Friday morning federal headlines – Oct. 12, 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 users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The new State Department point man for Libya has arrived in Tripoli to take control of the embassy. Laurence Pope, a career foreign service officer returning from retirement, replaces Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in an attack on a compound in Benghazi last month. Pope speaks Arabic and served the State Department for 31 years. He was ambassador to Chad and director of counter-terrorism. Pope will serve as charge d’affairs until the Obama administration nominates a new ambassador. (Federal News Radio)
  • One inspector general is saying an outside group has been too quick to accuse his office of wasteful spending.The Homeland Security Department IG said Cause of Action “mischaracterized” about $700,000 in spending. Acting IG Charles Edwards said that money was for employee bonuses and performance incentives. He noted that his office has more than 700 workers. The ITG said he tried to tell the group that the money was not spent on trinkets, but the group did not correct its report. We spoke with Cause of Action’s executive director Dan Epstein yesterday about that report. It detailed federal spending on i-Phones, lapel pins and other commemorative and promotional items. (DHS)
  • Crowdsourcing and challenges are all the rage nowadays, as agencies seek fresh ideas from the public through social media and the Internet. Now, USAID is hoping those trends can help solve the complex problem of human trafficking. The agency has launched a campus challenge to alert university students worldwide about trafficking. Officials also hoped to hear new, creative ideas for stopping it. The website challenge — — invites students to discuss trafficking online. USAID is also running a contest for tech solutions to combat trafficking. (USAID)
  • The Food and Drug Administration said it didn’t have clear authority to act against the company that produced fungus-tainted steroid injections. And it said a confused tangle of laws means Massachusetts officials had the same problem. Deborah Autor, deputy FDA commissioner for global operations and policy, said the nation’s regulatory apparatus needed updating to handle the compounding industry. The steroid in question is blamed for 14 deaths. It was produced by the now-closed New England Compounding Company. The Washington Post reported that FDA noted problems with the company back in 2006. (The Washington Post)
  • Employees at three federal agencies may have to move sooner than expected. The Washington Business Journal reported the General Services Administration has inked a deal to relocate the Federal Trade Commission, National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The three agencies will move into Constitution Center at 400 7th St., S.W. NEA and NEH are moving from the Old Post Office Building in Northwest, probably in early 2014. Donald Trump has bought it and plans to turn it into a hotel. The FTC will keep its headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue but give up leased space elsewhere in the District. (The Washington Business Journal)