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Why Syrian Refugee Vetting Will Be Indisputably Fallible 

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October 16, 2015, Dan Cadman writes: My colleague Nayla Rush has written a posting about the recent testimony of government witnesses at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the administration’s intent to admit at least 10,000 Syrian refugees fleeing the dissolution of their country.

What is happening in Syria is heart-rending, but the key question posed at the hearing was: How safe can Americans feel about the vetting processes in place to screen applicants? The question is sobering, given the Islamist extremism that predominates in Syria, where the United States futilely spent half of a billion dollars trying to find enough “moderate” fighters to combat the Assad regime, only to give up in disgust when the last batch surrendered their weapons, munitions, and equipment to the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front in order to buy their way out of a jam.

The government witnesses (more like sacrificial lambs; none of them sit at the highest levels of agency or cabinet departments involved) did their best, obliged as they were to toe the White House party line on the issue, but frankly were unpersuasive and the assurances they gave rang hollow, as Rush has pointed out.

There are three critical ways in which our vetting procedures make us vulnerable:

“Flying under the radar”. As I have noted before, our vetting is heavily oriented toward electronic systems — databases with biographical information about known or suspected terrorists, sometimes with biometrics (fingerprints or photos). But what do you do if they aren’t known and have no fingerprints of record in any U.S. system? Why, then you look at the documents they present to you for clues.

[Read the full text here, at Center for Immigration Studies]

What happens if they don’t have any documents to present? Media stories about the “migrant flood” are replete with articles about the hundreds of identity and travel documents discarded on the pathways these aliens are using in their trek toward Europe. The answer is that they will assume whatever identity and nationality they choose to provide to the refugee resettlement agencies responsible for developing, under UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) supervision, the queues of applicants our officers will be asked to vet.

Using bogus documents is easy and no disqualifier. Then there is the ease with which fraudulent documents are being procured throughout the migrant pathways into the heart of Europe right now — some of them legitimate, but altered to accommodate the new bearers; others excellent counterfeits. According to BBC News, they are being used with remarkable success to pass through border and airport checkpoints and are readily available, as one of their own undercover investigations revealed.

Although there is certainly some chance that such documents would be discovered by U.S. officers who have available to them an outstanding Forensic Document Laboratory (FDL), it may surprise readers that use of phony documents doesn’t make you ineligible for refugee or asylum status. This is something government officials don’t like to discuss in public forums such as the Judiciary Committee hearing, where they would have us think of the screening process as an impenetrable iron wall to national security threats.

The principle behind overlooking use of fake documents is firmly embedded in both international and domestic law, for the most noble of reasons. Think of Raoul Wallenberg, who saved many Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe by providing them Swedish passports without regard to their real nationality. Even so, the stakes for the American people are extraordinarily high if the individuals using those fake documents aren’t in fact refugees in distress, particularly since, according to the UNHCR, 68 percent of the nearly 600,000 who’ve made the journey as of October 2015 are adult males. Read the rest of this entry »

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Out of Touch: Obama Stubbornly Opposing American National Security Interests; House Passes Refugee Bill in Defiance of Veto Threat

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Jack Martinez reports: “National security and public safety are not simply factors to be considered,” in policy decisions said Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina representative who heads the House Special Committee on Benghazi, during debate over a refugee bill in the House of Representatives. Instead, he argued, they are the main issues, the most important issues that should be considered in making every decision.

That appears to the be the rationale behind HR 4038, a bill authored by Republican Michael McCaul of Texas and backed by Paul Ryan, the new Speaker of the House. Debate raged on for hours over the bill, which ultimately passed with votes from all but three Republican representatives, and 48 Democrats.

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The bill, if signed into law, would introduce new checks on refugee admission into the United States. Under current policy, defined mostly by the Refugee Act of 1980,the State Department has broad discretion to determine refugee admission and resettlement, in consultation with the FBI. Congressional Republicans want the FBI, the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security to play a greater role; the law would require all three entities to approve each individual refugee admitted to the United States after conducting background checks.

