January 25, 2022

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  • COVID-19: Selected Agencies Overcame Technology Challenges to Support Telework but Need to Fully Assess Security Controls
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Each of the 12 agencies GAO selected for review had information technology (IT) in place to support remote access for telework during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the agencies initially experienced IT challenges in supporting remote access for maximum telework, they generally overcame them. For example, seven agencies were challenged in providing sufficient bandwidth to provide remote access for teleworkers, but they increased bandwidth as needed to ensure networks could handle additional remote connections. In addition, while the increased number of remote connections brings additional cybersecurity risks, all of the selected agencies reported that they continued activities intended to help ensure the security of their information and systems. While the selected agencies had documented elements of a telework security policy, such as permitted telework devices and forms of remote access, not all agencies had fully addressed other relevant federal guidance for securing their systems that support remote access for telework (see figure). Specifically, two agencies had not fully documented relevant IT security controls to protect those systems. In addition, assessments for systems that five agencies relied upon for remote access did not address all relevant controls to ensure the controls were operating effectively. Further, four selected agencies had not fully documented remedial actions to mitigate weaknesses they had previously identified. Extent to Which 12 Selected Agencies Followed Federal Information Security Guidance in Implementing Their IT Systems That Support Remote Access for Telework Although one of the selected agencies subsequently resolved its shortcomings, others had not. For the agencies that did not fully follow federal information security guidance, agency IT security officials stated that these conditions existed for various reasons, such as out-of-date documentation, among others. If agencies do not sufficiently document relevant security controls, assess the controls, and fully document remedial actions for weaknesses identified in security controls, they are at increased risk that vulnerabilities in their systems that provide remote access could be exploited. Why GAO Did This Study In response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020 the Office of Management and Budget directed federal agencies to maximize their use of telework to enable the workforce to remain safe while ensuring that government operations continue. Telework is essential to continuity of operations but also brings added cybersecurity risks. The CARES Act contains a provision for GAO to monitor the federal response to the pandemic. GAO was also asked to examine federal agencies' preparedness to support expanded telework. GAO's objectives were to determine (1) selected agencies' initial experiences in providing the IT needed to support remote access for maximum telework and (2) the extent to which selected agencies followed federal information security guidance for their IT systems that provide remote access. GAO selected 12 agencies for review that varied in their percentages of reported employee telework use and sent a questionnaire to solicit these agencies' perspectives on the use of IT in transitioning to maximum telework. GAO also reviewed the selected agencies' information security documentation and interviewed relevant officials.
    [Read More…]
  • Hospital Pharmacist Sentenced for Attempt to Spoil Hundreds of COVID Vaccine Doses
    In Crime News
    A Wisconsin man was sentenced today to three years in prison for tampering with COVID-19 vaccine doses at the hospital where he worked.
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  • Justice Department Secures Settlement with Santander Consumer USA Inc. to Remedy Violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced today that Santander Consumer USA Inc, dba Chrysler Capital (Santander), has agreed to pay more than $134,000 to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that the company denied early motor vehicle lease terminations to servicemembers who qualified for them under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The department previously settled an SCRA lawsuit against Santander in 2015 for repossessing the vehicles of 1,112 servicemembers without a court order.
    [Read More…]
  • Argentina’s Independence Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Observance of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Arms Control and International Security Since January 2017
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Dr. Christopher Ashley [Read More…]
  • U.S. Marshals Arrest More Than 6,000 Murder Suspects in 2021, Over 84,000 Fugitives Apprehended
    In Crime News
    The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) arrested 84,247 fugitives (27,399 on federal and 56,848 on state and local warrants) in Fiscal Year 2021. On average, the agency arrested 337 fugitives per day (based on 250 operational days).
    [Read More…]
  • Escort Sentenced to Prison for Underreporting Income
    In Crime News
    A Florida man was sentenced today to 21 months in prison for filing a false tax return. Jami Kopacz, of Fort Lauderdale, pleaded guilty to filing a false corporate tax return on Dec. 16, 2020. According to court documents and statements made in court, Kopacz worked as a paid escort for clients across the United States. Kopacz received payments directly from his escort clients, and from a private business for whom he worked as an independent contractor. From 2015 to 2018, Kopacz used his corporation, JK Training LLC, to receive income, and then filed false corporate tax returns (Forms 1120S) that substantially underreported the company’s gross receipts and total income.
