Tuesday morning federal headlines – Sept. 4, 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.

  • Publication of a book about the Navy Seal raid that killed Osama Bin Laden will go on. That’s despite a warning by the Pentagon it will sue the author. With the warning, the publisher moved up the publishing date a week. The book comes out today. “No Easy Day” has already become this week’s top seller on Amazon. The book is written by former Seal Matt Bissonette, who participated in the raid. The Pentagon has said Bissonette might be in violation of his non-disclosure agreement. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration’s inspector general found no evidence of extravagant expenses at a Nashville conference. But the tactics used by IG Brian Miller’s staff have left some GSA employees resentful. During the event, an IG special agent allegedly pounded on the hotel room door of a GSA employee, late at night, demanding information. The agent used a hotel guard to find out which room David Shea was staying in. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) asked for the investigation of the SmartPay Training Conference. He mistakenly thought GSA had hired a steamboat for entertainment. (Federal News Radio)
  • A solicitation for ammunition by the Social Security Administration has sparked dark theories on Internet sites. Social Security said it’s purchasing 174,000 rounds of ammunition for its inspector general staff. Federal IGs have law enforcement authority. At Social Security, they make about 600 arrests every year. A spokesman said most of the ammunition is used at the shooting range. One conspiracy-oriented website speculated the agency was preparing for civil unrest. (Federal News Radio)
  • A senior appointee at Immigration and Customs Enforcement has stepped down amid allegations of misconduct. ICE Chief of Staff Suzanne Barr called the allegations “unfounded” in her resignation letter on Saturday. But she said she didn’t want the case to distract from ICE’s mission. She had previously taken an administrative leave. The Department of Homeland Security is being sued by a top ICE agent who said Barr made inappropriate advances toward male subordinates. Several ICE employees have come forward to support the claim. Barr was a long-time aide to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Barack Obama is telling the Veteran Affairs Department to step up its mental health care efforts. In a new executive order, Obama directs the VA to hire more staff. The agency is to boost the capacity of its veterans’ crisis hotline by 50 percent, and it must make appointments for veterans in distress within 24 hours. Plus, the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services and Education are supposed to help VA develop a strategy to improve early diagnosis and treatment of two of the most common mental health problems: post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The order comes amid an increase in suicides among service members. (Federal News Radio)
  • The State Department is still investigating the terrorist attack in Pakistan that targeted U.S. staff. Ambassador Richard Hoagland said local security forces saved the lives of two diplomats and two local employees who worked at the U.S. consulate in Peshawar. Some of the injured were airlifted to a hospital in Islamabad. The New York Times reported that the State Department knows Peshawar is a dangerous area. It limits U.S. staff to short tours of duty and prohibits them from fraternizing with locals. Two people were killed and more than a dozen injured in the attack. (The New York Times)
  • Auto theft may not be that uncommon in Detroit. But what if that vehicle belongs to the Secret Service? Detroit Police have a recovered a stolen truck that was being rented by the Secret Service detail for Vice President Joe Biden. Biden was in Detroit for a Labor Day event. A Secret Service spokesman said there were no weapons in the truck but declined to say whether any other equipment was stolen. Police have now recovered the truck, which had been abandoned in a field about three miles from the vice president’s hotel. (Federal News Radio)