Pentagon Correspondent
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Oct 3, 2013

Gaps emerge in U.S. efforts to shield troops, vets from shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When President Barack Obama signed the “Pay Our Military Act” on Monday, the goal was to ensure that U.S. troops get their salaries on time during the federal government shutdown along with essential payments like housing allowances.

But what about enlistment bonuses, which some sailors say are being delayed? And Pentagon lawyers are also still trying to determine whether they can immediately pay benefits like death gratuities to families of any troops who might die on active duty during the shutdown.

Sep 30, 2013

Two U.S. generals ousted over failure to secure Afghan base

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the Marine Corps on Monday effectively fired two U.S. generals over their failure to defend a major base in Afghanistan from a deadly Taliban attack last year, in an extraordinary and rare public censure.

Two Marines were killed and eight personnel were wounded when Taliban insurgents breached what a military investigation determined was inadequate security at Camp Bastion, in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

Sep 27, 2013

Washington Navy Yard gunman’s employers point fingers over his record

WASHINGTON, Sept 27 (Reuters) – Two defense contractors who
employed Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis are pointing
fingers at one another after keeping him on the job despite his
mental health problems.

The dispute this week led contractor Hewlett-Packard
to cancel its work with Florida-based subcontractor, The
Experts, which hired Alexis to do information technology work on
U.S. Navy bases.

Sep 26, 2013

U.S. concern grows about al Qaeda ties to Kenya mall attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Islamist militant attack on a Kenyan shopping mall increasingly appears to have been carried out by a dominant faction of al Shabaab, which has ideological and personal ties to al Qaeda, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Based on initial reporting from the scene, which is still preliminary and uncertain, U.S. officials believe al Shabaab likely spent a great deal of time planning and staging the siege in Nairobi that killed at least 72 people.

Sep 25, 2013

FBI releases video of ‘delusional’ Navy Yard shooter

WASHINGTON, Sept 25 (Reuters) – The FBI released
surveillance video and photos of Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis
on Wednesday and said he believed electromagnetic waves had been
controlling him for months before the rampage that killed 12
people.

There are no signs that Alexis, 34, was targeting anybody in
the Sept. 16 shooting at the Navy Yard in southeast Washington,
said Valerie Parlave, the FBI assistant director in charge of
the Washington field office.

Sep 23, 2013

Security check of Navy Yard attacker did not mention 2004 shooting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy said on Monday it did not know Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis had once shot out the tires of a car in Seattle before it let him into the service in 2007 and granted him a security clearance, only that he “deflated the tires” on a car.

The disclosure raises new questions about screening investigations conducted by the Office of Personnel Management using the company USIS, which carried out the checks on both Alexis and former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, who is accused of disclosing top secret documents.

Sep 18, 2013

DC gunman treated for insomnia before shooting: veterans’ agency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Washington Navy Yard gunman was treated for insomnia in August at hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, but said he did not have violent thoughts and did not seek care from a VA mental health specialist, the VA said on Wednesday.

Aaron Alexis, 34, a veteran of the Navy Reserve who had a security clearance to enter bases as an information technology contractor, was shot dead by police on Monday after opening fire on people at the Navy Yard complex, killing 12 people.

Sep 18, 2013

Hagel says ‘red flags’ missed before Navy Yard shooting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday the suspected Washington Navy Yard gunman’s background presented some “red flags” easy to spot in hindsight and ordered a broad review of security worldwide, including clearances.

Aaron Alexis, the 34-year-old suspect who was killed by police during Monday’s shooting, received a security clearance more than five years ago when he was still in the Navy and kept it in his most recent job as a technology contractor at the Navy Yard.

Sep 18, 2013

U.S. Navy was warned that Washington shooter ‘heard voices’

WASHINGTON/BOSTON (Reuters) – Rhode Island police warned the U.S. Navy last month that Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis had reported “hearing voices,” raising further questions about how he gained security clearance at the complex where he went on a shooting rampage.

Officials say Alexis, a Navy contractor and former Navy reservist, opened fire at the Naval Sea Systems Command on Monday, killing 12 people before police shot him dead.

Sep 17, 2013

Security under scrutiny over vetting of U.S. Navy Yard gunman

WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy on Tuesday
ordered a review of security at all of its facilities as
questions arose about how a former serviceman with a history of
violence and mental illness received clearance to work at a base
where he killed 12 people before police shot him dead.

The suspect, Aaron Alexis, 34, a Navy contractor from Fort
Worth, Texas, entered Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning and
opened fire, spreading panic at the base just a mile and a half
(2.5 km) from the U.S. Capitol and three miles (5 km) from the
White House.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Stewart has worked for Reuters since 1998 and reported from more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt. Before becoming a Washington D.C.-based military affairs and intelligence reporter, Phil covered terrorism, foreign affairs and the Vatican from Rome from 2004 until mid-2009. He has also previously been based in Colombia and Brazil as a foreign correspondent. Before joining Reuters, Phil covered U.S. politics out of Washington D.C. for States News Service. He earned his BS in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. ..."
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