Wednesday morning federal headlines – Jan. 9, 2013

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 General Services Administration has inked its 62nd deal with a social-media provider. Pinterest is the latest one to sign a service agreement so feds can use it for work. It’s popular with do-it-yourselfers who post images of their arts and crafts for all to see. GSA said agencies can use it to create “compelling visual stories” for the public. (GSA)
  • The government’s fascination with social media has produced only mixed results. A new study shows pockets of great success at some agencies, not so much at others. The survey was done by the Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen. It finds all Cabinet-level agencies have Facebook and Twitter accounts, and agencies have created more than 1,300 mobile apps. But the report says the social media leader at an agency might be the loneliest person there. (Federal News Radio)
  • A Republican senator is threatening to delay John Brennan’s nomination for CIA director. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) said he wants answers from the White House on its response to the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Graham accused the administration of “stonewalling.” Specifically, he wants to know who edited U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s talking points. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to testify on the attack last month because of an illness. She is expected to address the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in two weeks. Four Americans, including the ambassador, died in that September attack. (Federal News Radio)
  • A defense contractor paid more than $5 million to Iraqis held at Abu Ghraib and other sites. It’s the end of a four-year legal battle over allegations of torture. Seventy-one former inmates had accused a subsidiary of Engility Holdings of contributing to the highly-publicized abuse at military detention centers between 2003 and 2009. L-3 Services provided 6,000 translators to the military in Iraq. This marks the first time the prisoners have collected money from a defense contractor in a lawsuit. A trial against another contractor, CACI International, is slated for this summer. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Social Security commissioner’s term expires in two weeks, and the president has not nominated a successor. Sources told GovExec, the administration could name someone to replace Michael Astrue as early as this week. The job requires Senate confirmation. Astrue was appointed six years ago by former President George W. Bush. Possible successors to Astrue include James Roosevelt Jr., the grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, under whom Social Security got started. Deputy Commissioner Carolyn Colvin could be named acting commissioner until a permanent head is confirmed. (GovExec)
  • The National Nuclear Security Administration has hired a new contractor to manage and operate two major facilities. The agency said the contract will produce more than $3 billion in savings over the next 10 years. Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC will take over the facilities on May 1. It will manage the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the Pantex Plant outside of Amarillo, Texas. The five-year contract has five, one-year follow-on options. Consolidated Nuclear Security is an alliance that includes Bechtel, Lockheed Martin, ATK Launch Systems and the security company SOC. (NNSA)
  • Another senior official at the Veterans Affairs Department has resigned following a conference spending scandal. Alice Muellerweiss, the dean of VA’s Learning University, left after the agency took administrative action against her. Another employee, Tonya Deanes, was reassigned. She was deputy assistant secretary for human resources management. Her boss, John Sepulveda, resigned last year after the inspector general found VA had wasted nearly $800,000 on a training conference. The IG found the conference, which took place in 2011, had a good purpose but was managed badly. (Federal News Radio)