December 1, 2022

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Driver convicted of transporting kilos of drugs

12 min read
A 44-year-old Channelview resident has been convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth

More from: March 2, 2022

  • Justice Department Files Race Discrimination Lawsuit Against Pearl, Mississippi Property Owners and Rental Agent
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    The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that the owners, operators and rental agent of several apartment complexes in Pearl, Mississippi, violated the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against African Americans based on their race.

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  • Senior State Department Official On the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative
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  • Combating Terrorism: Department of State Programs to Combat Terrorism Abroad
    In U.S GAO News
    Efforts to combat terrorism have become an increasingly important part of government activities. These efforts have also become important in the United States’ relations with other countries and with international organizations, such as the United Nations (U.N.). The Department of State is charged with coordinating these international efforts and protecting Americans abroad. State has helped direct the U.S. efforts to combat terrorism abroad by building the global coalition against terrorism, including providing diplomatic support for military operations in Afghanistan and other countries. State has also supported international law enforcement efforts to identify, arrest, and bring terrorists to justice, as well as performing other activities intended to reduce the number of terrorist attacks. The State Department conducts multifaceted activities in its effort to prevent terrorist attacks on Americans abroad. For Americans traveling and living abroad, State issues public travel warnings and operates warning systems to convey terrorism-related information. For American businesses and universities operating overseas, State uses the Overseas Security Advisory Councils–voluntary partnerships between the State Department and the private sector–to exchange threat information. To disrupt and destroy terrorist organizations abroad, State has numerous programs and activities that rely on military, multilateral, economic, law enforcement, intelligence, and other capabilities. State uses extradition treaties to bring terrorists to trial in the United States and cooperates with foreign intelligence, security, and law enforcement entities to track and capture terrorists in foreign countries. If the United States has no extradition agreements with a country, then State, with the Department of Justice, can work to obtain the arrest of suspected terrorist overseas through renditions. The State Department leads the U.S. response to terrorist incidents abroad. This includes diplomatic measures to protect Americans, minimize damage, terminate terrorist attacks, and bring terrorists to justice. To coordinate the U.S. effort to combat terrorism internationally, State uses a variety of mechanisms to work with the Departments of Defense, Justice, and the Treasury; the intelligence agencies; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and others. These mechanisms include interagency working groups at the headquarters level in Washington, D.C., emergency action committees at U.S. missions overseas, and liaison exchanges with other government agencies.

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  • Justice Department Awards More Than $100 Million to Support Youth
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today announced that it will award grants totaling nearly $103 million to support youth and help achieve greater equity in the juvenile justice system.

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  • California Businessman Indicted for Employment Tax Crimes
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Oakland, California, returned an indictment today charging a California businessman with failing to pay over employment taxes to the IRS.

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  • High-Performance Computing: NNSA Could Improve Program Management Processes for System Acquisitions
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) analysis of alternatives (AOA) process for its $600 million El Capitan HPC acquisition did not fully follow agency policy that states that AOA processes should be consistent with GAO best practices, where possible, and any deviations must be justified and documented. According to GAO best practices, a reliable AOA process should meet four characteristics: it should be comprehensive, well documented, unbiased, and credible. As seen in the table, the AOA process for El Capitan partially met one of these characteristics and minimally met the other three. NNSA did not justify or document the deviations from these best practices, as required by NNSA policy. GAO also found that the AOA process was conducted by the contractor that manages the El Capitan acquisition program, contrary to agency policy and guidance stating that AOAs should be conducted by an independent entity. Without following AOA best practices where possible; justifying and documenting any deviations; and ensuring AOA processes are conducted by an independent entity, as required, NNSA cannot be assured of a reliable assessment of options for meeting critical mission needs. Extent to Which the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Met the Characteristics of a Reliable Analysis of Alternatives (AOA) Process AOA characteristic GAO assessment Example of deviation Comprehensive Partially met Cost estimates are incomplete and did not follow best practices. Well documented Minimally met The alternatives’ descriptions are not detailed enough for a robust analysis. Unbiased Minimally met NNSA had a predetermined solution, acquiring an HPC system, before performing the AOA process. Credible Minimally met The selection criteria appear to have been written for the preferred alternative. Source: GAO analysis of NNSA information. | GAO-21-194 GAO found that, in the second year of the El Capitan acquisition program’s 5-year acquisition life cycle, NNSA has fully implemented selected key practices related to program monitoring and control. However, NNSA has only partially implemented key practices related to requirements management. Specifically, El Capitan program officials did not update and maintain acquisition program documents to include current requirements. NNSA officials stated that once the program developed its program plan early in the program’s life cycle, they did not require the program to update and maintain that program plan. However, NNSA’s own program management policy requires programs to update program documents throughout the duration of the program. Without updating and maintaining El Capitan program documents to include current requirements, NNSA officials may be limited in their ability to ensure that all mission requirements are met. Why GAO Did This Study NNSA is responsible for maintaining the nation’s nuclear stockpile. To analyze the performance, safety, and reliability of nuclear weapons, it acquires high-performance computing (HPC) systems to conduct simulations. The latest system, El Capitan, is expected to be fully deployed by March 2024. The committee report accompanying the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019, includes a provision for GAO to review NNSA’s management of its Advanced Simulation and Computing program. This report examines, among other things, (1) the extent to which NNSA’s AOA process for the El Capitan acquisition met best practices and followed agency policy and guidance and (2) the extent to which NNSA is implementing selected acquisition best practices in carrying out the El Capitan acquisition program. GAO reviewed documents and interviewed NNSA officials and laboratory representatives involved in carrying out the AOA and acquisition processes.

