Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
The United States government is concerned about violence in El Salvador and the passage and implementation of the April 5 Criminal Code amendment by the Legislative Assembly criminalizing reporting on certain gang activities. The law lends itself to attempts to censor the media, prevent reporting on corruption and other matters of public interest, and silence critics of the Salvadoran government.
Journalists must have the freedom to do their jobs without fear of violence, threats, or unjust detention.
We continue to support El Salvador in its efforts to reduce the proliferation of gangs. Since 2008, we have invested $411 million to improve citizen security and help the Salvadoran government combat gang violence. Examples include the construction of a state-of-the-art forensics lab in Nuevo Cuscatlan, and assistance to reclaim and renovate public spaces such as Parque Cuscatlan.
We are deeply concerned by the spike in violence and homicides committed by the MS-13 and the Barrio 18 gangs in El Salvador on March 25, 26, and 27.
Gangs pose a threat to the national security of El Salvador and the United States. We urge El Salvador to address this threat while also protecting vital civil liberties, including freedom of the press, due process, and freedom of speech.
Now more than ever it is essential to extradite gang leaders to face justice in the United States.
- Attorney General William P. Barr Announces Updates on Operation Legend in Memphis
October 21, 2020During a visit with law enforcement in Memphis today, Attorney General William P. Barr announced updates on Operation Legend, which was expanded to Memphis on Aug. 6, 2020.
- Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Remarks at Taking the Call Conference
October 20, 2021Hello, and welcome to the Taking the Call national conference. It is a pleasure to be part of this new event focused on a crucial topic. I want to thank our Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the University of Cincinnati for organizing this event.
- [Protest of Air Force Contract Award for Computer Graphics]
August 17, 2021A firm protested an Air Force contract award for computer graphics, contending that the Air Force: (1) failed to upgrade its bid as a result of changes it made to its final bid; (2) unreasonably determined that the awardee’s bid was a low risk; and (3) unreasonably made award to a higher bidder. GAO held that: (1) while evaluating the protester’s initial bid, the Air Force properly took into consideration the changes the protester would make to its final bid; (2) the protester failed to prove that the Air Force unreasonably determined that the awardee’s bid was low risk; and (3) Air Force reasonably made award to a higher, technically superior bidder. Accordingly, the protest was denied.
- Executions Scheduled for Two Federal Inmates
July 31, 2020Attorney General William [Read More…]
- U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Lenderking’s Travel to Saudi Arabia
July 27, 2021
- Freshwater Programs: Federal Agencies’ Funding in the United States and Abroad
August 25, 2021As the world’s population tripled during the past century, demand for the finite amount of freshwater resources increased six-fold, straining these resources for many countries, including the United States. The United Nations estimates that, worldwide, more than 1 billion people live without access to clean drinking water and over 2.4 billion people lack the basic sanitation needed for human health. Freshwater supply shortages–already evident in the drought-ridden western United States–pose serious challenges and can have economic, social, and environmental consequences. Multiple federal agencies share responsibility for managing freshwater resources, but consolidated information on the federal government’s financial support of these activities is not readily accessible. GAO was asked to determine for fiscal years 2000 through 2004 how much financial support federal agencies provided for freshwater programs in the United States and abroad. For the purposes of this report, freshwater programs include desalination, drinking water supply, flood control, irrigation, navigation, wastewater treatment, water conservation, water dispute management, and watershed management.Of the over $52 billion in total financial support provided by federal agencies for freshwater programs during fiscal years 2000 through 2004, about $49 billion was directed to domestic programs and about $3 billion supported programs abroad. Domestic program activities involved 27 federal agencies, but 3 agencies–the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Agriculture’s (Agriculture) Rural Utilities Service–accounted for over 70 percent of the financial support. Eighteen agencies supported domestic drinking water supply programs and 16 supported domestic wastewater treatment and watershed management programs. Grant programs of over $22 billion and direct federal spending of about $22 billion accounted for most of the domestic financial support. In addition to the about $49 billion that directly support freshwater activities in the United States, some agencies also have programs that may indirectly support such activities, but it is difficult to determine the dollar value of this indirect support. For example, Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program supports multiple activities, including irrigation, but information on each activity supported by the program is not readily available. Also included in the domestic program is about $175 million that the United States provided to three commissions that conduct freshwater activities along U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada. Of the estimated $3 billion in total financial support directed toward freshwater programs abroad between fiscal years 2000 through 2004, about $1 billion was recently provided for freshwater projects in Afghanistan and Iraq. Most of the financial support for international freshwater programs was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Foreign wastewater treatment and watershed management programs were the ones that most of the agencies supported. The vast majority of the U.S. support for international programs was provided through grants. Not included in the $3 billion for international support are the contributions that the United States made to the general budgets of numerous international organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Bank. The international organizations used some portion of the U.S. contributions to support freshwater activities around the globe.
