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Marine Corps activates new law enforcement battalions

July 23, 2012 The Marine Corps has activated its first battalions of law enforcement officers, a group created to quickly respond to emerging issues such as drug trafficking and transnational crime, the Associated Press reported. Approximately 1,500 troops in three battalions were activated in June. Their primary purpose will be to build off...

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Military personnel receive administrative punishment for Secret Service sex scandal

July 19, 2012 The military personnel involved in the Secret Service’s prostitution scandal in Colombia will not face criminal charges, but will receive administrative punishment instead, the Associated Press reported. Of the 12 military personnel who were under investigation by the U.S. Southern Command, seven Army soldiers and two Marines were placed on...

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Watchdog finds gaps in program for vetting flight school students

July 19, 2012 Individuals who pose security risks could be slipping through a Transportation Security Administration program to screen foreign nationals seeking flight training, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. TSA’s Alien Flight Student Program lacks adequate protocols to verify the security status of individuals entering flight schools in the United...

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Problems still abound in student visa program

July 18, 2012 Immigration and Customs Enforcement still does not have systems in place to verify if schools are fraudulently providing paperwork for foreigners seeking student visas within the United States. A Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday found that case files of many institutions certified by the student and exchange visitor program...

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Republicans not spoiling for a shutdown fight

July 18, 2012 Congressional Republicans are working to pass a temporary spending bill to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, Politico reports. In a bid to avert a repeat of the debt ceiling debacle last summer, Republican leaders in both chambers of Congress are looking...

Using DHS Database to Support Voter ID is Risky

July 16, 2012 The Homeland Security Department’s decision to grant Florida access to a federal database to assist with the states’ voter verification efforts raises a number of important issues. According to a report in the New York Times: The decision by the Department of Homeland Security, which came after efforts by the...

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Prostitutes, corporate gifts and harassment trigger Treasury investigations

July 16, 2012 Investigations by the Treasury Department’s office of inspector general have revealed improprieties, including the use of prostitutes, corporate gift giving and sexual harassment by employees. GovernmentAttic.org, a watchdog organization, recently published the fruits of a May Freedom of Information Act request. Though the documents revealed misbehavior by employees, they also...

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House Democrats push health benefits for feds’ same-sex spouses

July 13, 2012 House Democrats have filed an amicus brief arguing that federal health benefits should cover same-sex spouses of employees. The 130 representatives filed the brief in the latest challenge to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which bans same-sex marriage. In March, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White ruled that aspects of...

Technology is no longer open data’s biggest challenge

July 12, 2012 Managers -- not technology or budget -- now may be the biggest obstacles to government data transparency. Information technology bosses and government administrators are reluctant to invest time and staff in projects in which they feel they hold little stake, according to participants at the 2012 International Open Data conference....

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Mistakes sharing death data could cost taxpayers

July 12, 2012 The Social Security Administration did not properly record 1.2 million deaths, likely allowing federal benefits to be collected by the family and next of kin, according to a new report. Nearly 1.2 million people were not recorded on the Death Master File, a list distributed to other federal agencies and...