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Computerworld - The man police suspected of a mass shooting Monday at the Washington Navy Yard was employed by an IT subcontractor working on a government network project. He got that job despite having an arrest record for gun violence.
Aaron Alexis, 34, who was killed by police, was upgrading the Navy and Marine Corp.'s network. He was working for a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based firm The Experts.
There isn't a much information available yet on Alexis' IT skills, but there is much detail about Alexis prior arrest record of reckless gun behavior, and it's going to raise a lot of questions.
Because Alexis was employed on a military IT project, he almost certainly needed a security clearance with a background investigation.
Alexis was arrested twice in the last decade for firing off a gun, once into the ceiling of his apartment, and another time into the tires of a parked car. But that was not enough to keep him from working at a military installation.
The case of Edward Snowden, who leaked a trove of security documents, raised similar questions about security vetting. But Snowden isn't violent, and he has argued that his motivations are fully justified.
There may have been nothing obvious in Snowden's background to suggest he would leak government secrets. But with Alexis, the police reports raise questions.
The firm that Alexis worked for, The Experts, was a subcontractor for Hewlett-Packard. According to HP, "Alexis was an employee of a company called 'The Experts,' a subcontractor to an HP Enterprise Services contract to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) network," HP said late on Monday.
HP said that it is "cooperating fully with law enforcement as requested." And that it is "deeply saddened by today's tragic events at the Washington Navy Yard. Our thoughts and sympathies are with all those who have been affected."
In June, HP announced that it has been awarded a $3.45 billion project to build the Navy's "Next Generation Enterprise Network," or NGEN.
The project is intended to provide secure data and IT services, including data storage, e-mail, and video teleconferencing to the Navy and Marine Corps, according to the General Accountability Office. That award was a continuation of an existing contract that HP has with the Navy.
Alexis was born in Queens, New York, and his last known residence was Ft. Worth, Texas.
In 2004, Alexis was arrested in Seattle for shooting out the tires of another man's vehicle in what Alexis later described to detectives as an anger-fueled "blackout," according to police there.
Seattle Police, in response to the Navy Yard shooting, posted details about this case. What happened was this: One morning, two construction workers had parked their car in the driveway of their worksite next to a home where Alexis was staying. That's when Alexis came out and fired his gun at the tires.
Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, a former news reporter who now writes for the Seattle PD's blog, wrote that police learned that "Alexis had 'stared' at construction workers at the job site every day over the last month prior to the shooting.
Originally published on www.computerworld.com. Click here to read the original story.