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THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Procedures Faulted in Army Lab’s Shipment of Anthrax.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: U.S. military tells recruiting centers to step up security by closing blinds.

On Facebook, Tam Keel asks if they’re also handing out special, “monster-proof blankets for personnel to pull over their heads as well.” But don’t worry, federal forces. Ordinary citizens are here to protect you.

Or as Sen. Frank Nicely puts it: “In a twist to recent controversies, Southern States’ militias arming quickly to defend Federal (Union) troops.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Government IT official ran law enforcement data systems for years with faked degrees; Interior official resigned when caught, then took a job at Census Bureau. “The official, Faisal Ahmed, was assistant director of the Interior’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security from 2007 to 2013, heading its Technology division. He claimed to have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and a master’s degree in technology management from the University of Central Florida—but he never attended either of those schools. He resigned from his position at Interior when the fraudulent claim was exposed by a representative of the University of Central Florida’s alumni association, who discovered he had never attended the school after Ahmed accepted and then suddenly deleted a connection with her on LinkedIn. Faisal did not leave government service, however—he took another government job at the Census Bureau, and is apparently still there.”

MEN, WOMEN, AND MILITARY TRAINING: Why Did the Marine Corps Fire Kate Germano? It’s Complicated.

Germano’s crusade had apparently been to eliminate disparities between male and female recruit performance at Parris Island, within reason. For example, there was a gap between male and female performance on the rifle range, for which there seemed to be no explanation other than low expectations. All, including the men who fired her, concede that she made major progress in fixing this. And there’s more. According to a command investigation obtained by the Marine Corps Times’ Hope Hodge Seck, “Germano also ‘reinforced gender bias and stereotypes’ in the minds of her Marines by telling them on several occasions that male Marines would not take orders from them and would see them as inferior if they could not meet men’s physical standards, the investigation found.”

What does one make of that? On the one hand, advocates for women in the military should be pleased that there is an aggressive leader out there who refuses to accept low standards. On the other hand, apparently her drive for raising standards upset the female Marines who worked for her, and who then trashed her in a command climate survey. Germano’s supporters point out that it is possible to take the online survey more than once, and argue that a “vocal minority” of Marines working for Germano were able to undermine her leadership.

But wait, there’s more! . . . Germano’s sin seems to be that she was pursuing actual respect for—and self-respect by—women in the Marine Corps, and not the fictitious appearance of equality that both her bosses, and some of her subordinates, appear to prefer.

The country’s in the very best of hands.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Obama likens his war strategy to . . . an arcade game. “In the beginning there was Operation Overlord. Then came Operation Rolling Thunder, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom. Now the fight against the Islamic State has introduced a new concept into modern warfare. Call it Operation Whack-a-Mole.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: China’s hackers got what they came for.

The Chinese hackers who are believed to have cracked into the federal government’s networks might not be back for a while.

They got what they came for.

“I think they have 95 percent of what they want from both U.S. industry and government,” said Tom Kellermann, chief cybersecurity officer at security research firm Trend Micro.

While China’s aggressive hacking operations are certain to continue, experts say the mammoth data breach at the Office of Personnel Management is a watershed event that will allow Beijing to move from broad reconnaissance to narrowly tailored snooping.

Having already obtained private information on up to 14 million federal employees — including Social Security numbers, arrest and financial records, and details on mental illness and drug and alcohol use — China’s hacking teams can now retreat to the shadows.

“For this point in time we won’t see another massive attack like this. Instead, it will be more targeted ones,” said Tony Cole, global government chief technical officer for security firm FireEye, which has conducted extensive research on Chinese cyber campaigns.

U.S. officials are still trying to figure out the full scope of the data breach, which is believed to have affected security clearance information for the military and spy agencies.

