Friday Morning Federal Newscast – July 9

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear unveiled a list of 20 projects they’ll review under a new policy. Part of that includes finding ways to reduce cost and align development more closely with business needs. In late June, OMB directed agencies to delay plans for new contracts and task orders associated with the projects.

  • Health and Human Services has proposed updated rules for health information privacy. The new rules give would give citizens more access to their own records and ban sale of health information without a patient’s consent. The rules would update the regulations governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. They were issued in a 234-page notice of rulemaking in Thursday’s Federal Register.
  • A coalition of police, fire and other public safety officials disputes a Federal Communications Commission plan for a nationwide emergency response network. In a white paper published yesterday, the Public Safety Alliance said the FCC plan would not provide enough bandwidth. The FCC has proposed devoting 10 megahertz to public safety, and auctioning off the D-block spectrum to commercial wireless providers. The Alliance counters, its members need both pieces of spectrum. It calls the FCC plan a misguided policy framework, NextGov reports.
  • EADS North America has made its case for why it should get that $35 billion contract to build midair refueling tankers for the Air Force. The company submitted a hefty bid Thursday — almost 9-thousand pages — one day ahead of today’s deadline. EADS is betting that its Airbus A-330 will beat out rival Boeing’s smaller 767. The Pentagon is expected to award the contract by November 12
  • The president has nominated a new leader for military operations the middle east. If the Senate approves, Marine Corps General James Mattis would take over U-S Central Command. He would replace Army General David Petreaus, who was just sworn in as the commander of U-S and allied forces in Afghanistan. Petreaus replaces General Stanley McChrystal, who was resigned after publicly criticizing the administration.
  • Congressional investigators accuse Afghanistan military contractors of stonewalling an investigation into who really owns the companies. A subpoena went out from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to two fuel suppliers, Red Star Enterprises and Mina Corporation. The companies have received billions of dollars. The investigation of them started in May, after a revolt in Kyrgyzstan. Wall Street Journal reports, investigators want to know if the companies have to the toppled president’s family, as claimed by the new regime.
  • The government is making it easier for combat veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to receive disability benefits. Veterans Affairs Department will no longer require veterans to prove what might have triggered their illness. Instead, they’ll simply have to show they served in combat in a job that might have contributed to post-traumatic stress disorder. An announcement from VA is expected Monday. A Rand Corporation study estimated that 20 percent of returning veterans, or 300,000 men and women, have symptoms of PTSD or major depression.
  • The Department of Defense is distributing a survey to active-duty and reserve troops about the possible repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” The Pentagon wants to study the potential impact of repealing the military’s gay ban. Results of the online survey are to be included in a final report to the President, the Defense Secretary, and the Join Chiefs Chairman by December 1.
  • It didn’t take long for someone to crack the code. The characters that appear in the gold ring on the official seal of the U.S. Cyber Command represents the group’s mission statement. Antivirus vendor Panda Security’s threat researcher Sean-Paul Correll says MD5 is a 128-bit cryptographic hash that is commonly used for verifying file integrity. TopNews reports that Correll was able to crack the code in only a few minutes, using a clue on’s Danger Room blog.
  • Terrorist information sharing between Europe and the United States is starting up again. The European Parliament approved a deal allowing sensitive financial data to be shared with U.S. counterterrorism officials. The system shut down in January, and the Obama administration had trying to get it restarted ever since. The parliament earlier voted down use of the system, citing privacy concerns. The yea vote comes after months of negotiations with the European Council and the European Commission, according to the Wall Street Journal. The president called the Bush-era information sharing program, indispensible.
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency says PACE is risky and unadvisable. The guidance backs up concerns by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about the Property Assessed Clean Energy program. PACE is one way the White House is encouraging homeowners to perform home energy upgrades without as much upfront cost. The projects would be paid for with local bonds, and assessed as liens on homes. This was troublesome to Fannie and Freddie, and now the FHFA has released its assessment, saying that the programs are a “significant risk” to lenders. It expressed concerns about the long-term nature of PACE loans and said they could affect mortgage valuations.
  • Federal News Radio told you that WiSpy would be coming up on Capitol Hill. Consumer Watchdog InsideGoogle claims that 19 members of Congress have homes pictured on Google’s Street View. InsideGoogle suggests that the lawmakers’ WiFi networks may have been scanned. The consumer group is calling for immediate hearings. Google admits it mistakenly collected information, transmitted over unsecured wireless networks, as its cars filmed locations for mapping purposes. Google says the problem began in 2006.

  • More news links

  • More Seniors to Receive One-Time Donut Hole Rebate Checks
  • National Archives Announces Launch of New “Our Archives” Wiki
  • Defense secretary stands behind new media rules
  • Legal Group: Gays shouldn’t answer Pentagon survey
  • Ahead of the Bell: Wholesale Inventories
  • Summary Box: Jobless report pushes rates higher


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