Federal News Digest — March 16, 2012

Monday, Oct. 1st 2012 10:17 AM

Washington Post

Prosecutors concealed evidence in Ted Stevens case, judicial investigators find [Justice Dept., prosecutorial misconduct] – Del Quentin Wilber and Sari Horwitz report that Justice Department lawyers who prosecuted and won a conviction against the late Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) for corruption, which was later thrown out, engaged in misconduct – including concealing evidence favorable to Stevens – were poorly managed, and operated under political pressure, according to a scathing 500-plus page report issued by a special prosecutor at the direction of the judge in the case; the Justice Department is conducting its own internal investigation

Report of strategic reserve release denied by Obama administration [President Obama, Strategic Petroleum Reserve] – Steven Mufson reports that the White House denied press reports that it had agreed with Prime Minister Cameron of Britain to a timetable for releasing crude oil from the country’s 696 million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to bring down the price of gas, which threatens the economic recovery

SEC likely to win its defense of ‘no-admit’ Citigroup settlement, appellate panel says [Securities and Exchange Commission] – David S. Hilzenrath reports that a panel of three federal appellate judges ruled that the Securities and Exchange Commission and Citigroup would likely win their case to overturn a lower court judge’s ruling blocking their $285 million settlement of the SEC’s case against Citigroup for fraud; the judge rejected the settlement because it did not require Citigroup to admit wrongdoing and was far too low a penalty in light of the seriousness of the charges and the $700 million harm to investors; the panel’s ruling allows the appeal to go forward

Pentagon: Afghan security breach was more serious than reported [Secretary of Defense Panetta, Afghanistan] – Craig Whitlock reports that according to the Pentagon, the Afghan soldier who commandeered a truck on the airfield as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s plane was landing in Afghanistan, had set gasoline canisters on fire before he drove the vehicle toward U.S. military officers and other dignitaries waiting to greet Panetta; the Defense Department initially played down the attack and Secretary Panetta said that it was probably not aimed at him

Widow of Marine who committed suicide to receive life insurance claim [Veterans Affairs Dept., survivor’s benefits] – Greg Jaffe reports that the Veterans Affairs Department reversed an earlier decision denying survivor benefits to the widow of a 26-year veteran of the Marines who had committed suicide due to post-traumatic stress that he hid; the VA’s initial ruling rested on the fact the Marine had not received a formal diagnosis of mental illness

New York Times

New law clears the way for airports to drop T.S.A. screeners [Transportation Security Administration] – Ron Nixon reports that a law makes it easier for airports to get permission from the Transportation Security Administration to opt out of using federal screeners and use private contractors instead; airports must still prove that private screeners, which have to operate under TSA guidelines, are more cost effective and would not threaten security

Geithner says U.S. economy showing signs of expansion [Treasury Secretary Geithner] – Reuters reports that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told attendees of an economic meeting that the current level of economic growth is higher than the level before the financial crisis, but warned that when tax cuts and federal spending cuts end, it could slow down considerably, and he urged passage of a tax reform package, including higher taxes on the wealthy as a means of sustaining growth

Despite rights concerns, U.S. plans to resume Egypt aid [Secretary of State, Egypt] – Steven Lee Myers reports that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will waive a rule tying U.S. military assistance to a country’s protection of “basic freedoms” in order to release some of the $1.3 billion in aid authorized for the Egyptian government; the U.S. had used the aid as a bargaining tool to win release of Americans working with non-governmental organizations whom the Egyptian government had detained

Wall Street Journal

CFTC targets rapid trades [Commodity Futures Trading Commission] – Scott Patterson reports that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission plans to use advanced computer systems to monitor on a daily basis high-speed trades that distort financial markets like the trades that caused the 2010 “flash crash’

Pentagon downplays China’s rare-earth controls [Defense Dept., China] – James T. Areddy and Nathan Hodge report that just days after the U.S. filed suit with the World Trade Organization to get China to increase its exports of rare-earth minerals used in technology manufacturing, a Defense Dept. report says the U.S. is increasingly capable of meeting the military’s needs for the materials

Google in new privacy probes – [Federal Trade Commission] – Julia Angwin reports that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Google violated its settlement with the agency regarding its privacy practices by bypassing certain Apple users’ privacy settings; European regulators are also conducting investigations

Posted on Monday, Oct. 1st 2012 10:17 AM | by Share of Cost | in Share of Cost | Comments Off on Federal News Digest — March 16, 2012