Friday Morning Federal Newscast – October 29th

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 users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • For the first time, the federal government has published the entire annual intelligence budget. It was a little more than $80 billion for 2010. $27 billion went to military intelligence. And more than $53 billion went to the CIA and some of the other 16 intelligence agencies. The new national intelligence director, James Clapper, pushed for making the budget public during his confirmation hearings.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency’s largest campus is making its workers sick. The million square foot facility in Research Triangle Park has been plagued with worker complaints of health problems since it opened in 2002. A supervisor memo went out yesterday promising to address problems of mold and other contaminants. WRAL-TV and student reporters at American University School of Communication obtained a 2009 study confirming consistent employee complaints of difficulty breathing, chest pain, and eye irritation. Dust in the buildings on the North Carolina campus has been found to contain metal and glass. The EPA’s main job there is to study air pollution.
  • A federal judge has denied a protest of the new Medical Command Headquarter’s lease in Fairfax. The Washington Business Journal reports that EREH Phase One protested GSA’s award of the 644,000-square-foot lease to GBA Associates. EREH argued that GBA couldn’t deliver the space needed for the Defense Department lease. The company also claimed that the General Services Administration didn’t inspect the site well enough because it is in a flood plain as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The protest was denied, the case has been sealed and the judge’s order is being redacted.
  • The National Archives says it’s cooperating with a theft investigation. FBI agents searched the home of a retired Archives employee earlier this week. The case remains under court seal, so officials wouldn’t say whether any items were seized. A Marshals Service spokesman tells TBD that Leslie Waffen has not been charged with a crime. Waffen led the motion picture, sound and video unit before retiring in June. The search came as two government audits found problems with the Archives’ record management and security.
  • The same gun was used in all three recent shootings aimed at military facilities. The FBI says it reached this conclusion based on ballistics analysis by its lab in Quantico. Since October 17, shots have been fired at three Virginia locations — the Pentagon, the Marine Corps Museum in Triangle, and a vacant Marine recruiting office in Chantilly. In all three instances, the shots occurred outside of regular business hours. No one was hurt, and authorities so far have no suspects.
  • The Air Force has stopped vaccinating against anthrax, reportedly because airmen were receiving expired vaccines. It’s not clear how many people were affected. But reports the stand-down will remain until treatment centers can confirm the vaccine they have is current. Those centers will also need to ensure that anyone working with the vaccines reviews the instructions for using them.
  • The IRS has decided how much you can put into your TSP in 2011: $16,500. That contribution limit is the same as the one for 2010. Catch-up contribution limits also remain unchanged at $5,500. Pension plan ceilings have increased a bit, because of inflation.
  • Residents of Earth have company. Maybe lots of company. In the form of neighbors. Two astronomers estimate there are tens of billions of planets in the Milky Way galaxy. Any of them might support life. Andrew Howard and Geoffrey Marcy of the University of California at Berkeley, concluded that small, earth-sized exoplanets outnumber large ones. Their research was funded by NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory and published in the journal Science. The magazine reports, NASA hopes its Keppler space probe will be able to actually see some of the planets and send pictures to *our* Earth.

More news links

Pentagon says intel contractors went too far


Napolitano: Military to aid civilian cybersecurity

TSA rolling out new pat-down technique at airports

FBI: Same gun used in military-related shootings


Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

** Technology has changed many of our lives. We’re going to tell you about Apps 4 Africa. It’s an effort to use technology to transform the African continent. The State Department has given it’s support. We’ll talk to one of the creators.

** And is the Smithsonian haunted? It may have been. We’ll talk to the Smithsonian’s historian about the museum’s goblins.

Join Chris from 3 to 7 pm on 1500 AM or on your computer.