No wonder they’d rather talk about flags.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Cuomo created ‘total cluster f—k’ in escaped-killers hunt. “The massive manhunt for two escaped murderers from the Dannemora prison has been hampered by State Police secrecy, inter-agency rivalries, and the disrupting involvement of Gov. Cuomo on the first day of the breakout, law-enforcement sources have told The Post. Cuomo’s surprise arrival at a still-unfolding escape scene a week ago Saturday generated considerable national publicity for the governor, but distracted investigators at a time when the full facts of the escape were not yet known, the sources said.” Got him on CNN, though.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: FBI-seized domains still in limbo after DNS hijacking: Frozen sites’ name servers were changed to a domain registered through Chinese company. All this money for homeland security, and apparently everything we have is owned by the Chinese.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Secret Service officers at White House lacked security clearances, officials say.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Army’s Public Website Hacked by Unknown Intruders. “Defense officials confirm the official public Army website has been hacked by unknown intruders demanding the U.S. stop training rebel fighters inside Syria.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Semi-retired president: We … don’t have a complete strategy against ISIS yet.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Four U.S. lab workers treated for anthrax exposure. “More than two dozen lab workers, including four in the U.S., are now being treated for anthrax exposure.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: GAO, Inspector General Warned Of IRS’s Lax Computer Security For Years Before Hack Of 100,000 Taxpayer Accounts On IRS Website.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Pentagon: Live anthrax inadvertently distributed by Army laboratory.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Security lapses draw heat on Capitol Police.

The Capitol Police are taking heavy fire from members of Congress over major security breaches that placed the lawmakers and their staffs at risk.

The law enforcement agency charged with securing the U.S. Capitol building is embroiled in controversy after a series of recent apparent security lapses.

Chief among them are a string of embarrassing cases involving Capitol Police officers who forgot their guns in public bathrooms.

Remember, only trained law enforcement officers can be trusted with firearms.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: As Ramadi Falls to ISIS, POTUS Goes Golfing, Gets New Twitter Account. “I’m not really interested in Obama’s answer because I already know that it will be about 5,000 words long, won’t answer the question, and would put me to sleep. I just want to hear someone from the MSM ask him the question.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Report: TSA Doesn’t Know if Bomb-Detecting Machines Are ‘Operational.’ It’s all “security theater” anyway.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Secret Service manager put on leave during probe of alleged assault.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Maya Angelou’s new stamp features quote that wasn’t hers.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: U.S. Advised Citizens Stuck in Yemen to Fly Out of Closed Airports, Board Ship That Can’t Dock. “Today India offered to help evacuate Americans from Yemen, including with flights out of Sana’a and ships from Aden. The first rescue flights are scheduled to leave Tuesday.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Ex-IRS Ethics Office Lawyer Disbarred For … Ethics Violations. “The lawyer, Takisha Brown, reportedly had bragged that she would never be punished because her boss would protect her, but an IRS spokesman said Wednesday that she was no longer an employee at the agency.”

I wonder why she was so confident of that protection?

JUSTICE: Fired FBI agent pleads guilty to theft of heroin collected as evidence. “A former FBI agent in the Washington Field Office pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing heroin that had been collected as evidence, and in his first public comments, he apologized and warned against the scourge of drug addiction.”

The country’s in the very best of hands.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Defense Department Keeps Losing ‘Sensitive’ Explosives Gear, Then Finding It For Sale On Ebay.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), is completely unable to park a car. “The result is a car that is not parked as much as abandoned.” It’s a pretty good metaphor for government in the age of Obama.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Drunk Secret Service agents disrupted bomb investigation at White House.

For all the attention the Obama Administration has paid to the Ferguson Police Department, they don’t seem to be doing a very good job with the law enforcement agencies that are actually their responsibility.

GOVERNMENT IS JUST A WORD FOR THE THINGS WE CHOOSE TO DO TOGETHER: Sexual Predators Hidden in Federal Witness Protection Program, Report Finds.

The Department of Justice Inspector General today released a scathing, and heavily redacted report, criticizing the Federal Witness Protection program for “not taking sufficient steps to mitigate threats posed” by sex offenders in the program, as well as sex offenders recently released from the program. Some of them even committed their crimes while in the program.

The country’s in the very best of hands.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Secret Service being investigated for drunk-driving incident, report says. “One of the officers involved in the alleged incident is a high-ranking member of President Obama’s security detail, according to the Post. . . . Officers allegedly witnessed the incident last Wednesday and wanted to arrest the agents involved. But they were told by a superior to let them go.”

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Roll Call: AUMF Expected in ‘Coming Days.’

Speaker John A. Boehner told reporters Thursday he believes President Barack Obama will be sending an Authorization for Use of Military Force to Congress very shortly.

“I’m expecting that there will be an Authorization for Use of Military Force sent up here in the coming days,” Boehner said. “And we’re going to go through a rigorous set of hearings, and continue to discuss this.”

When he was pressed if he actually meant “the coming days,” Boehner reiterated that he believed that to be the case.

