My appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal this morning to talk about the end of the government shutdown, and how it has affected Federal employees.
On Monday, lawmakers held another round of talks on Capitol Hill. They hope to reach a deal to fund the government and avert the debt ceiling. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the progress “positive.” I talked about the latest on the government shutdown with Morris Jones on Capital Insider.
Hours before a government shutdown, Congress was at a stalemate. Democratic officials likened the standoff to “schoolyard bullying.” I discussed Capitol Hill’s schoolyard tactics with Morris Jones on Capital Insider.
On Saturday, the Senate is expected to pass its version of the continuing resolution. The stopgap spending measure would strip a provision — passed in the House — that would de-fund Obamacare. I discussed the bill’s legislative future and other topics with Morris Jones on Capital Insider.
As more details emerge about Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, one big question remains – how did he get a shotgun onto the installation to carry out his plan to shoot innocent people? The FBI says it’s investigating that and other angles of the shooting yesterday.
My thanks to Bill Handel, top-rated host of the morning drive show on KFI Los Angeles, for inviting me on his show this morning. Bill and I talked about the Navy Yard, the security process, and how security professionals may start strategizing differently.
Veterans are at higher risk than the general population for identity theft. And now Congress wants answers from the Department of Veterans Affairs – answers the Department can’t – or won’t – provide.
My colleague at Federal News Radio, Jason Miller, reports an analysis by credit and identity risk management company ID Analytics concludes “veterans near military bases in Alaska, ColoradoNew York, Colorado, Ohio and Kentucky have a higher risk ratio for identity theft than non-veterans in the same areas.” And the Department of Veterans Affairs is either ignoring questions from Congress about their efforts to secure veterans data, or can’t answer those questions:
“A House Veterans Affairs Committee staff member said the committee knew about the report and it is one of the main reasons for the continued pressure on the department to answer questions about how it’s protecting the veterans’ data.
“The committee’s frustration with VA’s answers boiled over at a July 12 briefing with House and Senate Veterans Affairs committee staff members, VA IT executives and Homeland Security Department.
“Stephen Warren, VA’s acting assistant secretary for Information and Technology and chief information officer, failed to provide answers to satisfy some staff members, multiple sources confirmed.
“‘The meeting was of little to no value and did not serve its intended purpose,’ said a House Veterans Affairs Committee staff member. ‘DHS and Warren spent the bulk of the hour long meeting providing a broad 40-minute overview of nationwide cybersecurity challenges.’”
One Congressional staffer was so exasperated by the runround he perceived he was getting, he walked out of the meeting.
“Sources confirm Eric Hannel, the subcommittee on oversight and investigations staff director, walked out of the meeting with about 10 minutes left after his questions to VA officials about how they are protecting agency networks were repeatedly not answered to his satisfaction.
“The House VA Committee staff member would not confirm Hannel walked out of the meeting.
“But they say one of the most important questions they wanted Warren to answer during the meeting was, ‘How many times has VA’s system been hacked within the last year?’
“The staff member said Warren would not answer the question directly.”
More documents are coming from the Internal Revenue Service to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, according to acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. He says documents will come out weekly to meet the demands of committee Chairman Darrell Issa.
Rumors of an immunity deal for IRS employee Lois Lerner surfaced today. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right at an Oversight Committee hearing after making an opening statement Chairman Issa and other said negated her claim to invoke the Fifth Amendment. I talked about the implications of these events, what they might mean, and what may be next, on The John Batchelor Show tonight.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, May 22, 2013