Wednesday federal headlines – September 11, 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.

  • President Barack Obama says he’ll nominate Beth Cobert as the new deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. The job requires Senate confirmation. Cobert is a senior partner at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where she focuses on staff development and marketing. She would replace Jeff Zients, who left in May. Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel has been acting deputy. (Associated Press)
  • President Barack Obama has tapped a specialist in prosecuting computer hacking cases to be assistant attorney general for national security. If confirmed, John Carlin would play a key role in counterterrorism efforts. A career federal prosecutor, Carlin has served as an aide to former FBI director Robert Mueller and a specialist in computer hacking cases. Carlin was one of a slew of presidential nominees announced yesterday. (Associated Press)
  • The White House says the President’s National Security team is taking measures to prevent terrorist attacks related to the anniversary of 9/11. Principals met with President Barack Obama yesterday. The Pentagon says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also participated in a review of interagency counterterrorism planning. Press Secretary George Little says Marine security guards now play a bigger role at U.S. embassies and installations around the world. A year ago today, four Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. (Associated Press)
  • The 9/11 attacks 12 years ago gave birth to the Homeland Security Department. Now those present at the beginning will go before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to talk about the next chapter in the department’s mission. The panel of witnesses include the first DHS Secretary, Tom Ridge, Former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Former DHS official Stewart Baker and Former Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen. They’ll discuss emerging threats facing the department. Senators plan to get their thoughts on how the situation in Syria might affect national security and what the department should do to prepare. (Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs)
  • Records released by the National Security Agency show officials routinely exceeded their authority granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. NSA technicians accessed data on thousands of domestic phone numbers they shouldn’t have. The revelation came after the government was forced to let go of the documents by a lawsuit. The plaintiff, the Electronic Freedom Foundation, immediately posted searchable versions at its web site. The NSA now says its surveillance apparatus is so large and complicated, no single person understands it all. (Associated Press)
  • Federal executives denied they used personal email accounts to evade federal records and transparency laws. They tell members of the House Oversight Committee, what they did was legal. Secondary agency accounts in some cases were needed so they could get their work done. Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, used a private account for more than 10,000 messages. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa calls the practice is a pervasive problem. (Federal News Radio)
  • The House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers introduced a Continuing Resolution he says will prevent a government shutdown Oct. 1. It would fund the government at an annual rate of $986 billion, but only until Dec. 15. That’s slightly below the post-sequestration level of funding this year. The bill maintains staffing levels at the Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureaus. It raises funding for the processing of VA disability claims.(House Appropriations Committee)
  • Federal wildlife officials plan to crush more than six tons of ivory as part of a campaign to combat illegal wildlife trafficking. Fish and Wildlife Service officials tell the Denver Post, they hope the public display will build international support for the initiative. The ivory is stored in a warehouse near Denver. It includes figurines and whole elephant tusks seized within the United States. President Barack Obama directed the departments of State, the Interior and Justice to lead a national anti-poaching initiative. Officials say the illegal ivory trade has become a $10-billion industry. (White House)