Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
We join our partners and allies in our strong condemnation of the attack against the Mercer Street, a commercial ship that was peacefully transiting through the north Arabian Sea in international waters.
Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive UAVs, a lethal capability it is increasingly employing throughout the region.
There is no justification for this attack, which follows a pattern of attacks and other belligerent behavior. These actions threaten freedom of navigation through this crucial waterway, international shipping and commerce, and the lives of those on the vessels involved.
We are working with our partners to consider our next steps and consulting with governments inside the region and beyond on an appropriate response, which will be forthcoming. We once again offer our condolences to the families of the victims.
- July 29, 2021, letter commenting on AICPA’s February 2021 Exposure Draft, “Proposed Statements on Quality Management Standards – Quality Management”By Sam NewsJuly 31, 2021This letter provides GAO's response to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Auditing Standards Board's (ASB) Proposed Statement on Quality Management Standards – Quality Management: A Firm's System of Quality Management (SQMS No. 1); Proposed Statement on Quality Management Standards – Engagement Quality Reviews (SQMS No. 2); and Proposed Statement on Auditing Standards, Quality Management for an Engagement Conducted in Accordance with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (QM SAS). GAO provides standards for performing high-quality audits of government organizations, programs, activities, and functions and of government assistance to contractors, nonprofit organizations, and other nongovernment organizations with competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence. These standards, often referred to as generally accepted government auditing standards (GAGAS), are to be followed when required by law, regulation, agreement, contract, or policy. For financial audits, GAGAS incorporates by reference the AICPA's Statements on Auditing Standards (SAS). For attestation engagements, GAGAS incorporates by reference the AICPA's Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements.[Read More…]
- Justice Department Releases Information on Election Day Efforts to Protect the Right to Vote and Prosecute Ballot FraudBy Sam NewsOctober 29, 2020Continuing a longstanding Justice Department tradition, Attorney General William P. Barr today issued the following statement: “Americans have the opportunity once again to help shape the future of this nation by exercising their right to vote. It is a right that forms the foundation of our democratic system of government, and is precious to all Americans. The Department of Justice will work tirelessly alongside other federal, State, and local agencies to protect and vindicate that right as it is administered by State and local jurisdictions across the nation.”[Read More…]
- Young soldiers admit to transporting undocumented citizensBy Sam NewsIn Justice NewsAugust 14, 2021Two military men [Read More…]
- Judiciary Launches Redesigned PACER WebsiteBy Sam NewsIn U.S CourtsJune 26, 2020The Administrative Office of the U.S Courts on June 28 will launch a redesigned informational website for the Judiciary’s electronic court records system, known as PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records).[Read More…]
- Justice Department Alleges Conditions at Lowell Correctional Institution Violate the ConstitutionBy Sam NewsDecember 22, 2020The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida today concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that the conditions at Lowell Correctional Institution (Lowell) in Ocala, Florida violate the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. Specifically, the department concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that Lowell fails to protect prisoners from sexual abuse by the facility’s staff.[Read More…]
- Justice Department Charges 500+ Domestic Violence-Related Firearm Cases in Fiscal Year 2020By Sam NewsOctober 7, 2020Today, the Department of Justice announced it has charged more than 500 domestic violence cases involving firearms during Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. A department priority since 2019 when Attorney General William P. Barr created the Department of Justice’s first ever-Domestic Violence Working Group, these charges are the result of the critical law enforcement partnership between United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, led by Acting Director Regina Lombardo, who has made domestic violence firearms-related investigations a priority.[Read More…]
- Zimbabwe Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsIn TravelSeptember 26, 2020Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
- U.S. Manager of Money Laundering Ring in a Nigerian Romance Scam SentencedBy Sam NewsSeptember 10, 2021An Oklahoma man was sentenced today in the Northern District of Oklahoma to four years in prison for managing a group of money launderers in an online Nigerian romance scam that defrauded multiple victims, including elderly individuals across the United States, and caused losses of at least $2.5 million.[Read More…]
- Troika Statement South Sudan’s 10 Year Independence AnniversaryBy Sam NewsJuly 8, 2021Office of the [Read More…]
