Tuesday federal headlines – August 19, 2014

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 Obama administration has decided against publicly disclosing information about cybersecurity of the HealthCare.gov website. It refuses to release records to the Associated Press, which filed a freedom of information act request. The AP reports that earlier, the administration had promised not to hide the records. Now officials of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say releasing them would give malicious hackers too much information into how the system works. (Associated Press)
  • The Center for Data Innovation just ranked the states with the best open data portals and policies. GovExec reports, the top performers in the new report are Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Utah. Each year, the D.C.-based center assesses the strides state governments have made to adopt open data policies and create digitally accessible open data portals. To create the rankings, it looks at whether each state has an open data policy and portal and the quality of each. (GovExec)
  • The Energy Department’s chief information officer is leaving government for the private sector. Bob Brese sent an email to staff on Monday announcing his departure from the government after almost 30 years. His last day will be Sept. 5th. It’s not clear where Brese will be headed. But Don Adcock, former executive director of the Army IT Agency, will step in as interim CIO at the Energy Department in Brese’s absence. (Federal News Radio)
  • A Border Patrol official charges Customs and Border Protection with covering up what he calls “highly suspect” deaths along the southern border. James Tomcheck was removed as head of CBP internal affairs in June. He’s filed a whistleblower complaint with the Office of Special Council. He says seven of 28 deaths might have been caused by overuse of force by border patrol agents. He says agency brass have brushed aside or covered up evidence to make the shootings look justified. The agency had no comment. FBI executive Mark Moran has been appointed as the interim head of internal affairs. (Associated Press)
  • Hundreds of portable anti-aircraft missiles could be in the hands of Syrian extremists. That’s the warning issued in a new report by Small Arms Survey, a Swiss research organization that analyzes the global flow of weapons. The report came out mere hours after the Federal Aviation Administration issued a notice to U.S. airlines banning flights in Syrian airspace because of worries over armed extremists. Researchers say that there’s a risk the anti-aircraft missiles could easily be diverted to extremists or even smuggled out of Syria by terrorists. (Associated Press)
  • The government is stepping deeper into the world of intelligent transportation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it will write rules requiring automakers to add collision-avoiding radio technology into new cars. The agency says the technology would prevent nearly 600,000 left-hand-turn crashes a year. It would save more than 1,000 lives. Nista says the technology it plans to require won’t control cars. Instead, it’ll warn drivers of impending crashes in time to steer out of them. (Associated Press)
  • The Navy has started testing whether manned and unmanned warplanes can operate simultaneously on the same aircraft carrier. Defense News reports, testing took place over the weekend using the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Two manned F/A-18 Hornets alternated takeoffs and landings with an unmanned X-47B. The tests were part of the Unmanned Combat Air System Aircraft Demonstration program. The X-47B flies pre-programmed patterns. Only after it lands is it steered by a remote operator into position on the flight deck. Testing took place off the Virginia coast. (Defense News)
  • The Pentagon’s health arm is out with a list of the genetic tests that will be covered under a new TRICARE pilot program. The Defense Health Agency’s list includes 35 tests, including ones that detect the presence of a breast cancer gene and rare inherited disorders like Lynch syndrome. Navy Times reports, the pilot project starts Sept. 1. It was designed by TRICARE and DHA to cover laboratory developed tests, which, until recently, have not been regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. (Navy Times)
  • It takes more than a village to raise a child in the U.S. It also requires more and more money. An annual report by the Agriculture Department currently totals at about $245,000. That’s the average amount it now costs a middle-income American family to care for a child born in 2013 until that boy or girl hits 18. The price tag does not include paying for college or expenses if a child lives at home after age 17. But it does include food, housing, childcare and education. Since last year, the amount increased almost 2 percent. (Associated Press)