- - Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Businesses, including government entities, have a legal and moral duty to protect their employees. Background investigations and security clearances are key components of maintaining that minimum standard of care for the security of personnel working in what should be one of the safest and most secure environments in the entire nation: Washington Navy Yard.

Traditionally, this backgrounding has been the responsibility of dedicated federal, state and local law enforcement and military investigators. The comprehensive investigation involved in establishing the loyalty, integrity, morals and character of applicants is in place to determine whether the subject under consideration for security clearance and access is suitable for “a position of trust and responsibility.”

It is quite obvious that the Navy Yard gunman, Aaron Alexis, had sufficient derogatory information and mental issues in his past that should have disqualified him for a security clearance and access to the 12 naval employees he killed on Sept. 16.

Unfortunately, this heavy responsibility, once the sole province of public entities, often has been “outsourced” to for-profit companies. Do large corporations conducting background investigations under government contract overlook important details and rubber-stamp clearances to individuals who do not deserve them?

ANDREW P. SUTOR

Margate, N.J.