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses during news conference in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington

The bill does not contain any specific provisions for what the new vetting would look like, nor how it would differ from current vetting, but it does emphasize that the new measures would apply to refugees from Syria and Iraq. One house Democrat characterized the vote as purely symbolic, a way of “patting ourselves on the back” without making any policy changes to ensure the safety of the American public. Others expressed concern about a growing anti-refugee sentiment on Capitol Hill, and the likelihood that the bill would effectively pause resettlement efforts, or otherwise severely hamper them. Read the rest of this entry »


IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Teen Stoner Says He Hacked CIA Director’s AOL Account 

CIA Director John Brennan’s private account held sensitive files — including his 47-page application for top-secret security clearance — until he recently learned that it had been infiltrated, the hacker told The Post.panic-betty

“I think they’ll want to make an example out of him to deter people from doing this in the future.”

Other emails stored in Brennan’s non-government account contained the Social Security numbers and personal information of more than a dozen top American intelligence officials, as well as a government letter about the use of “harsh interrogation techniques” on terrorism suspects, according to the hacker.

The FBI and other federal agencies are now investigating the hacker, with one source saying criminal charges are possible, law enforcement sources said.

“I think they’ll want to make an example out of him to deter people from doing this in the future,” said a source who described the situation as “just wild” and “crazy.”

“I can’t believe he did this to the head of the CIA,’’ the source added. “[The] problem with these older-generation guys is that they don’t know anything about cybersecurity, and as you can see, it can be problematic.” Read the rest of this entry »


NSA Chief: ‘More Cyberattacks Likely’ in Wake of Office of Personnel Management Hack

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The U.S. should brace itself for more attacks like one on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management—in which millions of sensitive government records were stolen, the director of the National Security Agency warned on Wednesday. As WSJ’s Robert Wall and Alexis Flynn report:

The U.S. government last week said that two cyberattacks on the agency compromised more than 21 million Social Security numbers, 1.1 million fingerprint records, and 19.7 million forms with data that could include a person’s mental-health history.

“I don’t expect this to be a one-off,” said Navy Adm. Mike Rogers,who heads the NSA and the U.S. military’s Cyber Command. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: OPM Director Resigns over Hack

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Cory Bennett The embattled director of the Office of Personnel Management has resigned, bowing to mounting pressure from Capitol Hill for her to step aside over a devastating government hack.

Also see – Katherine Archuleta and the Accountability Problem

“Archuleta made clear to the president that she believed it was best for her to step aside and allow new leadership that would enable the agency to move beyond the current challenges and allow the employees at OPM to continue their important work.”

Katherine Archuleta, director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), stepped down a day after she revealed that multiple breaches at her agency had exposed more than 22 million people’s sensitive information.

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The chorus on Capitol Hill calling for her firing have been growing since shortly after the breach was first revealed in early June. Read the rest of this entry »


China Announces ‘US Intelligence Officer’ Job Openings

U.S. Navy leadership and senior officers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (Navy) meet for lunch aboard the Chinese destroyer Harbin (DDG 112) marking the conclusion of a U.S.-China counter piracy exercise between Harbin and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87).  Mason is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary M. Keen/Released)

BEIJING —  Joe Zieja reports: In the wake of the massive data breach that led to millions of security clearance applications to be transmitted to China, Beijing has announced that they are holding open applications for U.S. intelligence personnel.

“The application process will be easy,” Zhang San Li Si, the Chinese architect of the project, said during a press conference that was forcibly broadcast via classified US intelligence computer systems. “We already have your SF-86s and we also have the Office of Personnel Management’s evaluation of them. All you really need to do is download this PDF to your desktop and click ‘open.’ Don’t forget to email it to all of your friends!”

The call for applications has resulted in a scramble throughout the U.S. Intelligence Community as IT and HR departments work together to try and simultaneously stem the tide of malware and stop the hemorrhaging of qualified intelligence personnel.

“We need to emphasize that there are actual, no-kidding laws that prohibit anyone from working for a foreign intelligence agency,” Katherine Archuleta, director of OPM said in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »


Military Clearance OPM Data Breach ‘Absolute Calamity’

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The SF-86, a 127-page document, asks government employees to disclose information about family members, friends and past employment as well as details on alcohol and drug use, mental illness, credit ratings, bankruptcies, arrest records and court actions

David Larter and Andrew Tilghman report: Anxiety is spreading among defense officials and the military community that the recent theft of federal government data linked to China may affect hundreds of thousands of service members.

