The Aaron Alexis shooting rampage prompts security clearance process reviews, says security clearance attorney John Griffith.
Online PR News – 28-October-2013 –The Sept. 16 shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard left millions of Americans questioning how a mentally ill man obtained security clearance.
Alexis, 34, killed 12 people and injured eight others before being shot dead by police. News reports have shown he had a history of mental illness, a record of disciplinary action while he served in the Navy and two gun-related arrests in the past decade, an LA Times article states.
Still, Alexis was among nearly 5 million government employees and contractors who hold some level of Department of Defense (DoD) clearance, according to the 2012 Report on Security Clearance Determinations.
"These horrific situations enrage people because it seems ridiculous that Alexis could have a clearance," said John Griffith, a security clearance attorney who founded the Security Clearance Law Group in Encinitas, California. "Obtaining clearance doesn't equate to a spotless record. However, having a record doesn't always mean they're unfit for duties that require clearance."
Mitigating circumstances can enable someone with an arrest record or an unfavorable financial history to avoid being denied clearance. Those applying for clearance must complete a questionnaire that requests information on arrests and other background that could call clearance into question. Investigators have latitude to consider how long ago the incidents occurred and whether they're relevant to the position and duties.
As an attorney who specializes in security clearance cases, Griffith's goal is not to determine whether a client is deserving of clearance, but assist them in understanding how to obtain security clearance and to ensure each client gets a fair shake in the process.
Griffith isn't surprised by news that the Alexis incident has prompted a review of security clearance processes.
"I think it's productive to review the process, given what has happened," Griffith said. "Overall, I believe the process works. We'll continue to work for clients to ensure those who are truly deserving of clearance are granted it so they can continue their livelihoods."
For more information, visit the Security Clearance Law Group website or call (858) 345-1720.
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About Security Clearance Law Group
Security Clearance Law Group is the law firm of John Griffith, Catie Young and Amy Lass. It represents service members, government employees and government contractors nationwide on all issues relating to obtaining and securing a national security clearance or other access authorization.