A soon-to-be-released government audit (Now public, see update below) says the Navy, in an attempt to reduce costs, let down its guard to risks posed by outside contractors at the Washington Navy Yard and other facilities, a federal official with access to the report tells TIME.
The Navy “did not effectively mitigate access-control risks associated with contractor-installation access” at Navy Yard and other Navy installations, the report by the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office says. Parts of the audit were read to TIME by a federal official with access to the document.
Why was the Navy reducing costs? What did the Republican House force upon us as a condition of the continued existence of the country? Hint: it starts with an “S” and the last syllable rhymes with “fester”.
I’ll lay off this topic after this post, but I wish a motherfucker would hang this around Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert’s neck, among others.
Tone in DC
Thirteen people died. And these g00pers still want to tell US American and such as (for the last 30 years) that we can have things like infrastructure, federal inspectors, the FAA and guards at military installations WITHOUT PAYING FOR THEM.
The Confidence Fairy, along with the Invisible Hand, will take care of absolutely everything.
Tell this shit to a classroom full of tenth graders, they’ll ask you why is Santa Claus is feeding the Easter Bunny those red and green carrots.
The Republicans will say the sequester was Obama’s fault and the media will report that the sequester happened because Obama and “Congress” were unable to reach a compromise.
OK, yeah. This was tragic.
And yeah, the sequester is a stupid way to run a railroad.
But the suggestion that the military isn’t getting enough money is insane.
no fucking way am i joining the chorus of people crying that cutting money from the military is the cause. if they can’t get er done with $16,000 per second, then they need to change what it is they’re supposed to do.
Ted & Hellen
I’m just surprised all the NSA/CIA and god knows what else government spying didn’t prevent this incident…right?
That’s what it’s for…right?
Yeah, but Bob Woodward will insist that the sequester was all Obama’s idea so it’s all Obama’s fault.
Here’s an “access control risk”: anybody who does military work not out of a sense of duty (military) but for money (contractors) is a psycho who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near military jobs
Props for the Hold Steady ref in the post title.
That’s all right, I was desperate too
I’m gettin’ pretty sick of this interview
The Navy cut the wrong thing. The sequester pushed them to make quick cuts. Plenty of blame to go round.
I know I shouldn’t feed the troll but…
@Ted & Helen Silly rabbit data collection is for foreign brown people not indigenous brown people. Trust our completely not lying to congress Director of Intelligence. Plus, they have the data but no way to analyze it until after the fact.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader?
We need a militia to protect our militia.
If only he had wined and dined them more, called them on the phone, schmoozed, and Doris Kearns Goodwin suggested sleeping with them if necessary.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader?
From our militia.
@Ted & Hellen:
What incident? For all we know, the alleged “victims” might have attacked Mr. Alexis without provocation, thereby forcing him to shoot them all in self defense.
Why can’t you wait until the trial before automatically declaring Alexis guilty? Are you some sort of botulist botsplainer who suffers from botulism?
Gin & Tonic
@Feudalism Now!: Don’t need the NSA so much, either. Dude was in Newport, RI, recently, staying at the Marriott. Called the cops because the people in the room above him were using some microwave device directed at him that caused vibrations in his head and he was unable to sleep due to that, as well as the voices. Neport cops said “uh, we have a problem” and referred the matter to the Navy (which has facilities in Newport), and the Navy apparently said “meh.” So then the dude went to the VA hospital in Providence and said he couldn’t sleep because of the voices in his head, and they apparently said “meh.”
Don’t need billions of dollars worth of intelligence here. First-line cops knew he had a problem.
@Tone in DC:
No problem; we’ll lowball them upfront, with promises of a sweet pension, and then we’ll fuck them out of the pension. Problem solved.
@cleek: I don’t have an issue with cutting the military budget. But if you throw out a quick “across the board” cut that is supposed to be rescinded in a few months, they’re going to cut what can be cut quickly and stupidly, like this.
The right kind of military budget cuts are to whole weapons systems that we don’t need, not to readiness/security. But the sequester is never going to touch the former, just the latter.
Government contractors seem to hire any loony who wants a job without proper vetting. They hired thugs for the middle east wars, whistle blowers for the NSA and now insane killers for they Navy Yard. I think It’s time our armed forces did their own work and stop the handouts.
Tone in DC
I didn’t need to read that last part this early in the damn morning, humorous or not. There are reasons why David Vitter, Mark Sanford and so many other d-nozzles can’t help but go to a madam or a grasping woman 4000 miles away.