“They had access on everyone who has applied for a security clearance: families, residences and job assignments, bank records. If that’s not an absolute calamity, I don’t know what is.”

Compounding those concerns is the limited information made public by the Office of Personnel Management.

“They got everyone’s SF-86.”

Some military officials believe the recent hack targeting the civilian-run OPM seized information from tens of thousands of Standard Form 86s, which are required for all service members and civilians seeking a security clearance. That includes service members of all ranks, officers and enlisted, in a wide range of job specialties and assignments.

“This is a surreal new world and they are not being truthful. The way this works now is that they tell you a little bit of the truth, and then they obfuscate.”

“They got everyone’s SF-86,” one Pentagon official familiar with the investigation told Military Times.

The SF-86, a 127-page document, asks government employees to disclose information about family members, friends and past employment as well as details on alcohol and drug use, mental illness, credit ratings, bankruptcies, arrest records and court actions.

Given the scale of the breach as publicly disclosed by the Obama administration and OPM, it’s likely that the hackers obtained the SF-86 data of every military member who filled out the form on a computer, something that has been standard practice in Defense Department for well over a decade, said a retired senior intelligence community official who writes a blog under the pen name Victor Socotra.

The services began to make the digital SF-86 form mandatory in 2007, but service members used the digital form for years before that. Read the rest of this entry »


OPM IT Outsourced to Foreigner Contractors, with Root Access, Working from their Home Country. In this Case, Oh Yeah, China

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Encryption ‘would not have helped’ at OPM, says DHS official: Attackers had valid user credentials and run of network, bypassing security

 reports: During testimony today in a grueling two-hour hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta claimed that she had recognized huge problems with the agency’s computer security when she assumed her post 18 months ago. But when pressed on why systems had not been protected with encryption prior to the recent discovery of an intrusion that gave attackers access to sensitive data on millions of government employees and government contractorsNON-STOP-PANIC-EX, she said, “It is not feasible to implement on networks that are too old.” She added that the agency is now working to encrypt data within its networks.

But even if the systems had been encrypted, it likely wouldn’t have mattered. Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity Dr. Andy Ozment testified that encryption would “not have helped in this case” because the attackers had gained valid user credentials to the systems that they attacked—likely through social engineering. And because of the lack of multifactor authentication on these systems, the attackers would have been able to use those credentials at will to access systems from within and potentially even from outside the network.

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told Archuleta and OPM Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour, “You failed utterly and totally.” He referred to OPM’s own inspector general reports and hammered Seymour in particular for the 11 major systems out of 47 that had not been properly certified as secure—which were not contractor systems but systems operated by OPM’s own IT department. “They were in your office, which is a horrible example to be setting,” Chaffetz told Seymour. In total, 65 percent of OPM’s data was stored on those uncertified systems.

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Chaffetz pointed out in his opening statement that for the past eight years, according to OPM’s own Inspector General reports, “OPM’s data security posture was akin to leaving all your doors and windows unlocked and hoping nobody would walk in and take the information.”

[Read the full text here, at Ars Technica]

When Chaffetz asked Archuleta directly about the number of people who had been affected by the breach of OPM’s systems panic-manand whether it included contractor information as well as that of federal employees, Archuleta replied repeatedly, “I would be glad to discuss that in a classified setting.” That was Archuleta’s response to nearly all of the committee members’ questions over the course of the hearing this morning.

At least we found it

Archuleta told the committee that the breach was found only because she had been pushing forward with an aggressive plan to update OPM’s security, centralizing the oversight of IT security under the chief information officer and implementing “numerous tools and capabilities.” She claimed that it was during the process of updating tools that the breach was discovered. “But for the fact that OPM implemented new, more stringent security tools in its environment, we would have never known that malicious activity had previously existed on the network and would not have been able to share that information for the protection of the rest of the federal government,” she read from her prepared statement. Read the rest of this entry »


You’ve Got Mail: OPM Sends Data Breach Notifications to Millions of Employees

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WASHINGTON — Millions of federal workers are starting to receive notices from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that their identity may be compromised following the recent data breach.