- MS-13 Member Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy Involving Murder and Attempted Murder
May 6, 2021A Maryland man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise by murdering a suspected rival gang member and attempting to murder two other victims, in connection with his MS-13 gang activities.
- Dominica Travel Advisory
September 26, 2020Exercise increased [Read More…]
- Imposition of Further Sanctions in Connection with Nord Stream 2
November 22, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- Leader of Guatemalan Drug Trafficking Organization and Guatemalan Politician Indicted for International Cocaine Trafficking
March 18, 2022A federal court in the District of Columbia today unsealed two separate indictments charging Aler Baldomero Samayoa-Recinos, aka Chicharra, and his son-in-law Freddy Arnoldo Salazar Flores, aka Fredy, Freshco, Boyca, Boyka, Torojo, Flaquillo, and Flaco, with conspiracy to distribute five kilograms of cocaine for importation to the United States. Salazar Flores is a representative of the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN).
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Ana Maria Salazar of El Financiero/Bloomberg TV
October 9, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- Federal Rulemaking: Deregulatory Executive Orders Did Not Substantially Change Selected Agencies’ Processes or Procedures
November 1, 2021What GAO Found GAO found that the five selected agencies—the Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security (DHS), the Interior, and Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—implemented deregulatory executive order (EO) requirements, most with limited changes to their existing regulatory processes and procedures. Generally, these EOs required agencies to reduce the total number of regulations and overall regulatory costs. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reported that collectively the federal government met the two primary goals of the EOs by (1) implementing two deregulatory actions for every new regulatory action, and (2) achieving net cost savings (see table). Four of the five selected agencies reported having regulatory cost savings. DHS received a regulatory budget allowance from OIRA for this requirement due to DHS’s need to implement priority immigration regulations. However, GAO’s analysis of OIRA’s data showed the reporting of agencies’ deregulatory actions could be overstated partly because OIRA’s overall reporting compared all agency deregulatory actions to only significant regulatory actions. A significant regulatory action is one that results in a $100 million or greater effect on the economy in any given year, or meets certain other criteria. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs’ (OIRA) Reported Actions, Projected Costs, and Projected Cost-Savings by Selected Agencies, Fiscal Years 2017-2020 Dollars are net present value in millions Selected agencies Non-significant deregulatory actions Significant deregulatory actions Significant regulatory actions Projected Costs and (cost savings) Commerce 65 4 4 ($1,144) Homeland Security 26 8 8 $37,153 Interior 41 10 0 ($6,254) Transportation 47 16 6 ($100,484) Environmental Protection Agency 47 22 14 ($89,196) Selected agencies’ total 226 60 32 ($159,925) Source: GAO analysis of OIRA and reginfo.gov data. | GAO-21-104305 Note: OIRA allocated an increase in DHS’s regulatory budget to implement priority immigration regulations. The Office of Management and Budget’s guidance implementing EO 13771 allowed agencies to include alternative actions as a means of achieving deregulatory goals. Alternative actions are those that were not promulgated through the notice-and-comment rulemaking process, such as guidance documents, information collection requests, and other directives. GAO found that of the 286 deregulatory actions reported by the five selected agencies, at least 28 (or about 10 percent) were alternative actions. GAO also found that the five selected agencies did not identify or implement changes to their regulatory enforcement activities in response to EO 13771. For example, officials from some agencies told GAO that any changes in regulatory enforcement activities that occurred while the EO was in effect were not in response to, nor a consequence of, the EO. Why GAO Did This Study From January 2017, until they were revoked in 2021, three EOs required agencies to reduce the total number of federal regulations and regulatory costs and burden. (1) EO 13771 required agencies to eliminate two deregulatory actions for every new regulatory action; (2) EO 13777 established regulatory reform task forces within the agencies, and (3) EO 13924 directed agencies to identify regulatory actions that may inhibit economic recovery in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. GAO was asked to review these deregulatory EOs to better understand the processes and procedures agencies used to implement them. This report examines (1) selected agencies’ processes and procedures to implement the EOs and achieve and report on their goals; (2) their alternatives to rulemaking used in response to the EOs; and (3) how enforcement activities changed in response to EO 13771. GAO selected five agencies that collectively implemented more than half of all actions under the deregulatory EOs—Commerce, DHS, Interior, DOT, and EPA—and reviewed their regulatory policies and procedures, and interviewed relevant agency officials. GAO reviewed OIRA’s reports and interviewed agency officials. GAO also identified 20 nonfederal entities and interviewed a nongeneralizable selection of representatives from six that reflected a mix of industry groups, environmental policy advocates, and trade organizations. For more information, contact Yvonne D. Jones at (202) 512-6806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Olympic Security: U.S. Support to Athens Games Provides Lessons for Future Olympics