At least the Big Dog’s conquests didn’t demand remuneration for their company.
Gin & Tonic
@dubo: What a stupid comment. For the last couple of decades, at least, the military is just a job. I’d bet the majority of enlistees do it for the money. For many, it’s the least bad option for putting food on the table. Yes, some enlist for love of country, but many (most?) enlist for three hots and a cot.
@Ted & Hellen: Jesus. Waking up in pain and finding your stupidly vicious stuff. There IS a time and place to ask if there’s a God.
Tone in DC
I’m sure the people of Detroit would find much mirth in that.
Humor aside, every g00per since the Gipper has been telling the public this. I am so sick of this shit. If I want to see fairy tales, I’ll watch “Grimm” or that Hansel and Gretel flick.
Snarki, child of Loki
Waiting for the NRA to crank up their “IF ONLY THE NAVY WERE ARMED THIS WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED!!!1!” campaign…
How dare you! Cruz and Gohmert love America. They love it so much, they wear those nifty little flag lapel pins everywhere they go.
GHayduke (formerly lojasmo)
@mai naem: Actually it will be more fun to blame Bush(snark). There was one report that the shooter got into the military during the time between 2004-2008, when in order to meet recruitment goals, the military was waving the standards on criminal behavior. It seems that lots of folks decided their career path did not run thru Bagdad and were not joining up.
but if they fire contractors, the old MASH (was it mash or some other show) about soldiers doing “KP” might make sense again.
there was in essence no good reason to farm a bunch of jobs out to contractors.
bad reasons? you bet. “contractors” pay more and can therefore hire people who wouldn’t be in an all volunteer army and maybe on food stamps too. another bad reason, anything worth doing is worth doing for an extra bit of cash from the feds in some sort of cost -plus contract
@Ted & Hellen:
As far as I know, the NSA hasn’t found a way to tap the conversations one may have in ones brain. So you are probably safe still.
Wasn’t that when they waived criminal records and mental illness? Yeah that was wicked smaht.
To pay for the increased expense of having their work done by for profit contractors rather than government employees. This problem goes back a lot further than sequester, and the root cause is all the parasites feasting on the government’s lifeblood.
@Roger Moore: Which was, after all, the whole design of Cheney’s remake of the military when he was SecDef under Bush I.
perhaps if we didn’t maintain a permanent ginormous standing army, we wouldn’t need the swarm of civilian attendants, stewards and bureaucrats to keep it functioning.
of course that would mean we couldn’t play Uncle Sam : Global Punisher every time some shitty little country threatened our precious precious credibility. but i’d be willing to give that a try.
I’ve been really curious about the Colorado flooding, and most years I drive there to snowboard, via I-80 & I-76, along the Platte and South Platte rivers.
The South Platte has received a whalloping amount of water that is surging eastward. But, gee, many of the automated river gauges in Nebraska are shut down “due to budget cuts” says the state’s river gauge web site.
A minor issue in this case, as the predicted surge is dropping in updated estimates. But it is item number one millionth in how the sequester wiggles its way into every corner of our public infrastructure.
All those seamen just met one bad egg that day. Perhaps if they spread their seamen further out on campus, there’d be less people hit in the face with these blasts.
@Gian: I’m not sure contractors pay more. From what I’ve read, it costs much more to have a contractor do the job than a government employee. That doesn’t mean the guy/gal sitting in the cube gets the extra cash, just that the contracting company is making big bucks at the government tit. And oddly so many of the anti-tax, anti-government goppers are top executives at those companies, i.e Cheney and Rummy among others
@Tone in DC:
The goopers and tea tards don’t give a shit unless it affects them directly. Our local tea party radio host who is of the “drown the government in a bath tub” mentality was absolutely apoplectic when it came to the sequester because the Federal Government (in the form of the military) is this area’s single largest employer. He was airing hair on fire pieces every night as to how it was going to hurt us.
Last night it came to light that the NC Health Department had cut all funding for Dental Hygenists that teach dental health in schools and he and the Dentist that runs the program were all “Oh nooooooes where can we find alternate funding?” Shit has to be paid for, a simple concept that these people do not understand.
Very inelegantly, I suggested Monday morning that I hoped bloody footprints could be traced back to the sequester.
Actions have consequences.
And that does not apply solely to the late Mr. Alexis.
Why? It’s important. People died. Sequester cuts and privatization and Bush-related lowering of military standards all combined to create this situation, as inevitably as two cold fronts colliding creates a storm.
