January 20, 2022

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Coldspring man gets life in postal carrier death case

11 min read
A 45-year-old rural Houston resident has admitted he murdered a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail carrier while she was in the performance of her official duties

Read full article at: https://www.justice.gov December 6, 2021
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  • Joint Statement on the C5+1 Virtual Ministerial
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • William M. Kelly, M.D., Inc And Omega Imaging, Inc. Agree To Pay $5 Million To Resolve Alleged False Claims For Unsupervised And Unaccredited Radiology Services
    In Crime News
    William M. Kelly Inc. and Omega Imaging Inc., together, operate 11 radiology facilities in Southern California, have agreed to pay the United States $5 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by knowingly submitting claims to Medicare and the military healthcare program, TRICARE, for unsupervised radiology services and services provided at unaccredited facilities, the Department of Justice announced today.
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  • Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Visit to the People’s Republic of China
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  • Weapon Systems Cybersecurity: Guidance Would Help DOD Programs Better Communicate Requirements to Contractors
    In U.S GAO News
    Since GAO's 2018 report, the Department of Defense (DOD) has taken action to make its network of high-tech weapon systems less vulnerable to cyberattacks. DOD and military service officials highlighted areas of progress, including increased access to expertise, enhanced cyber testing, and additional guidance. For example, GAO found that selected acquisition programs have conducted, or planned to conduct, more cybersecurity testing during development than past acquisition programs. It is important that DOD sustain its efforts as it works to improve weapon systems cybersecurity. Contracting for cybersecurity requirements is key. DOD guidance states that these requirements should be treated like other types of system requirements and, more simply, “if it is not in the contract, do not expect to get it.” Specifically, cybersecurity requirements should be defined in acquisition program contracts, and criteria should be established for accepting or rejecting the work and for how the government will verify that requirements have been met. However, GAO found examples of program contracts omitting cybersecurity requirements, acceptance criteria, or verification processes. For example, GAO found that contracts for three of the five programs did not include any cybersecurity requirements when they were awarded. A senior DOD official said standardizing cybersecurity requirements is difficult and the department needs to better communicate cybersecurity requirements and systems engineering to the users that will decide whether or not a cybersecurity risk is acceptable. Incorporating Cybersecurity in Contracts DOD and the military services have developed a range of policy and guidance documents to improve weapon systems cybersecurity, but the guidance usually does not specifically address how acquisition programs should include cybersecurity requirements, acceptance criteria, and verification processes in contracts. Among the four military services GAO reviewed, only the Air Force has issued service-wide guidance that details how acquisition programs should define cybersecurity requirements and incorporate those requirements in contracts. The other services could benefit from a similar approach in developing their own guidance that helps ensure that DOD appropriately addresses cybersecurity requirements in contracts. DOD's network of sophisticated, expensive weapon systems must work when needed, without being incapacitated by cyberattacks. However, GAO reported in 2018 that DOD was routinely finding cyber vulnerabilities late in its development process. A Senate report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 included a provision for GAO to review DOD's implementation of cybersecurity for weapon systems in development. GAO's report addresses (1) the extent to which DOD has made progress in implementing cybersecurity for weapon systems during development, and (2) the extent to which DOD and the military services have developed guidance for incorporating weapon systems cybersecurity requirements into contracts. GAO reviewed DOD and service guidance and policies related to cybersecurity for weapon systems in development, interviewed DOD and program officials, and reviewed supporting documentation for five acquisition programs. GAO also interviewed defense contractors about their experiences with weapon systems cybersecurity. GAO is recommending that the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps provide guidance on how programs should incorporate tailored cybersecurity requirements into contracts. DOD concurred with two recommendations, and stated that the third—to the Marine Corps—should be merged with the one to the Navy. DOD's response aligns with the intent of the recommendation. For more information, contact W. William Russell at (202) 512-4841 or russellw@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Department of Justice Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission to Hold Workshop on Promoting Competition in Labor Markets
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will jointly host a virtual public workshop on Dec. 6 and 7, to discuss efforts to promote competitive labor markets and worker mobility. The workshop will bring together lawyers, economists, academics, policy experts, labor groups and workers, and will cover recent developments at the intersection of antitrust and labor, as well as implications for efforts to protect and empower workers through competition enforcement and rulemaking.  
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  • Former Florida Resident Indicted for Tax Evasion and Failing to Report Foreign Bank Accounts
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Lucia Andrea Gatta, a former resident of Palm Beach County, Florida, with tax evasion and failing to file Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs), among other offenses, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida.
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  • Ohio Resident Pleads Guilty to Operating Darknet-Based Bitcoin ‘Mixer’ That Laundered Over $300 Million
    In Crime News
    An Ohio man pleaded guilty today to a money laundering conspiracy arising from his operation of Helix, a Darknet-based cryptocurrency laundering service.
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  • DSS protects at 10,000 feet
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  • Israel, The West Bank and Gaza Travel Advisory
    In Travel
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  • California Resident Sentenced to 121 Months in Prison for Facilitating Telemarketing Conspiracy that Defrauded Thousands of Vulnerable U.S. Consumers
    In Crime News
    A California man has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for partnering with call centers in Peru that defrauded Spanish-speaking U.S. residents through lies and threats.
