The shootings at the Washington Navy Yard raise some difficult questions about security clearances given to government contractors. Aaron Alexis, the alleged Navy Yard gunman, retained a security clearance allowing him to work as a government contractor at the Navy Yard despite a history of erratic behavior. Earlier this summer, federal officials said they found flaws in the process that renewed the clearance of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. Issuing and reviewing these security clearances is a big task. ClearanceJobs.com, a jobs website serving those with clearances, reported in 2011 that 541,097 government contractors held confidential/secret security clearances and that 524,990 held top-secret clearances. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday the Pentagon will review security at military installations and how it issues clearances to its both troops and employees. That’s a wise step.
Frustrations of Midlands drivers tend to boil over this time of year, as contractors rush to finish road work before the weather cools. But this has been an unusually aggressive year for road resurfacing in Omaha, with major streets like Fort and Dodge seeing work, thanks in part to a spike in state roads funds. The good news amid the grumbling is that Omaha roads should be gentler on vehicles by the time all the traffic cones head south for winter.