Where can we scream and be heard? Why should we stop screaming?
People died because of Republican policies.
I’ll stop saying it when something gets done.
@cleek: Also, too, there is very little discussion generally on the decades-long move to privatize so many functions of the military, much less the security risks that could entail.
Does anyone know or want to know the real cost to taxpayers of the imagined savings by using contractors vs uniformed men and women to do the non-lethal jobs that a huge standing army requires.
How much profit is being sucked out by Xe (aka Blackwater), or KBR, or so many other logistics and security firms?
Don’t you know, it’s them video games!!!!
Dr. Mantis Toboggan
Which party proposed the sequester?
“yes, in fact, the sequestration was President Obama’s plan.”
@TAPX486: In general, government contracts are going to have a 2.4 – 2.8x multiplier – which means that the company is getting 2.4-2.8x the salary of the worker for every hour he works. Considering how many of these employees are sequestered at the government facility – which means that the company isn’t paying any functional overhead with respect to providing a desk or tools of the trade, it’s generally a markup for the cost of recruiting the employee (most of the training will end up being on the gov’t dollar), providing benefits, managing the contract, and having a proposal team sitting around to bid on the next procurement.
Oh, and also, as long as we’re talking about the sequester’s role in the shooting (wait, what?) we’re not talking about the fucking NRA or their GOP (and many Dem) handmaidens.
Distraction-missile locked and fired.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
This, plus trying to wage two wars without paying for it.
The underling problem is conservatives really believe the Department of Defense isn’t paid for by the tax payers, because that would make it socialists.
peach flavored shampoo
You’re blaming this GOP House action on a “semester”? Or Mr. Stallone, the actor?
@WereBear: that only matters if Republican donors start dying due to Republican policies, anything else is simply the cost of “doing business”. When someone loses it and goes off at a yacht club, or a polo match or at one of those high end car shows; then maybe something will happen.
@RaflW: I’m with you there.
This isn’t about more security at the gate. This is about crazies and felons taking advantage of our lax to non-existent controls on their ability to carry around arsenals that would have enabled them to win the Battle of Concord single-handedly.
Private contractors, ‘consultants,’ and all the other drek of privatization are a carbuncle on the forehead of constitutional government in the United States. They are a horrendous waste of tax dollars, they are unaccountable, and they don’t do their jobs very well at all. Here in Illinois, they’ve driven the state into bankruptcy.
Sure, I’d love to blame someone I hate for this, but by all reports this was low hanging fruit. The dude was openly unstable and crying for help.
Ignoring people like him didn’t start with the sequester.
Jockey Full of Malbec
Read Maddow’s book.
One of the big things she covers in that book is the move towards private contractors. This has always been pushed as a ‘cost cutting measure’… and yet, every single time, it turns out to be just another way to funnel taxpayer cash to well-connected rich people. Shocking, that.
Example: In the 1950s, those potatoes got peeled by a PFC, at cost. By the Bush43 era, we had Halliburton shipping sacks of freeze-dried potatoes across the globe at 20x the cost. With much of that money going into Dick Cheney’s stock portfolio.
Yet, somehow, this is supposed to be more “efficient”, because… because free market and STFU you filthy commie, that’s why,
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@Dr. Mantis Toboggan:
Too bad there wasn’t an opposition party in control of a branch of governments that set the budget and was traditionally an advocate of a strong military to stop Mr Obama’s cunning plan to implement a long term goal of his own party, eh?.
But then I am talking to an obvious conservative and as the Bush administration and fan boisim on Putin shows conservatives don’t believe in separation of powers.
At least it wasn’t a school full of children this time. Where’s your “half full” people?
Slightly OT, but proving that Howard Schultz is smarter than Congressional Republicans:
Starbucks seeks to keep guns out of its coffee shops.
We have to rethink our approach.
We can put million of bodies in the street and the networks won’t cover it. We can burn up the fax lines and staffers won’t even recycle the paper. We live in an age of social media and instant communication.
There HAS to be a way of putting a Bat Signal in the sky to let like-minded others in the nation know that this is disgusting and there has to be a way of ending it.
It’s never going to get played that way by the media, mm. No fucking way.
Read this and tell me I’m wrong:
I want Chuckles the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.
