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Contractor security access at local Navy bases under scrutiny

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Updated: 9/22/2013 11:55 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An in-depth report by the Department of Defense Inspector General suggests the security system that grants contractors access to Navy bases is too lax and needs to be replaced.

The report was released on the same day a shooting at a Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. killed 12 people.

The 45-page report scrutinized the security process contractors go through to be allowed onto Navy installations and how the company charged with maintaining background checks is performing.

That company is Eid Passports, whose product, Rapidgate, is used at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Naval Station Mayport and Kings Bay Naval Submarine base.

Retired Navy sailor Dave Seamans frequents NAS JAX to visit his wife, who has worked for the DoD for 29 years.

"I've always felt safe, my wife and myself felt safe. It's the safest place you could be," said Seamans.

But even Seamans agrees the recent report from the inspector general is a bit concerning.

The report suggests 52 convicted felons were allowed routine access to naval bases "placing military personnel, dependents, civilians and installations at an increased security risk".

In a press release to Action News, Eid passports CEO Steve Larson says "Eid Passport welcomes audits as they continue to drive the industry to improve identity management systems and processes. Eid Passport is working with the Navy and looks forward to working with the DoD to further refine and advance the world’s best high-assurance identity management solution."

For Seamans, it's an issue of accountability that should fall first and foremost on the contractors themselves.

"They're responsible and they need to really look fully at the scenarios when hiring somebody," said Seamans.

It is unclear which bases were entered by convicted felons.

A spokesperson with Naval Station Mayport declined an Action News request to speak about base security. Instead we were referred to Washington, D.C. where officials tell Action News the Navy is reviewing the report but say the bases are secure and will make adjustments as needed.

The findings in the inspector general's report were made before the shooting took place at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard. Eid Passports reiterates that the incident is unrelated to the program they provide the Navy and that the suspected shooter was never an applicant or participant in the Navy Commercial Access Control System (NCACS).
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