January 27, 2022

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Two Quebec Men Extradited to North Dakota from Canada as Part of ‘Operation Denial’

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  • Sao Tome and Principe Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to Sao [Read More…]
  • Jury Convicts Former Delaware Doctor of Unlawful Drug Distribution and Maintaining a Drug Premises
    In Crime News
    A federal jury convicted a former Delaware doctor Wednesday for unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances and for maintaining a drug-involved premises.
    [Read More…]
  • Indian Education: Schools Need More Assistance to Provide Distance Learning
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), within the Department of the Interior (Interior), has not provided BIE-funded schools with comprehensive guidance on distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, BIE issued a short memo directing schools to “deliver flexible instruction” and “teach content,” but did not offer specific guidance on how to do so. In July 2020, 13 of the 25 schools that responded to GAO's survey said they wanted BIE to provide information on developing and implementing distance learning programs. In addition, 12 schools responded that they wanted information on distance learning methods for areas without broadband internet access. In August 2020, after some schools had already begun the school year, BIE issued a re-opening guide for the 2020-2021 school year. BIE's guidance focused primarily on preparations for in-person instruction at schools, although nearly all schools provided distance learning during the fall of 2020. The guidance contained little information on distance learning. Providing schools with comprehensive distance learning guidance will help them better navigate the current pandemic as well as potential future emergencies that lead to school building closures. BIE helped improve internet access for students at BIE-operated schools during the pandemic, but many students had not received laptops to access online learning by the end of fall 2020. BIE and other Interior offices provided over 7,000 hotspots to students to improve home internet access, but they did not order laptops for most students until September 2020. Interior officials said a nationwide IT supply shortage contributed to the delayed order for about 10,000 laptops. GAO found, however, that delays were also caused in part by BIE not having complete and accurate information on schools' IT needs. Most schools received laptops from late October 2020 to early January 2021, although some laptops still had not been delivered as of late March 2021. Once laptops were delivered, however, schools also faced challenges configuring them, leading to further delays in distributing them to students. BIE officials told GAO that to address schools' challenges with configuring laptops, they are assessing schools' IT workforce needs. Most BIE students did not receive laptops until months after the school year began, according to GAO's analysis of Interior information. Specifically, none of the laptops Interior ordered in early September 2020 arrived in time to distribute to students by the start of the school year in mid-September; by the end of December 2020, schools had not distributed over 80 percent of the student laptops Interior ordered; and as of late March 2021, schools had not distributed about 20 percent of the student laptops Interior ordered. Without accurate, complete, and up-to-date information on schools' IT needs, BIE was unable to ensure that students received laptops when they needed them. Establishing policies and procedures for assessing schools' IT needs would help guide the agency's IT purchases now and in the future, and position schools to integrate technology into their everyday curricula. Why GAO Did This Study BIE's mission is to provide quality education to approximately 41,000 students at 183 schools it funds on or near Indian reservations in 23 states. About two-thirds of these schools are operated by tribes and the remaining third are operated by BIE. In March 2020, all BIE schools closed their buildings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. GAO reviewed distance learning at BIE schools as part of its oversight responsibilities under the CARES Act. This testimony examines the extent to which (1) BIE has provided schools with guidance to develop and implement distance learning programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) students have had the technology they need to participate in such programs. GAO analyzed the guidance BIE provided to schools on distance learning, examined BIE's provision of technology to schools and students, surveyed a non-generalizable sample of 30 schools—including 19 operated by tribes and 11 operated by BIE— with 25 schools responding, selected for geographic diversity and level of community broadband access, among other criteria, reviewed relevant federal statutes, regulations, and agency documentation, and interviewed BIE and school officials.