@balconesfault: I thought I had read that it was more expensive by a factor of 2 or more, just wasn’t sure of the specific number. It’s free enterprise capitalism when taxpayer dollars go to the 1% but its socialism when they go to those undeserving moochers
@Roger Moore: Way too many of whom vote Republican and complain loudly about welfare queens over beers they bought with the largesse of the government they’ve contracted with for decades.
Whew, I needed a few signposts to get out of that sentence.
Dr. Mantis Toboggan
@Enhanced Voting Techniques:
I’m not a conservative. Whatever gave you that idea?
@Jockey Full of Malbec: Don’t forget Blackwater and Erik Prince who decided to move company headquarters to Dubai so that he wouldn’t have to pay US taxes because he’s such a patriot providing contractors to the US government and getting paid big $$$ for it.
@Snarki, child of Loki:
I’ve already seen this in comments on news articles. Someone who lost a friend in the shooting was told that if her friend had had a side arm he might not have been killed. Even as investigators are saying that the shooter may have obtained a pistol by killing a security guard.
Also too, don’t count on the MSM for any help.
Chuck Toad reiterated on Morning Joke today that the media doesn’t have a responsibility to correct GOP lies.
Sorry for the OT, but HEY! there’s a rocket launch going on in 5 minutes. Second private launch to the ISS:
OT: Remember that nefarious, secret, illegal data-mining program run by the NSA? Turns out it wasn’t so secret or illegal after all!
Tone in DC
The truth?! We don’t need no stinkin’ truth!
@RSA: Ah yes if only the victims had been armed. In the background of many of the TV reports there was a Navy ship. Frigate/destroyer, with a very large gun on the forward deck. NOW that is a gun that would even impress the NRA. Maybe the Navy should move that to the front gate.
Snowald cannot fail! He can only BE failed!
as a former on-site contractor, i don’t know why much of the work isn’t done by “civilians” (ie gov’t employees). gov’t employees spend half their time managing gov’t contracts. and contractors spend half their time reporting their progress to gov’t employees. if they just paid employees to do the job (even at the contractor rate!) they’d get a lot more done for the same money because everyone would have more time to do actual work!
Dr. Mantis Toboggan
Yes, how could a program be secret if a secret court in a secret opinion has a ruling on it?
And since when is it up to the FISA court to rule on the legality of a program?
Or maybe they should preemptively stand their ground against NRA headquarters.
@Roger Moore: LOL!!!!!!!!!!
Driving into the Nation’s Capital yesterday, and seeing all the flags at half staff, I was struck and sickened by the business as usual-ness of it all. How the giant domed NRA dicksucking machine at the other end of Constitution Avenue “grieves” every time this happens.
@Feudalism Now!: From “Canadian Bacon”
@john b: Because govt employees have a union and benefits and are, therefore, unworthy of paychecks and nothing more than leeches. Contractors are capitalism.
@john b: A lot of contracts probably don’t make sense in light of the theory of the firm.
@Snarki, child of Loki: The show has begun. See: Judge Napolitano: If Officers at the Navy Yard Had Been Armed A Lot Fewer Would Have Been Killed
@cleek: A lot depends on what the military gets money for. Recall the F-35 fiasco, where the DoD got a second powerplant (and funds specifically allocated for that) for the plane despite arguing strenuously against it. Much of the DoD budget is earmarked for specific weapons systems, products, and projects, and there are specific constraints on those dollars. The S word has impacted all those budgets – but done so roughly equally across the board: budget for security and background checks is cut at the same rate as the weapons procurement, R&D, personnel, deployments etc. Lifting sequestration would alleviate the constraints on the security funding, but part of the way sequestration was intended as a deterrent to budget impasse was to make the budgeting nasty for everyone, without allowing for selective reallalocation of funds away from less-critical expenditures and toward more more-critical ones. Reallocating dollars for security from the next missile system, warhead, CVN or other not-delivered-this-decade item is impossible without Congressional intervention by the design of the seqeuester, so the only ways to repurpose budget lines to accommodate the requirement for better background checks is either a) adjust the sequester requirements to give DoD more flexibility (which should be opposed on principle, and any argument for doing so would be useful leverage to get the GOTea to abandon sado-austerity) or restore pre-sequester funding levels across the board.
This incident, in itself, should be enough to shake the GOTea out of their sado-austere budget-eviscerating. It won’t, though.
@RSA: Perhaps the best argument against the 2nd-Amendment-shouters is that more people packing equals more opportunities for a perp to get hold of a gun (instead of more people positioned to take said perp down). There’s nothing better for a shooter than a whole arsenal just walking around in public for the taking, and all those “registered firearms” will only muddy up the finger-pointing when ballistics weighs in on who fired which shot where.