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WNEW has obtained a copy of the letter [click to enlarge]

Read the rest of this entry »


Records From Government Data Breach Surface on ‘Darknet’, Says Expert

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The darknet, the seedy underbelly of the Internet that search engines don’t plumb and only people with certain software can access, is a digital bazaar where everything from new identities, to a life-saving kidney, to credit card numbers and even the murder for hire, are for sale.

 reports: Government records stolen in a sweeping data breach that was reported last week are popping up for sale on the so-called “darknet,” according to a tech firm that monitors the private online network used by criminals and creeps throughout the world.

Credentials to log into the Office of Personnel Management are being offered just days after the announcement the agency’s records, including extremely personal information of 4.1 million federal government employees dating back to the 1980s, had been compromised, said Chris Roberts, founder and CTO of the Colorado-based
OneWorldLabs (OWL), a search engine that checks the darknet daily for data that could compromise security for its corporate and government clients, including government IDs and passwords.panic-hitchcock

” … the credentials and identities have been discovered online and are being traded actively.”

– Chris Roberts, OWL

“The recent OPM breach was identified, noted and the credentials and identities have been discovered online and are being traded actively,” said Roberts, who has been a consultant to a number of government agencies, but is currently at odds with the FBI over his reports, first published in Fox News, detailing the vulnerabilities of commercial airlines to cyber hacking. The FBI accused Roberts of hacking a commercial airplane, while Roberts claims he was simply trying to warn the government and industry of vulnerabilities.

“When these accounts are posted on the darker side of the net, they are usually ‘live’ and are part of a larger breach,” Roberts added. “They are typically parsed out and sold and distributed to interested parties, something OWL tracks.”

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“They can target Americans in their database for recruitment or influence. After all, they know their vices, every last one — the gambling habit, the inability to pay bills on time, the spats with former spouses, the taste for something sexual on the side perhaps with someone of a different gender than your normal partner — since all that is recorded in security clearance paperwork.”

The darknet, the seedy underbelly of the Internet that search engines don’t plumb and only people with certain software can access, is a digital bazaar where everything from new identities, to a life-saving kidney, to credit card panic-mannumbers and even the murder for hire, are for sale.

In addition to data from the OPM breach, Roberts said a new OWL search has uncovered another 9,500 government log-in credentials stolen this week from a variety of county, state and federal agencies across the nation, for everything from the Obamacare site, Healthcare.gov, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Census Bureau, and U.S. Court System to the Child Support agency and Unemployment Agency in Ohio.

Roberts sent a report to the FBI Tuesday, as soon as OWL discovered the data, because the information being sold could lead to more extensive government data breaches.

The frequent hacking of government databases – and the ease with which hackers can obtain log on credentials on the darknet — is having a tremendous impact on Americans across the nation and could impact our national security, experts said. Read the rest of this entry »


Want to Read Hillary’s E-mails? Ask China

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China appears to have scored a major win here

Tom Roganunnamed-1 writes: ‘We have a lot of information about people, and that is something that our adversaries want.”

That’s how Donna Seymour, an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) official recently described the OPM hacking to a reporter for the Washington Post. As we found out yesterday, in April, Chinese hackers intruded OPM networks and potentially acquired the personal information of 4 million U.S. government employees.

“China has exceptionally capable, experienced, and wide-ranging cyber-hacking forces. These units are experts at both physical access and remote penetration of network-security systems.”

So how did this happen? Well, according to an OPM press release, the agency has been upgrading its network security over the past year. That said, yesterday’s press release also notes that it was only after the April hacking that OPM focused on “restricting remote access for network administrators…and deploying anti-malware software” against
programs that might “compromise the network.” In short, OPM hasn’t beenmoving fast enough to prevent hacking.

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“In short, everything you would never want your enemy to know about you – from a counterintelligence viewpoint, this breach represents a true nightmare scenario.”

Regardless, it makes sense that China was involved in the intrusion. For a start, China has exceptionally capable, experienced, and wide-ranging cyber-hacking forces. These units are experts at both physical access and remote penetration of network-security systems.

