January 27, 2022

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Get to Know Preclearance

9 min read
Information for Prospective ApplicantsU. S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Preclearance program strategically stations CBP officers and agriculture specialists at foreign airports to inspect and process travelers and their goods prior to…

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  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken And International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi Before Their Meeting
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Tony Perkins of Washington Watch with Tony Perkins
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Owner of Jet Charter Company Settles False Claims Act Allegations Regarding Misappropriation of Payment Protection Program Loan
    In Crime News
    Seth A. Bernstein, the owner of jet charter company All in Jets LLC dba JetReady, located in Florida, has agreed to pay $287,055 to settle allegations that he misappropriated Payment Protection Program (PPP) loan proceeds for his personal expenses. JetReady is a jet charter operator with its principal place of business in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
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  • Former Owner of Aquarium Business Sentenced to Prison for Illicit Trafficking of Protected Reef Creatures
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department announced today that a Puerto Rico man was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for felony violations of the Lacey Act that involved the trafficking and false labeling of protected reef creatures as part of an effort to subvert Puerto Rican laws designed to protect coral reef organisms.
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  • Former Media Producer Indicted on Charges of Extortion and Obstruction of Justice
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment Tuesday charging a former media producer with extortion and obstruction of justice during a federal investigation in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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  • South Padre Island man sentenced for child pornography convictions
    In Justice News
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  • Senate Gift Shop Revolving Fund: Procedures Related to FY 2020 Receipts and Disbursements
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found GAO performed agreed-upon procedures solely to assist the Secretary of the Senate in ascertaining whether the Senate Gift Shop Revolving Fund's (Fund) fiscal year 2020 receipts and disbursements were supported by information from the Senate Gift Shop and the Senate Disbursing Office. The procedures that GAO agreed to perform were related to the Senate Gift Shop's processes over (1) daily receipts, weekly deposits, and monthly reconciliations for the Fund's receipts and (2) purchasing, invoice payment, and monthly reconciliations for the Fund's disbursements. The Secretary of the Senate is responsible for the sufficiency of these agreed-upon procedures to meet its objectives, and GAO makes no representation in that respect. The report provides the details on the agreed-upon procedures and the results of performing each of the procedures. The Secretary of the Senate in an email response stated that she had no comments on the draft report. Why GAO Did This Study The Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration requested that GAO perform procedures on the Fund's fiscal year 2020 receipts and disbursements. The Senate Gift Shop is under the authority of the Secretary of the Senate and is responsible for offering members, staff, and the general public the opportunity to purchase Senate memorabilia and gift items. All sales receipts are deposited into the Fund and then used to purchase inventory items for resale and supplies and to pay for shipping and other related service expenses. For more information, contact M. Hannah Padilla at (202) 512-5683 or padillah@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Judges Share 50 Years as Colleagues and Friends
    In U.S Courts
    On the same afternoon in October 1970, the Senate confirmed four new federal judges from Florida. This month, three are celebrating a half-century on the bench, as well as a strong, continuing friendship.
