Tuesday morning federal headlines – June 26, 2012

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp 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.

  • The Postal Service is plowing more money into its pension fund than it has to. That’s putting a crimp in its ability to operate in the black. The latest report from the Postal Service inspector general recommends management try again to get help from Congress. Neither management nor the Office of Personnel Management has the authority to change the pension payment setup. The IG found, the Postal Services has overfunded its pensions by $13.1 billion. The IG said, returning those surpluses would help the Postal Service manage its current fiscal crisis. (Federal News Radio)
  • The FBI has a new associate deputy director. Kevin Perkins, a 26-year bureau veteran, will oversee personnel, budget, administration and infrastructure. He replaces Thomas Harrington, who is retiring. Perkins is executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Cyber Response and Services Branch. He’s also been the bureau’s chief financial officer. He joined in 1986 as a special agent in Kansas City, later becoming special agent in charge of the Baltimore division. (Federal News Radio)
  • The government is paying crime-ridden communities to hire veterans and turn them into police officers. The Justice Department handed out more than $111 million to public safety agencies as part of its Vets-to-Cops grant program. It says the money will save or create about 800 positions. Only veterans who have served since Sept. 11, 2001, can apply. One in eight of them is unemployed. The grants are targeted toward communities with financial problems and high crime rates. Grantees include Boston, Chicago, Atlanta and Akron, Ohio. (White House)
  • The Justice Department has set up a hotline telephone number and e-mail box for the public in the aftermath of a Supreme Court decision. Citizens can use the hotlines to report potential civil rights violations in Arizona. The court ruled that police may legally check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons. But the court said the law should be enforced in a way that avoids long detentions. And, that the police couldn’t stop people only for the purpose of checking immigration status. (Federal News Radio)
  • Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will make the record books this week with her visit to eastern Europe. USA Today reported her Thursday visit to Latvia will mark the 100th country she has traveled to during her tenure. That breaks former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s previous record of 96 countries and surpasses her immediate predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, who went to only 88 countries. But, while former Secretary Rice visited fewer countries, she traveled more, logging more than 1 million miles as the nation’s top diplomat. Clinton has yet to reach 800,000. Secretary Clinton credits good stamina and interesting work with helping her recover from jet lag. (USA Today)
  • The director of national intelligence has taken steps to try and stop leaks of classified information. James R. Clapper says polygraph tests used by intelligence agencies will now include a question about unauthorized disclosure. The inspector general for the intelligence community will now lead independent investigations turned down by the Justice Department. Clapper’s moves come after several high-profile leaks. Some concerned U.S. involvement in cyber attacks on Iran. The Justice Department has named two U.S. Attorneys to look into those leaks. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Social Security Administration has launched a large-scale project to speed up disability decisions by going digital. It has partnered with health provider Kaiser Permanente to exchange data using electronic health records. Currently, Kaiser patients file paperwork with Social Security, and the agency faxes it to Kaiser to verify. Kaiser has to route it through its nationwide system and send it back to Social Security. The electronic exchange automates the process. Officials said it should improve accuracy as well as speed. Social Security requests about 70,000 patient files from Kaiser a year, making this its largest health IT program. (SSA)
  • Despite lots of talk about making the federal workforce more reflective of the nation’s diversity, it looks pretty much the same as it’s been. The latest report from the Office of Personnel Management shows women and minorities made modest gains, but some are calling those numbers “grim.” Advocates note Latino representation has inched up 0.1 percent in four years to 8.1 percent of the federal workforce. Councils, tiger-teams and executive orders have all tried to encourage agencies to hire and retain more Latinos in hopes of catching up to the private sector. But this report is based on statistics that came out several months before agencies created diversity strategies. (OPM)