Federal Drive interviews – September 24

This is the Federal Drive show blog. Here you can listen to the interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day and links to additional resources.

Today’s guests:

Stephen KohnExecutive director, National Whistleblowers Center


The IRS paid former banker Bradley Birkenfeld $104 million for reporting fraud at his company. But what did the government get for its money? In Birkenfeld’s case, his former employer Swiss banking giant UBS agreed to pay $780 million and to turn over information on Americans with secret accounts. The IRS has recovered $5 billion in back taxes and penalties so far. Steve Kohn is Birkenfeld’s attorney and he discusses whether whistleblower rewards are worth the money.

Michael TinsleyCEO, Neosystems

January’s across-the-board spending cuts are fast approaching. And contractors need to have a game plan in case they lose their biggest customer. That’s according to Michael Tinsley, the CEO of Neosystems. He’s written a column in Washington Technology offering seven tips to survive sequestration. His suggestions range from when to tell employees of impending layoffs to how to develop contingency plans.

Naba Barkakati Chief Technologist, GAO

The government has jumped on the mobile bandwagon. It’s got a mobile strategy, a Bring-Your-Own Device plan, mobile app code-a-thons, and telework options. But there’s a dark side to today’s cyber world, and that is the growing cybersecurity threat. The Government Accountability Office looked at federal efforts to promote better security in the mobile world. Naba Barkakati explains why the GAO initiated its investigation and what advice GAO has for Homeland Security, Commerce and the FCC.

Also on the show:

Former Soviet bloc hackers pose greater threat, study says

DoD applies tighter scrutiny to business IT spending

$40M check to pay for transportation improvements

Alcatel-Lucent agrees to pay $4.2M to settle fraud claims