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navy-yardDozens of convicted felons got unescorted access to Navy installations for weeks and even years because an outside company hired to save money issued temporary credentials to contractors before completing proper background checks, according to a federal audit released on Tuesday.

The Pentagon inspector general’s audit also found the program intended to save money probably wound up costing tax dollars instead.

Coming a day after a contractor opened fire at theWashington Navy Yard, killing 12 people and dying himself, the audit amounted to a powerful indictment of security measures at Navy facilities as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel prepares to order a worldwide review of security at military bases.

There is no connection between the Navy Commercial Access Control System (NCACS) and Aaron Alexis, the IT contractor who was killed on Monday during the shooting spree about 2.5 miles from the White House. Alexis had a different kind of pass that was not issued through the NCACS, the Navy said.   However, the audit revealed security loopholes that potentially put personnel at risk at 10 Navy installations around the country that were studied as a sample of the more than 60 located in the continental United States.

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