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  • Department Press Briefing – March 5, 2021
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Hanford Cleanup: DOE’s Efforts to Close Tank Farms Would Benefit from Clearer Legal Authorities and Communication
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Energy (DOE) has retrieved nuclear waste from all the tanks at C-farm—the first of 18 tank farms (i.e., groupings of tanks) at DOE's Hanford site in southeastern Washington State. The waste is a byproduct of decades of nuclear weapons production and research. DOE is obligated under agreements with the state's Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to move waste from older, single-shell tanks to newer, more durable, double-shell tanks and ultimately to dispose of it. Example of a Tank and of Waste in a Tank at Hanford DOE intends to “close” the C-farm by leaving the nearly empty tanks in place and filling them with grout. However, DOE faces challenges, in part because this approach depends on: (1) DOE's determination under its directives that residual tank waste can be managed as a waste type other than high-level waste (HLW) and (2) Ecology's approval. DOE has started the determination process, but as GAO has previously found, DOE is likely to face a lawsuit because of questions about its legal authority. Ecology has raised concerns that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has not independently reviewed DOE's analysis for this determination. By Congress clarifying DOE's authority at Hanford to determine, with NRC involvement, that residual tank waste can be managed as a waste type other than HLW, DOE would be in a better position to move forward. Another challenge DOE faces in closing C-farm is how to address contaminated soil caused by leaks or discharges of waste from the tanks. DOE and Ecology officials do not agree on a process for evaluating contaminated soil at C-farm or on what role NRC should play in this process. They interpret their agreement differently, particularly regarding whether NRC must review DOE's analysis of contaminated soil. If the two parties cannot resolve this issue, Ecology may deny DOE a permit for C-farm closure. By using an independent mediator to help reach agreement with Ecology on how to assess soil contamination, including NRC's role, DOE would be better positioned to avoid future cleanup delays. DOE has not developed a long-term plan for tank-farm closure, in part, because a plan is not required. However, leading practices in program management call for long-term planning. In addition, DOE faces technical challenges that may take years to address as noted by representatives from various entities or tribal governments. For example, an internal DOE document states there is a 95 percent probability DOE will run out of space in its double shell tanks—space needed to continue retrieval operations. Planning for and building new tanks requires years of work. By developing a long-term plan, DOE could better prepare to address technical challenges. The Hanford site in Washington State contains about 54 million gallons of nuclear waste, which is stored in 177 underground storage tanks. In fiscal years 1997 through 2019, DOE spent over $10 billion to maintain Hanford's tanks and retrieve waste from them. DOE expects to spend at least $69 billion more on activities to retrieve tank waste and close tanks, according to a January 2019 DOE report. Senate Report 116-48, accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, included a provision for GAO to review the status of tank closures at Hanford. GAO's report examines the status of DOE's efforts to retrieve tank waste, challenges DOE faces in its effort to close the C-farm, as well as DOE's approach for closing the remaining tank farms. GAO toured the site; reviewed DOE documents, laws, and regulations; and interviewed officials and representatives from local, regional, and national entities and tribal governments. Congress should consider clarifying DOE's authority at Hanford to determine, with NRC involvement, whether residual tank waste can be managed as a waste type other than HLW. GAO is also making three recommendations, including that DOE (1) use an independent mediator to help reach agreement with Ecology on a process for assessing soil contamination, including NRC's role and (2) develop a long-term plan for its tank waste cleanup mission at Hanford. DOE concurred with all three recommendations. For more information, contact David C. Trimble at (202) 512-3841 or trimbled@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Felon convicted of trafficking meth with firearm
    In Justice News
    A 42-year-old Corpus [Read More…]
  • The Urgent Need to End the Conflict in Ethiopia
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with African Union Commission Chairperson Faki
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Justice Department Sues Texas Over Senate Bill 8
    In Crime News
    Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced today that the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit to prevent the State of Texas from enforcing Senate Bill 8 (SB8), which went into effect on Sept. 1 and effectively bans most abortions in the state. The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that SB8 is invalid under the Supremacy Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment, is preempted by federal law, and violates the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity.
    [Read More…]
  • Croatia Statehood Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Statement by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke on World AIDS Day
    In Crime News
    On World AIDS Day, the Department of Justice reaffirms the rights of people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) to live free from stigma and discrimination.