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  • Department of State Announces Online Publication of 2019 Digest of United States Practice in International Law
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • New York Man Pleads Guilty to Trafficking Exotic African Cats
    In Crime News
    More from: April 27, 2021 [Read More…]
  • Global War on Terrorism: Reported Obligations for the Department of Defense
    In U.S GAO News
    Since 2001, Congress has provided the Department of Defense (DOD) with hundreds of billions of dollars in supplemental and annual appropriations for military operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). DOD's reported annual obligations for GWOT have shown a steady increase from about $0.2 billion in fiscal year 2001 to about $139.8 billion in fiscal year 2007. To continue GWOT operations, the President requested $189.3 billion in appropriations for DOD in fiscal year 2008. Through December 2007, Congress has provided DOD with about $86.8 billion of this request, including $16.8 billion for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. As of February 2008, Congress has not taken action on the remaining $102.5 billion. The United States' commitments to GWOT will likely involve the continued investment of significant resources, requiring decision makers to consider difficult trade-offs as the nation faces an increasing long-range fiscal challenge. The magnitude of future costs will depend on several direct and indirect cost variables and, in some cases, decisions that have not yet been made. DOD's future costs will likely be affected by the pace and duration of operations, the types of facilities needed to support troops overseas, redeployment plans, and the amount of equipment to be repaired or replaced. DOD compiles and reports monthly and cumulative incremental obligations incurred to support GWOT in a monthly Supplemental and Cost of War Execution Report. DOD leadership uses this report, along with other information, to advise Congress on the costs of the war and to formulate future GWOT budget requests. DOD reports these obligations by appropriation, contingency operation, and military service or defense agency. The monthly cost reports are typically compiled within the 45 days after the end of the reporting month in which the obligations are incurred. DOD has prepared monthly reports on the obligations incurred for its involvement in GWOT since fiscal year 2001. Section 1221 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 requires GAO to submit quarterly updates to Congress on the costs of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom based on DOD's monthly Supplemental and Cost of War Execution Reports. This report, which responds to this requirement, contains our analysis of DOD's reported obligations for military operations in support of GWOT through December 2007. Specifically, we assessed (1) DOD's cumulative appropriations and reported obligations for military operations in support of GWOT and (2) DOD's fiscal year 2008 reported obligations through December 2007, the latest data available for GWOT by military service and appropriation account.From fiscal year 2001 through December 2007, Congress has provided DOD with about $635.9 billion for its efforts in support of GWOT. DOD has reported obligations of about $527 billion for military operations in support of the war from fiscal year 2001 through fiscal year 2007 and for fiscal year 2008 through December 2007. The $108.9 billion difference between DOD's GWOT appropriations and reported obligations can generally be attributed to certain fiscal year 2008 appropriations and multiyear funding for procurement; military construction; and research, development, test, and evaluation from previous GWOT-related appropriations that have yet to be obligated, and obligations for classified and other activities, which are not reported in DOD's cost-of-war reports. Of DOD's total cumulative reported obligations for GWOT through December 2007 (about $527 billion), about $406.2 billion is for operations in and around Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and about $92.9 billion is for operations in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, the Philippines, and elsewhere as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. The remaining about $28 billion is for operations in defense of the homeland as part of Operation Noble Eagle. DOD's reported obligations for Operation Iraqi Freedom have consistently increased each fiscal year since operations began. The increases in reported obligations for Operation Iraqi Freedom are in part because of continued costs for military personnel, such as military pay and allowances for mobilized reservists, and for rising operation and maintenance expenses, such as higher contract costs for housing, food, and services and higher fuel costs. In contrast, DOD's reported obligations for Operation Noble Eagle have consistently decreased since fiscal year 2003, largely because of the completion of repairs to the Pentagon and upgrades in security at military installations that were onetime costs, as well as a reduction in combat air patrols and in the number of reserve personnel guarding government installations. In fiscal year 2008, through December 2007, DOD's total reported obligations of about $34.8 billion are about one quarter of the total amount of obligations it reported for all of fiscal year 2007. Reported obligations for Operation Iraqi Freedom continue to account for the largest portion of total reported GWOT obligations by operation--about $28.1 billion. In contrast, reported obligations associated with Operation Enduring Freedom total about $6.6 billion, and reported obligations associated with Operation Noble Eagle total about $49.6 million. The Army accounts for the largest portion of reported obligations for fiscal year 2008 through December 2007--about $27.2 billion, nearly 11 times higher than the almost $2.5 billion in obligations reported for the Air Force, the military service with the next greatest reported amount. Reported obligations for procurement account for about 27 percent of reported obligations, or about $9.4 billion. Of the $43.6 billion provided to DOD for procurement in fiscal year 2007, approximately 21 percent, or $9.1 billion, has yet to be obligated and remains available in fiscal year 2008.
