Friday morning federal headlines – Nov. 2, 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 CIA is refuting accusations it was slow to respond to a call for help from the Benghazi consulate under attack by terrorists. The agency said it responded within 25 minutes during the Sept. 11 incident. It said it commandeered aircraft and sent in an emergency rescue team. Published reports have said CIA executives told agents in Libya to stand down, after the call for help from the State Department. Speaking anonymously, CIA officials said they were unable to get heavy weapons from Libyan forces, so they went into Benghazi with small arms. Four Americans died in the attack. (Federal News Radio)
  • Maryland lawmakers are urging the Treasury Department to keep 450 jobs in the state. The agency plans to move its Financial Management Service from Hyattsville. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said, at most, one in six of those workers would follow their jobs to Parkersburg, W.Va. They’ve sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. In it, they argued that the department does not have congressional approval to move the staff. Treasury plans to merge the Financial Management Service with the Bureau of Public Debt, already in Parkersburg. Officials said the move would save nearly $100 million over five years. (NTEU)
  • A senior Secret Service agent under federal investigation has reportedly committed suicide. Rafael Prieto had been assigned to President Obama’s security detail. Sources told the Associated Press the married agent was being investigated for failing to disclose a long-standing relationship with a foreign national. His affair was revealed by an agent entangled in the Colombia prostitution scandal earlier this year. That agent thought the Secret Service wasn’t enforcing its rules consistently. (Federal News Radio)
  • Federal Trade Commission staff wants the agency to sue Google over its smartphone-technology patents. Bloomberg News reported the staff has made a formal recommendation to commissioners. They argued that Google was breaking antitrust laws by trying to block imports of competitors’ products. Google has gone to court, saying some competitors’ technology made overseas infringes on its patents. At issue are products like Microsoft’s Xbox and Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The FTC began investigating in June. The commission most likely will wait until after next week’s elections to act but is inclined to go with the recommendation. (Federal News Radio)
  • Guess who’s paying to restore power and provide transportation to the areas most damaged by Hurricane Sandy? You guessd it, the federal government. FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said he’s been told by the president to pay for pumping and transportation operations, and for getting power restored. The federal government usually pays for 75 percent of disaster cleanup. But in dire, life-threatening situations, it can pay 100 percent. The Defense Department is using 17 aircraft to fly power generation equipment and crews from California to New York. (Federal News Radio)
  • Government auditors have a new assignment: find out if children are eating school lunches. Republican House Education and Workforce Committee leaders are asking the Government Accountability Office more broadly to find out how schools are implementing a new law. The law updates nutritional standards for meals that the federal government subsidizes. It requires school cafeterias to serve fruits, veggies and follow calorie restrictions. Auditors’ challenge: find out whether school districts are having trouble finding healthy foods that children will eat, whether fewer students are buying the meals and whether they’re throwing more away. (House)