Federal agencies reported $3.8 billion in cost savings related to real property in recent years, but their decisions about what counted as savings were inconsistent and sometimes dubious, the Government Accountability Office says.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula continues to pose an immediate security threat to Yemen and to the United States, despite the central government's recovery of territory in the south previously under AQAP control, a State Department official told a Nov. 19 House panel.
The State Department issued significantly more border crossing cards in the last few years due to the recovery of travel to U.S. that had dropped after the Sept. 11 attacks and a cyclical issuance period that recently ended, Edward Ramotowski State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subcommittee on national security Nov. 14.
The State Department designated Boko Haram and splinter group Ansaru, both Nigeria-based militant groups, as foreign terrorist organizations Nov. 13. "We took this step after very careful consideration, and I know you think it was too long," said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the department's assistant secretary for African affairs, during a House hearing.
Administration officials laid out a plan to bolster the government's role in recruiting foreign investing by coordinating the effort on the federal level, in a Wednesday evening call to reporters. States and cities have been responsible for luring business from abroad, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling told reporters.
In one instance of failed coordination, domestic DHS personnel took down a communication link used by a group a criminals that they didn't realize law enforcement officers abroad were monitoring. The department's personnel in the country in question told GAO that they could have prevented the mishap if their domestic counterparts had consulted with them.
"We can now essentially capture our fingerprint with a standard commercial device, there's nothing special about that endpoint. It really drives that price point down," said Jeff Johnson, chief technology officer of the FBI. He spoke on a panel at the annual ACT-IAC Executive Leadership Conference.
A special envoy for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is set to begin work Nov. 1. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that Paul Lewis, currently the minority general counsel for the House Armed Services Committee, was chosen for the role. One hundred sixty-four prisoners remain at Guantanamo Bay, some of whom have been cleared for release since the mid-2000s.
With the government shutdown moves through day 15, the federal workforce is still in flux and Office of Personnel Management guidance says furloughed workers will not accrue sick leave and vacation during the shutdown.
Tor, the anonymity-protecting Internet routing technology favored by users ranging from political dissidents to terrorists and pedophiles has been the subject of concerted attempts by the National Security Agency to break its protections. "With manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users, however, no success de-anonymizing a user in response to a TOPI request/on demand," a leaked NSA presentation states.