The Navy is trying to reduce costs because it can’t get there from here with the current budget. On the one hand it has a lot of ships in need of serious down time and maintenance-and on the other it has an operating tempo higher than it was when I was sailing on Navy ships during the Cold War. Our Galtian overlords care not a whit about doing the right thing vis a vis taxes, and so put them into the position they are. Have they made all the right choices? Probably not, but I would submit to you, some of the blame here should fall on the man’s employer. They are required , under contract and law, to do due diligence on the employees they hire and make sure they meet the requirements of the position.
@Snarki, child of Loki: Already happened. Some idiot friend of a friend on Facebook was going on about how GHW Bush signed a law limiting who could carry firearms on bases and that’s why the shooting happened–because the military doesn’t have enough weapons. I can only assume this meme is already circulating through “gun rights” circles like the clap.
(Never mind that the shooter killed an armed security guard and took his handgun. Guns can never fail, they can only be failed.)
privatizing military functions is also the brainchild of Darth Cheney et al. This needs to be shouted from the rooftops over and over. When Grumpy McCain is on Sunday morning calling for regime change in Syria, he’s really lining up big fat government contracts for his pals in the private sector. Got nothing to do with securing the homeland.
Quite true, and a lot of small contractors are pretty problematic. There are contracting vehicles set aside specifically for an alphabet soup of different disadvantaged small businesses, and a fair number of them are shell games with incompetent but box-checking front people. Still, the Navy gave this guy an honorable discharge and from listening to clearance investigators it can be a real bitch to get information out of services and agencies because they can’t be bothered. The whole clearance system needs an overhaul because it’s obvious it can’t do what it’s supposed to, and government agencies have to stop playing pass-the-trash with problematic and actually dangerous employees.
As an aside, there are multiple problems with overreliance on contracting but cost is not as big a factor as a lot of people think. Just look at financial statements for a lot of the companies involved, especially the butt-in-seat contracting firms. It’s a low-margin, low-risk business for the most part where you get by on volume, much like grocery chains. Commercial contracting is more competitive and is burnout city but has much higher margins.
And they are obviously skimping on this requirement because it costs money they’d rather just keep.
@Marc: Dave Weigel has already noticed the emerging excuse from conservatives: not enough guns on military bases!
@Dr. Mantis Toboggan:
Fair enough. It was secret in the sense that spy agencies do not publish the details of their operations for public consumption. (A shock, I know.) But it was not secret in the sense of being withheld from proper authorities.
People really need to get over their hang-up over state secrets. They have always existed, in every state, and they always will exist as long as governments are serious about law enforcement.
Among the many frustrating rituals after an event like Monday is the ‘red flag’ ritual. Look at all of the red flags that were missed (always easier to see in hindsight) . If some had connected the red flags this tragedy could have been prevented (exactly who this person is does not seem to matter). The red flags weren’t given to the Navy and/or the Navy didn’t act on them(again the who is never specified nor is the what the Navy should do absent a crime). We need a national mental illness database (and privacy be damned).
As a nation we refuse to set up a national id card, even though the SSN acts like a national id number and we do have 50 state level id cards, i.e. drivers licenses. We don’t want to register a very specific physical item – a gun – but want to load names of the ‘mentally ill in a data base. Of course the definition of mentally ill is a bit slippery and changes frequently. It was that long ago that being gay would have gotten you lumped in the same data base as a raging paranoid. We want a process whereby all of these red flags are saved and reviewed by someone but don’t want the NSA reading our e-mails (and rightly so). We tolerate a system that allows people on the airplane no fly list to buy as many weapons as the want no questions asked but someone should have checked up on this guy’s video game usage.
All of the public comments by our leaders are simply empty words and pious strutting. Nothing will be done
I was gonna jump into this thread with a bunch OUTRAGE, but I see cleek and some others already covered that ground pretty well. Cutting military spending ought to be a goal of liberals and Democrats alike. Conservatives too, for that matter. It’s smart and good policy.
But mistermix is right that the blanket, across-the-board cuts imposed by the sequester weren’t smart or good policy. Maybe the lessen we should learn from this is to make smart spending cuts?
Ehh, I’m drifting into fantasy land.
You all will be surprised to know that many of the cuts came as a result of the DON, of which I was formerly employed, trying to keep from furloughing its civilian employees as long as possible.