THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: As It Searches for Suspects, the FBI May Be Looking at You: Questions about accuracy and transparency plague the bureau’s five-year-old face matching system.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: It Was John Brennan Himself Who Halted LEO Training on Islam, Jihad.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Syrian Immigrant Who Said 9/11 ‘Changed The World For Good’ Is A Homeland Security Adviser.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: What The Heck?! Reporters Allowed to Casually Tour Orlando Killer’s Apartment.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS. Irony: Jeh Johnson Says Gun Control Now a Matter of Homeland Security…Orlando Terrorist Worked For DHS.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Orlando shooter was on, then off watch list.
The man who police say killed 49 people in a brutal rampage in Orlando, Fla., early on Sunday morning was on a federal watch list for roughly 10 months in 2013 and 2014, while he was the subject of an FBI probe.
But then Omar Mateen was taken off the list soon after the investigation ended in March of 2014, FBI Director James Comey said on Monday
“He was watch-listed with the opening of the preliminary investigation and he was taken off the watch list when the investigation was closed,” Comey told reporters.
That preliminary investigation was launched after coworkers complained that Mateen, who at the time was the guard at a Florida courthouse, reported that he had boasted about having connections to al Qaeda and other extremist groups. As part of the investigation, the FBI followed Mateen and had confidential sources meet with him, but the results were not enough to press forward, Comey said.
Had Mateen remained on the list, federal officials would have received a flag when he purchased two guns earlier this month, but he would not have been banned from making the purchase.
Democrats in Congress have fought to change the rules for purchases firearms and enact restrictions against people on various government databases from buying the weapons. Those calls have returned in the wake of the shooting in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
This whole “watch list” thing is sketchy.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Omar Mateen Worked For Company That Provides Security to Federal Buildings.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: The Daughter of Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) Is Using His Car With Congressional Plates To Drive For Lyft.
Hey, just try doing that in Austin…
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Veterans Affairs Secretary: Waiting For Medical Care Is Like Waiting In Line At Disneyland. “‘When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience?’, [Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald] said according to the Washington Examiner. “‘And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.’”
Of course he would.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS, FONDLING OUR JUNK: TSA Nightmare Security Lines ‘Inevitable,’ Says DHS Secretary.
The country’s in the very best of hands, to coin an Insta-phrase.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Former Tax Court Judge and Husband Indicted For Tax Evasion.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: CIA left explosive material on Virginia school bus after training exercise.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: The IRS Is Using A System That Was Hacked To Protect Victims Of A Hack—And It Was Just Hacked.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: ‘Trust Us With More Data,’ Say Government Agencies Hacked By A 16-Year-Old.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: VA reverses demotion of second disgraced official.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Hmmm: Kerry sent Hillary classified e-mail over his private account.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Hundreds of DHS badges, guns, cell phones lost or stolen since 2012. “The missing badges and guns suggest a shocking lack of security from federal law enforcement officers and represent a significant security risk, experts say.” Ya think?
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: IRS Employee Whose Job Was Assisting Victims Of Identity Theft Charged In $1 Million Identity Theft Tax Fraud.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: In Latest Mishap, Secret Service Agent Is Robbed of Badge and Gun. “A Secret Service agent was robbed of his gun, badge, radio and handcuffs near the agency’s headquarters, according to a police report, the latest in a string of embarrassments for a law enforcement agency charged with protecting the president. The report also lists a flash drive among the items stolen from the agent’s car.”
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: U.S. lets in four times as many suspected terrorists as it keeps out. “An examination of State Department records by American Enterprise Institute researcher Justin Lang found that since 2001, the State Department had denied visas to just 2,231 individuals because the applicant was suspected of terrorist ties or activity. Yet during that same period, the State Department granted U.S. visas to 9,500 people who it later figured out posed a terrorist threat — and had to go back and retroactively revoke those individuals’ visas.”
