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James Wolfe, a former staff employee for the Senate Intelligence Committee pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about disclosing nonpublic information to the press. Wolfe was the director of Security for the committee for over 28 years. The Justice Department said he made false statements last year about his interactions with a news organization. (Department of Justice)
Federal rescue efforts continue after Hurricane Michael. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said more than 16,000 federal employees are deployed for relief efforts. Over 8,000 of those are military personnel. Federal search and rescue teams, working alongside state and local agencies, completed over 4,000 rescues, and processed more than 28,000 claims of disaster assistance. (Department of Homeland Security)
Residents of Florida and Georgia hit by Hurricane Michael got their tax deadline extended by the IRS. Monday was the due date for taxpayers who requested a six-month extension on their tax returns. The agency has also pushed deadlines back for residents of the Carolinas and Virginia impacted by Hurricane Florence. The IRS followed FEMA’s declarations for areas that qualify for public assistance. (IRS)
The Small Business Administration lent more than $30 billion to small companies in fiscal 2018. It made more than 60,000 7a loans last year. Those loans are used for acquiring land, buying equipment, or working capital. SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said the agency has made its loans programs more accessible to businesses who need them. (Small Business Administration)
The National Archives and Records Administration is developing a series of use cases based on standards to help agencies address their ever-growing trove of electronic records. NARA starts with electronic messages, such as email and instant messaging, and is moving to social media and website records next. The goal is for vendors to more easily incorporate these standards into their products so agencies have records management capabilities built in and not bolted on. NARA and the General Services Administration also are creating a new special item number (SIN) on Schedule 36 where these products will live.
A new proposal to use military installations on the West Coast to export fossil fuels to Asia is being considered. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told the Associate Press it would improve national security to provide allies with affordable energy commodities. Zinke only mentioned one base specifically as an example: Adak Naval Air Facility in Alaska. The idea quickly generated backlash from environmentalists and West Coast Democrats. Washington state Governor Jay Inslee shot down the idea and said climate change is a bigger national security threat. (Federal News Network)
Federal agencies are slipping when it comes to using clear language everyone can understand on their public-facing websites. The nonprofit Center for Plain Language released its seventh annual Federal Plain Language Report Card. Overall, federal agencies dropped from a B to C grade since last year for using plain language in their web writing. (Federal News Network)
The Merit Systems Protection Board has a new general counsel. MSPB Chairman Mark Robbins appointed Tristan Leavitt to be the agency’s new general counsel. Leavitt comes from the Office of Special Counsel. He previously served as the principal deputy special counsel at OSC, and also served as a staffer on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. The MSPB still lacks a quorum, and Robbins’ term expires in March. (Merit Systems Protection Board)
The Transportation Security Administration released its Biometrics Roadmap. It details the agency’s plans to increase the use of facial recognition technology at airports in the future. TSA currently partners with Customs and Border Protection to gather biometric data, including fingerprints and photographs, on international travelers. Eventually, this program will scale to precheck, and domestic travelers as well. (Transportation Security Administration)