Tuesday morning federal headlines – Nov. 13, 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 FBI agent looking into emails between female acquaintances of former CIA chief David Petraeus became obsessed with the case. So much so, he was barred from working on it last summer. The Wall Street Journal reports, the agent continued anyway, blabbing details to members of Congress. The Journal’s sources would not name the agent. The agent was familiar with Jill Kelley, the recipient of e-mails from Petraeus mistress Paula Broadwell. The agent emailed shirtless pictures of himself to Kelley, according to the Journal. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, commander of forces in Afghanistan, is the latest leader to come under investigation. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Pentagon investigators are looking at 30,000 pages of emails between Allen and Jill Kelley. Kelley is the so-called social liaison who is said to have received threatening emails from Paula Broadwell. Broadwell is the biographer who had an extramarital affair with CIA Director David Petraeus, who resigned Friday. Petraeus preceded Allen as commander of forces in Afghanistan. Sources would not tell the Associated Press the nature of the emails between Allen and Kelley. Allen’s nomination to be commander of U.S. European Command of NATO forces in Europe is on hold. (Federal News Radio)
  • Health and Human Services hands out $1.5 billion in overpayments to nursing homes every year, says a new inspector general report. That’s because the homes bill Medicare for skilled services that either aren’t needed or weren’t actually delivered. In many cases, the nursing homes or other providers simply inflated their bills by charging for more expensive services than they delivered. The report is coming out today. It was obtained in advance by The Wall Street Journal. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • It’s now Open Season for federal health insurance. Participants in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program get their once-a-year opportunity to switch health-care plans. Premiums are increasing on average by 3.4 percent. But experts said cost isn’t the only factor to consider. Find out whether benefits are changing and ask yourself whether your health care needs have changed since last year. Open Season ends Dec. 10. (Federal News Radio)
  • Contractors and subs hired to clean up nuclear weapons sites have financial conflicts of interest. That’s the finding in a new Energy Department inspector general’s report. As a result, the IG said, the prime contractors are unable to render impartial assistance or advice. The auditors looked at decontamination work being done at nuclear plants in Piketon, Ohio and Oak Ridge, Tenn. The IG said Energy managers need to do a better job of policing against organizational conflicts of interest. The prime contractor, Restoration Services, oversees the work of two subcontractorrs in the $4.3 billion deal. (Energy Department)
  • President Barack Obama is holding meetings this week with CEOs and labor-union leaders alike. The subject: the fiscal cliff. Obama is trying to build pressure on Congress to cut the federal debt by both raising taxes and trimming spending. He’s invited leaders of the nation’s biggest unions to the White House today. Tomorrow, he’ll welcome business executives, many of whom supported his GOP rival Mitt Romney. Those meetings set the stage for Friday, when he’ll meet with the top Republicans and Democrats in Congress to discuss ways to avert sequestration. (Federal News Radio)
  • Imagine a presidential appointment process without all that paperwork and partisan wrangling. A high-powered group is telling the White House and Senate that dream is within reach. Get rid of the redundant questionnaires, financial-disclosure and conflict-of-interest forms, and develop a core set of questions to ask every nominee. Those are just some of the recommendations from the group, which consists of past-and-present agency leaders and lawmakers. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee published the report. (Senate)