Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
On behalf of the United States Government and the American people, I congratulate the German people as they come together to celebrate the Day of German Unity. This special occasion marks three decades of a unified and democratic Germany standing as a symbol of freedom and self-determination.
Germany and the United States share a strong historic bond based on our shared values, ideals, and a commitment to transatlantic security. Together, we will continue to defend freedom, advance security and prosperity, counter injustice, and foster the people-to-people connections that inspire future generations.
Congratulations and warm wishes to all Germans. We join with you in honoring thirty years of unification and wish you a successful and prosperous year.
- Armenia’s Parliamentary ElectionsBy Sam NewsJune 23, 2021Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
- United States Sanctions Two Hizballah OfficialsBy Sam NewsOctober 22, 2020Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
- Justice Department Charges More than 14,200 Defendants with Firearms-Related Crimes in FY20By Sam NewsOctober 13, 2020Today, the Justice Department announced it has charged more than 14,200 defendants with firearms-related crimes during Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, despite the challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on the criminal justice process.[Read More…]
- Warfighter Support: DOD Has Made Progress, but Supply and Distribution Challenges Remain in AfghanistanBy Sam NewsAugust 31, 2021In fiscal year 2010, the Department of Defense (DOD) spent billions of dollars to move troops and materiel into Afghanistan, a mountainous, land-locked country with poorly developed infrastructure. The increase of 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan as of August 2010, along with thousands of civilians and contractors supporting U.S. efforts, have required further development of DOD's already-complex distribution network to support and sustain U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. GAO conducted this review to assess distribution issues in Afghanistan, including (1) DOD's oversight of distribution operations; (2) DOD's performance in providing supplies and equipment; and (3) challenges that have affected DOD's ability to provide supplies and equipment. GAO reviewed joint doctrine and DOD policies on distribution, analyzed DOD delivery data, and interviewed DOD officials in the United States and in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain.Although U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) has established some processes for oversight, it does not have full oversight of the distribution of supplies and equipment to the warfighter in Afghanistan. DOD's distribution pipeline includes four legs--intracontinental, intertheater, intratheater, and point of employment--and involves numerous organizations responsible for various aspects of the distribution process for delivering supplies and equipment to Afghanistan. TRANSCOM, as DOD's Distribution Process Owner, is responsible for overseeing the overall effectiveness, efficiency, and alignment of DOD-wide distribution activities. However, as applied and interpreted by DOD, TRANSCOM's oversight role does not extend all the way to final delivery to warfighters at forward-based combat outposts. Instead, its oversight efforts terminate at major logistics bases in Afghanistan. The oversight from these bases to combat outposts is carried out at varying levels and without uniformity by U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and its component services. As a result of this fragmented structure, TRANSCOM does not have the ability to conduct its oversight role all the way to final delivery to the warfighter, nor does it have the visibility over distribution performance from major bases to outposts necessary to fully oversee the effectiveness of the DOD-wide distribution system and coordinate potentially necessary improvements to the system. DOD has not always met delivery standards and timelines for shipments to major logistics bases in Afghanistan, and it cannot conduct a full assessment of its delivery performance for surface shipments due to incomplete data. DOD has more frequently met delivery standards for shipments transported by airlift than for shipments transported on surface routes, due in large part to the various difficulties in transporting cargo on surface routes through neighboring countries and inside Afghanistan. For example, from December 2009 through March 2011, surface shipments of requisitioned supplies did not once meet the time-definite delivery standard that calls for 85 percent of shipments to arrive within 97 days of being ordered. In contrast, commercial air shipments from the United States met DOD's delivery standard six times over that time frame. DOD has taken some steps to mitigate challenges in distributing materiel to forces operating in Afghanistan, but GAO identified several challenges that continue to hinder the Department's distribution efforts: (1) DOD does not have adequate radio-frequency identification information to track all cargo movements into and within Afghanistan. (2) DOD does not have a common operating picture for distribution data and integrated transportation systems in support of Afghanistan operations. (3) Complex customs clearance processes in Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to delay shipments of supplies and equipment. (4) DOD continues to face difficulties in collecting information on all incidents of pilferage and damage of cargo. (5) DOD is not effectively tracking and managing cargo containers for Afghanistan operations. Collectively, these issues will likely continue to affect supply operations in Afghanistan and limit DOD's oversight of the supply chain. As a result, DOD's ability to identify and address gaps in distribution to support current deployments and redeployments, sustainment of deployed units, and any future drawdown efforts may be limited. GAO makes 15 recommendations for DOD to clarify its distribution policy, improve documentation of performance, and address several other challenges. DOD concurred or partially concurred with 11 of GAO's recommendations, but did not concur with four recommendations.[Read More…]
