Federal Drive interviews – Nov. 9

Maureen MarionNortheast Area Communications Manager, Postal Service

Last week, many postal workers in northern New Jersey and New York City were trying to do their jobs in post offices with no lights or power. Others were setting up makeshift offices where social security recipients could pick up their checks. Marion is joining us again with an update on her region, nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy.

Read more:

Postal workers take ‘extraordinary measures’ to deliver mail after Sandy


Chris InglisDeputy Director, National Security Agency

The National Security Agency is celebrating a birthday. This week it turns 60. And, after six decades, the agency is ready to spill some secrets. It’s marking its anniversary with a special exhibit at the National Cryptologic Museum. And it’s put out a history of the agency.

Colleen KelleyPresident, National Treasury Employees Union, National Treasury Employees Union

The Nation Treasury Employees Union union has announced it will match donations to a fund that is helping feds in the areas that have been devastated by Superstorm Sandy. NTEU will match $25,000 dollars in donations to the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund.

Ed ZurndorferRegistered Employee Benefit Consultant

As the holidays approach, now is the time of year when we start to think about those less fortunate than us. That’s even truer this year with the recent devastation left by Sandy. But how do you tell all different options for giving apart and how do you maximize your charitable gift? Zurndorfer has some tips.

Stephen RamaleyAssociate Attorney, Centre Law Group

The Postal Service and Northrop Grumman are locked in a bitter contract dispute over mail sorting equipment. The contract dates to 2007. Northrop sued USPS for $179 million earlier this year, saying the agency was interfering with its ability to get the work done on time. Now the Postal Service has counter-sued. It wants nearly $400 million in damages. Ramaley has advice on how agencies can avoid this sort of thing.


DoD Report

The Iranian military attacked a U.S. drone in international waters, Pentagon spokesman George Little has confirmed. An Iranian aircraft fired on the drone as it flew over the Arabian Gulf on Nov. 1. The drone suffered no damage and returned to its base. Little confirmed that both Congress and White House were told about the incident. He said the U.S. had responded to Iran through its Swiss diplomatic contacts…but did not elaborate. This is the first time a drone has been shot at in international airspace. (Defense Department)

The Navy is punishing members of its elite SEALs team for sharing classified information with a video-game maker. As penalties, seven SEALS have received reprimands and partial forfeiture of pay for two months. That could kill their hopes for career advancement. The Navy is investigating four other SEALs. The video game is “Medal of Honor: Warfighter.” Officials say the punishment tells the entire force: members are held to high standards of accountability. (Associated Press)

Cybersecurity Update

It’s only been out a week, but already Windows 8 is getting security patches from Microsoft. The company will send six bulletins for a variety of new and not-so-new products in its next monthly Patch Tuesday. Four of them are rated as critical. Search Security.com reports some of the bulletins will include fixes for Windows 8. Paul Henry, an analyst at Lumension Security, says that while new software is never perfect, this patch looks ugly for Microsoft’s brand new flagship operating system. Tuesday’s patch-fest also has fixes for old products, such as the Windows XP Service Pack. (SearchSecurity.com)

Securities and Exchange Commission staff responsible for overseeing cybersecurity on Wall Street have failed to take their own advice. Reuters reports the agency’s inspector general is releasing a damaging report on the agency’s Trading and Markets division. The office is supposed to make sure stock exchanges follow cybersecurity guidelines to protect the markets. But the report says its employees were not protecting their computers. They failed to encrypt sensitive information. Some staff even brought unprotected devices to a hackers’ convention. The agency has begun disciplinary actions against the employees. It also has notified stock exchanges. The New York Stock Exchange is demanding a full explanation. (Reuters)