Tuesday morning federal headlines – Sept. 11, 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 Agriculture Department once again is buying meat from a California slaughterhouse it had investigated for animal cruelty. The department says Central Valley Meat has made improvements after an undercover video showed workers kicking and shocking downed cows. The Food Safety and Inspection Service says there’s no evidence sick cattle made it into the food supply. However the agency plans quarterly audits at the facility for at least the next year. The Department buys meat to supply school lunch and other food programs. (Associated Press)
  • The Treasury Department says the government is making money from its bailout of the insurance company AIG. It expects to earn a profit of more than $12 billion after selling a big portion of its company shares, and becoming a minority shareholder for the first time. The government will own about one-fifth of the company’s shares. The government’s bailout of AIG was the biggest rescue of a Wall Street firm, pledging $182 billion to prop up the company. Overall, the government has recovered about 80 percent of the money it spent through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the best-known of recession-era financial bailout programs.(Federal News Radio)
  • The Federal Protective Service is again taking heat for what not doing enough to to safeguard government buildings. The Government Accountability Office says FPS has failed to follow standards for measuring risks at federal facilities. Auditors say the agency has been relying on information about contracts and countermeasures instead of actually conducting risk assessments. GAO also faults the agency for ongoing problems with oversight of more than 12,000 contracted guards. FPS has been under fire for years because of management problems.(GAO)
  • Defense contractors say in just a few months they may have to tell employees that they could lose their jobs. That’s if Congress does not pass a law to avoid sequestration. They also warned that their small-business suppliers would feel the brunt of the automatic spending cuts. Thirteen defense executives responded to letters from GOP senators and Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut. The lawmakers are trying to ratchet up the political pressure. They want Congress and the president to halt the automatic spending cuts but no action is expected until after the election.(Federal News Radio)
  • The National Institutes of Health is changing its acquisition leadership. Mary Armstead will become associate director of the acquisition management office beginning in October. She’ll oversee contracting, credit card programs and blanket purchase agreements. She’ll also run the financial management division. Armstead comes to the job from the NIHIT Acquisition and Assessment Center. She has worked in government for 40 years. (Federal News Radio)
  • The FBI promised “martyrdom payments” of up to $1,000 a month to a terrorism suspect. Alexandria resident Amine El-Khalifi eventually said he would kill himself in a plot to bomb the Capitol. He pled guilty in June and will be sentenced Friday. It’s just one of several FBI sting operations targeting so-called “homegrown terrorists.” But the agency is not saying whether it promised martyrdom payments in any of the other cases. The defense lawyers say they do not believe the FBI actions constitute entrapment.(Federal News Radio)
  • The House is preparing to reauthorize a post Sept. 11 law that makes it easier for federal agents to eavesdrop on conversations. The FISA Amendments Act lets the government read emails and listen in on phone calls without a warrant. The White House has made it a top priority. But some Democrats say the program is cloaked in secrecy.The Director of National Intelligence recently admitted that agents had used the FISA Amendments Act to spy on law-abiding Americans and had violated their constitutional rights at least once.(White House)