Thursday Morning Federal Newscast – July 28

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Amy Morris 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 switched off its old email system and completed the move of more than 17,000 users to the cloud. That makes GSA the first federal agency to move its entire workforce to a cloud product for email and collaboration. It’s all part of the federal “cloud first” push. GSA is using Google’s Apps for Government platform. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Obama administration’s ambitious plans for selling off federal property could end up costing more money than expected. The Congressional Budget Office told lawmakers that some wrong assumptions went into the White House estimate that the sale would save $15 billion over ten years. CBO found that many of the properties on the sale list are actually worthless. The Office of Management and Budget said it hopes to create a panel to identify properties for sale modeled on the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. (Federal News Radio)
  • The International Space Station will meet its end not with a bang but a splash, the AP reports. A Russian space official said once the mammoth station is no longer needed it will be sent into the Pacific Ocean. It’s a plan that’s long been in the works and is a step to avoid the station becoming dangerous space junk. It was originally slated to plunge into the ocean as early as 2015, but the U.S. extended its life until at least 2020.(AP)
  • The struggle to reach a debt deal is impacting efforts to get FAA employees back to work. The partial FAA shutdown is entering its sixth day. A bill that would restore the agency’s operating authority awaits action in the Senate, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he won’t try to force a vote. An aide said Reid wants to keep the Senate agenda clear in case there needs to be a quick vote on a debt ceiling deal. About 4,000 FAA workers remain furloughed, and tens of thousands of construction workers have been idled by stop-work orders. (Federal News Radio)
  • Federal and private health care spending is set to reach $4.6 trillion in 2020, up from $2.7 trillion now. That’s according to the latest projections from Medicare’s Office of the Actuary. Put another way, one out of every five dollars in the U.S. economy will go to health care. The health care reform plan enacted in 2010 will not reduce the growth in health care spending, the actuary said. Instead, it will add slightly to annual spending.(Federal News Radio)
  • House Speaker John Boehner’s plan for raising the debt ceiling and slashing government spending faces a nail biter of a vote in the House today. Boehner is looking is for more support for his plan. Some Republicans have said they may not support the bill. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has his own debt deal waiting in the wings ahead of today’s vote in the House. Lawmakers have less than six days to reach a deal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit before an Aug. 2 deadline and possible government default.
  • You may remember the story about the airline traveler who got into trouble when she fondled a TSA worker during a security patdown.Yukari Miyamae was arrested on suspicion of grabbing a female agent’s breast at a security gate in Phoenix earlier this month. The 61-year old woman said she was abducted as a girl in Japan, which left her with a fear of being touched by strangers, The Daily Camera reports. She said that as she reached out to try to stop the patdown, she accidentally touched the TSA agent inappropriately. Felony sexual assault charges were dismissed, but she could still face misdemeanor charges. (The Daily Camera)
  • A federal wildlife biologist is under investigation for scientific misconduct and has been placed on administrative leave. In a 2004 article, Charles Monnett, a scientist with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, said polar bears had drowned because of the melting polar ice cap. The veracity of that article may be in question. (Federal News Radio)
  • The latest thing in automotive technology is software that lets drivers unlock and start their cars using a mobile phone. Sounds cool, but not so fast. Researchers at iSec Partners have discovered a way to hack the system, Computer World reports. The researchers have produced a video showing they can unlock a car and start the engine using a distant computer.(ComputerWorld)
  • The commander of U.S. Special Forces told Congress, al-Qaida is bloodied and nearing its end, however the battle is not over. Adm. Eric T. Olson, a Navy Seal, said the killing of Osama Bin Laden in May was a near death blow to what he called al-Qaida 1.0. But, al-Quaida 2.0 might be tougher to eradicate. (Federal News Radio)
  • Here comes son-of-Stuxnet. Cybersecurity blog reports the Department of Homeland Security is looking out for this latest version of the cyber worm. Sean McGurk, director of the DHS National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, told the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations that attackers could create variants of Stuxnet and target programmable equipment in control systems. (
  • Information sharing is crucial to the military’s future. So said Army Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, reports. And, he added, the value of sharing information far outweighs the pitfalls. Good relationships have spurred increased information sharing, he said. In addition, the Internet and social media help get the right information to the right people as quickly as possible, which is critical for security, he said. Burgess made his remarks during a seminar on transatlantic civil security at the Marshall European Center for Security Studies. (Defense Department)