September 24, 2013 in Nation/World

In brief: Flooding death toll at 8 after woman found dead

From Wire Reports
 

DENVER – A 79-year-old woman whose house was swept away by the Big Thompson River was found dead on the riverbank, authorities said Monday, bringing to eight the death toll from the massive flooding in Colorado.

As the number of people unaccounted for dwindled to six, Vice President Joe Biden viewed the devastation from a helicopter before meeting with disaster workers.

“I promise you, I promise you, there will be help,” Biden said, trying to mute concerns that a possible federal government shutdown could derail relief efforts.

The latest victim was identified as Evelyn M. Starner. Larimer County authorities said she drowned and suffered blunt force trauma. Starner was previously listed as missing and presumed dead.

Starner was found Saturday. One other person was still missing and presumed dead – a 60-year-old woman from Larimer County. A man was taken off the list after walking into the sheriff’s office.

The number of unaccounted-for people shrank as improving communications and road access allowed authorities to contact 54 people over the weekend who had not been heard from.

Navy pushes for changes to security clearance

WASHINGTON – A week after an IT contractor gunned down 12 workers at the Washington Navy Yard, Navy officials began moving to close gaps in the security clearance process, recommending that all police reports involving an individual must be included when a background check is done.

The Navy, in a report released Monday, revealed that the shooter, Aaron Alexis, did not disclose a 2004 arrest or some financial problems when he filled out his application for a security clearance when he joined the Navy as a reservist several years later. And officials said the background report, given to the Navy at the time, also failed to reveal that he had shot out the tires of another person’s car during a 2004 dispute in Seattle.

Instead, the report from the Office of Personnel Management said Alexis “deflated” the tires and did not mention the use of a gun.

Defense officials have acknowledged that a lot of red flags were missed in Alexis’ background, allowing him to maintain a secret security clearance and have access to a secure Navy facility despite a string of behavioral problems and brushes with the law. Over the past week, they have been struggling to determine what might have been missed, and what changes could be made to try to prevent similar violence in the future.

So far, however, the detailed reviews only underscore how subjective the security checks can be and how difficult it is to predict violent behavior based only on minor conduct issues that could easily be overlooked.

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