“It’s also going to be incumbent upon the president to go out there and make the case to the American people for why we have to fight this fight,” the Ohio Republican said. “And his actions are going to be an important part of trying … to get the votes to actually pass an authorization.”

The tussle over a new AUMF has been a long-standing issue with Congress and the president. During his State of the Union address, Obama called on Congress to pass a new AUMF for activities in the Middle East. But Boehner has insisted that such an authorization is usually written by the White House and sent to Congress. Boehner has been waiting on the AUMF before announcing a vote.

The country’s in the very best of hands.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Failing Up: Company behind HealthCare.gov debacle gets an IRS contract.

DEFENSE: Gunless In The Wild Blue Yonder.

The F-35 is supposed to be the do-it-all solution in the skies for every branch of the military, a Swiss army knife whose strategic value lies in that it absolutely ensures American air superiority in any situation for the foreseeable future. This announcement doesn’t make an already delay-plagued program look any better, and highlights again the problems with our outmoded procurement policies. Even if the F-35’s guns are operational by 2017 as the program office says—and history suggests that they may not be—”good enough” isn’t good enough for the intended lynchpin of American airpower.

The country’s in the very best of hands.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: U.S. offering $5 million reward for Al Qaeda capo … who was released from Gitmo in 2006.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: The ATF’s Fake Retail Stores, Bad Behavior… And Why It Only Came Out Because They Failed To Pay Rent.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Maryland’s Assistant Attorney General For Consumer Protection Falls For Urban Legend.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Why the US Had Only 1 Wrench for 3 Nuclear Bases. “A prime example of the problems Hagel cited Friday was a toolkit that included a wrench needed to install a nuclear warhead atop an ICBM. Only one of the toolkits remained available, so the three bases that maintain the fleet of 450 Minuteman ICBM’s would share the toolkit. How? Hagel said they would use Fed Ex to ship it to the base that needed it at the time.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: CDC Spokeswoman Not Sure if Agency Has List of People Entering U.S. from Ebola Countries.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: U.S. diplomat and longtime Pakistan expert is under federal investigation.

A veteran State Department diplomat and longtime Pakistan expert is under federal investigation as part of a counterintelligence probe and has had her security clearances withdrawn, according to U.S. officials.

The FBI searched the Northwest Washington home of Robin L. Raphel last month, and her State Department office was also examined and sealed, officials said. Raphel, a fixture in Washington’s diplomatic and think-tank circles, was placed on administrative leave last month, and her contract with the State Department was allowed to expire this week.

Two U.S. officials described the investigation as a counterintelligence matter, which typically involves allegations of spying on behalf of foreign governments. The exact nature of the investigation involving Raphel remains unclear. She has not been charged. . . .

The 67-year-old longtime diplomat was among the U.S. government’s most senior advisers on Pakistan and South Asian issues. She is a former assistant secretary of state for South Asia and a former ambassador to Tunisia. At the time of the FBI search of her house, she had retired from the Foreign Service but was working for the State Department on renewable, limited contracts that depended in part on her security clearances.

Hmm. Stay tuned.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: NSA Chief Bet Money on AT&T as It Spied on You.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: ‘Ebola Czar’ Absent from White House Ebola Strategy Meeting.

MORE CHEERY NEWS: New Texas nurse with Ebola had slight fever on airliner. “Frieden said Vinson had been monitoring herself for symptoms of Ebola and failed to report that her temperature had risen to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit (37.5 degrees Celsius) before she left for Dallas. Even so, Frieden, who has come under pressure for apparent lapses in U.S. preparedness to fight Ebola, said the risk to other passengers was ‘very low’ because she did not vomit on the flight and was not bleeding.”

You know, a doctor from my area self-quarantined after treating Ebola patients. That wouldn’t have been a bad idea for people who treated Thomas Duncan — especially after one of them had already become ill.

UPDATE: Amber Vinson Isn’t To Blame For Flying With Ebola: The CDC Is.

Plus: Ebola Patient Contacted CDC Before Flight, Agency Says.

The federal government spokesman who spoke with NBC News said that Vinson called the CDC on Monday before flying from Cleveland back to DFW on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143, and she reported that she had a temperature of 99.5 degrees.

According to the government spokesperson, when Vinson called in, the staff she talked with looked on the CDC website for guidance. At the time, the category for “uncertain risk” had guidance saying that a person could fly commercially if they did not meet the threshold of a temperature of 100.4.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden had said earlier Wednesday on a phone press briefing that Vinson “should not have traveled on a commercial aircraft.”

