Unchecked Aggression

The Navy Yard attack and our broken security-vetting system

Aaron Alexis was acting alone when he got inside Building 197 at the Washington Navy Yard and broke out a Remington 870 pump-action shotgun, killing 12 people and wounding three. But others opened the door for him: Alexis gained access to the sprawling compound thanks to the security clearance he had obtained while in the Navy and retained afterward as a military contractor. Alexis' behavior should have led someone to revoke his clearance months ago--but no one was paying attention.

Here is the world's worst-kept secret: the military's security-clearance system is utterly, tragically broken. Army Major Nidal Hasan, armed with a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!