Federal Drive Show Blog – June 18, 2013

This is the Federal Drive show blog. Here you can listen to the interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day and links to additional resources.

Today’s guests:


Walter Hamilton
vice chairman
International Biometrics Association

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Biometrics is identity authentication by means of physiological or behavioral traits. The state of this type of authentication process varies across agencies and has varying degrees of success or some might say failure. Later this morning, the House convenes two hearings on biometric measures. One focuses on the overall approach to issuing identifications. The other focuses on where the Transportation Worker Identification Credentials or TWIC program is headed.

Billy Rios
director of consulting

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The FDA and Homeland Security Department have teamed to warn medical device makers of a cybersecurity threat. It could put patients at risk by letting hackers change settings on life support equipment. A bulletin from the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team says 300 devices from 40 vendors have holes in their password protection systems. Two researchers, Billy Rios and Terry McCorkle of the security firm Cylance, discovered the flaw.

Bill Bransford
Bransford and Roth

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Federal employees who cross the line of propriety often times are subjected to a disciplinary measure called “administrative leave”. Six GSA employees were placed on administrative leave. An inspector general report found misspending in an internal awards program and also at IRS for lavish spending and accepting gifts, in the wake of the scandal in which agents targeted conservative groups. Some of these actions are worse than the others and so we wondered what marks the fine line for managers when deciding between administrative leave and termination?

Scott Orbach

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Dan Tangherlini was brought in as a fixer for the General Services Administration. Today he faces a congressional inquiry as he defends his stewardship of the agency as part of his confirmation to become GSA’s administrator. Scott Orbach, president of EZGSA, blogs about the agency. He provides a peek inside the hearing room.

Tom Devine
legal director
Government Accountability Project

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The fate of the man who exposed the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs may depend on how he’s portrayed by the government and the media. Is Edward Snowden a seditionist or a white-hatted whistleblower? Recently on this show, two attorneys with extensive federal experience told us Snowden should be prosecuted. But the Government Accountability Project says Snowden deserves protection as a whistleblower.


Edward Snowden: the truth about US surveillance will emerge (The Guardian)

NASA picks 8 new astronauts, 4 of them women (Federal News Radio)

IRS official contradicts claims about reviews (Federal News Radio)

Treasury’s Lew: IRS Set to Recommend Changes (The Wall Street Journal)

ICE Director John Morton stepping down (Federal News Radio)

Prosecutors: Government gave charter school fraud $25M in computers (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

Military plans would put women in most combat jobs (Federal News Radio)

Fact Sheet: U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Information and Communications Technology Security (White House)

DHS Can Take Actions To Address Its Additional Cybersecurity Responsibilities (DHS)