    [Read More…]
  • Indonesia Travel Advisory
    In Travel
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  • Federal Research Grants: OMB Should Take Steps to Establish the Research Policy Board
    In U.S GAO News
    As of January 2021, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had not established the Research Policy Board as required by the 21st Century Cures Act. The act requires OMB to establish the Board within 1 year of the December 13, 2016 enactment of the act. The Board is to provide information on the effects of regulations related to federal research requirements. OMB stated that it had not established the Board because of issues with the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) and other federal agencies’ full participation in the Board’s potential activities to develop or implement a modified approach to indirect cost policies. According to OMB, “the Board would necessarily delve into issues related to compliance burden and indirect cost reimbursement to entities that receive federal funding for research.” Specifically, OMB pointed to a statutory provision appearing in annual appropriations bills that it believes prohibits HHS and other agencies from taking action on issues that could implicate certain indirect cost provisions. According to OMB, this provision could, if continued in future bills, “complicate or even possibly prohibit HHS from participating in major elements of the Board’s process.” OMB stated that, without representation of a major research agency such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is part of HHS, “OMB would not be equipped to meet the statutory goals of the Board.” However, HHS stated in October 2020 that the indirect cost provision would not prohibit NIH’s participation on the Board and that the department was not aware of any other appropriations law provision that would prohibit such participation. GAO has no basis to disagree with HHS’s position. The 21st Century Cures Act does not specifically direct the Board to examine issues related to indirect costs, and we identified other issues that may fall within the scope of the Board’s activities. For example, the act specifies five activities that the Board may conduct, including creating a forum for the discussion of research policy or regulatory gaps, and identifying regulatory process improvements and policy changes. The Board could consider examining these or other issues related to streamlining and harmonizing regulations and reducing administrative burden in federally funded research in accordance with the 21st Century Cures Act. By not having established the Board, OMB is missing opportunities for the Board to provide information on the effects of regulations related to requirements for federally funded research, and to make recommendations to harmonize and streamline such requirements. Further, OMB has limited time to establish the Board and the Board may have insufficient time to complete its work before the Board is set to terminate on September 30, 2021. The 21st Century Cures Act requires OMB to establish an advisory committee, to be known as the Research Policy Board, that is responsible for making recommendations on modifying and harmonizing regulation of federally funded research to reduce administrative burden. The Board is to consist of both federal and non-federal members and include not more than 10 members from federal agencies, including officials from OMB, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), HHS, the National Science Foundation, and other departments and agencies that support or regulate scientific research, as determined by the OMB Director. The 21st Century Cures Act includes a provision for GAO to conduct an independent evaluation of the Board’s activities. This report examines the steps OMB has taken to establish the Board as required by the 21st Century Cures Act. GAO reviewed written responses and other information from OMB, HHS, and OSTP; the 21st Century Cures Act and other laws related to the Board and its establishment; relevant reports on issues related to administrative burden; and related documents such as memoranda and agency guidance. GAO submitted a draft report containing the results of its evaluation to Congress on December 10, 2020. Congress should consider extending the period of authorization for the Research Policy Board, giving OMB additional time to establish the Research Policy Board and complete its statutory mission under the 21st Century Cures Act. GAO recommends that OMB establish the Research Policy Board as mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act and report to Congress on the Board’s activities. OMB did not agree or disagree with this recommendation. We maintain that the evidence in this report shows the need for our recommendation. For more information, contact John Neumann at (202) 512-6888 or neumannj@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Senate Disbursing Office: Procedures Related to 2021 Cash Count
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found GAO performed agreed-upon procedures at the Senate Disbursing Office (SDO) consisting of (1) identifying the authorized and reported amount of cash accountability for the Secretary of the Senate, (2) counting all cash items that support the cash accountability level of the SDO, (3) counting all noncash items that support the cash accountability level of the SDO, and (4) agreeing the total amount counted to the authorized amount and reported amount of cash accountability. The total value of cash and noncash items counted on August 10, 2021, agreed to the cash accountability level that the SDO authorized and reported, except for a difference of $3.06, which SDO officials stated is a known overage that has accumulated over time. The Secretary of the Senate is responsible for the sufficiency of these agreed-upon procedures to meet the SDO's objectives, and GAO makes no representation in that respect. The report provides the details on the agreed-upon procedures and the results of performing each of the procedures. The Secretary of the Senate in an email response stated that she had no comments on the draft report. Why GAO Did This Study The Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration requested that GAO perform procedures on the cash accountability level that the SDO authorized and reported. The cash accountability level represents the value of cash and noncash items for which the Secretary of the Senate, as disbursing officer for the U.S. Senate, is responsible. For more information, contact Hannah Padilla at (202) 512-5683 or padillah@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Estonian National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
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