BASICALLY, IT’S A JAYVEE ADMINISTRATION: Defense Secretary Ash Carter Used Personal Email for Work.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter occasionally used his personal email for work-related matters, the Pentagon acknowledged late Wednesday.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Carter believed it “was a mistake,” adding in a statement that the defense secretary had stopped such use of his personal email.
The statement from Cook follows a report in the New York Times which said Carter used personal email to conduct some work matters during his first months at the Pentagon — a violation of Defense Department rules — and even after Hillary Clinton came under fire for doing the same while secretary of state.
There was no comment from Carter himself, who on Thursday arrived in Erbil, Iraq, for meetings with U.S. commanders and personnel there.
The country’s in the very best of hands.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS. DHS Official Struggles To Answer Basic Security Questions:
VETTED: U.S. Visa Process Missed San Bernardino Wife’s Zealotry on Social Media. “Tashfeen Malik, who with her husband carried out the massacre in San Bernardino, Calif., passed three background checks by American immigration officials as she moved to the United States from Pakistan. None uncovered what Ms. Malik had made little effort to hide — that she talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad. She said she supported it. And she said she wanted to be a part of it. . . . Had the authorities found the posts years ago, they might have kept her out of the country. But immigration officials do not routinely review social media as part of their background checks, and there is a debate inside the Department of Homeland Security over whether it is even appropriate to do so. . . . In an era when technology has given intelligence agencies seemingly limitless ability to collect information on people, it may seem surprising that a Facebook or Twitter post could go unnoticed in a background screening.”
The country’s in the very best of hands, and even the New York Times is noticing the fail.
The accompanying photo is likely to appear in some political ads.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Former U.S. State Department Employee Pleads Guilty to Extensive Computer Hacking, Cyberstalking and “Sextortion” Scheme.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Pentagon chief Ashton Carter just fired his top military aide over ‘misconduct.’
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Secret Service Agent Charged With Sexting 14-Year-Old From White House.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Hackers breach FBI-run site, email account of top bureau official. “The hackers, who call themselves Crackas With Attitude, on Friday posted personal data of law enforcement officials that appears to have been stolen from the Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal. The site connects local and federal law enforcement officials and allows local, state and federal agencies to share information, including of ongoing investigations. Three U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed the site, also known as LEO.gov, was breached and user personal data was stolen.”
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: NASA Supervisors Charged in Chinese Spy Case. Plus, a connection to Hillary’s email problems. And note that Hillary’s casual attitude toward security looks a lot like Administration policy:
A knowledgeable NASA official who requested anonymity said “the whole Bo Jiang incident was brought to management’s attention. They ignored it. They asked us to ignore it.”
The official said foreigners have more, not less, access to NASA operations at present.
Before the Bo Jiang case all foreign nationals, including green card holders, could be monitored and restricted. But now green card holders are treated like U.S. citizens with unrestricted access to all parts of the space research facility.
“If you have a green card, your allegiance may still be to China, but the green card gets you legal authority to work in the United States,” he said. “Therefore we don’t track them. They don’t have restrictions to transfer technology control plans. They’re given access the same exact way as a U.S. citizen because they have a green card.”
Well, that’s just great. But don’t worry, it’s not as if there are no consequences at all here: “Whistleblowers who went out on a limb to disclose the Bo Jiang case continue to face difficulties.”
THE ISIS INTEL THAT WAS CHANGED FOR POLITICAL REASONS: The intelligence pros said killing certain ISIS leaders might not diminish the group and that airstrikes might not be working. The bosses didn’t like those answers—not at all.
Senior intelligence officials at the U.S. military’s Central Command demanded significant alterations to analysts’ reports that questioned whether airstrikes against the so-called Islamic State widely known as ISIS were damaging the group’s finances and its ability to launch attacks. But reports that showed the group being weakened by the U.S.-led air campaign received comparatively little scrutiny, The Daily Beast has learned.
Senior CENTCOM intelligence officials who reviewed the critical reports sent them back to the analysts and ordered them to write new versions that included more footnotes and details to support their assessments, according to two officials familiar with a complaint levied by more than 50 analysts about intelligence manipulation by CENTCOM higher-ups.
