By Justin Sink - 09/17/13 06:53 PM EDT
President Obama has directed the federal government to review security clearance procedures following the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard that left 12 dead, the White House said Tuesday.
"This is a matter that the president believes and has believed merits review."
The move came after reports that shooter Aaron Alexis had obtained a security clearance despite a discharge from the Navy Reserve and a pair of gun-related incidents. The White House would not confirm those reports nor that Alexis had been suffering from mental health issues, citing an ongoing investigation.
The review comes amid a separate examination of security clearance procedures by the director of National Intelligence following the leaks by Edward Snowden, a former Defense contractor who revealed top-secret National Security Agency surveillance programs.
The president will be briefed Tuesday afternoon by Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director James Comey on the Navy Yard shooting.
Carney said Obama was "horrified" by news of the massacre at the Navy facility less than four miles from the White House.
"While it is a sad truth that we in America seem to experience these mass shootings with all too much frequency, they are always horrifying," Carney said. "The senseless violence and the senseless loss of life is a source of great pain for those who experience it in those communities and for everybody in America."
Asked whether President Obama would undertake a renewed push on gun control following the shooting, Carney said such questions should be "asked not just here but in Congress to those senators who voted no" during last spring's push for expanded background checks.
Carney said the president "has not in the least hidden his displeasure and disappointment in Congress" and said the unwillingness of lawmakers to support the White House's proposals were the definition of taking "cues from a special interest."
"The president believes, and I think has shown, that we ought to do everything we can to implement common-sense measures to reduce gun violence in America," Carney said, adding that the White House was "continuing to push the cause."
The press secretary also defended again the president's decision to speak on the economy Monday as the events at the Navy Yard were unfolding.
He said that while he understood "some Republicans are trying to make something of this," it was also important to discuss budget issues with the clock ticking before a possible government shutdown at the end of the month.
"It is a fact that we have very little time for Congress to act," Carney said. "The consequences … would be significant."