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11:10 am, December 20, 2014

Oversight News

Changes pursued in US security clearance system

Officials pursuing revisions to security clearance system; issue arose in Navy Yard shooting

Thursday - 10/31/2013, 01:13pm EDT

House committee pushes VA on conference spending

A year after federal investigators disclosed $762,000 in wasteful spending at Department of Veterans Affairs' training conferences, the agency has put into place about half of the recommended changes designed to keep spending in line.

Wednesday - 10/30/2013, 06:50pm EDT

VA's Warren given CIO title as House ramps up cyber investigation

In a message to senior executives, Secretary Eric Shinseki said that Stephen Warren now will hold the title of executive in charge, Office of Information and Technology and chief information officer. The title change comes as the House Veterans Affairs Committee is turning up on the heat once again on the agency's ability to secure its systems and protect data.

Wednesday - 10/30/2013, 05:38pm EDT

Senate bill calls for random background checks for clearance holders

Five senators introduce bipartisan bill aimed at enhancing how the Office of Personnel Management handles the clearances of federal employees and contractors to access classified information. If enacted, the legislation would require OPM conduct random, automated reviews twice every five years of public records and databases for information about individuals with security clearances.

Wednesday - 10/30/2013, 04:55pm EDT

DOJ joins whistleblower suit against company that vetted Snowden, Alexis

The Justice Department has joined a whistleblower False Claims Act suit against the federal government's largest provider of background investigations. Filed under the False Claims Act, the suit alleges that USIS, which currently has a multimillion-dollar contract with the Office of Personnel Management, failed to properly review its casework before providing it OPM.

Wednesday - 10/30/2013, 04:21pm EDT

HealthCare.gov contractors point fingers at CMS for site bottlenecks

The House Energy and Commerce Committee called representatives from four contractors including prime contractor CGI Federal to the committee to investigate the bumpy launch of the health care website. Contractors responsible for key parts of the website told lawmakers that the federal government was responsible for comprehensively testing the site and that a late decision to require logging into the system before browsing for insurance plans created bottlenecks that crippled the site.

Thursday - 10/24/2013, 03:35pm EDT

Snowden case threw 'hand grenade' into government secrecy, openness expert says

Despite progress by some agencies in processing FOIA requests, Patrice McDermott of OpenTheGovernment.org says its difficult to measure how open the government really is.

Wednesday - 10/23/2013, 04:47pm EDT
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House Republicans press OMB for details on its oversight of HealthCare.gov

In a letter to federal CIO Steve VanRoekel and federal CTO Todd Park, Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairmen want documents and information on whether the program went under a TechStat review and whether the White House made decisions that impacted the use of federal IT best practices.

Tuesday - 10/22/2013, 01:29pm EDT

Justice Department spent nearly $5M on drones

From 2004 to May this year, Justice Department has spent nearly $5M on drones

Friday - 09/27/2013, 09:58am EDT

McCaskill wants more oversight of SES bonuses

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) wants to know whether many of the federal government's Senior Executive Service members are deserving of the bonus payments they receive. McCaskill, who chairs a Senate subcommittee on financial and contracting oversight, wrote to the head of the Government Accountability Office, asking the watchdog agency to investigate whether bonuses paid to SES employees involved in contract management are effective tools in reducing costs or improving contract performance.

Wednesday - 09/25/2013, 06:53pm EDT

Quality not a priority in security clearance process, GAO says

Concerns over missed red flags in Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis's background have thrust the federal government's security clearance program into the spotlight. But the problem is likely bigger than one company. The Office of Personnel Management and its contractors which accounts for 90 percent of the federal government's background investigations, has faced persistent challenges with security clearances over the years, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Tuesday - 09/24/2013, 06:16pm EDT
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Navy officials push for security clearance changes

The Navy, in a report released Monday, revealed that the shooter, Aaron Alexis, did not disclose a 2004 arrest or some financial problems when he filled out his application for a security clearance when he joined the Navy as a reservist several years later. And officials said the background report given to the Navy at the time, also failed to reveal that he had shot out the tires of another person's car during a 2004 dispute in Seattle.

Tuesday - 09/24/2013, 04:10am EDT

DHS' slow progress in centralizing acquisition frustrates Congress

Members of Congress are frustrated at what they see as a failure by the Department of Homeland Security to effectively manage the acquisition practices of its various components, leading to poorly defined requirements and wasted money. But DHS says some of the problems are of Congress' own making.

Monday - 09/23/2013, 06:03am EDT
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OPM defends 2007 background check of Navy Yard shooter

The same company that performed National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden's background investigation also performed a check of Aaron Alexis, the IT contractor who shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard Monday. The Office of Personnel Management said it believes Alexis' background check was complete and that the Defense Department signed off on the results of the background check.

Friday - 09/20/2013, 01:45pm EDT

Senators seek probe into how Navy shooter got clearance

Key senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are seeking answers into how the contractor employee responsible for the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard that killed 12 people obtained his security clearance. In a Sept. 18 letter, Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), requested the Office of Personnel Management's inspector general look into what type of clearance the shooter, identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, held as well as what federal agency conducted his background investigation.

Wednesday - 09/18/2013, 04:20pm EDT

IG cites major flaws with Navy's vetting of contractors

In an effort to reduce costs, officials at the Navy put in place a system for granting contractors access to installations that ended up allowing as many as 52 convicted felons access to bases, according to a Defense Department inspector general report released Tuesday. The IG found the system, called Rapidgate, failed to comply with federal standards and that background checks were conducted using only publicly accessible databases. The security of Navy installations was thrown into the spotlight Monday after 34-year-old contractor Aaron Alexis entered the Washington Navy Yard Monday morning where he shot and killed 12 people.

Tuesday - 09/17/2013, 06:31pm EDT

Budget constraints top IG concerns, new survey reveals

A new survey of the inspector general community says tighter budgets are making it difficult for IGs to do their jobs effectively. Sequestration hasn't help matters either.

Tuesday - 09/17/2013, 06:04pm EDT
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Lawmakers question officials' use of personal, secret email accounts

Current and former Obama administration officials' use of personal email addresses and secret, secondary email accounts to conduct official business came under scrutiny Tuesday at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said her use of a secret account was to do her job more efficiently.

Tuesday - 09/10/2013, 05:14pm EDT

Next front in fight against improper payments? Stopping payments to dead people

Senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have opened a new legislative salvo in the fight against improper payments: helping agencies stop payments to dead people. The new legislation, introduced by Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the committee would allow all federal agencies to access basic death data maintained by the Social Security Administration and require they use it to curb improper payments

Friday - 08/30/2013, 03:10pm EDT
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Man collects $340K in deceased mother's federal benefits

After his mother died in 1999, a Washington, D.C. man continued to collect Social Security retirement benefits and Office of Personnel Management annuity checks for 15 years.

Monday - 08/19/2013, 05:44pm EDT
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