In some cases, analysts were also urged to state that killing particular ISIS leaders and key officials would diminish the group and lead to its collapse. Many analysts, however, didn’t believe that simply taking out top ISIS leaders would have an enduring effect on overall operations.
“There was the reality on the ground but it was not as rosy as [the leadership] wanted it to be,” a defense official familiar with the complaint told The Daily Beast. “The challenge was assessing whether the glass was half empty, not half full.”
Some analysts have also complained that they felt “bullied” into reaching conclusions favored by their bosses, two separate sources familiar with analysts’ complaints said. The written and verbal pressure created a climate at CENTCOM in which analysts felt they had to self-censor some of their reports.
Some of the analysts have also accused their bosses of changing the reports in order to appeal to what they perceived as the Obama administration’s official line that the anti-ISIS campaign was making progress and would eventually end with the group’s destruction.
The country’s in the very best of hands. At least if by “best” you mean, politicized and not particularly concerned about what’s going on in the world so long as they enhance their position here.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Watchdog finds widespread fraud at U.S. Census Bureau.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Obama’s Messy Iraq Intelligence Scandal: We’ve heard tales of ‘cherry-picked intelligence’ before—it hasn’t ended well.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Latest military lab concerns involve plague bacteria, deadly viruses.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: EPA admits never planned for ‘worst-case scenario’ at site of toxic mine spill.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: IRS Agent Charged With Sexual Battery During Audit.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Trigger-Happy White House Staffer Resigns Amid Assault Charges.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: 15,000 government emails revealed in Ashley Madison leak. “Buried in the list are emails that could be tied to multiple administration agencies, including the State Department and Department of Homeland Security, as well as several tied to both the House and Senate.” How do we know that they’re genuine, though?
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: IRS’ estimate of tax records stolen by fraudsters soars to over 300,000. “More than three months after the Internal Revenue Service shut down its online tax transcript service because of a massive identity theft effort, the IRS is now acknowledging that the number of affected taxpayers is more than three times the agency’s initial estimate. And the number of affected taxpayers may continue to grow as the agency digs into logs of hundreds of thousands of connections to its Get Transcript application over the past year. Today, the agency announced that there were, in total, more than 600,000 suspicious attempts made to create user accounts on the transcript system using what appears to be stolen personal identifying information from recent credit card breaches and other corporate hacks; more than 300,000 of those attempts succeeded.”
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: GAO Employees Indicted for School Lunch Fraud.
Five employees with the Government Accountability Office, and one GAO employee’s spouse, were indicted Tuesday for working to illegally obtain reduced-price lunches for their children.
The indictment resulted from the legislative branch agency’s own investigation into the school meals program, which found that some of the GAO’s employees applied for the program and underreported their income to gain access to the reduced-price lunches. After the agency discovered the illegal activity, the GAO reported applications to the agency’s Inspector General.
“There is no excuse for stealing funds intended to go to children whose parents cannot afford the school lunches,” Maryland’s Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said in a news release announcing the indictment. “Their actions are made even worse by the fact that some of them claimed to have not just low income, but no income at all, even though they were working full-time jobs at the GAO.”
The GAO, which notes on its website that it is often referred to as the “congressional watchdog,” investigates federal spending. GAO spokesman Chuck Young wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call that GAO employees were “both disappointed and surprised” to learn that their colleagues were potentially committing fraud.
Well, I’m disappointed, but not surprised.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Environmental Protection Agency Dumps a Million Gallons of Orange Mine Waste into a Colorado River.
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: Inspector General: IRS Ignored Recommended Security Upgrades That Would Have Prevented Last Week’s Hack Of 100,000 Taxpayer Accounts.
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.
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.
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: San Diego District Attorney Issues Warning About Dangerous Spyware She Purchased & Distributed; But Still Stands By It.
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.”
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) November 6, 2012
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.