement with matters related to Aaron Alexis’ security clearance ended when we submitted the case to the Department of Defense (DoD) for adjudication in December 2007. DoD did not ask OPM for any additional investigative actions after it

received the completed background investigation.”

– Mert Miller, associate director for federal investigative services at OPM

“Today we were informed that in 2007, USIS conducted a background check of Aaron Alexis for OPM. We are contractually prohibited from retaining case information gathered as part of the background checks we conduct for OPM and therefore are unable to comment further on the nature or scope of this or any other background check.”

– Ray Howell, spokesman for USIS




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  1. I was under the impression that a NAC in a NACLC was a computerized record check with OPM’s Suitability Investigations Index (SII), FBI Fingerprint and Name Check Search, and the Defense Central Index of Investigations (DCII) search. The final C in NACLC represents a credit check done through one of the credit bureaus, and the L used to represent a written inquiry, or bubble form, being sent to the law enforcement agencies that cover the area’s listed on the subject’s case papers.

    I am curious as to what field work was actually completed, other than a possible interview with Mr. Alexis?


  2. This is all crap. OPM that refers security investigations to USIS, it’s Office of Investigations that interacts with USIS and it’s IG who has responsibility for auditing and evaluting program functions, operations, and policies associated with the agency are corrupted and fully incompetent. None are held accountable by congress or anyone else.

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