Monthly Archives: August, 2010

Defense contractor not fazed by proposed defense cuts

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Who’s worried about the impact of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ proposed Pentagon belt-tightening? Not, apparently, CACI International, Inc., the Arlington Va.,-based defense contractor that has a stake in some of the programs and offices to be axed. In a recent statement on CACI’s 4th quarter and full fiscal year 2010 results, President and CEO Paul Cofoni said the company expects only “negligible impact” from Gates’ decision to eliminate Joint Forces Command, the Office for Network and Information Integration and the J-6.  CACI has also been informed, he added, “that the work we do for the Business Transformation Agency will continue…

Don't forget to power down

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If all 16,000+ participants follow through with their pledge tonight, Power IT Down Day 2010 should be a huge success. The initiative has nearly 500 supporters on Facebook, more than 100 Twitter followers and thousands who have signed up directly on the site. The nationwide event encourages government and the private sector to shut down their computers, printers, monitors and other devices at the end of the work day to save energy. I was told that about two-thirds of those who have registered are from government agencies. Citrix, HP, Intel and GTSI are sponsoring the initiative and will make a…

Germany seeks to ban employers from checking applicants' Facebook pages

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The Associated Press reports that Germany is considering a law that aims to prohibit potential employers from looking at job seekers’ Facebook pages or other private postings. The proposed law would make it illegal for someone to “friend” an applicant to check out their photos and other private details. The AP says that “a rejected job applicant who proves he or she was turned down based on violation of the new law could take the company to court and claim damages.” But even German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who presented the draft law, acknowledged that enforcement might be tough.…

Flash drive cause of 2008 military breach

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The Washington Post is reporting that a flash drive containing malicious code was the source behind a major breach of U.S. military computers in 2008. The drive was “inserted into a U.S. military laptop on a post in the Middle East,” according to the article. Revelations of the breach’s root cause further underscore the challenges facing federal government to identify vulnerabilities and defend against cyberattacks. On November 3-5, experts from government, industry and academia are set to discuss these issues, and more, during the 2010 Cyber Security Readiness Summit. Attendees will learn best practices for: Cultivating a complete approach to…

Gates' cost-cutting moves to face Senate hearing

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The Defense Department’s plans to close Joint Forces Command as well as other cost-cutting moves will get a look-see from the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to a Monday letter from the panel’s chairman, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., to Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va. In the letter, which Webb’s office released Tuesday, Levin said he would seek to schedule a hearing after Congress reconvenes in September.  While Levin said he shares Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ goals of reducing ‘”duplication, overhead and excess in the defense enterprise,'” his “far-reaching initiatives . . . deserve close scrutiny by our committee.” Gates announced the…

Shirley Sherrod turns down USDA job offer

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Shirley Sherrod, the Agriculture Department employee who got caught in a ginned-up racial controversy last month, just said she will not accept another position at her old department. Sherrod lost her job after conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart posted a heavily edited video that appeared to show her bragging about turning down a white farmer because of his race. But once the full video surfaced — showing she was actually talking about the importance of moving beyond race when dealing with others — almost everyone from the White House to the NAACP realized they had gone off half-cocked. Agriculture Secretary Tom…

At FPS, who watches the watchmen?

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Government Security News had an item Sunday about a curious solicitation from the Federal Protective Service — a surveillance system for government buildings that can also spy on the user: A recent solicitation issued by the Federal Protective Service unit of DHS for what it calls a “Video Surveillance Rapid Deployment Kit” contained an intriguing requirement among its roster of technical specifications: “Hidden internal camera and microphone that will allow a remote user to see and hear the operator of the system.” That sounds as if a boss back at FPS headquarters wants to be able to watch and listen…

Order spells out–and limits–governors’ access to classified info

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It appears that the Obama administration trusts the nation’s governors to keep a secret. Sort of. In a newly issued executive order on access to classified national security information, the administration said that governors can see such information without undergoing a background investigation, but first have to sign a non-disclosure agreement and can’t have any “disqualifying conduct” in the eyes of the clearance-granting official. Their clearances also can’t go beyond the “Secret” level, except on a case-by-case basis. “To my knowledge, this is a new provision,” said Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert at the Federation of American Scientists who…

Beth Daley, investigations director at POGO, passes away

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Beth Daley, the director of investigations at the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight, died yesterday after a seven-year fight with breast cancer. POGO said one of the highlights of Daley’s career was her work exposing the oil industry’s underpayment of royalties from drilling on federal and Indian lands. POGO’s lawsuit ended up netting $440 million for the federal government in a case that still reverberates today. “Beth’s death is a crushing loss for the POGO family,” Executive Director Danielle Brian said in a statement released today. “Both as a colleague and as a friend, Beth’s fierce passion for POGO’s…

DEA looking for Ebonics speakers?

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Now here’s what I call strategic workforce planning. The Drug Enforcement Administration is trying to hire up to nine contract linguists who are fluent in Ebonics, according to a request for proposal posted on the Smoking Gun this morning. The RFP, which was originally released in May, said it needs people in Atlanta to “listen to oral intercepts in English and foreign languages and provide a verbal summary, immediately followed by a typed summary” and then transcribe pertinent calls. Ebonics is just one of more than 100 languages requested in the RFP. It’s not surprising that the DEA is looking…

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