WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) released the following statements regarding the Committee’s ongoing oversight of government operations and the federal workforce, in particular the issue of security clearances, in the wake of the Navy Yard Shooting in Washington, D.C.:
Chairman Carper: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and the friends and families of those impacted by the tragic events at Washington, D.C.’s Navy Yard. We are deeply grateful for the efforts of our brave civil servants, law enforcement officials, and emergency medical personnel who responded to this tragedy. Our goal is to ensure that we learn as much from this tragic incident as we possibly can so we can prevent these types of incidents and reduce the chance of death and injury in the future.
“As the Committee with oversight of government operations, the federal workforce, and homeland security, we have a number of important questions that have come to light after this incident that we need to have answered. In particular, our Committee needs to take a closer look at the background check process for individuals applying for security clearances, whether they are contractors or federal employees, and we need to examine what the oversight process is once an individual obtains a security clearance. We want to make certain that, when conducting background investigations, agencies have access to the right information and are asking the right questions and getting the right answers. We also want to look at the process for gaining access privileges to secure facilities, such as the Navy Yard. While we’re beginning to gather information, we still have many more questions to ask - and more answers to get. That’s why our Committee continues to examine what happened and will hold hearings on these and other issues raised in the wake of this terrible tragedy in the very near future.”
Dr. Coburn: “We owe it to the families of the victims and the American people to uncover what went wrong. We need to take a very hard look at the security clearance process, in particular, and explore other questions as we work to prevent another tragedy like this from ever occurring again.”