Former diplomatic security agent charged with spying for China

In today's Federal Newscast, a former State Department special agent in the Diplomatic Security Service has appeared in federal court on charges of giving top-s...

  • A former government security agent and defense contractor was charged in federal court Thursday with transmitting top-secret documents to an apparent Chinese agent. Kevin Mallory of Leesburg, Virgina, was arrested after the FBI found documents with top secret classification in carry-on luggage that also contained $16,500 in cash. Mallory was described in a court affidavit as being a self-employed consultant who speaks fluent Mandarin. An Army veteran, Mallory was a special agent for the Diplomatic Security Service at the State Department and worked for a variety of government agencies and defense contractors. He held a top secret security clearance until he left government in 2012. Mallory could face life in prison under the federal Espionage Act, and if certain conditions are met, the charges could make Mallory eligible for the death penalty. (AP)
  • The House Armed Services Committee is expected to vote next week on a bump in military spending that goes well beyond what President Donald Trump proposed in his annual budget. The draft version of the National Defense Authorization Act, drawn up by committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), includes $640 billion in national defense spending, compared to $603 billion proposed by the Defense Department. Thornberry told reporters the additional funding is needed to help the military dig out of readiness problems brought on by sequestration and a high operational tempo. Both the president’s budget and Thornberry’s proposal would exceed existing caps in the Budget Control Act by tens of billions of dollars. (Federal News Radio)
  • A House Armed Services subcommittee has proposed a way to help military spouses make the transition to new jobs when they are forced to move due to station changes. The proposed provision in the 2018 defense authorization bill would provide up to $500 to spouses toward the cost of obtaining occupational licenses in different states after a forced move. Many military spouses have been forced to sideline their careers in nursing, mental health or even trucking due to different state licensing systems. The military spouse unemployment rate is currently at 21 percent. (Federal News Radio)
  • Federal worker compensation compared favorably with that of the private sector, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office. But when education levels are figured in, the report indicated the higher one’s education level, the less well-off federal workers compare to private industry. The CBO study said those with a high school diploma earn 53 percent more than their counterparts in private industry, while those with college degrees earn 21 percent. But federal employees with professional or doctorate degrees earned 18 percent less, on average, than workers with similar qualifications in the private sector. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Trump has nominated Tom Bowman to become the next deputy secretary at the Veterans Affairs Department. Currently, Bowman is the staff director for the Senate VA Committee. Bowman has held several jobs at the VA, including chief of staff and assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs. He’s also a retired Marine Corps colonel. (White House)
  • President Trump also announced Michael Rigas as his choice for deputy director at the Office of Personnel Management. Rigas previously worked in the federal government as the head of small business programs at the General Services Administration during the George W. Bush administration. Most recently, he was the chief of staff for the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services. (White House)
  • President Trump’s pick to lead the Transportation Security Administration said his priorities in his new job would include job satisfaction and workforce retention. David Pekoske, former vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, said he also wants to invest in training and for top-level leadership to show support for the agency’s front-line employees. If confirmed, Pekoske would become the 13th TSA leader in the agency’s 16-year history. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Personnel Management announced a new multi-media series for federal employees designed to provide more information about issues federal employees have been asking for. OPM Acting Director Kathleen McGettigan said federal employees responding to the annual Viewpoint Surveys said work-life programs are important for them. The new OPM series will offer answers on dependent care, worksite health, telework, and other employee assistance programs. (OPM)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs’ inspector general has rated the agency’s cybersecurity efforts as a material weakness. In receiving the low rating for an 18th straight year, VA’s OCIO said there’s less risk than ever before and wants the IG to close 18 of 33 recommendations immediately and plans to take care of the remaining 15 by the end of the year. VA established a goal of fixing more than two dozen cyber recommendations by 2017. VA’s IG is looking for sustained efforts and improvements to declare a recommendation closed. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Environmental Protection Agency has overturned Obama administration rules on evaluating chemicals, reversing the approach under which EPA staff would have to evaluate every new chemical for every possible purpose. New rules let the agency prioritize chemicals and their possible uses. The agency said it’s now operating under authorities from the Chemical Safety for the Twenty-First Century Act, an action that has drawn criticism from environmental groups. (EPA)

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