    [Read More…]
  • Ohio Man Indicted for Threatening a Local Reproductive Health Services Facility
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Columbus, Ohio, returned an indictment charging an Ohio man for threatening a reproductive health services facility.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Settles With Nationwide Soccer Instruction Company To Resolve Finding of Citizenship Status Discrimination
    In Crime News
    More from: September 14, [Read More…]
  • Imminent Danger Pay: Actions Needed Regarding Pay Designations in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundThe Department of Defense (DOD) obligated more than $1 billion in imminent danger pay from fiscal years 2010 through 2013 in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility, excluding Afghanistan, according to data from the military services. In June 2011, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness requested the geographic Combatant Commands to assess existing imminent danger pay areas. The last such review had been completed in 2007. In January 2013, the U.S. Central Command recommended terminating imminent danger pay designations in many locations within its area of responsibility. However, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness had not completed its current review or made a decision as of December 20, 2013, when we transmitted a draft of our report to DOD. DOD's guidance on imminent danger pay requires a periodic review but neither specifies the frequency with which periodic reviews must be completed, nor stipulates a time frame by which the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness should render a final decision regarding the findings of the review. The Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government highlights, among other things, the importance of management-led reviews and clear policies and procedures as well as assurance that the findings of reviews are promptly resolved. In the absence of clear procedures and policies specifying time frames for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to complete reviews of imminent danger pay area designations and render a final decision, DOD is spending millions of dollars annually for imminent danger pay in areas within U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility that may not warrant this designation.Why GAO Did This StudyDOD relies on forward-stationed or rotationally deployed forces, bases and infrastructure, and host nation agreements to execute its mission around the world. This combination of forces, footprint, and agreements constitutes DOD's defense posture in a given geographic region.In December 2012, GAO began work reviewing DOD's posture in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, as part of series of reports examining DOD's global defense posture initiatives in response to direction from the Senate Appropriations Committee. As part of this review on posture in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, GAO examined posture costs in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility--including special pays, such as imminent danger pay, and benefits for service members who are assigned, deployed, or on temporary duty travel. In the course of that review, GAO identified issues related to DOD's process for reviewing and making decisions on imminent danger pay area designations, with regard to the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility.To conduct this work, GAO analyzed imminent danger pay and family housing cost data in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility from the military departments for fiscal years 2010 through 2013. To assess the reliability of the data, we interviewed cognizant DOD officials regarding the accuracy of data entry, limitations of the data, and the results of previous audits conducted on the data systems used. We determined the data were sufficiently reliable for the purposes of our review. GAO reviewed, and compared DOD Instruction 1340.09, Hostile Fire Pay and Imminent Danger Pay with GAO's Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government to evaluate the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness's process for reviewing imminent danger pay designated locations. Further, GAO obtained documentation from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and U.S. Central Command related to U. S. Central Command's recommendation to terminate imminent danger pay.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Mark Levin of The Mark Levin Show
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in Michigan Religious Schools’ Challenge to COVID-19 Closing Order
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today filed a statement of interest in federal district court in Kalamazoo, Michigan, arguing that the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution requires the state of Michigan to justify why it cannot provide exemptions to its school closing order for in-person instruction at religious high schools when it provides exemptions for trade and technical instruction in person, college sports teams, and other educational activities.