- International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in ConflictBy Sam NewsJune 19, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- Justice Department Settles with Donut Shop Franchise to Resolve Immigration-Related Discrimination ClaimsBy Sam NewsNovember 18, 2021The Department of Justice announced today that it reached a settlement with SV Donuts Inc. LLC (SV Donuts), a Maryland corporation that owns two Dunkin Donuts store franchises. The settlement resolves a claim that the company discriminated against a lawful permanent resident because of his immigration status by not allowing him to choose which valid documentation to present to show his permission to work.[Read More…]
- Judiciary Steps Up Calls to Enact Security MeasuresBy Sam NewsIn U.S CourtsSeptember 22, 2020Citing the latest act of violence this year, in which a judge's family and officers at two federal courthouses have come under attack, the Judiciary has stepped up its call to congressional leaders for a series of safety measures “to protect the safety of the public at our nation’s courthouses.”[Read More…]
- Overstay Tracking: A Key Component of Homeland Security and a Layered DefenseBy Sam NewsAugust 25, 2021Each year, millions of visitors, foreign students, and immigrants come to the United States. Foreign visitors may enter on a legal temporary basis--that is, with an authorized period of admission that expires on a specific date--either (1) with temporary visas (generally for tourism, business, or work) or, in some cases, (2) as tourists or business visitors who are allowed to enter without visas. (The latter include Canadians and qualified visitors from 27 countries who enter under the visa waiver program.) The majority of visitors who are tracked depart on time, but others overstay--and since September 11, 2001, the question has arisen as to whether overstay issues might have an impact on domestic security. In this report, we (1) describe available data on the extent of overstaying, (2) report on weaknesses in the Department of Homeland Security's long-standing overstay tracking system, and (3) provide some observations on the impact that tracking system weaknesses and significant levels of overstaying may have on domestic security.Significant numbers of foreign visitors overstay their authorized periods of admission. Based in part on its long-standing I-94 system for tracking arrivals and departures, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimated the overstay population for January 2000 at 2.3 million. But this estimate (1) excludes an unknown number of long-term overstays from Mexico and Canada, and by definition (2) excludes short-term overstays from these and other countries. Because of unresolved weaknesses in DHS's long-standing tracking system (e.g., noncollection of some departure forms), there is no accurate list of overstays. Tracking system weaknesses make it difficult to monitor potentially suspicious aliens who enter the country legally--and limit immigration control options. Post-September 11 operations identified thousands of overstays and other illegal immigrant workers who (despite limited background checks) had obtained critical infrastructure jobs and security badges with access to, for example, airport tarmacs and U.S. military bases. As of April 2004, federal investigators had arrested more than 1,360 illegal workers, while the majority had eluded apprehension. Together with other improvements, better information on overstays might contribute to a layered national defense that is better able to counter threats from foreign terrorists. A more comprehensive system, US-VISIT, the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, is being phased in. The design and implementation of US-VISIT, however, face a number of challenges. It is important that this new program avoid specific weaknesses associated with the long-standing system. Checking for these weaknesses might help identify difficult challenges in advance and--together with other efforts--enhance USVISIT's chances for eventual success as a tracking system.[Read More…]
- Medicare Durable Medical Equipment: Effect of New Bid Surety Bond Requirement on Small Supplier Participation in the Competitive Bidding ProgramBy Sam NewsAugust 13, 2021What GAO Found The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administers a competitive bidding program (CBP) to determine which suppliers may furnish certain durable medical equipment (DME) to Medicare beneficiaries in designated geographical areas. Specifically, suppliers submit bids to provide specified categories of DME items; CMS determines winning bids based on several factors, including the bid amount, and whether the estimated capacity of suppliers would meet the projected demand for those DME items in each area. Historically, winning suppliers could reject any contract offer to furnish CBP-covered items without penalty. This allowed them to help set CBP payment amounts without being held accountable for furnishing items at those amounts. However, beginning with round 2021—the most recent round of the CBP—bidding suppliers were required by law to obtain a $50,000 bid surety bond for each CBP area in which they submitted a bid. These bonds require a supplier to accept a contract offer when its bid amount is at or below the median of the winning suppliers' bids used to calculate the