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Federal Eye: November 14, 2010 - November 20, 2010

Facing complaints, TSA changes security screening for pilots

With complaints mounting about stepped-up airport security screening, the Transportation Security Administration is making immediate changes to how it screens commercial airline pilots.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 19, 2010; 4:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Marine whistleblower Franz Gayl: Security clearance removal is retaliation

Franz Gayl made a name for himself a few years ago as a Marine Corps whistleblower, a civilian scientist who helped push the Pentagon to shift its Iraqi weapons strategy. Senators called him a hero for disclosures that helped get heavily armored vehicles known as MRAPs to the battlefield.

By R. Jeffrey Smith  | November 19, 2010; 2:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  From The Pages of The Post, Military, Workplace Issues  
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Scalia on cameras, retirement and the 'brave new world'

Supreme Court justices sometimes give the impression they are almost aggressively technology-averse, stumbling over the features of the V-chip or being stumped by instant messaging.

By Robert Barnes  | November 19, 2010; 12:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Supreme Court  
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CREW's Melanie Sloan departing

Another of Washington's most vocal independent watchdogs is stepping down to start a new law firm.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 19, 2010; 7:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Oversight, Revolving Door  
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Senate confirms Jack Lew as OMB director

Jacob J. Lew won confirmation Thursday as head of the Office of Management and Budget all because Interior Secretary Ken Salazar plans to visit the Gulf Coast region on Monday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 19, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Democrats confident of 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal

Thirteen Democratic senators signaled strong support Thursday for lifting the military's "don't ask, don't tell" ban and said they are willing to work well into December to ensure passage of a defense bill carrying language that ends the ban.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 18, 2010; 2:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  Congress, Military  
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Telework legislation passes

There may be less congestion on Washington-area roads in the coming years as the House on Thursday passed a bill that gives more federal workers the option of working from home or locations outside the office.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 18, 2010; 11:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Congress, Military  
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Power outages, fires plaguing federal buildings

The work's getting done, but the lights keep going out at the Commerce Department's headquarters in downtown Washington -- the latest of several problems at some of the region's federal buildings.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 18, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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'Don't ask, don't tell' repeal will return to Senate floor, Reid says

The U.S. Senate will vote during the lame-duck session on ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning gays from openly serving in uniform, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 17, 2010; 7:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Congress, Military  
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TSA agent punched in chest by passenger

A passenger was arrested Tuesday for punching a Transportation Security Administration officer in the chest after passing through a body-imaging machine at Indianapolis International Airport, according to police.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 17, 2010; 3:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (102)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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TSA administrator says his own pat-down was 'thorough'

The head of the Transportation Security Administration has been the subject of a "thorough" pat-down in airport security lines and said Tuesday that airport security screeners are fully trained on how to use new body-scanning machines.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 17, 2010; 11:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (93)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Congress  
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Kucinich challenges Towns for top Gov. Reform panel slot

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) announced Wednesday that he would challenge Rep. Edolphus Towns (N.Y.) for the top Democratic slot on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, setting up competition for the role of chief defender of the Obama administration and chief protector of the federal workforce in the 112th Congress.

By Ben Pershing  | November 17, 2010; 10:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Congress, Oversight  
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Training for transportation screeners needs improvement, study says

Training for transportation security officers, the screeners who inspect airline passengers and baggage, needs improving, according to a report by the Homeland Security Department's inspector general. The inspector general's office said its recommendations, "if implemented, would improve the agency's management...

By Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson  | November 17, 2010; 9:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Postal workers injured by overnight storms

Overnight storms caused minor injuries for two postal workers and blew the windows out of more than 120 mail vehicles at the U.S. Postal Service's Curseen-Morris Mail Processing Facility in Washington.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 17, 2010; 8:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Postal Service  
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Eye Opener: Michelle Obama's chief of staff leaves, FDA studying caffeinated booze, security clearances and airport security

In the news: Michelle Obama's chief of staff leaves, FDA studying caffeinated booze, security clearances and airport security

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 17, 2010; 5:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Levin open to dropping 'don't ask' from defense bill

The Senate will not consider ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy until after it holds hearings on a Pentagon report studying the issue, a key Senate Democrat said Tuesday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 16, 2010; 4:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  Congress, Military  
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Kucinich mulls bid for top House Gov't Reform slot

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is mulling whether to make a bid for the top Democratic slot on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a move that could make him a leading voice on issues affecting the District and the federal workforce and a high-profile defender of the Obama administration.

By Ben Pershing  | November 16, 2010; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congress  
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The future of 'don't ask, don't tell' (video)

The Federal Eye discussed the future of "don't ask, don't tell" on the Monday episode of TBD's Capital Insider with Morris Jones.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 16, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Military, Video Report  
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Government made $125B in improper payments last year

The federal government's improper payments totaled about $125 billion in fiscal 2010 as unemployment insurance and Medicaid payments increased, officials said Tuesday. But agencies also recovered about $687 million mistakenly paid to delinquent government contractors and beneficiaries.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 16, 2010; 11:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Administration, Budget, Contracting  
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GAO: Defense security clearance delays decreased

The Defense Department has made significant progress in reducing delays in processing personnel security clearances, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday.

By Joe Davidson  | November 16, 2010; 9:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congress, Oversight  
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Outgoing postmaster general's golden parachute

Postmaster General John E. Potter could earn about $5.5 million in deferred compensation, retirement benefits and accrued annual leave for the rest of his life when he leaves the U.S. Postal Service next month, according to financial statements.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 16, 2010; 7:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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'Don't ask, don't tell' moves to crucial phase (audio)

The Federal Eye joined KCRW's "To The Point" Monday to discuss the fate of efforts to end the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 15, 2010; 11:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Military  
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'Don't ask, don't tell' splitting gay rights groups

Disagreements over how Congress should proceed on ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy are dividing gay rights groups as lawmakers return to Washington to determine how to proceed on the issue. The schism could rip apart a year-long effort by gay rights groups to end the Pentagon's ban on gay men and lesbians openly serving in uniform.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 15, 2010; 3:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Military  
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FBI offers reward for tips on Pentagon sniper

The FBI posted a $20,000 reward Monday for tips on whomever has been shooting at the Pentagon and other military targets in the Washington, DC. area.

By Jeff Stein  | November 15, 2010; 12:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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USDA: 17 million families struggled to get enough food in 2009

Nearly 17 million families in America - roughly 15 percent of all households - had trouble putting enough food on their tables at some point last year, a federal report released Monday morning shows.

By Kimberly Kindy  | November 15, 2010; 11:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Cabinet secretaries turned op-ed writers

Four Cabinet secretaries and President Obama's top economic adviser appear on the op-ed pages of some of the nation's top newspapers Monday, discussing nuclear disarmament, airport security and broadband. We read them so you don't have to.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 15, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration  
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BP pays $518 million for oil-spill cleanup

BP has reimbursed the federal government $518 million for clean-up costs for the April oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a sum that has hit $581 million and keeps growing, congressional auditors said.

By Lisa Rein and Ed O'Keefe  | November 15, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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McCain wants new 'don't ask, don't tell' report

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday said the Pentagon should study how ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy would impact troop morale and battle effectiveness, instead of reporting to President Obama and lawmakers on how the Defense Department could lift the gay ban.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 14, 2010; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Congress, Military  
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