September 22, 2013 12:11:04 AM
WASHINGTON -- A little more than 24 hours after an IT contractor gunned down a dozen workers at the Washington Navy Yard, the CEO of the company he worked for sent an email to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus saying he has the experience to help the military improve its security.
The email from The Experts chief Thomas Hoshko, which included descriptions of his background and expertise, stunned some Navy leaders still reeling from the shooting rampage Monday that left 13 people dead, including the gunman, former Navy reservist Aaron Alexis.
And it fueled concern over what defense officials believe may have been failures by the company to alert the military about Alexis' apparent mental health problems.
In the email, which was obtained by The Associated Press, Hoshko said he was "dramatically" affected by the incident and "my heart and prayers go out to the families and friends of those innocent victims." But the email quickly moves on, as Hoshko lays out his work experience and offers his services, saying he is "confident that I can provide valuable input and solutions to the process that will provide better security for the military, contractors and civilians."
Navy officials confirmed that email was sent to Mabus, but they declined to characterize its contents.
Florida-based The Experts declined to comment.
Revelation of the email comes as the Navy and the Defense Department launch a series of short- and long-term reviews into Alexis' Navy service history, the Pentagon's security clearance procedures, overall safety at defense installations around the world and the responsibilities that contractors have in reviewing their workers and notifying the military about potential problems.
One of the first reviews ordered by Mabus into the nearly four years of Alexis' troubled Navy career, is almost complete, according to the Navy. Mabus had asked for a review of Alexis' service record to determine if his behavioral problems while in the Navy should have affected his ability to keep his security clearance.
A secret security clearance is good for 10 years. It carries over, even if a worker leaves the military and joins a private company, as long as the gap between the two jobs is not more than two years. As a result, Alexis' clearance level was simply verified when he went to work for The Experts, but no additional research or checks were done.
Officials have acknowledged that a lot of red flags may have been missed in the months and years before Alexis brought a sawed-off shotgun into Building 197 at the Navy Yard and began shooting workers in a drawn-out assault that ended when he was killed in a gunbattle with police. Alexis had maintained his secret level security clearance and passed at least two background checks despite a string of minor arrests, mental health issues and some recent bouts of suspicious conduct that raised worries even within the company.