    [Read More…]
  • Supplement Retailers Plead Guilty in Cases Involving Distribution of Designer Steroids as Dietary Supplements
    In Crime News
    Two men and a California business each pleaded guilty this week to conspiring to distribute consumer products that contained designer anabolic steroids.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Bureau of Land Management: Better Workforce Planning and Data Would Help Mitigate the Effects of Recent Staff Vacancies
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Since 2016, the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) changed its organizational structure by merging or transferring several of its headquarters functions. BLM also moved its headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Grand Junction, CO, and relocated most of its headquarters positions to its new headquarters and other offices in 11 western states. In September 2021, the Secretary announced plans to return the headquarters to Washington, D.C. Since 2016, BLM's workforce composition changed in several ways, including through increases in headquarters vacancies and in temporary reassignments—known as details—to fill the duties of those vacant positions. BLM senior officials told GAO they do not have consistent and reliable data on vacancies agency-wide or the use of details. However, BLM provided some vacancy data for headquarters positions from July 2019 to May 2021. According to these data, the number of vacant headquarters positions increased after BLM announced the relocation of its headquarters in July 2019, as shown in the figure below. BLM Headquarters Vacancies from July 2019 to May 2021 Most BLM staff GAO spoke with said vacancies in key headquarters positions caused delays in creating or clarifying guidance or policy. Further, some said an increased reliance on details negatively affected their office's performance—for example, because state office staff detailed to headquarters reduced capacity in state offices. Without complete and reliable data on vacancies and details across the agency, BLM officials cannot make informed decisions about filling vacancies and initiating details to help the agency achieve its mission and goals. GAO also found that BLM does not have an agency-wide strategic workforce plan that supports its mission and programmatic goals. BLM officials told GAO their mechanism for strategic workforce planning is a 2019 memorandum, but this memorandum generally does not address the two critical needs that define strategic workforce planning: (1) aligning the human capital program with emerging mission goals and (2) developing long-term strategies for acquiring, developing, and retaining staff to achieve programmatic goals. Without a strategic workforce plan that addresses these needs, BLM lacks reasonable assurance the agency will have the workforce necessary to achieve its goals in managing millions of acres of public lands. Why GAO Did This Study BLM's workforce of about 8,800 permanent staff is responsible for a portfolio of public lands, which, according to BLM, encompasses more than 245 million surface acres, primarily in western states. BLM's mission includes managing these lands for a variety of uses while maintaining natural and cultural resources. BLM headquarters provides national policy direction to the rest of BLM, while state offices generally administer programs in the states. Since 2016, BLM's workforce has experienced hiring restrictions and a reorganization. GAO was asked to review recent changes to BLM's workforce and the agency's workforce planning efforts. This report examines, for the period since 2016, (1) changes in BLM's organizational structure, (2) changes in BLM's workforce composition, and (3) the extent to which BLM has had a strategic workforce plan that supports its mission and goals. GAO analyzed BLM workforce data, information on organizational changes, and workforce planning documents from 2016 to 2021, and interviewed 13 BLM staff members from offices affected by organizational and workforce changes.
    [Read More…]
  • Opening Remarks by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken Before the Senate Committee on Appropriations
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Attorney General William P. Barr Remarks at White House Roundtable on Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Human Trafficking, Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
    In Crime News
    Thank you for being here. The scourge of human trafficking is the modern-day equivalent of slavery. Eradicating this horrific crime and helping its victims are top priorities for President Trump’s Administration, including the Department of Justice. I thank the President for his steadfast commitment to this issue, and I thank Ivanka for her leadership and for hosting us today. I also thank all the survivors and their advocates here for their courage and determination to end this evil practice.
    [Read More…]
  • Mail-Order Diabetic Testing Supplier and Parent Company Agree to Pay $160 Million to Resolve Alleged False Claims to Medicare
    In Crime News
    Arriva Medical LLC (Arriva), at one point the nation’s largest Medicare mail-order diabetic testing supplier, and its parent, Alere Inc. (Alere), have agreed to pay $160 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act.
    [Read More…]
  • ‘All too frequent tragedies demand action to improve judicial security,’ Judge tells Judicial Conference
    In U.S Courts
    “Four federal judges and three family members have been killed since 1979. These horrific tragedies must stop,” Judge David W. McKeague told the Judicial Conference of the United States today.
    [Read More…]
  • Department Press Briefing – July 16, 2021
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Jalina Porter, Principal [Read More…]
  • Former deputy constable convicted in cocaine conspiracy
    In Justice News
    49-year-old Huffman [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken Remarks Before Meeting with Qatari Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Rashid Al-Khater, Roya Mahboob, CEO and President of Digital Citizen Fund, and Afghan Girls Robotics Team
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice Releases Final Report
    In Crime News
    Today, following months of virtual meetings, testimony and study, U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr submitted the final report of the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice to the White House.  This report represents the first comprehensive study of law enforcement in more than 55 years.
    [Read More…]
  • State Department Meetings with Saudi Deputy Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]

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