The country’s in the very best of hands.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Ebola airport checks: ‘A net with very wide holes.’

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: U.S. lacks a single standard for Ebola response. “As Thomas Eric Duncan’s family mourns the USA’s first Ebola death in Dallas, one question reverberates over a series of apparent missteps in the case: Who is in charge of the response to Ebola? The answer seems to be — there really isn’t one person or agency. There is not a single national response.”

So, pretty much like everything else under this administration.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: War against Isis: US strategy in tatters as militants march on. “American-led air attacks are failing. Jihadis are close to taking Kobani, in Syria – and in Iraq western Baghdad is now under serious threat.”

DHS CHIEF: “Porous” Border Is A Myth.

Ebola Doctor: “Nobody Cared” That I Was Coming From Nigeria.

Fusion’s Jorge Ramos spoke to one of the doctors, Dr. Aileen Marty, who recently returned home to Miami after spending 31 days in Nigeria. She says she was surprised what happened when she arrived at Miami International Airport.

“I get to the kiosk…mark the fact that I’ve been in Nigeria and nobody cares, nobody stopped me,” Marty said.

“Not a single test?” Ramos asked her, surprised.

“Nothing,” Marty answered.

The country’s in the very best of hands.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Ebola Omission in Key CDC Disease Report a Cause for Concern.

The MMWR for the week ending October 4, 2014 is out, and may be found here. The important sections for this story are Table I and Table III.

Table Table I makes no mention of the Ebola case in Dallas, despite the fact that it was confirmed on September 30, 2014 — well within the week that this MMWR covers.

Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever. The CDC specifically lists it as a notifiable disease in this 2010 report.

Yet the column covering such diseases for the week ending October 4, 2014 is empty of any diagnoses. Here is a screenshot of the relevant section of that chart. Click to enlarge.

We have top men on this. Top men.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Report reveals illicit romance, leaks and insider info in Veterans Affairs contract.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: CDC Director Confuses CNN with Conflicting Information on How Ebola Is Transmitted. Video at the link.

UPDATE: Chris Matthews: Didn’t Obama tell us it was “unlikely” Ebola would come to America? Yeah, well, he also told us if we liked our health insurance, we could keep our health insurance.

WELL, THIS IS COMFORTING: Centers for Disease Control Confirms First U.S. Case of Ebola. It’s in Dallas.

Plus: Report: Just Four Hospitals in the US are Ready to Handle Ebola. Better lay in more N95 masks and bleach, I guess.

And the country’s in the very best of hands: Armed Former Convict Was On Elevator With Obama In Atlanta. “A security contractor with a gun and three prior convictions for assault and battery was allowed on an elevator with President Obama during a Sept. 16 trip to Atlanta, violating Secret Service protocols, according to three people familiar with the incident. President Obama was not told of the lapse in his security during his trip. Director Julia Pierson , according to two people familiar with the incident, took steps to have the matter reviewed internally and did not refer it to an investigative unit that reviews violations of protocol and standard.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: “The Senate Armed Service Committee hearing on the war against the Islamic State yesterday was not a confidence booster. You got the distinct feeling the administration hadn’t thought through its own plan and was motivated not by the end goal of defeating the Islamic State, but by its desire to keep the U.S. at arm’s length from a war it knows must be fought and won.”

Flashback:

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Senior Obama official makes terrible geography error.

Saudi Arabia has an extensive border with Syria.

Er, no they don’t.

UPDATE: From the comments: “If you don’t study in college, you may get a job in the Obama Regime talking about the Middle East, working for John Kerry. Which is similar to getting stuck in Iraq, I think.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Emails: IRS worker got $138,000 to do ‘nothing’ — and union saved her job.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Former HHS Cyber Security Director Convicted For Child Porn. “In addition to viewing and soliciting child pornography, reportedly asking another member of the site whether he’d share pictures of his son, he suggested meeting a fellow pedophile in person to violently rape and murder children together.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS. The Hill: White House struggles with message on threat of ISIS.

The White House is struggling to deliver a clear message on the threat posed by radical Islamist group ISIS and what the administration might do to counteract it.

Officials have sowed confusion by giving different statements at different times on the level of danger posed by the Islamic group, whose full name is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Obama’s decision last year to ask Congress for authority to level Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces with air strikes is also haunting the administration as it mulls strikes in Syria against ISIS. There have been no guarantees that similar Congressional approval will be sought this time around.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest was peppered with questions on the issue Monday. Referring to the proposed strikes against the Assad regime last year, Earnest responded, “That was a different situation, right?”

