Government - federal, state, local

  • DHS fundingHouse votes for one-week extension of DHS funding

    On Friday, just hours before the partial shut-down of DHS, the House Republican leadership, with the help of Democratic lawmakers, managed to secure a majority for a one-week extension of the funding for the department. The vote for a one-week extension passed 357 to 60 — but not before a humiliating defeat for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and members of the GOP House leadership. The leadership was convinced it had the votes for a three-week extension, but that proposal was defeated when more than fifty Republican lawmakers bolted and voted against the bill – and their leaders. Democrats lawmakers then came to the help of the speaker, voting for the one-week extension on what they regard as a tacit understanding that toward the end of this week the House will vote on a “clean” extension of the DHS budget to the end of the fiscal year.

  • Cyber operationsThe CIA bolsters cyber operations

    The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is planning to join the growing list of U.S. intelligence and security agencies which have redefined their missions to include cyber operations — in the CIA’s case, cyber espionage. Current and former agency officials say the new effort will be part of the broad restructuring of an intelligence service long defined by its human spy work. The shift also reflects the increasing role cyber plays in intelligence gathering, with allies and adversaries relying on smartphones, social media, and other technologies to communicate.

  • DHS budgetMcConnell’s DHS budget plan: “No” to 2014 exec. order, “Yes” to 2012 one

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has put forth a plan to avoid a DHS shutdown after Senate Democrats on Monday refused to approve a Republican-backed $40 billion DHS appropriation which would defund President Barack Obama’s 2014 immigration actions in order to fund DHS. McConnell’s plan would eliminate Obama’s 2014 immigration action to extend deportation deferment to some undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents via the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans(DAPA), but allow a similar 2012 planfor younger undocumented immigrants to continue.

  • DHS budgetDHS shutdown would have only limited immediate impact on national security: Analysts

    If Congress fails to act before the 27 February funding deadline, most DHS operations would continue. During the October 2013 government shutdown, 85 percent of DHS employees remained on the job. Just a little over 30,000 of the department’s 230,000 employees, mostly in managerial and administrative positions, were furloughed.

  • CBPCBP IA’s SAREX: Tomsheck’s program goes rogue – Pt. 4

    By Robert Lee Maril

    As Congressional legislation addresses multiple issues involving immigration and border security, Customs and Border Protection Internal Affairs (CBP IA) faces increased scrutiny. The widening scandal at CBP IA, the watchdog agency of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is based upon acrimonious allegations by James Tomsheck against what he labels CBP’s systemic failure to meet professional standards including the proper investigation of criminal behavior by its own employees. According to former CBP IA employees, internal memos, and related government documents and reports, however, it now appears that Tomsheck’s own agency may be guilty of a number of allegations against it. Of particular interest is Tomsheck’s attempt in 2011 and 2012 to fashion the Suspicious Activity Reports Exploitation Initiative (SAREX) program, which at the time appeared as a reasonable strategy to deter CBP employees from corruption and other criminal behavior.

  • DHS budgetSenate Democrats block vote on House’s DHS budget bill

    In late 2014, Republicans decided to fund DHS only through the end of February 2015 in hopes of using further funding request conditioned on defunding the implementation of President Barack Obama’s executive order to halt deportations for many undocumented immigrants. Senate Democrats, on the other hand, are demanding a DHS funding bill which does not interfere with Obama’s immigration plans. On Thursday, for the fourth time, Senate Democrats blocked the Republican move to pass a bill which defunds Obama’s executive order.

  • DHS budgetMost DHS employees would go on working even if budget is not approved

    The critical responsibilities of many DHS components require approximately 200,000 of the agency’s 230,000 employees to continue working even if Congress fails to fund the agency, as most DHS employees perform work considered necessary to protect human life and property. Still, withholding funding for DHS could delay the department’s employees’ paychecks until the shutdown ends.