CBP payment amount offered for each product category. If it does not, the supplier forfeits the bond. GAO found that small suppliers successfully obtained contracts in CBP round 2021. For example, small suppliers accounted for 58 percent of the suppliers awarded contracts in round 2021. Slightly more than half of the bids small suppliers submitted resulted in contracts. Contract Awards by Supplier Size for the Round 2021 Competitions Suppliers that bid Suppliers awarded contracts Size of bidders Number Percent Number Percent Small suppliers 383 60 207 58 Large suppliers 231 36 148 42 Unknown suppliers 24 4 0 0 Total 638 100 355 100 Source: GAO analysis of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data. I GAO-21-602 Notes: CMS defines small suppliers bidding as those generating $3.5 million or less in total gross Medicare and non-Medicare revenue annually, large suppliers as those generating more than that amount of revenue, and unknown suppliers as those whose entire bid was disqualified for a missing financial document and, therefore, did not advance to the evaluation process where a supplier's size is determined. CMS data suggest that bid surety bonds did not negatively affect small supplier participation in CBP round 2021. Specifically, the data show that the small supplier participation rate in round 2021 was comparable to that of the five prior CBP rounds. The data also indicated that only about 5 percent of small suppliers' bids were disqualified due to submission of invalid bid surety bonds. Representatives from two national DME industry trade organizations, as well as six of their small supplier members, told GAO that the new bid surety bond requirement did not create a barrier for small suppliers, as bid surety bonds were accessible to small suppliers and reasonably priced. However, some of these representatives reported other factors may affect small suppliers' future participation in CBP rounds, such as concerns related to small suppliers' ability to provide items at rates that are competitive with larger suppliers. Why GAO Did This Study To achieve Medicare savings and address fraud concerns, Congress required that CMS, in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), phase in a CBP for certain DME product categories in designated geographical (or CBP) areas. CBP Round 2021 began on January 1, 2021, and included two product categories (off-the-shelf knee braces and off-the-shelf back braces) in a total of 235 CBP area and product category combinations (known as competitions). CMS estimated that round 2021 will save Medicare more than $600 million over the 3-year contract period. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 included a provision for GAO to evaluate the effect of the new bid surety bond requirement on small supplier participation in the CBP. CMS defines small suppliers as those generating $3.5 million or less in total gross Medicare and non-Medicare revenue annually. This report describes 1) the extent to which small suppliers participated in CBP round 2021 and 2) what is known about how the bid surety bond requirement and other factors affected or may affect small supplier participation in the CBP. GAO reviewed bidding process and contract award data; interviewed CMS officials; and interviewed representatives from two national DME industry trade organizations, including six of their small DME supplier members, that GAO selected based on their familiarity with the CBP and the new bid surety bond requirement. HHS provided technical comments on a draft of this report, which GAO incorporated as appropriate. For more information, contact Michelle B. Rosenberg at (202) 512-7114 or email@example.com.[Read More…]
- Former coach charged with distributing pornographic images of childrenBy Sam NewsIn Justice NewsAugust 21, 2021A 44-year-old Rockport [Read More…]
- Three Individuals Charged with Arranging Adoptions from Uganda and Poland Through Bribery and FraudBy Sam NewsAugust 17, 2020Three women were charged in a 13-count indictment filed on Aug. 14 in the Northern District of Ohio for their alleged roles in schemes to corruptly and fraudulently procure adoptions of Ugandan and Polish children through bribing Ugandan officials and defrauding U.S. adoptive parents, U.S. authorities, and a Polish regulatory authority.[Read More…]
- Seven Members of Los Angeles-Based Fraud Ring Sentenced for Multimillion-Dollar COVID-19 Relief SchemeBy Sam NewsNovember 16, 2021Seven members of a Los Angeles-based fraud ring were sentenced for a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $20 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) COVID-19 relief funds.[Read More…]
- Fact Sheet: United States Imposes Additional Costs on Russia for the Poisoning of Aleksey NavalnyBy Sam NewsAugust 20, 2021Office of the [Read More…]
- Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down Illinois Tax Return PreparerBy Sam NewsMarch 17, 2021The United States has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois seeking to bar a Rockford area tax return preparer from preparing federal income tax returns for others.[Read More…]
- Man Sentenced to Prison for Producing Images of Child Sexual AbuseBy Sam NewsMarch 17, 2021A Nevada man was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in prison for producing images of child sexual abuse involving multiple minor victims under the age of 12 years old.[Read More…]