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

  • Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) is asking the Government Accountability Office to review NASA’s export control policies. Broun is chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. In a letter to GAO, Broun cites allegations that NASA let unapproved individuals have access to sensitive technology. He doesn’t elaborate but mentions an investigation at Ames Research Center. (House)
  • The Transportation Security Administration is quietly removing controversial full-body scanners at major airports. Replacement machines produce a cartoon-like outline of the person they’re scanning rather than a blurry naked image. TSA said it’s not making the switch to ease passengers’ concerns. Rather, TSA said, the new technology will speed up security lines. Look for the new machines in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Charlotte and Orlando. The swap is mandated by a new law, but TSA has not said when it would tackle machines at other airports. (Federal News Radio)
  • Internet infrastructure company VeriSign doesn’t expect its oversight of the dot-com registry to be interrupted. That’s despite the fact that a Commerce Department review of a new contract will not be completed before Nov. 30. That’s when Verisign’s contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers expires. ICANN has renewed the contract, but it must get the seal of approval from the federal government. Versign is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the vast dot-com registry. The company reports the domain grew by more than 1.3 million names in the last quarter. Active dot-com and dot-net domains number nearly 120 million. (VeriSign)
  • The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Homeland Security Department over photo restrictions at the U.S. border. The civil rights group says the policy stops people from documenting possible misconduct by the feds. ALCU contends it violates Americans’ rights to free speech and against illegal search and seizure. Customs and Border Protection had no immediate comment on the lawsuit or its policy on taking photos. ALCU has accused customs agents of harassing and abusing legal border-crossers along the southern border. (Federal News Radio)
  • A former Health and Human Services Department employee will spend six months in prison for misuse of a government charge card. Jihan S. Cover went on a spending spree to the tune of $114,000, buying personal items. She admitted to trying to cover her tracks by disputing some of the credit card transactions. Cover was a purchasing agent. She was sentenced in a U.S. district court in North Carolina. Besides six months in the slammer, Cover will have six months of home confinement, and she’ll have to make restitution to HHS. (Justice Department)
  • House Republicans are taking the White House to task for letting a deadline slip. They’ve asked for a meeting next week with key members of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The office was supposed to publish a list of regulations called the Spring 2012 Unified Agenda. Spring has come and gone, summer too. The lawmakers suspect the White House is waiting until after the election for political purposes. They say the meeting should lay those questions to rest. (House)