Contractors may take the blame for CIA leak

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

  • Contractors working with the CIA may be to blame for the recent breach that led to Wikileaks releasing of some of the agency’s hacking tools. Reuters reported it spoke to officials who said companies that work with the CIA are checking their records for evidence of who might be responsible. Also, that intelligence agencies have been aware of the breach since the end of last year. (Reuters)
  • A top Internal Revenue Service official said any cuts to the agency budget would be devastating. IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement John Dalrymple said there is no more fat to cut in its spending plan, which includes funding for customer service and information security. The IRS budget has been cut by $1 billion over the past six years. (Federal News Radio)
  • Top enlisted officials in the military services said the federal hiring freeze is hurting military families and wasting senior leadership’s time. The Sergeant Major of the Army said the Acting Army Secretary has made 3,600 individual, by-name exemptions to hiring employees for military child care centers. Meanwhile, some centers have closed because of a lack of staff. (Federal News Radio)
  • Almost halfway through the fiscal year, the House finally passed a 2017 appropriations bill for the Defense Department. The measure passed the House by a wide margin — 371 votes to 48. It includes $578 billion in Defense spending for the remainder of 2017, including a 2.1 percent pay raise for military personnel, matching the levels Congress already approved in the annual Defense authorization bill. House leaders said the bill was the start of a buildup in military funding. President Donald Trump has called for an additional $54 billion in Defense spending next year, but yesterday, three dozen Armed Services committee said the increase should be closer to $91 billion. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department is trying again to get its agile development contract off the ground. DHS relooked at bids for its mega contract for agile development services and decided to reduce the number of awardees by two. DHS announced 11 new winners under the Flexible Agile Support for the Homeland or FLASH contract. The agency initially made 13 awards under the $1.5 billion contract in November. But eight unsuccessful bidders protested to the Government Accountability Office and DHS decided to take corrective action. After relooking at bids, DHS decided two of the previous winners were no longer eligible. (FedBizOpps)
  • House lawmakers want to bring more rigor to acquisitions at the Homeland Security Department. The House Homeland Security Committee approved five procurement-related bills. One would require DHS to notify Congress if a program gets off schedule by one-year and/or by 20 percent in cost. Another bill would create an acquisition review board to develop annual strategies and oversee progress of major efforts. The bills now go to the full House for debate and a vote. (House Homeland Security Committee)
  • The House Veterans Affairs Committee approved two pieces of legislation. One would temporarily extend the Veterans Choice Program past the upcoming Aug. 7 sunset date using existing appropriated funds. The committee also passed the VA Accountability First Act. It lets the VA secretary fire or demote employees for poor performance or misconduct more quickly. Democrats offered amendments but neither went through. (Federal News Radio)
  • Even after handing over billions of dollars in construction to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Veterans Affairs Department is still in a fog. The Government Accountability Office notes the Corps will take over 12 of 23 major VA projects. But auditors said VA needs to improve its ability to track change orders and make accurate cost and completion date estimates. Meantime, GAO finds post-completion, start-up costs for the $1.7 billion Denver medical center have ballooned. (Government Accountability Office)
  • Elaine Duke sails through her nomination hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee with relative ease. Most members say they plan to support her nomination for deputy secretary for the Homeland Security Department. Senators questioned Duke about possible cuts to Coast Guard, FEMA, and TSA funding to pay for the President’s border security plans. (Federal News Radio)