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Federal Eye: July 11, 2010 - July 17, 2010

Despite U.S. ban, tough battle against sex trafficking in war zones

An eight-year-old policy forbidding government contractors and employees from engaging in sex trafficking in war zones has proven almost impossible to enforce, despite indications that such activities are occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 17, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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Issa asks: Where are the watchdogs?

Several key agencies are missing permanent watchdogs and "President Obama's Annoyer-in-Chief" wants to know why.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 16, 2010; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Congress, Oversight  
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U.S. analyst spying for Cuba gets life in prison; wife gets more than 6 years

A retired State Department intelligence analyst was sentenced to life in prison and his wife got more than six years on Friday for spying for Cuba for nearly 30 years in a screenplay-ready tale of romance and espionage.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 16, 2010; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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Justice Dept. charges 94 people with health-care fraud

The Justice Department stepped up its crackdown on health care fraud on Friday, announcing charges against 94 people in what authorities called the largest coordinated series of federal health care fraud cases in U.S. history.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 16, 2010; 2:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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June Army suicide rate up

The U.S. Army suffered 32 suicides in June, the highest number for a single month since the suicide rate in the Army began to spike in January 2009.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 16, 2010; 2:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Military  
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D.C. quake doesn't shake Obama or FEMA boss

Most Washingtonians slept through this morning's 3.6 magnitude earthquake, including FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. But for a guy who's in the business of expecting the unexpected, he's using Friday's shake as a teachable moment.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 16, 2010; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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'USA.gov meets USA Today' launching soon

Just as news outlets are adapting to the web, social media and mobile devices, officials are working on a major revamp of the government's daily newsletter in hopes of boosting traffic and audience participation.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 16, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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No vacancy at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad might want to hang a "No Vacancy" sign at the front door every so often, according to auditors. As if the tight space and small staff wasn't bad enough, embassy workers are devoting a significant...

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 15, 2010; 3:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Oversight, Workplace Issues  
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Obama nominee for GPO chief accepted, repaid improper payments

William J. Boarman, a former Government Printing Office employee and President Obama's nominee to lead the agency, received and cashed about $3,800 in improper payments from GPO in the last six years and repaid the funds on Tuesday, according to government records.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 15, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Administration  
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Ex-Justice official: CIA interrogators used unauthorized techniques on detainees

CIA interrogators exceeded legal limits on harsh interrogations of al-Qaeda detainees during the Bush administration, according to a former top Justice Department official who was interviewed by congressional investigators.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 15, 2010; 2:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Congress  
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Negro Leagues stamps also honor postal worker

Thursday the U.S. Postal Service will honor one of its own — and thousands of others — as it unveils two new stamps commemorating Negro Leagues Baseball.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 15, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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House approves telework bill

The House approved legislation Wednesday that would jumpstart the federal government’s telework program by expanding work-at-home options. The vote was 290-131.

By Lisa Rein  | July 14, 2010; 4:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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Log Cabin Republicans explain 'don't ask' suit

A federal court in California began hearing arguments this week in a case filed by the Log Cabin Republicans, who are challenging the constitutionality of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning gays and lesbians from openly serving in uniform.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 14, 2010; 3:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Military  
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Well-fed feds

Here's an awesome assignment: Our colleagues from The Washington Post Food Section recently reviewed seven government owned and operated cafeterias to assess availability of healthful options, variety and, of course, the taste.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 14, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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TSA using pizza boxes to recruit new workers

Federal agencies often head to college campuses, job fairs or buy newspaper classified ads to announce new job openings. But the Transportation Security Administration is reaching out with pepperoni and cheese.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 14, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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New TV show highlights government 'brain drain'

If you're not planning tonight to watch the Major League Baseball All-Star Game or Kathy Griffin's lobbying efforts, consider "Covert Affairs," a new TV drama that younger, underpaid, overworked, super-overstressed government workers might appreciate.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 13, 2010; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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FCC indecency rules struck down

A federal appeals court on Tuesday knocked down the Federal Communications Commission's indecency policy, saying that the agency's guidelines for fleeting expletives and other indecencies in broadcast violate the First Amendment.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 13, 2010; 3:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Hillary Clinton bids adieu to Jacob Lew

President Obama formally announced Jacob Lew as his new director of the Office of Management and Budget -- filling a key hole on his economic team, but creating an equally big one at the State Department.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 13, 2010; 1:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Revolving Door  
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Obama to tap Jacob Lew as OMB director

President Obama will announce Jacob Lew as his new director of the Office of Management and Budget at noon, the White House said.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 13, 2010; 10:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Administration, Revolving Door  
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Levin backs 'don't ask' survey, but understands 'resentment'

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said he generally supports the Pentagon's survey of troops regarding "don't ask, don't tell" so long as it helps military leadership determine how to end the policy.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 13, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Congress, Military  
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Video: Federal workers like their jobs

Watch above as we review general job satisfaction, some low scores for the Office of Management and Budget and how many workers say they telework.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 13, 2010; 9:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Video Report, Workplace Issues  
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'Don't ask, don't tell' federal court case set to start

As the Pentagon continues studying the impact of repealing its "don't ask, don't tell" policy, a federal court case starting Tuesday in California will consider whether the policy banning gays and lesbians from openly serving in uniform is constitutional.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 13, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Eye Opener, Military  
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New PTSD policy begins Tuesday

The Department of Veterans Affairs is encouraging military veterans previously denied benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder to start reapplying Tuesday as its long-standing, tedious claims process comes to an end.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 12, 2010; 8:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Administration, Military  
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The Federal Eye on Congressional logjam, federal worker survey, 'don't ask, don't tell' (Video)

The Federal Eye joined Rick Klein and Jonathan Karl for Monday's episode of ABC's "Top Line" to discuss the Congressional logjam, the new federal worker survey (which shows poor results for Peter Orszag's Office of Management and Budget) and...

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 12, 2010; 4:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Video Report  
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Telework gets another vote this week

House lawmakers are set to vote this week on a bill expanding telework options across the federal government, as a new survey of federal workers finds that just 10 percent of them use the flexible work option.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 12, 2010; 3:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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White House: No Muslim outreach for NASA

American diplomats, breathe easy: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden isn't responsible for reaching out to the Muslim world after all.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 12, 2010; 3:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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Survey gives new numbers on teleworking

A new governmentwide survey finds general satisfaction among rank and file federal workers and for the first time gives the government hard numbers on the number of feds who telework.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 12, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Survey says: Federal workers are glad to have their jobs

In these times of high unemployment and economic uncertainty, federal workers are continuing a trend of job satisfaction, giving the Obama administration good marks for its leadership of agencies though remaining skeptical on a key point: that career advancement in the government is based on merit.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 12, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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