Federal contractor charged with leaking classified information to the press

In today’s Federal Newscast, Reality Leigh Winner, an employee of Pluribus International Corporation, has been charged with removing classified material from a government facility and giving it to an online news outlet.

  • The Justice Department has accused another federal contractor with giving away sensitive materials. DoJ said it filed criminal charges against Reality Leigh Winner, an employee of Pluribus International Corporation who worked at a facility in Georgia. Winner is alleged to have unlawfully sent classified information to an online news outlet. Multiple reports indicate that outlet was The Intercept, which recently reported on an NSA document dealing with Russian hacking of elections systems prior to the 2016 elections. (Department of Justice)
  • President Donald Trump’s plan to privatize air traffic control has received support and criticism from employees’ unions. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association said it supports a stable and predictable funding stream, but Professional Aviation Safety Specialists called the privatization risky and unnecessary. The president’s plan would shift service and “route efficiency” to a non-profit entity, and leave safety to the Federal Aviation Administration. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Air Force has announced a new contract commitment for pilots, offering them new incentives to stay with the service. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced the move as a way of retaining skilled pilots by offering more flexibility in lengthening their enlistment contracts. They can sign on for one, four or even 13 years. The Air Force has also increased its re-enlistment bonus pay for pilots from $25,000 to $35,000. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Supreme Court has handed the Securities and Exchange Commission an incentive to update how it manages fraud cases. Justices imposed a five-year statute of limitations in which the SEC may recover money from people convicted of securities fraud. The ruling was unanimous. It overturned a lower court order, under which investor Charles Kokesh was to pay the SEC $35 million for fraud committed until 2006. The agency collected $4 billion in penalties last year. (Santa Fe New Mexican)
  • A federal court has ruled against the Internal Revenue Service in a class-action lawsuit brought by hundreds of thousands of tax preparers. The court found the tax agency improperly charged them for a preparer tax identification number. Forbes reported the ruling could cost the IRS $175 million in refunds. (Forbes)
  • A well-known federal chief information officer has been named to a new post. David Bray, the former Federal Communications Commission CIO, will be the new chief ventures officer at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. This will be the first role of its kind in the U.S. government. Bray will be charged with directing new public-private partnerships, the adoption of machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as changes in NGA’s mission processes, workforce and acquisition models. Bray will start in his new position in late July, and Christine Calvosa will become the acting CIO at the FCC after Bray leaves. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department has appointed a new human resources chief. Peter Shelby will be VA’s new assistant secretary for HR and administration. He previously spent 24 years in the Marine Corps and led recruiting and talent programs for the service. He also led similar programs at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He founded his own talent management company before joining the VA. (Federal News Radio)
  • VA is officially abandoning VistA as its electronic health record. It will adopt the MHS GENESIS instead. It’s the same electronic record the Defense Department is deploying. It’s a big shift for VA after 17 years of debate and millions of dollars spent developing an in-house solution. VA Secretary David Shulkin signed a special authorization that lets him award the bid to Cerner Corporation without an open solicitation. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Pentagon’s acting acquisition chief said he plans to spend the next year trying to fix IT acquisition. James MacStravic, the career civil servant who currently leads DoD’s massive acquisition apparatus, said the Pentagon’s main problem is that it doesn’t have governance mechanisms that reflect the way other organizations buy commercial IT.  Instead, he said, DoD defaults to the processes it knows — ones suited for weapons systems that involve detailed specifications and exhaustive testing procedures. He said he’s asking for industry’s help to change that paradigm, including the elimination of some department-wide policies and devolving more oversight to the military services and their acquisition commands. (Federal News Radio)

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