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  • Soldiers charged with alien smuggling
    In Justice News
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  • Laredo man sentenced for undocumented alien death due to car wreck
    In Justice News
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  • 2020 New Zealand General Election
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  • Statement from Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Regarding Texas SB8
    In Crime News
    The U.S. Department of Justice today issued the following statement from Attorney General Merrick B. Garland regarding Texas SB8: 
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  • Defense Logistics: Army and Marine Corps’s Individual Body Armor System Issues
    In U.S GAO News
    Since combat operations began in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. forces have been subjected to frequent and deadly attacks from insurgents using various weapons such as improvised explosive devices (IED), mortars, rocket launchers, and increasingly lethal ballistic threats. Since 2003, to provide protection from ballistic threats, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which is responsible for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other areas, has required service members and Department of Defense (DOD) civilians in its area of operations to be issued the Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) system. Used by all U.S. military service members and DOD civilians in the area of operations, the IBA consists of an outer tactical vest with ballistic inserts or plates that cover the front, back, and sides. As the ballistic threat has evolved, ballistic requirements have also changed. The vest currently provides protection from 9mm rounds, while the inserts provide protection against 7.62mm armor-piercing rounds. Additional protection can also be provided for the shoulder, throat, and groin areas. Concerns also regarding the level of protection and amount of IBA needed to protect U.S. forces have occurred in recent years, prompted by a number of reports, newspaper articles, and recalls of issued body armor by both the Army and the Marine Corps. In May 2005, the Marine Corps recalled body armor because it concluded that the fielded body armor failed to meet contract specifications, and in November 2005, the Army and Marine Corps recalled 14 lots of body armor that failed original ballistic testing. Additionally, in April 2005, we reported on shortages of critical force protection items, including individual body armor. Specifically, we found reasons for the shortages in body armor were due to material shortages, production limitations, and in-theater distribution problems. In the report, we did not make specific recommendations regarding body armor, but we did make several recommendations to improve the effectiveness of DOD's supply system in supporting deployed forces for contingencies. DOD agreed with the intent of the recommendations and cited actions it had or was taking to eliminate supply chain deficiencies. Congress has expressed strong interest in assuring that body armor protects ground forces. Additionally, as part of our efforts to monitor DOD's and the services' actions to protect deployed ground forces, we reviewed the Army and Marine Corps's actions to address concerns regarding body armor to determine if they had taken actions to address these concerns. Because of broad congressional interest in the adequacy of body armor for the ground forces, we prepared this report under the Comptroller General's authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative. Our objectives for this review were to determine to what extent the Army and Marine Corps (1) are meeting the theater requirements for body armor, (2) have the controls in place to assure that the manufacturing and fielding of body armor meet requirements, and (3) are sharing information regarding their efforts on body armor ballistic requirements and testing.In this review, we found that the Army and Marine Corps have taken several actions to meet theater requirements, assure testing, and share information on body armor. We also found that contractors and non-DOD civilians receive body armor if this provision is included in a negotiated contract. Specifically, we found that the Army and Marine Corps are currently meeting theater ballistic requirements and the required amount needed for personnel in theater, including the amounts needed for the surge of troops into Iraq; have controls in place during manufacturing and after fielding to assure that body armor meets requirements; and share information regarding ballistic requirements and testing, and the development of future body armor systems, although they are not required to do so. Regarding contractors or non-DOD civilians, we found that DOD Instruction 3020.41 allows DOD to provide body armor to contractors where permitted by applicable DOD instructions and military department regulations and where specified under the terms of the contract. CENTCOM's position is that body armor will be provided to contractors if it is part of a negotiated contract.
