CBP Commissioner pleads for Congressional help after second child dies in its custody

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  • After a second child died while in the custody of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the head of the agency has called for help from Congress. CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told “CBS this Morning” CBP’s stations are not built for the large number of families and children that are crossing today. He said the facilities were built 30 to 40 years ago for single adult males. McAleenan called on Congress to budget for medical care and mental health care for children in their facilities. (CBS News)
  • On Day 6 of the partial government shutdown, several key federal websites were starting to close down. The sites included USA.gov, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Economic Analysis pages. And when funding runs out for the Smithsonian Institution at the end of the calendar year, the Panda Cam and other similar popular websites are due to go dark. Agencies must evaluate all contracts which fund IT platforms to determine which ones may continue during a lapse in appropriations. (USA.gov)
  • The Defense Department is not part of the current government shutdown, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t affect military personnel. The Coast Guard said the next paychecks for its uniformed members may be delayed if the Homeland Security Department isn’t funded by the end of this week. Military members’ pay operates on a different schedule from federal civilian employees. Their next pay date is December 31. (Federal News Network)
  • Advice for furloughed federal employees thinking of taking on outside work to make ends meet. Employees in general have the right to work elsewhere while on unpaid furlough, and it looks like there’s no end in sight. As long as the work doesn’t create a conflict of interest or the appearance of one, you’re okay. Employees of regulatory agencies must avoid work in the regulated industry. Before taking any job, you’ve got to check in with your agency’s ethics office, if it’s open. (Federal News Network)
  • Another federal CIO has decided to call it a career. George Jakabcin, the Chief Information Officer of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, has announced his retirement on December 31. Jakabcin’s decision to leave followed more than 16 years of federal service. He has been TIGTA’s CIO since 2010 and worked for the IRS since 2002. During his tenure as CIO, Jakabcin equipped auditors and investigators to work from anywhere, at anytime by virtualizing servers and promoting secure mobility. He also worked in the federal community for 30 years as a contractor before coming to the IRS for Lockheed Martin, GTE/Contel, Informatics and Lexis/Nexis. Jakabcin tells Federal News Network that he has no immediate plans for the future. (Federal News Network)
  • The government recovered almost $3 billion  in False Claims Act cases in fiscal 2018. The Justice Department said it won cases in the health care, procurement and international trade sectors. Of the $2.8 billion recovered last year, Justice said $2.1 billion came from lawsuits filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. Whistleblowers won $301 million in settlements for exposing the fraud and false claims. (Department of Justice)
  • Former Senate Intelligence committee staffer James Wolfe has been sentenced to two months in prison after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI. Wolfe was a longtime director of security for the committee. DoJ said he told a reporter he served someone a subpoena involving the Russia investigation and then lied about the exchange to FBI agents. (Associated Press)
  • The Senate has confirmed Navy Rear Adm. Robert Sharp as the next director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Sharp currently serves as commander of the Office of Naval Intelligence and director of the National Maritime Intelligence-Integration Office. He replaces Robert Cardillo, who has served in the position for the last four years. (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency)
  • The incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said the earlier-than-expected departure of Defense Secretary James Mattis has created unnecessary national security risks. Patrick Shanahan will be the acting secretary of Defense starting next Tuesday. Smith said Shanahan has shown himself to be a capable manager, but doesn’t have the depth of understanding of national security threats that Mattis does. The incoming chairman said there’s no good reason Mattis couldn’t have stayed on as secretary until February, as he said he planned to do in his resignation letter. The president announced he’d be leaving on New Year’s Day via Twitter earlier this week. (House Armed Services Committee Democrats)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department has suspended discharges and decreases in level of support from its Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program. VA said it continues to hear concerns by veterans, caregivers, and advocates about inconsistent eligibility requirements being used by VA medical centers. (Department of Veterans Affairs)