[Read the full text here, at National Review Online]

Moreover, China has a penchant for attacking the OPM. In July last year, the New York Times reported on China’s hacking of OPM information on applicants for top-secret security clearances.

[Also see – Obama Needs to Respond to the Chinese Government Hack — and All Their Other Provocations, Too]

That the OPM didn’t urgently upgrade its security after that 2014 incident is inexcusable. We’ve paid the price in our damaged national security. Read the rest of this entry »


Ellen Nakashima: With a Series of Major Hacks, China Builds a Database on Americans

DigitalDC

China hacked into the federal government’s network, compromising four million current and former employees

Ellen Nakashima reports: China is building massive databases of Americans’ personal information by hacking government agencies and U.S. health-care companies, using a high-tech tactic to achieve an age-old goal of espionage: recruiting spies or gaining more information on an adversary, U.S. officials and analysts say.

“This is part of their strategic goal — to increase their intelligence collection via big data theft and big data aggregation. It’s part of a strategic plan.”

— U.S. government official, on condition of anonymity

Groups of hackers working for the Chinese government have compromised the networks of the Office of Personnel Management, which holds data on millions of current and former federal employees, as well as the health insurance giant Anthem, among other targets, the officials and researchers said.

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“We wish the United States would not be full of suspicions, catching wind and shadows, but rather have a larger measure of trust and cooperation.”

— Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei

“They’re definitely going after quite a bit of personnel information,” said Rich Barger, chief intelligence officer of ThreatConnect, a Northern Virginia cybersecurity firm. “We suspect they’re using it to understand more about who to target [for espionage], whether electronically or via human ­recruitment.”

The targeting of large-scale data­bases is a relatively new tactic and is used by the Chinese government to further its intelligence-gathering, the officials and analysts say. It is government espionage, not commercial espionage, they say.

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“They would leverage this data to get to diplomatic, political, military and economic intelligence that they typically target.”

“This is part of their strategic goal — to increase their intelligence collection via big data theft and big data aggregation,” said a U.S. government official, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic. “It’s part of a strategic plan.”

One hack of the OPM, which was disclosed by the government Thursday, dates at least to December, officials said. Earlier last year, the OPM discovered a separate intrusion into a highly sensitive database that contains information on employees seeking or renewing security clearances and on their background investigations.

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“So now the Chinese counterintelligence authorities know which American officials are meeting with which Chinese.”

Once harvested, the data can be used to glean details about key government personnel and potential spy recruits, or to gain information useful for counter­intelligence. Records in OPM’s database of background investigations, for instance, could contain a complete history of where an individual has lived and all of his or her foreign contacts in, say, China. “So now the Chinese counterintelligence authorities know which American officials are meeting with which Chinese,” a China cyber and intelligence expert said.

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“For bigger data storage, for bigger data theft. And when you can gain it in bulk, you take it in bulk.”

— China cyber and intelligence expert

The data could help Chinese analysts do more effective targeting of individuals, said a former National Security Agency official. “They can find specific individuals they want to go after, family members,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: U.S. Officials: Massive Breach of Federal Personnel Data

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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is scrambling to assess the impact of a massive data breach involving the agency that handles security clearances and employee records, U.S. officials said Thursday. STAMP-panic-red-250

A congressional aide familiar with the situation, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to discuss it, said the Office of Personnel Management and the Interior Department were hacked. A second U.S. official who also declined to be identified said the data breach could potentially affect every federal agency.

The White House was considering a public announcement of the breach Thursday night or Friday morning, the second official said.

The Office of Personnel Management is the human resources department for the federal government, and issues security clearances….(developing)

StarTribune.com


Undead Bureaucracy: Federal Government Executive Salary and Benefit Zombies

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Tens of Thousands of Federal Workers on Extended Paid Leave

For The Washington PostLisa Rein reports: Tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for misbehavior or cleared and allowed to return to work, government records show.

“It’s not authorized by any law. Bureaucrats are abusing it.”

— Sen. Charles E. Grassley

During a three-year period that ended last fall, more than 57,000 employees were sent home for a month or longer. The tab for these workers exceeded $775 million in salary alone.

