Tuesday Afternoon Federal Newscast – May 4

The Afternoon Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Daily Debrief hosts Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris discuss throughout their show each day. The Newscast is designed to give FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The FBI is investigating the suspect in last weekend’s failed Times Square car bombing for possible ties to terrorist groups, President Barack Obama said Tuesday. Speaking hours after a suspect was pulled off a plane about to depart for the Middle East, Obama said “justice will be done” in the incident. The president said “hundreds of lives” may have been saved through quick action by ordinary citizens and local, state and federal authorities on Saturday night.
  • The sea calmed Tuesday, helping efforts to fight a massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico but providing scant comfort for people along beaches and bayous waiting anxiously to find out when and where the mess might come ashore. Coast Guard spokesman David Mosley said Tuesday that rig operator BP PLC would continue trying to cap the leak and authorities hoped to dump chemicals from an airplane to help break up the sheen. The uncertainty has been trying for people who live along a swath of the Gulf from Louisiana to Florida. The undersea well has been spewing 200,000 gallons a day since an April 20 explosion aboard the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon that killed 11 workers. The rig was owned by Transocean Ltd.
  • The Obama administration says it’s making $775 million available to local transit agencies to upgrade bus service, including buying new vehicles, retrofitting others and modernizing bus facilities. The money comes as transit agencies across the country lay off workers and cut service, mostly because of declines in local and state tax revenue. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday the money will help transit agencies address a backlog of repairs and delayed maintenance, “but we still have a long way to go.”
  • The Clear program, which allowed members to breeze through airport security before it abruptly shut down last year, is expected to be up and running again by the fall. The company was taken over by Alclear LLC, whose board includes Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Alclear bought Clear’s former owner, Verified Identity Pass, which filed for bankruptcy. When the program shut down in June, there was a lot of concern among members because of the sensitive personal data they volunteered in exchange for quick passage through security gates. Although the former owner, Verified Identity Pass, was private, Clear had to report personal information to the Transportation Security Administration. The data is currently stored by a large unnamed security company. Former Clear customers will soon be sent a notice, asking if they want their personal data transferred to Alclear. If not, the data will be destroyed.
  • A federal safety panel says the pilot made the right choice to ditch US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River last year, even though he could have made it back to New York’s LaGuardia Airport. National Transportation Safety Board is releasing documents Tuesday related to the incident as it tries to draw safety lessons. The documents show that if pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger had immediately attempted to return to LaGuardia after ingesting geese into both engines the Airbus A320 would have made it _ barely. That scenario would have required Sullenberger to make an immediate decision with little or no time to assess the situation. The documents say Sullenberger would have had no way of knowing that he would be successful, and therefore would have been risking the possibility of a catastrophic crash in a densely populated area.
  • NASA’s chief of staff is stepping down. Space.com reports that George Whitesides, chief of staff to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will be replaced starting May 10 by David Radzanowski, a former White House Office of Management and Budget official who joined NASA in 2006. Whitesides served on President Barack Obama’s NASA transition team and was one of the president’s first political appointees to the agency.
  • Federal regulators plan to examine whether Apple Inc. is violating antitrust rules by requiring software developers to use Apple programming tools to create applications for the iPhone and iPad. A person with knowledge of the inquiry tells The Associated Press that officials at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are sorting out which agency will examine Apple’s policy. The policy could prevent developers from using outside tools such as those from Adobe Systems Inc. to design apps for Apple’s devices.