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  • Woman First in the Nation Charged with Misappropriating Monies Designed for COVID Medical Provider Relief
    In Crime News
    A Michigan woman was indicted on allegations that she intentionally misappropriated government funds that were designed to aid medical providers in the treatment of patients suffering from COVID-19 and used them for her own personal expenses.
    [Read More…]
  • Remarks by Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim on the Future of ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees
    In Crime News
    Good afternoon. Thank you very much to Vanderbilt Law School and in particular to the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law for hosting this event. I love Vanderbilt and I love Nashville, and I’m sorry not to be there in person with you today. Someday when COVID-19 is a memory and social distancing is something you do only with people you don’t like, I look forward to returning to Nashville and reconnecting with many of my old friends there. More importantly, I look forward to returning to some of my favorite honky-tonks and showing off my famous dance moves. I’ve been practicing at home in my free time, to make sure I’m ready.
    [Read More…]
  • North Carolina Couple Convicted in Employment and Income Tax Scheme
    In Crime News
    A federal jury sitting in Greensboro, North Carolina, convicted a North Carolina couple of conspiring to defraud the IRS and other federal employment tax and income tax violations.
    [Read More…]
  • Benin: Trial and Sentencing of Political Opponents
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Seven Alabama Residents Charged with Conspiracy, Animal Fighting and Gambling Charges in Cockfighting Operation
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury returned a 23-count indictment this week charging seven Verbena, Alabama, residents with conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act and to operate an illegal gambling business, among other violations, in connection with a large-scale cockfighting and fighting bird breeding operation.
    [Read More…]
  • Release of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy-Republic of Korea New Southern Policy Joint Fact Sheet
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • F-35 Sustainment: DOD Needs to Address Key Uncertainties as It Re-Designs the Aircraft’s Logistics System
    In U.S GAO News
    The Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is integral to supporting F-35 aircraft operations and maintenance. However, F-35 personnel at 5 locations GAO visited for its March 2020 report cited several challenges. For example, users at all 5 locations we visited stated that electronic records of F-35 parts in ALIS are frequently incorrect, corrupt, or missing, resulting in the system signaling that an aircraft should be grounded in cases where personnel know that parts have been correctly installed and are safe for flight. At times, F-35 squadron leaders have decided to fly an aircraft when ALIS has signaled not to, thus assuming operational risk to meet mission requirements. GAO found that DOD had not (1) developed a performance-measurement process for ALIS to define how the system should perform or (2) determined how ALIS issues were affecting overall F-35 fleet readiness, which remains below warfighter requirements. DOD recognizes that ALIS needs improvement and plans to leverage ongoing re-design efforts to eventually replace ALIS with a new logistics system. However, as DOD embarks on this effort, it faces key technical and programmatic uncertainties (see figure). Uncertainties about the Future F-35 Logistics Information System These uncertainties are complicated and will require significant planning and coordination with the F-35 program office, military services, international partners, and the prime contractor. For example, GAO reported in March 2020 that DOD had not determined the roles of DOD and the prime contractor in future system development and management. DOD had also not made decisions about the extent to which the new system will be hosted in the cloud as opposed to onsite servers at the squadron level. More broadly, DOD has experienced significant challenges sustaining a growing F-35 fleet. GAO has made over 20 recommendations to address problems associated with ALIS, spare parts shortages, limited repair capabilities, and inadequate planning. DOD has an opportunity to re-imagine the F-35's logistics system and improve operations, but it must approach this planning deliberately and thoroughly. Continued attention to these challenges will help ensure that DOD can effectively sustain the F-35 and meet warfighter requirements. The F-35 Lightning II is DOD's most ambitious and costly weapon system in history, with total acquisition and sustainment costs for the three U.S. military services who fly the aircraft estimated at over $1.6 trillion. Central to F-35 sustainment is ALIS—a complex system that supports operations, mission planning, supply-chain management, maintenance, and other processes. A fully functional ALIS is critical to the more than 3,300 F-35 aircraft that the U.S. military services and foreign nations plan to purchase. Earlier this year, DOD stated that it intends to replace ALIS with a new logistics system. This statement highlights (1) current user challenges with ALIS and (2) key technical and programmatic uncertainties facing DOD as it re-designs the F-35's logistics system. This statement is largely based on GAO's March 2020 report on ALIS ( GAO-20-316 ), as well as previous F-35 sustainment work. GAO previously recommended that DOD develop a performance-measurement process for ALIS, track how ALIS is affecting F-35 fleet readiness, and develop a strategy for re-designing the F-35's logistics system. GAO also suggested that Congress consider requiring DOD to develop a performance-measurement process for its logistics system. DOD concurred with GAO's recommendations and is taking actions to address them. For more information, contact Diana C. Maurer at (202) 512-9627 or maurerd@gao.gov.
