►ABC News reports that Congress is demanding answers to how U.S. Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis managed to obtain a secret clearance to work as a federal government contractor. One senator calling for hearings is Kelly Ayotte (NH-R). He wants to "study the hiring practices of federal contractors at military installations." Roll Call quotes from a letter by Ayotte to Chairman Thomas R. Carper ( DE-D) and ranking member Tom Coburn (OK-R) of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panel, "While any instance of lawbreaking by a service member or government contractor with a security clearance warrants scrutiny, this case is particularly disturbing given Alexis’s pattern of troubling behavior. In addition to multiple incidents with both civilian law enforcement and his military superiors, reports indicate that Alexis sought mental health assistance from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. While we have yet to paint a full picture of Alexis’s past or the sequence of events leading up to and on the morning of September 16, 2013, we must move quickly to fully understand contracting hiring practices at military installations to ensure that federal contractors are qualified, fit to serve, and don’t pose a danger to the workforce, or our national security."
►Separately, an earlier commissioned report by the Pentagon inspector general, released on Tuesday, "said convicted felons routinely gain access to military facilities like Washington’s Navy Yard, where 12 people were killed Monday by a lone gunman who worked as a government contractor," reports The Hill. "The startling findings in the report came as lawmakers called for more scrutiny of contractors and as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a worldwide security review of U.S. bases." Many of the problems in vetting contractors were related to budget cuts, the report said. But The Hill quoted a Navy official as saying that the processes that gave shooter Aaron Alexis clearance to enter the Navy Yard were not the same processes sited in the report. Alexis had a different type of access card.
►A smartphone app has been released that targets child predators, reports Fox News Latino. The app contains photos of fugitives wanted in cases of child sexual abuse by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations. Called Operation Predator, it also provides alerts and news on arrests and prosecutions. It can be downloaded from Apple's iTunes App Store. According to the Lehigh Valley's Morning Call, "The app's news stream helps to educate parents and others about the "red flag" warning signs of an abuser. And the alerts help the agency disseminate information and images to a wide audience, members of which may hold the key to solving a child sexual abuse case."
► The FBI has issued its crime report on 2012. "The FBI estimated that in 2012, the number of violent crimes increased 0.7 percent," says the FBI press release. "However, property crimes decreased 0.9 percent, marking the 10th straight year of declines for these offenses, collectively," it said. The Raw Story had a related piece by Agence France-Presse, noting, "Violent crime in the United States remained close to two-decade lows last year but the murder rate was higher than in virtually all other developed countries."
►The San Francisco Chronicle explores the rise of private security in Oakland, California's neighborhoods. Crime in Oakland has dramatically risen in recent years and the use of private security patrols to fight it is not contained to affluent areas, but has also spread into middle class areas. Some security officers are armed; some are not. The neighborhoods using private security patrols are reporting a large drop in the crime.
►The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Inspector General issued a report on border agents' use of force. The ACLU said the report was disappointing because it passed the buck in terms of solving the problem back to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.