Gray: Sequester could have role in shooting

Washington Mayor Vincent Gray said the Navy Yard shooter may have gained access to the base because of the sequester. [WATCH VIDEO]

In an interview with CNN, Gray speculated that the automatic budget cuts might have cut into security funds that could have prevented the alleged shooter from gaining access. 

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“It’s hard to know,” Gray in an interview on CNN. “We’ll continue in this investigation. But certainly, as I look at, for example, sequestration, which is about saving money in the federal government being spent. We somehow skimped on what would be available for projects like this, and then we put people at risk."

“Obviously, 12 people have paid the ultimate price for whatever was done to have this man on the base,” Gray added.

The FBI has identified the shooter as Aaron Alexis, 34, and said he was a military contractor who had legitimate access to the Navy Yard.

Gray questioned how Alexis, a Navy reservist, was given security clearance, in light of reports that Alexis suffered from mental problems and had an arrest record.

“It really is hard to believe that someone with a record as checkered as this man could conceivably get clearance to be able to get on the base,” Gray said.

Under the across-the-board sequestration cuts, the military has reduced its 2013 budget by $37 billion.

The Pentagon Inspector General is set to release a report on the Navy's procedures for allowing access to bases, which found that security risks were increased in an attempt to cut costs, according to a congressional aide.

While the report cites military cost-cutting, the aide told The Hill that it had no connection to sequestration cuts.

The report did find that 52 convicted felons had received unauthorized access to military bases, according to the aide.

— This story was updated at 12:00 p.m.

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