- Federal Spending Transparency: Opportunities Exist to Further Improve the Information Available on USAspending.govBy Sam NewsNovember 8, 2021What GAO Found The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) requires federal agencies to submit spending data for presentation on USAspending.gov. This public-facing website promotes federal spending transparency. Information displayed on USAspending.gov is sourced from agency financial systems and external government-wide reporting systems. GAO found that Treasury took additional steps to disclose known data limitations on USAspending.gov. GAO also identified some opportunities to further enhance the quality of the data displayed on the website and the business application controls that process the data. Timeliness. Most agencies submitted their data files by the deadlines established by Treasury. For the period ending March 31, 2021, 83 of 101 agencies submitted their data files on time. Completeness. Of the 101 agencies that submitted data for the period ending March 31, 2021, 19 did not include data in the required file that links budget and award information needed to effectively track federal spending. Accuracy. Data displayed on selected USAspending.gov web pages were largely consistent with agency-certified data, the USAspending.gov database, data displayed on other USAspending.gov web pages and data available for download. However, Treasury should help ensure that users of the data are able to distinguish whether information on award description describes the purpose of the base award or the purpose of a transaction or modification. Business process controls. Treasury could strengthen its business process controls to prevent or detect incomplete or inaccurate data displayed on USAspending.gov. For example, Treasury did not have a process to periodically inform agencies of unlinked data to help them reconcile and resolve data linkage differences, and the unique award key did not always result in a complete and accurate display of financial assistance award information. Implementation and use of data standards. Some data elements displayed on USAspending.gov were inconsistent with the established data standards. For example, agencies were required to report program activity information included in the program and financing schedules of the annual budget of the federal government. However, for the reporting period ending March 31, 2021, GAO found that hundreds of billions of dollars in obligations were reported with a program activity of “Unknown/Other.” Disclosure of known data limitations. Treasury disclosed known data limitations by adding an Agency Submission Statistics web page in response to user feedback requesting greater transparency into the completeness of agency data available on the website. However, Treasury does not disclose the effects of changes to reporting standards over time. In addition, disclosures on the linkage of financial and award information are unclear. Data governance. Agencies have made progress completing the data governance milestones outlined in the Federal Data Strategy 2020 Action Plan. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently issued the 2021 Action Plan and is considering future efforts to monitor agency progress. USAspending.gov integrates data from many sources, including data that agencies submit and certify, and data from government-wide reporting systems (see figure). Agencies are required to submit seven data files, sourced from agency financial management systems and government-wide reporting systems, either monthly or quarterly. As seen below, agencies submit these files to Treasury's DATA Act Broker (broker)—the system that collects and validates agency data—and attest to or certify the accuracy of the seven data files. The broker also obtains award and subaward data and information from government-wide reporting systems each evening to update USAspending.gov. This nightly update process also integrates new agency-certified data files after each monthly or quarterly submission due date. Additional data from other external sources is periodically updated in the broker and reflected on USAspending.gov. Process Overview and Sources of Data Displayed on USAspending.gov Why GAO Did This Study The DATA Act requires disclosure of federal agency expenditures and linking of agency spending information to federal program activities so that both policymakers and the public can more effectively track federal spending. The act also requires OMB and Treasury to establish data standards to provide consistent, reliable, and searchable government-wide spending data. The DATA Act contains a provision for GAO to report on the quality of the data. This is the third in a series of three reports on data quality. This report examines (1) the timeliness, completeness, and accuracy of the data displayed on USAspending.gov; (2) business process controls over the data; (3) the implementation and use of data standards; (4) the disclosure of known data quality limitations; and (5) the status of agency efforts to develop a data governance structure over DATA Act reporting. To address these objectives, GAO analyzed data from USAspending.gov, reviewed agency documents, and interviewed agency officials.[Read More…]
- FY 2022 Notice of Funding Opportunity for Resettlement Support Center (RSC) Africa; RSC Asia; RSC Eurasia; and RSC Latin AmericaBy Sam NewsNovember 3, 2021FY 2022 Notice of [Read More…]
- Out-of-state man pleads guilty to smuggling 117 from Laredo in trailerBy Sam NewsIn Justice NewsJuly 26, 2021A 42-year-old resident [Read More…]
- Florida Woman Convicted of COVID-19 Relief FraudBy Sam NewsNovember 29, 2021A federal jury convicted a Florida woman on Nov. 24 for fraudulently obtaining a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.[Read More…]
- Statement from Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband Commemorating the Twentieth Anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection ActBy Sam NewsOctober 28, 2020Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband issued the following statement today commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act:[Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Senegalese Foreign Minister Aïssata Tall Sall Before Their MeetingBy Sam NewsNovember 21, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- Secretary Blinken’s Call with the United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al NahyanBy Sam NewsJanuary 4, 2022Office of the [Read More…]
