Following Monday's shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard that left 12 people dead, Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray questioned whether the government sequester played any role in the murders.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray listens during an evening news briefing about the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images)
“As I look at, for example, sequestration, which is about saving money in the federal government being spent, have we somehow skimped on what would be available for projects like this and then we put people at risk,” Gray said on CNN Tuesday.
He said the Navy Yard is “one of the most secure facilities in the nation” and wondered how Aaron Alexis managed to go for so long without getting flagged by authorities.
“It really is hard to believe that someone with a record as checkered as this man could get credentials to be able to get on the base,” Gray said.
While Gray was referring specifically to the sequester, a yet-to-be-released report by the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office suggests separate budgets cuts may have actually been involved -- but that comes from an audit that started six months before sequestration took place.
The Navy “did not effectively mitigate access-control risks associated with contractor-installation access” at Navy Yard and other installations, the inspector general report states.
Navy officials were simply trying to “to reduce access-control costs,” the report adds. This may have caused breakdowns in security.
Federal oversight investigators suggest recent cuts may have led to reduced security measures, which in turn left base “security risks unaddressed,” according to Time magazine.
It's important to note: The inspector general’s audit began in September 2012, well before the sequester's March 1 automatic spending cuts went into effect.
The full report is set to be published "shortly," according to Time, which cited anonymous sources.
Law enforcement officials are still working to identify the victims’ families. The mayor said he would personally contact relatives of the deceased.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure these families understand what a sacrifice these people made,” Gray said.
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