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  • Introductory Remarks of Deputy Attorney General at Announcement of Civil Antitrust Lawsuit Filed Against Google
    In Crime News
    This morning, the Department of Justice and eleven states filed an antitrust civil lawsuit against Google, for unlawfully maintaining a monopoly in general search services and search advertising in violation of section two of the Sherman Act.
    [Read More…]
  • Foreign Aid: USAID Has Increased Funding to Partner-Country Organizations but Could Better Track Progress
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) reporting on its principal Local Solutions indicator—the percentage of mission program funds obligated to local organizations in partner countries—lacks clarity, complicating the assessment of the agency's progress toward its fiscal year 2015 target of 30 percent. The March 2013 USAID Forward progress report states that these obligations increased from about 10 percent of mission program funds in fiscal year 2010 to about 14 percent in fiscal year 2012—a $465 million increase. However, the agency also has reported progress on the principal Local Solutions indicator in three other ways, depending on whether two key types of funding—cash transfers and certain qualifying trust funds—are included (see figure). These reporting differences make it difficult to compare the indicator from year to year and to quantify the progress needed to achieve the 30 percent target by fiscal year 2015. Moreover, USAID's approach to tracking the Local Solutions indicator has evolved since the launch of the initiative. For example, USAID included funds in Afghanistan and Pakistan, missions the agency previously had planned to exclude. If these missions are excluded, the percentage of mission program funds obligated to local organizations in fiscal year 2012, including qualifying trust funds and cash transfers, decreases by 10 percentage points. Reported USAID Mission Program Funds Obligated to Partner-Country Local Organizations, by Type of Funding Included, Fiscal Year 2012 USAID's principal Local Solutions indicator does not fully reflect activities the agency has undertaken to implement the initiative, and USAID does not have a means to track relevant mission-led evaluations of programs implemented by partner-country organizations. USAID relied primarily on its principal Local Solutions indicator to demonstrate progress. While this principal indicator reflects, to some degree, the steps missions are required to take before obligating funds to local organizations, it provides no information about the status of activities both prior to and following obligation of funds, such as assessing risk and monitoring programs. Furthermore, although USAID has laid some groundwork for evaluating the Local Solutions initiative, the agency does not currently have the means to determine the extent to which missions are conducting performance evaluations to assess the effectiveness of programs implemented through local organizations. Such evaluations can provide evidence needed to demonstrate progress toward the initiative's goals related to local partners' capacity, country ownership, and program sustainability. Why GAO Did This Study Since 2010, USAID has undertaken a series of reforms, collectively called USAID Forward. One key reform, the Local Solutions initiative, aims to shift program implementation from U.S.- based and international organizations to partner-country organizations, including governments and for-profit and nonprofit organizations. The three overarching goals of the initiative are to strengthen the capacity of partner countries, to enhance and promote country ownership, and to increase the sustainability of development efforts. GAO was asked to review the implementation of this initiative. GAO assessed the extent to which USAID (1) has demonstrated progress toward achieving its fiscal year 2015 target for the principal Local Solutions indicator, and (2) is tracking progress in achieving the initiative's goals related to local partners' capacity, country ownership, and program sustainability. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed funding data and documents and interviewed USAID officials.
    [Read More…]
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