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  • The Nation’s Fiscal Health: Information on the Spending and Revenue Implications of Potential Debt Targets
    In U.S GAO News
    The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated major federal spending to respond to the national public health emergency and resulting economic turmoil. This response and the severe economic contraction from the pandemic have led to increased federal debt. Once the COVID-19 pandemic abates and the economy has substantially recovered, Congress and the administration will need to address the federal government’s fiscal challenges. To help change the long-term fiscal path, in September 2020 GAO recommended that Congress consider establishing a long-term fiscal plan that includes fiscal rules and targets, such as a debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) target. In this report, GAO analyzed the changes in spending and revenue needed to reach six potential debt-to-GDP targets at the end of a 30-year period (2020-2049). To reach any of the targets, policymakers will need to cut program spending, increase revenue, or, most likely, a combination of both (see table). Illustrative Examples of Changes Needed to Achieve Debt-to-GDP Targets Debt target, percent of GDP (end of 30 years) Spending and revenue: total change over 30 years Program spending alone: Immediate and permanent decrease needed in annual projected program spendinga Revenue alone: Immediate and permanent increase needed in annual projected revenue Percent Dollars, trillions Percent Percent 140 25.4 13.8 18.5 120 31.2 16.9 22.8 100 37 20 27 80 42.8 23.1 31.2 60 48.5 26.3 35.4 0 (paying off all debt) 65.9 35.7 48.1 Source: GAO simulation. | GAO-21-211. Note: The simulation used for this analysis generally reflect historical trends, such as the extension of tax provisions scheduled to expire. It does not account for potential macroeconomic effects of fiscal policy changes over time. aProgram spending consists of all spending except interest payments on debt held by the public. When considering the spending and revenue changes needed to achieve various debt-to-GDP targets, policymakers may also consider how changes in assumptions about key variables—such as discretionary spending, revenue, and GDP—affect these fiscal outcomes. For example, if GDP growth is greater than expected, policymakers may have to make smaller spending cuts or revenue increases to reach a selected debt-to-GDP target than those that would be needed based on GAO’s standard assumptions. GAO created an interactive web tool accompanying this report to allow users to enter different assumptions for each of these variables. This tool illustrates how these changes would affect the different debt-to-GDP targets over time, as well as the changes in spending and revenue needed to achieve various targets. This tool can be found at https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-211. Even before the fiscal and economic effects resulting from COVID-19, an imbalance between federal revenue and spending that is built into current law and policy was contributing to the growing federal debt. The Congressional Budget Office projects that by 2023 federal debt held by the public will reach 107 percent of GDP, its highest point in U.S. history. This situation—in which federal debt grows faster than GDP—means that our nation is on an unsustainable fiscal path. GAO was asked to review issues related to fiscal rules and targets and the federal fiscal condition. In response to this request, in September 2020, GAO issued a report (GAO-20-561) on key considerations for the design, implementation, and enforcement of fiscal rules and targets. This report supplements that work and describes how changes in assumptions of future spending and revenue affect the federal government’s projected fiscal condition. GAO updated its long-term simulations of federal revenue and spending to (1) analyze six potential debt-to-GDP targets and (2) measure the fiscal gap—the policy change needed to reach a given debt-to-GDP fiscal target from the start to the end of 30-years. GAO also analyzed how changes in key variables affected the debt-to-GDP targets and the fiscal gap. For more information, contact Jeff Arkin at (202) 512-6806 or arkinj@gao.gov.

