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Major changes need to be enacted in conducting government and contractor background checks and in evaluating those who already have clearance, warns Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin in the wake of Monday's horrific murders at the Washington Navy Yard.
Boykin, who is executive vice president at the Family Research Council, is also blasting the Obama administration for its handling of Syria, saying the president bungled an already wrongheaded policy and is now actively supporting Syrian opposition forces engaged in genocide.
Twelve people were murdered at the Navy Yard Monday morning. Authorities eventually took down alleged shooter Aaron Alexis, 34. Since Alexis had valid credentials for entering the installation – and also had a history of mental illness, violent and aggressive behavior and arrests for gun incidents – Boykin told WND this latest tragedy shows the background check system in serious need of reform.
"It is very difficult to get a security clearance in most cases but in this case his emotional problems, his mental illness as well as his history were not a factor. Why was that? Why were those things not considered in granting him a security clearance?" asked Boykin, who said recent attempts to add scrutiny to the background check process were pilloried on Capitol Hill.
"People like Michele Bachmann asked that somebody investigate how Huma Abedin, who had a clear connection to the Muslim Brotherhood through her father, mother, brother and even her own previous employment [received clearance]," he said. "They were just scalded by the media as well as their comrades in Congress for questioning how she could have gotten a security clearance. This is a big problem, and these security clearances need a better process that ensures that we're not getting people with mental illness and people that have criminal backgrounds walking around with a clearance that gives them access, not only to information but also, in many cases, to facilities," he said.
The general also advocates great vigilance in monitoring people who already have security clearance and suspending or revoking that clearance if troublesome indicators arise.
Boykin also sees a larger cultural trend that puts us at greater risk.
"I think a lot of it goes to this whole attitude of tolerance," he said. "We're taking it a bit too far here."
The Obama position on Syria is also galling to Boykin. He is not at all impressed by the diplomatic deal struck between the U.S. and Russia that requires Syria to declare the extent of its chemical weapons arsenal within a week and destroy it by the middle of next year. Boykin said that goal is pure fantasy.
"(Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) stays in power because he has chemical weapons. He is not going to give those up. It is nonsense, a thousand tons of chemical weapons and you think his inventory is going to be accurate? You think he's really going to turn those over? You think he's going to disassemble production facilities that would allow him to make more?" he asked. "That is not going to happen because when he loses those chemical weapons, he has no ability to stay in power there. This is a farce."
Boykin said Assad would be in peril without the weapons because his Alawite sect makes up a small percentage of the Syrian population and is hated by Sunni and Shiite alike.
Secretary of State John Kerry said the threat of force remains on the table if Assad fails to comply. Boykins sees that as an empty threat.
"I put about as much credibility in that as I did the threat of a red line," Boykin said. "This is an administration that has, frankly, gotten in over its head and is looking for any way out right now and the Russians as well as the U.S. Congress have given him a way out."
Boykin is disgusted by Obama's reversal of U.S. policy in his decision to arm the Syrian resistance, which is comprised in large numbers by al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical elements. He said the U.S. is bankrolling the slaughter of innocent people, particularly Christians.
"What we're doing by arming these people is we're contributing to the genocide of the Christian community," Boykin said. "As bad as he is, Bashar al-Assad has allowed the Christians there to live in peace. What these people are determined to do is to destroy every Christian village, kill as many Christians as they can and run the rest of them out of the country."
Boykin said the U.S. is repeating the same mistakes that led to persecution of Christians by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the murder of four Americans in Benghazi.