But he said little that was definitive about whether attacks against ISIS in Syria are now being considered. Any such action would represent a major escalation from the current situation, in which the U.S. is carrying out airstrikes against ISIS positions in northwestern Iraq.

Strikes within Syria would not merely represent a significant ramping-up of U.S, military action. They would also risk providing de facto assistance to the Assad regime, even while the United States hopes that government will be deposed.

The issue of congressional approval for strikes inside Syria was given another twist late on Monday when Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.), a Democrat known to be close to Obama, issued a statement insisting that “I do not believe that our expanded military operations against ISIL are covered under existing authorizations from Congress.”

Our junior-varsity administration is in over its head, and even they’re starting to notice. But they’re still dragging their feet.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: In effort to shield Obama from criticism on ISIS, White House makes everything worse.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: The sad but common irony that lawbreakers such as Lois Lerner are in positions of law enforcement.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: The Hill: Report finds detention center workers exposed to contagious diseases.

Some Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees have become sick after exposure to contagious diseases at detention facilities housing child immigrants, according to an inspector general report.

The report found “many” of the children detained after crossing the border needed treatment for communicable diseases, including tuberculosis, chicken pox and scabies. . . .

The report was issued Thursday by DHS Inspector General John Roth.

It highlighted one instance at a Del Rio facility in Texas in which Customs and Border Patrol employees reported contracting scabies, lice and chicken pox. At other facilities in Santa Teresa, N.M., and Clint, Texas, employees said they could have been exposed to tuberculosis.

“Unfamiliarity with bathroom facilities resulted in unsanitary conditions and exposure to human waste in some holding facilities,” the report concluded. “Contract cleaners and DHS employees are working to maintain sanitary conditions.”

The nine-page report is based on information gathered from 87 unannounced visits to 63 centers in the first party of July, and is expected to be updated in the coming months.

The facilities include Border Patrol checkpoints and holding facilities, Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers and one holding facility in Artesia, N.M.

Along with the illnesses, the report found that the children are being held longer than the maximum three days because permanent shelter is not available. In one instance, a facility was not giving children enough food, but that was quickly corrected.

The country’s in the very best of hands.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Federal review stalled after finding forensic errors by FBI lab unit spanned two decades. Hell, I was writing about this kind of stuff in the first week or two of InstaPundit.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Elijah Cummings admits he doesn’t know fellow committee members’ names.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Hackers Steal Personal Information of US Security-Clearance Holders. “This is a big deal. If I were a government, trying to figure out who to target for blackmail, bribery, and other coercive tactics, this would be a nice database to have.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: TSA Agent Who Stopped Man From Boarding Plane Didn’t Know Where District Of Columbia Was. Demanded a passport because he thought it was another country.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: The U.S. Just Sent Thousands of Draft Notices to Men Born from ’93 to ’97—1893 to 1897.

Alternate headline: John Scalzi, call your office!

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: The appalling Obama foreign policy team: The case of Tommy Vietor. Then, of course, there’s Ben Rhodes, whose chief qualification is that his brother is President of CBS News.

Related: Former Obama NSC spokesman on Benghazi: “Dude, this was like, two years ago.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Eleanor Holmes Norton: Iraq could be the most catastrophic war of the 20th century.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: The worst excuse ever: The Rhodes memo debacle. “This was a surreal answer from Jay Carney. Now, this is a prep session with Susan Rice, getting ready for five Sunday talk shows. This is three days after 9/11 when four Americans, including the American ambassador to Libya, are killed. Everybody in the chain has said it’s a terrorist attack, everyone in the chain is saying there’s no protest. And yet this email, if we’re to believe Jay Carney at the White House, had nothing to do with Benghazi.”

Plus: “Jake Tapper was similarly dubious, observing ‘The context of Rhodes’ emails is, of course, that President Barack Obama was in the midst of a heated re-election campaign where one of his talking points was that he had brought a steady hand in fighting terrorists, indeed that ‘al Qaeda is on the run.’”

So the coverup of the coverup has now pretty much unraveled.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: State Dept Launches ‘Free the Press’ Campaign Same Day DOJ Asks Supreme Court To Jail Reporter.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Senate probe: Ex-DHS watchdog altered reports as favor to senior officials.