- Department of Justice Issues Statement Regarding Federal Civil Rights Review Into March 2020 Police Encounter with Daniel PrudeBy Sam NewsFebruary 23, 2021Pamela Karlan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, James P. Kennedy Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, and Stephen A. Belongia, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Buffalo Field Office, released the following statement:[Read More…]
- Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISISBy Sam NewsMay 12, 2021A New York man was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, aka ISIS. Zachary Clark, aka Umar Kabir, Umar Shishani and Abu Talha, 42, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty in August 2020 to one count of attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, namely, ISIS.[Read More…]
- Border Security: CBP Has Taken Actions to Help Ensure Timely and Accurate Field Testing of Suspected Illicit DrugsBy Sam NewsApril 26, 2021What GAO Found U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has policies and procedures for its officers and agents to test substances that they suspect are illicit drugs—referred to as a presumptive field test. Field officials that GAO spoke with said these policies and procedures provide sufficient guidance for conducting presumptive field testing. The policies and procedures address various topics, such as approved and recommended types of test equipment, use of the equipment, training, and requirements for documenting illicit drug seizures. They also address laboratory confirmation of field test results (confirmatory testing), which U.S. Attorney's Offices require for federal prosecution. GAO found that CBP's Office of Field Operations and U.S. Border Patrol conducted at least 90,000 presumptive field tests associated with an arrest from fiscal year 2015 through 2020. The average time for CBP to complete confirmatory testing across its labs decreased from 100 days in calendar year 2015 to 53 days in calendar year 2020, as of September 2020. This occurred while the total number of requests for confirmatory testing increased from about 4,600 in calendar year 2015 to about 5,600 in calendar year 2020, as of September 2020. With regard to accuracy, CBP officials have taken initial steps to upgrade the software system used to document confirmatory test results. This should provide CBP with information on the extent to which presumptive field test results align with confirmatory test results. Average Time to Complete Confirmatory Testing and Number of Requests for Confirmatory Testing Processed Across all U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Laboratories, Calendar Year 2015 through September 24, 2020 CBP has taken a number of actions to help ensure timely and accurate field drug testing, including: Identifying, testing, and deploying test equipment. For example, CBP tested multiple types of chemical screening devices to determine their performance and capabilities to detect fentanyl at low purity levels. Enhancing presumptive and confirmatory field testing capabilities by building permanent onsite labs and deploying mobile labs in certain field locations. Providing round-the-clock access to chemists who help interpret presumptive field test results. Why GAO Did This Study Within the Department of Homeland Security, CBP reported seizing approximately 830,000 pounds of drugs in fiscal year 2020. When CBP officers and agents encounter suspected illicit drugs, they conduct a presumptive field test. A positive test result is one factor CBP uses to establish probable cause for an arrest or seizure. GAO was asked to review issues related to CBP's field drug testing. This report examines (1) CBP's policies and procedures for testing suspected illicit drugs in the field; (2) available data on CBP's field drug testing; and (3) CBP's efforts to help ensure timely and accurate test results. GAO analyzed CBP data on presumptive field testing and laboratory confirmation of results from fiscal year 2015 through 2020; reviewed related policies and procedures; and interviewed CBP officials in five states at land, air, and sea ports of entry, Border Patrol stations and checkpoints, and CBP labs. GAO selected these locations to include varying levels of drug seizures, among other factors. For more information, contact Rebecca Gambler at (202) 512-8777 or email@example.com.[Read More…]
- Two Doctors Charged in Illegal Opioid Distribution and Health Care Fraud ConspiracyBy Sam NewsFebruary 25, 2021A federal grand jury in Kentucky returned an indictment Wednesday charging two doctors for their alleged involvement in conspiracies to illegally distribute opioids and commit health care fraud.[Read More…]
- Expanded Interview Waivers for Certain Nonimmigrant Visa ApplicantsBy Sam NewsDecember 23, 2021Office of the [Read More…]
- Former Supplement Company Owner Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Distribution of Steroid-like DrugsBy Sam NewsJune 10, 2021A New Jersey chiropractor pleaded guilty today to a felony charge relating to the distribution of steroid-like drugs in purported dietary supplements.[Read More…]
- On the Death of Colombian Defense Minister TrujilloBy Sam NewsJanuary 27, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- The United States Supports the Voices of the Venezuelan PeopleBy Sam NewsDecember 16, 2020Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
- Justice Department Defends Health Care Workers from Being Forced to Perform Abortions with Vermont LawsuitBy Sam NewsDecember 16, 2020The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division today filed a civil lawsuit in Vermont federal court against the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) for violating the federal anti-discrimination statute known as the “Church Amendments.” That statute prohibits health care entities like UVMMC from discriminating against health care workers who follow their conscience and refuse to perform or assist with abortions.[Read More…]