“OPM has turned a blind eye to this, and it’s shameful. There’s no sense of urgency.”

— Debra Roth, general counsel for the Senior Executives Association

The extensive use of administrative leave continues despite government personnel rules that limit paid leave for employees facing discipline to “rare circumstances” in which the employee is considered a threat. The long-standing rules were written in an effort to curb waste and deal quickly with workers accused of misconduct.

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While the employees stayed home, they not only collected paychecks but also built their pensions, vacation and sick days and moved up the federal pay scale.

And the comptroller general, the top federal official responsible for auditing government finances and practices, has repeatedly ruled that federal workers should not be sidelined for long periods for any reason.APPROVED-non-stop-panic

“Six months went by, and we didn’t hear anything. You’re so anxious. You don’t know if you’ve got a job. You’re getting paid, but it’s no vacation.”

— Scott Balovich, who was put on administrative leave from his IT systems job at the NOAA in Alaska

But a report by the Government Accountability Office, first made public by The Washington Post on its Web site Monday, found that 53,000 civilian employees were kept home for one to three months during the three fiscal years that ended in September 2013. About 4,000 were idled for three months to a year and several hundred for one to three years. This is the first time the government has calculated the scope and cost of administrative leave.

Man Relaxing in Hammock with Beer, Sunset

Auditors found that supervisors used wide discretion in putting employees on leave, including for alleged violations of ­government rules and laws, whistleblowing, doubts about trust­worthiness, and disputes with colleagues or bosses. Some employees remain on paid leave while they challenge demotions and other punishments.

“The Office of Personnel Management rule book lists dozens of reasons for allowing paid leave, such as donating an organ, house-hunting before a job transfer and attending the funeral of a relative in the military. Snow days also are permitted.”

While the employees stayed home, they not only collected paychecks but also built their pensions, vacation and sick days and moved up the federal pay scale. Read the rest of this entry »


Bled Dry by the New Class: 18,709 VA Employees Make $180,000 or More

VA AP file photo

(CNSNews.com) — The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has 59,297 employees – 17.3 percent out of 342,089 workers total — that make $100,000 or more in yearly salary, according todata from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Among those employees, 18,709 of them earn a salary of $180,000 or more.

An OPM database, FedScope, contains historical data on the federal civilian workforce going back to 1998. The database holds information about civilian federal workers employed by most Executive Branch agencies (excluding intelligence agencies, the White House, and the Office of the Vice President) and some Legislative Branch agencies. It does not include employees of the Judiciary Branch or congressional staff.

VA Salaries

The database includes the numbers for federal workers at varying “salary levels,” set out in $10,000 increments, ranging from “less than 20,000” dollars to the highest level of “180,000 or more” dollars in annual salary. Read the rest of this entry »


Congress begged for a White House handout and got one. Republicans ought to reject it.

A Test of GOP Resolve on ObamaCare

By  KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL

Getty Images

Getty Images

Republicans are busy debating what gives them the most “leverage” in their fight to get rid of ObamaCare. One powerful tool, it happens, is an issue that few of them so far have wanted to talk about.

The issue is the White House’s recent ObamaCare bailout for members of Congress and their staffs. The GOP has been largely mute on this blatant self-dealing. The party might use what’s left of its summer recess to consider just how politically potent this handout is, and what—were they to show a bit of principle—might be earned from opposing it.

Read the rest of this entry »


Morale plummets as wave of retirees leave federal workforce

Wave of retirements hits federal workforce - The Washington Post

Damian Dovarganes/AP – Many of air traffic controllers are hitting their mandatory retirement age of 56.

By 

A wave of retirements by senior federal employees has begun rolling across the government as aging baby boomers who held on to their jobs during the economic downturn are increasingly calling it quits.

With retirement accounts on the rebound, many veteran workers are finding little reason to remain in government, especially at a time when agency budgets are being slashed, workers are being furloughed and morale is tumbling.

The number of executive branch employees retiring this fiscal year, which ends next month, is on track to be nearly twice the total who retired in 2009, according to government figures. And the rate looks certain to accelerate. In 2000, about 94,000 people age 60 and older worked for the government. Last year, the number was 262,000. Read the rest of this entry »