$100,000 ID-theft scheme earns VA employee a 46-month federal prison sentence

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  • National security experts said the Defense Department needs to expand its blacklist of Chinese companies. A new report from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said that many Chinese state-owned military companies are not on DoD’s list of businesses to avoid, and could cause security issues. The Pentagon’s blacklist currently bans more than 40 Chinese-linked companies from operating in the United States.
  • Recent cyber attacks are reminding lawmakers of the need to grow the expertise of the federal workforce. The bipartisan Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act aims to do just that. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) introduced the bill to ensure federal employees receive multi-agency, multi-discipline experience and training by establishing a rotational program for civilian cyber employees, enabling them to spend time at another federal agency to strengthen their skills and careers. Developing the program would be the Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Homeland Security, the Chief Human Capital Officers Council and the Chief Information Officers Council. The program would allow cybersecurity professionals to rotate through assignments lasting between six and 12 months.
  • A former Department of Veterans Affairs program analyst was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for trying to sell the stolen personal information of veterans and VA employees for about $100,000. Phillip Hill, 35, worked at an Arkansas VA Medical Center, where he had access to names, birthdays, and Social Security numbers.
  • The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee easily cleared four more nominees at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The committee advanced the nominations for Donald Remy to be VA’s deputy secretary and Maryanne Donaghy to lead the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. It also voted in favor of Matthew Quinn to be VA’s assistant secretary for memorial affairs and Patricia Ross to lead VA’s congressional and legislative affairs division. All four nominees await confirmation from the full Senate.
  • The Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Eric Lander served as one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project before his nomination. Biden has elevated the OSTP director to a Cabinet-level position. Lander will also serve in another role as the president’s science adviser.
  • A Miami transportation company and a California staffing agency will pay $1 million each for allegedly subjecting African-American employees to racial discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit claims that after Kimco Staffing Services assigned workers to Ryder Integrated Logistics, a hostile work environment ensued, because management ignored racial slurs and epithets directed at Black workers. In one case, an African-American employee, who reported the harassment, was fired.

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