The official tasked with keeping watch over the Department of Homeland Security was instead watching out for senior officials he considered his “friends,” according to a Senate probe.

A subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs released a scathing report on Thursday that effectively confirmed many of the ethical allegations that have trailed Charles Edwards ever since he resigned his post in December as acting DHS inspector general. The report determined that he “jeopardized the independence” of his office by socializing with senior DHS officials and had reports “altered or delayed” to accommodate the department he was supposed to oversee.

The report also included, though did not confirm, allegations that Edwards’ office sat on information about the 2012 Secret Service prostitution scandal that could “influence an election.”

I’m beginning to think that we can’t rely on the nonpartisan professionalism of the bureaucracy.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Arizona VA boss accused of covering up veterans’ deaths linked to previous scandal.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: AP Report: Government Says Report On Power Grid’s Detailed Vulnerabilities Mishandled, Should Have Been Kept Secret. “Federal energy regulators improperly allowed widespread access to a sensitive document that outlined specific locations where the nation’s electric grid is vulnerable to physical threats, a government investigator said Wednesday. The document created by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should have been kept secret as a national security matter, Energy Department Inspector General Gregory Friedman said. Instead the information was provided in whole or in part to federal and industry officials in uncontrolled settings.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Yes, the Obama SEC was colluding with banks on CDO prosecutions. “Now that this information is public, the SEC should apologize to all of us for its behavior, and promise not to collude with Wall Street again.” Er, at the very least.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Shocking details of rampant racism, sexism prompt Rep. Sean Duffy to ask if it’s time for CFPB’s Richard Cordray to resign.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Secret Service incident in Netherlands was on heels of car wreck during Obama’s Miami trip. “As the U.S. Secret Service arrived in the Netherlands last weekend for a presidential trip, managers were already on high alert to avoid any further em­barrassing incidents involving agents. The agency’s director had admonished supervisors after two counter-sniper officers suspected of drinking were involved in a March 7 car accident during a presidential visit to Miami, according to several people with knowledge of the incident. The driver passed a field sobriety test and was not arrested.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Secret Service agents on Obama detail sent home from Netherlands after night of drinking. “Three Secret Service agents responsible for protecting President Obama in Amsterdam this week were sent home and put on administrative leave Sunday after going out for a night of drinking, according to three people familiar with the incident. One of the agents was found drunk and passed out in a hotel hallway, the people said. . . . The alleged behavior would violate Secret Service rules ­adopted in the wake of a damaging scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, in April 2012, when a dozen agents and officers had been drinking heavily and had brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms before the president’s arrival for an economic summit.”

Remember, only trained law enforcement officers can be trusted with guns. Plus, from the comments: “It’s time for serious look at how the culture of government employment could get to a place where people in a life and death professional job could get so bombed that they are lying in a hallway.” A fish rots from the head.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Former NSA Official Thinks A Blog Containing Nothing But His Own Tweets Is ‘Defamatory.’

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: A former policeman convicted of tipping off a terror suspect is now a senior official at the IRS.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Treasury investigator led life of lies, government dependence.

A high-ranking investigator in charge of rooting out fraud by Treasury Department employees was himself fraudulently drawing simultaneous salaries from both the military and the Treasury.

The same investigator then petitioned the government for a full disability retirement.

But wait, there’s more!

He also pretended to be a peace officer and lied about it, all while racking up massive debts and filing for bankruptcy, according to documents obtained by the Washington Examiner.

The very best.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Top Treasury employees swindled thousands of dollars, in-the-know bosses did nothing. One in the Bureau of Public Debt, amusingly.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Why a prominent academic was rejected from the National Council on the Humanities. Key bit: “I was not willing to commit to never criticizing the administration, nor to restricting my publishing agenda to topics that were unlikely to be controversial.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Exclusive: HHS official found White House in ‘disarray’ months before health law rollout.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Iranians hacked Navy network for four months? Not a surprise.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Money for nothing: Feds in D.C. closed 25% of the time. “Between snow days, official holidays and the government shutdown, federal employees have worked a normal business day less than 75 percent of the time since Oct. 1, marking a startlingly chaotic beginning to the fiscal year.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: New Details Emerge In Massive Army Financial Scandal.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Senate cybersecurity report finds agencies often fail to take basic preventive measures. “They aren’t even doing the simple stuff.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Stark warning: Admiral concedes U.S. losing dominance to China.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Director of National Intelligence Counterterrorism Map Misspells ‘Israel.’

WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Federal Election Commission Vulnerable To Hacking, Inspector General Warns.

Deficient computer security at the Federal Election Commission has already led to high-level breaches and puts the agency “at high risk” of continued hacking, according to a federal Inspector General report released this month.

FEC information systems, which in the previous election tracked more than $6 billion in political spending, “have serious internal control vulnerabilities and have been penetrated at the highest levels of the agency,” according to the FEC Inspector General’s final audit for fiscal 2013.

The report, which reiterates security concerns flagged by federal auditors for several years running, identifies two specific, high-level hacking incidents. In May of last year, an adversary identified as an “Advanced Persistent Threat” compromised a commissioner’s personal user account, as well as several FEC systems, for eight months running.

During that period, the unidentified hacker had potential access to such sensitive information as details of FEC investigations; General Counsel’s reports; briefs; subpoenas, and personal identifying information.

The second intrusion took place in August of this year and involved the FEC’s public disclosure website, forcing the agency to shut down portions of the system while it investigated. While the FEC was working on remediating the August breach, “another intrusion was detected on the agency’s website in early fiscal year 2014,” according to the report.

The country’s in the very best of hands.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Obamacare delays create New Year’s confusion.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Chief Judge For 9th Circuit Cites “Epidemic” Of Prosecutor Misconduct.

I’ve had some thoughts on the subject myself.

NOTHING SHADY ABOUT THIS: NPR: Report Details ATF’s Use Of Mentally Disabled In Gun Stings.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just : Based on court records, police reports and dozens of interviews, the paper details how the ATF used “rogue” tactics — including providing underage youths with alcohol and allowing them to smoke pot — to run storefront gun and drug stings across the country.

In our estimation the most explosive allegation made in the report is that the agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used mentally disabled people to run their stings.

The country’s in the very best of hands. Here’s the original report.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Two Secret Service agents cut from Obama’s detail after alleged misconduct. “The disruption at the Hay-Adams in May involved Ignacio Zamora Jr., a senior supervisor who oversaw about two dozen agents in the Secret Service’s most elite assignment — the president’s security detail. Zamora was allegedly discovered attempting to reenter a woman’s room after accidentally leaving behind a bullet from his service weapon. The incident has not been previously reported.”

How, exactly, do you leave behind a bullet from your service weapon? Like this: “The review found that Zamora had removed ammunition from the chamber of his government-issued handgun during his stay in the room and then left behind a single bullet. He returned to the room when he realized his mistake. The guest refused to let him back in.” But why? Shouldn’t it have just stayed in the holster, whatever hanky-panky went on?

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: FBI: Help us find our missing sniper rifle, M16.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Obamacare ‘tech surge’ experts are White House fellows. Basically, a step or two above interns, a few hundred steps below the Zuckerberg/Bezos level.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: IRS Made $133 Billion in Improper EITC Payments in Past Decade, 25% Error Rate Violates Executive Order. The country’s in the very best of hands.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Anonymous Twitter Troll Turns Out To Be White House Official. Well, he’s fired now, but he left us with gems like this: “I’m a fan of Obama, but his continuing reliance and dependence upon a vacuous cipher like Valerie Jarrett concerns me.” I don’t think she’s vacuous at all. I think she knows exactly what she’s doing.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Health Website Woes Widen as Insurers Get Wrong Data: New Errors Indicate Technological Problems Extend Issues Already Identified.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: NSA Agent’s son caught downloading kiddie porn on dad’s NSA laptop. Er, if you’ve got an NSA secure laptop, shouldn’t you keep that, you know, secure? Also, the story says that most of the kiddie porn was anime, but the Supreme Court has ruled that child porn laws can’t apply to porn without actual children. Not clear if that mattered in the case.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Ezra Klein calls the ObamaCare launch a “failure.” And there are more failures hiding behind today’s failure:

In the weeks leading up to the launch I heard some very ugly things about how the system was performing when transferring data to insurers — a necessary step if people are actually going to get insurance. I tried hard to pin the rumors down, but I could never quite nail the story, and there was a wall of official denials from the Obama administration. It was just testing, they said. They were fixing the bugs day by day.

According to Bob Laszlewski, those problems aren’t resolved. They’re just not getting much attention because the health-care law’s Web sites aren’t working well enough for people to get that far in the process.

The country’s in the very best of hands.