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  • Department of State Announces Online Publication of 2019 Digest of United States Practice in International Law
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  • Texas Entrepreneur Charged with Spending COVID Relief Funds on Improper Expenses Including Lamborghini and Strip Club
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    A Houston, Texas man has been taken into custody on allegations he fraudulently obtained more than $1.6 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas.

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  • Additional Military Assistance for Ukraine
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  • Justice Department Secures Agreement with Employer to End Unnecessary Medical Exams and Health Questions
    In Crime News
    Today the Justice Department filed an agreement with the Federal Court in New Jersey to resolve its lawsuit against the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). 

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  • Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco Announces Creation of New Cyber Fellows Positions
    In Crime News
    Today, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced the creation of a new Cyber Fellowship program, designed to develop a new generation of prosecutors and attorneys equipped to handle emerging national security threats.

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  • Digital Services: Considerations for a Federal Academy to Develop a Pipeline of Digital Staff
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found As the federal government continues its modernization efforts across agencies, it faces a severe shortage of digital expertise in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), data science, application development, cybersecurity, computational biology, and robotics process automation. According to participants in a roundtable of federal officials and other experts, agencies’ needs for digital services staff vary in urgency and roles, with some needs requiring immediate attention while others are more long-term. In addition, the kinds of work that additional digital services staff could address include updating legacy systems, applying advanced technologies, managing cybersecurity risks, and reimagining service delivery. Currently, according to roundtable participants, agencies try to meet their digital service workforce needs through a mix of civil service hiring, use of contractors, the Intergovernmental Personnel Act Mobility Program, and fellowship and internship programs. One potential method for developing digital services staff, discussed by the roundtable participants, is the creation of a digital service academy—similar to military academies—to train future civil servants in the digital skills needed to modernize government. Considerations for a digital service academy include the kinds of skills that would be taught and the composition and size of a graduating class, according to roundtable participants. Further, they said digital services staff would need proficiency in both digital skills as well understanding the functions of government to meet agencies’ needs. The composition and size of a digital service academy could affect how it can meet agencies’ needs. Example of a Digital Service Academy Concept Agencies can prepare for a pipeline of qualified digital services staff by taking steps such as integrating mission needs into digital service projects, developing professional growth opportunities, cultivating institutional relationships, establishing support networks, and building a data-centric culture, according to roundtable participants. At the same time, participants discussed challenges associated with existing policies, infrastructure, laws, and regulations that may hinder agency recruitment and retention of digital services staff. Why GAO Did This Study The U.S. government has a need for digital expertise, and federal agencies have faced challenges in hiring, managing, and retaining staff with digital skills. GAO was asked to gather perspectives of federal technology leaders on establishing an academy that could provide a dedicated talent pool to help meet the federal government’s needs for digital expertise. GAO convened a roundtable discussion on October 13, 2021 comprised of chief technology officers, chief data officers, chief information officers, and those in similar roles across the federal government, as well as knowledgeable representatives from academia and nonprofits. This report summarizes the perspectives that selected technology leaders shared on (1) federal workforce needs for digital services staff, (2) key characteristics of a digital service academy, and (3) considerations to help ensure federal agencies can absorb graduates of a digital service academy. For more information, contact Candice N. Wright at (202) 512-6888 or WrightC@gao.gov, Taka Ariga at (202) 512-6888 or ArigaT@gao.gov, or Dave Hinchman at (214) 777-5719 or HinchmanD@gao.gov.

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  • Northern Virginia Company Settles False Claims Act Allegations of Improper Paycheck Protection Program Loan
    In Crime News
    Zen Solutions Inc., a Virginia-based company, has agreed to pay approximately $31,000 in damages and civil penalties to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by obtaining more than one Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan in 2020.

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  • Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Statement on President Biden’s Nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court
    In Crime News
    Attorney General Merrick B. Garland released the following statement regarding the President’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court:

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