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White House to review contractors after Washington shootings

FBI agents investigate at the scene of the shooting inside the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, September 17, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed
FBI agents investigate at the scene of the shooting inside the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, September 17, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

By Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said Tuesday it will review standards for federal government contractors after the Washington Navy Yard shootings, which authorities said were committed by a contract worker who had a security clearance to work there.

President Barack Obama will be briefed on Tuesday on the details of the Washington Navy Yard shootings by his national security aides, including Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director James Comey, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Monday's attack left 13 people dead, including the suspected gunman, 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, a military reservist with a history of violence and mental problems.

Alexis was a Navy contractor who had been given clearance to enter the base despite two gun-related brushes with the law and a discharge from the Navy Reserve in 2011 for "misconduct issues."

The White House Office of Management and Budget is looking at issues surrounding security clearances for contractors and federal employees, Carney said.

"At the president's direction, OMB is examining standards for contractors and employees across federal agencies," Carney told reporters at a briefing.

"This is a matter that the president believes and has believed merits review," he said, noting the Director of National Intelligence had previously begun a review of security clearance policies for certain types of government contractors.

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Vicki Allen and Cynthia Osterman)

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