Tuesday morning federal headlines – Oct. 9, 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 State Department is publicly disputing an Army officer in charge of security in Libya. Green Beret Lt. Col. Andy Wood said the State Department didn’t act on a request to extend a security detail this past August. Less than two weeks later, a terrorist attack in Benghazi left four Americans dead. Wood said that Ambassador Chris Stevens, one of those killed in the attack, had wanted the security team to stay past its scheduled departure date. A State Department spokesman told the Associated Press that such a request was never made. Woods has been subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which plans hearings on the attack. The attack took place on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Federal News Radio)
  • When a daredevil skydiver attempts a historic jump today, NASA will be watching for clues that could help make astronauts safer. Feliz Baumgartner hopes to break world records with the highest, fastest free-fall in history: a 23-mile drop over New Mexico. That’s more than three times the average cruising altitude for jetliners. Baumgartner’s medical director is a NASA surgeon who lost his wife, an astronaut, in the 2003 Columbia accident. Dr. Jonathan Clark said no one knows what happens to a body when it breaks the sound barrier, yet. He said Baumgartner’s pressurized spacesuit should protect him. It could lead to a new generation of protective gear and show how astronauts can escape spacecraft at 120,000 feet. View the jump as it happens here. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration made two, year-end contract awards to insure completion of major projects. It gave a seven-month extension to Booz Allen Hamilton to finish the Treasury Report on Receivables dashboard. It’s designed to help CFOs comply with the Debt Collection Improvement Act. The extension is worth $280,000. GSA also gave Deloitte a seven-month extension. That company will complete a management plan for GSA’s Human Resources shared service center. Deloitte will receive $549,000. The Federal Acquisition Institute issued a new request for proposals. It’s looking for a contractor to provide training for contract officers. (Federal News Radio)
  • Lawmakers said a meningitis scare showed the nation needs a tougher Food and Drug Administration. Health officials said as many as 13,000 people in 23 states may be at risk. They received steroid shots that could have been contaminated with fungus that causes meningitis. A so-called “compounding pharmacy” in New England produced the drugs without patient prescriptions. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said such facilities operate in a “regulatory black hole.” He suggested stricter scrutiny by the FDA could have prevented the outbreak. (CDC)
  • Passenger screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport have received failing grades for their work. The Transportation Security Administration sent so-called secret shoppers to Newark observe screeners. Its report was obtained by the Newark Star Ledger, which published it yesterday. It says standard pat-downs were performed properly only 16 percent of the time. In no cases did screeners advise passengers of their rights to skip the pat-down and be screened by electronic scanners instead. The observations took place in June. Since then, the paper reports have been working their way up the Homeland Security Department chain of command. (Newark Star Ledger)
  • A former top executive at a USAID contractor has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $1 million from the agency’s global health fund. Mark Adams admitted that he used his position to submit and approve false invoices. He and his wife spent the money to renovate their home and buy luxury cars. Adams faces more than four years in prison. His wife has agreed to serve home confinement. (Federal News Radio)