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  • Former Department of Justice Paralegal Pleads Guilty to Accessing and Releasing Sensitive, Non-Public Information
    In Crime News
    A former contractor with the U.S. Department of Justice pleaded guilty today for unlawfully using her government computer to access government records and providing sensitive, non-public information to another individual, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
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  • Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad  Travels to Afghanistan, Qatar, and the Region
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  • Rebuilding Iraq: Status of Funding and Reconstruction Efforts
    In U.S GAO News
    Rebuilding Iraq is a U.S. national security and foreign policy priority and constitutes the largest U.S. assistance program since World War II. Billions of dollars in grants, loans, assets, and revenues from various sources have been made available or pledged to the reconstruction of Iraq. The United States, along with its coalition partners and various international organizations and donors, has embarked on a significant effort to rebuild Iraq following multiple wars and decades of neglect by the former regime. The U.S. effort to restore Iraq's basic infrastructure and essential services is important to attaining U.S. military and political objectives in Iraq and helping Iraq achieve democracy and freedom. This report provides information on (1) the funding applied to the reconstruction effort and (2) U.S. activities and progress made in the oil, power, water, and health sectors and key challenges that these sectors face.As of March 2005, the United States, Iraq, and international donors had pledged or made available more than $60 billion for security, governance, and reconstruction efforts in Iraq. The United States provided about $24 billion (for fiscal years 2003 through 2005) largely for security and reconstruction activities. Of this amount, about $18 billion had been obligated and about $9 billion disbursed. The State department has reported that since July 2004, about $4.7 billion of $18.4 billion in fiscal year 2004 funding has been realigned from large electricity and water projects to security, economic development, and smaller immediate impact projects. From May 2003 through June 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) controlled $23 billion in Iraqi revenues and assets, which was used primarily to fund the operations of the Iraqi government. The CPA allocated a smaller portion of these funds--about $7 billion--for relief and reconstruction projects. Finally, international donors pledged $13.6 billion over 4 years (2004 through 2007) for reconstruction activities, about $10 billion in the form of loans and $3.6 billion in the form of grants. Iraq had accessed $436 million of the available loans as of March 2005. As of the same date, donors had deposited more than $1 billion into funds for multilateral grant assistance, which disbursed about $167 million for the Iraqi elections and other activities, such as education and health projects. The U.S. reconstruction effort in Iraq has undertaken many activities in the oil, power, water, and health sectors and has made some progress, although multiple challenges confront each sector. The U.S. has completed projects in Iraq that have helped to restore basic services, such as rehabilitating oil wells and refineries, increasing electrical generation capacity, restoring water treatment plants, and reestablishing Iraqi basic health care services. However, as of May 2005, Iraq's crude oil production and overall power generation were lower than before the 2003 conflict, although power levels have increased recently; some completed water projects were not functioning as intended; and construction at hospital and clinics is under way. Reconstruction efforts continue to face challenges such as rebuilding in an insecure environment, ensuring the sustainability of completed projects, and measuring program results.
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  • Briefing with Special Envoy for the Northern Triangle Ricardo Zuniga on Ongoing Diplomatic Efforts to Address the Root Causes of Irregular Migration from Central America
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Veterans Affairs: Ongoing Financial Management System Modernization Program Would Benefit from Improved Cost and Schedule Estimating
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Financial Management Business Transformation (FMBT) program has begun implementing the Integrated Financial and Acquisition Management System (iFAMS), with the first deployment of certain capabilities at the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) on November 9, 2020. FMBT program officials identified various challenges, such as FMBT program funding shortfalls, which represent the difference between VA's original requirement and the President's budget request, and coordination with other major initiatives. VA has taken various steps to address its challenges. For example, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, VA postponed the initial NCA deployment 4 months and converted planning, training, and testing activities to virtual events. In addition, the FMBT program and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) worked together to address the FMBT program funding shortfall by postponing iFAMS implementation at VHA for at least 2 years to coordinate with the implementation of a new logistics system. Following information technology (IT) management best practices on major transformation efforts, such as the FMBT program, can help build a foundation for ensuring responsibility, accountability, and transparency. VA has generally met such practices for program governance, Agile project management, and testing and defect management. However, it has not fully met certain best practices for developing and managing cost and schedule estimates. As a result, its estimates were not reliable. Specifically, VA's estimates substantially met one, and partially or minimally met three of the four characteristics associated with reliable cost and schedule estimates, respectively. For example, VA minimally met the “credible” characteristic associated with reliable cost estimates, in part, because it did not compare its cost estimate to an independently developed estimate. GAO Assessment of VA Cost and Schedule Estimates against Best Practice Characteristics Cost estimate characteristic Assessment of cost estimate Schedule estimate characteristic Assessment of schedule estimate Comprehensive Partially met Comprehensive Partially met Well-documented Substantially met Well-constructed Partially met Accurate Partially met Credible Partially met Credible Minimally met Controlled Substantially met Legend: substantially met = VA provided evidence that satisfies a large portion of the criterion; partially met = VA provided evidence that satisfies about one-half of the criterion; minimally met = VA provided evidence that satisfies a small portion of the criterion Source: GAO assessment of the Department of Veterans Affairs Financial Management Business Transformation program documentation. | GAO-21-227 Reliable cost and schedule estimates provide a road map for project execution and are critical elements to delivering large-scale IT systems. Without reliable estimates, VA management may not have the information necessary for informed decision-making. Further, following cost and schedule best practices helps minimize the risk of cost overruns and schedule delays and would better position the FMBT program for effective and successful implementation on future deployments. Why GAO Did This Study VA's core financial system is approximately 30 years old and is not integrated with other relevant IT systems, resulting in inefficient operations and complex work-arounds. The FMBT program is VA's current effort and third attempt to replace its aging financial and acquisition systems with one integrated system. The first two attempts were unsuccessful after years of development and hundreds of millions of dollars in cost. GAO was asked to review the progress of the FMBT program. This report (1) describes the status of the FMBT program, including steps VA has taken to address challenges it has identified, and (2) examines the extent to which VA has followed certain IT management best practices. GAO summarized FMBT program risks and challenges that VA identified, reviewed FMBT program documentation and compared it with relevant guidance and best practices, and interviewed cognizant VA officials.
    [Read More…]
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