  • CBPTomsheck’s “July Amnesty”: CBP IA loses hundreds of cases alleging criminal activity by CBP Employees -- Pt.3

    An unprecedented scandal continues to unfold within Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Fueling this scandal are allegations by James F. Tomsheck about the U.S. largest federal law enforcement agency. Further investigation suggests that the “July Amnesty,” initiated in Tomsheck’s CBP IA’s Integrity Programs Division (IPD) headed by Director Janine Corrado and Assistant Director Jeffrey Matta, casts doubt on Tomsheck’s allegations against his CBP superiors. Along with the July Amnesty in 2011 and the alleged discrimination and firing of Navy Lieutenant Commander (Ret.) J. Gregory Richardson in March 2014, there appear to be a number of other events calling Tomsheck’s leadership at CBP IA into question.

  • Critical infrastructureDHS releases the wrong FOIA-requested documents, exposing infrastructure vulnerabilities

    On 3 July 2014, DHS, responding to a Freedom of Information Act(FOIA) request on Operation Aurora, a malware attack on Google, instead released more than 800 pages of documents related to the Aurora Project, a 2007 research effort led by Idaho National Laboratoryto show the cyber vulnerabilities of U.S. power and water systems, including electrical generators and water pumps. The research project found that once these infrastructure systems are infiltrated, a cyberattack can remotely control key circuit breakers, thereby throwing a machine’s rotating parts out of synchronization and causing parts of the system to break down.

  • Secret ServiceExpanding mission, budget cuts, retirements at root of current Secret Service problems

    A series of recent security lapses at the White House may be attributed to an expansion of U.S. Secret Service duties ordered by Congress and the White House during the George W. Bush administration, according to a new DHS review of the agency. Officials familiar with the agency’s administrative inner-workings also note that budget cuts forced the agency to ration services while simultaneously dealing with a wave of early retirements from seasoned staff members.

  • CybersecurityDOJ’s new cyber unit to provide legal guidance on electronic surveillance

    The Justice Department is creating a cybersecurity unit within its Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) to provide legal guidance on electronic surveillance investigations.The unit will also work with Congress on cybersecurity legislation and focus on cybercrime prevention.

  • ImmigrationUSCIS looking to fill 1,000 positions in response to Obama’s executive order

    An internal memo from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) notes that the federal government is seeking to fill 1,000 full-time permanent and temporary positions at a new “operational center” in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia, in response to the Obama administration’s executive actions to allow some five million undocumented immigrants have their deportation deferred, apply for driver’s licenses in most states, and apply for two-year work permits.

  • CBPCBP IA’s Janine Corrado and Jeffrey M. Matta leave agency for new positions

    Janine Corrado and Jeffrey M. Matta are leaving CBP IA to assume other positions outside of CBP IA.Corradowill receive a promotion to the position of Chief of Staff for Gregory Marshall, Chief Security Officer at DHS. Matta will take a position in the Office of Field Operations at CBP. J. Gregory Richardson, who worked at CBP IA, complained that Corrado and Matta ignored his status as a disabled veteran despite extensive documentation of his medical condition.

  • CBPJames F. Tomscheck forced disabled veteran from CBP IA – Pt. 2

    By Robert Lee Maril

    While the details and implications of President Barack Obama’s immigration reforms continue to be closely scrutinized, an unprecedented scandal unfolds within the federal agency charged with providing security and control at our Mexican border. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), a law enforcement agency of 65,000 employees, is potentially facing alarming charges fostered by its former assistant director of Customs and Border Protection Internal Affairs (CBP IA), James F. Tomscheck. Tomscheck, who turned federal whistleblower last summer, lambasted his superiors with multiple accusations. Allegations, however, have arisen against Tomscheck that he knowingly discriminated against a disabled military veteran within CBP IA, then fired him.

  • ImmigrationObama’s executive order will shield 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation

    In the face of bitter protests from Republicans in Congress, President Obama will soon announce that he will be using executive orders to launch a broad overhaul of the U.S. immigration enforcement system. One of the immediate results of the overhaul would be to shield up to five million undocumented immigrants – nearly half of the estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States — from the threat of deportation. The president’s orders will also provide many of these undocumented immigrants with work permits.