The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Amy Morris discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.
President Obama has proposed a two-year pay freeze for federal employees. The pay freeze would apply to all civilian employees. It would not affect bonuses or step increases. The White House says the freeze would save $2 billion in fiscal 2011 and $5 billion over the next two years. The proposal has drawn criticism from federal employee unions, who say federal employees are being unfairly targeted. It must be approved by Congress.
A new poll says most Americans overwhelmingly prefer the option to cut federal services to reduce budget deficits — until it’s time to make specific cuts. The Associated Press-CNBC Poll finds little agreement on the particulars – and a wariness to change Social Security and Medicare, which together take up a third of the annual federal budget.
The debate over gays serving openly in the military could intensify today after the Pentagon’s study on “don’t ask, don’t tell” is released. Officials familiar with the results of the 10-month study have said a clear majority of respondents don’t care if gays serve openly. Some 70 percent of those who surveyed predict that lifting the ban would have positive, mixed or no results.
There’s about to be an information “big chill” in the federal government. After the latest WikiLeaks revelations, making public hundreds of thousands of private diplomatic cables, the government is reversing almost a decade of post-Sept. 11 efforts to get U.S. officials to share sensitive documents. The Pentagon is detailing new security safeguards, including restraints on small computer flash drives that would make it harder for any one person to copy and reveal so many secrets. One official in contact with military and diplomatic staff in Iraq says the State Department and other agencies are tightening information-sharing and restricting access between the Army and nonmilitary agencies. Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder says the government is mounting a criminal investigation, raising the prospect of criminal prosecution against WikiLeaks.
The federal government is zeroing in on Internet websites to curtail the illegal sale of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works. Attorney General Eric Holder says law enforcement authorities have seized 82 domain names of commercial websites, disrupting the sale of thousands of counterfeit items such as sports equipment and illegal copies of music and software. Government lawyers went to court in Cleveland to seize domain names for five web sites operating in China. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton says the government is turning the tables on counterfeiters who prowl the back alleys of the Internet.
Justice Department inspector general Glenn Fine will step down in January. Fine spent 10 years of critiquing some of the agency’s most controversial actions. He was Inspector General during an especially tumultuous time for the Justice Department. During the Bush administration, he criticized some department tactics in the war on terror and the politically tainted firings of U.S. attorneys. Fine says it is time to pursue new professional challenges.
A Baltimore man who embezzled nearly a million dollars from the federal government is going to prison. James Clay Whitson was convicted of pocketing money that was supposed to pay for maintenance work at the National Archives and Records Administration. From July 2002 to September 2006, Whitson and a co-conspirator billed companies for work that was never done, or work that was done at a lower rate. Both men were sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay back all the money – over $900,000 – in restitution.
Apple is looking to make a bigger foray into the federal IT sector. Washington Technology reports that the company has reached out to systems integrators, including Chantilly-based Agilex and Unisys, to sell its products for wider government and commercial use. Agilex is the first government-focused contractor in the program.
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-10 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.