August 25, 2021The 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, were held against the backdrop of growing concerns about international terrorism. Despite widespread fears of a potential terrorist attack on the Olympics, Greece hosted a safe and secure event with no terrorist incidents. To assist Greece in securing the 2004 Games, U.S. government agencies provided training and other support in the four years leading up to the Games. In addition, the U.S. government provided some security and other assistance to American athletes, spectators, and commercial investors, and expects to continue such support for future Olympics, including the upcoming 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. GAO was asked to (1) determine the U.S. approach and coordination efforts for providing security assistance to the 2004 Summer Olympics; (2) examine the roles of U.S. agencies in Athens Olympics security and their financial outlays; and (3) review lessons learned in providing security assistance in support of the Olympics and how they are being incorporated into preparations for future Olympics. The Departments of State, Homeland Security, Defense, and Justice concurred with the report or had no comments.In 2001, the United States began planning its security assistance for the 2004 Summer Olympics, responding to the heightened worldwide anxiety following the September 11 attacks and Greece’s request for international advice on its security plan. The United States based much of its security assistance on knowledge gained through Greece’s participation in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program and through the staging of a major U.S. military exercise in March 2004. Based on these assessments, the United States employed a coordinated approach in providing security assistance to Greece for the Olympics. The U.S. Ambassador in Greece coordinated and led the U.S. interagency efforts in-country, while the State-chaired interagency working group in Washington, D.C., coordinated domestic contributions. Furthermore, the United States participated in a seven-country coordination group that aimed to identify potential areas of cooperation on security and support for Greece. Almost 20 entities and offices within a number of U.S. agencies provided more than $35 million in security assistance and support to the government of Greece. The Departments of State, Homeland Security, Defense, and Justice provided security training to various elements of the Greek government; the Departments of Energy and Justice provided crisis response assistance during the Olympics; and the State Department also provided special security and other assistance to U.S. athletes, spectators, and corporate sponsors. Following the 2004 Summer Games, these U.S. agencies identified a number of lessons learned, such as the importance of assessing host governments’ security capabilities early to assist in planning U.S. support, appointing key personnel to craft unified messages for the U.S. security efforts, and coordinating with multilateral and other organizing entities. These lessons were then communicated by Washington, D.C.- and Athens-based personnel to U.S. officials in Italy who are preparing to support the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.
- Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Michael Murray Delivers Remarks to the Honorable Lee Yeakel IP Inn of Court
December 18, 2020Good evening and thank you for inviting me to join you this evening. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the Antitrust Division’s intellectual property and antitrust portfolio, which has been a cornerstone of our efforts over the last few years. I’d like to thank Tim, Jacob, and Craig for their excellent setup, which allows me to dive into some of the critical issues we’ve spent the last several years addressing.
- Iran Threatening to Expel UN Investigators
January 9, 2021Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
- Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Peruvian Foreign Minister Maúrtua
November 11, 2021
- President Trump’s Executive Order on Ensuring Access to United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines
December 9, 2020Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
- Secretary Blinken’s Call with Israeli Foreign and Alternate Prime Minister Lapid
January 31, 2022
- Two Former Tennessee Correctional Officers Sentenced for Civil Rights Offenses
June 17, 2021Two former Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) Correctional Officers were sentenced today for assaulting an inmate in violation of a federal civil rights statute.
- Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to ISIS
January 25, 2021In San Antonio today, 22-year-old Cost resident Jaylyn Christopher Molina, aka Abdur Rahim, admitted to conspiring to provide material support to the designated foreign terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham/Syria (ISIS), announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas Gregg N. Sofer and FBI Special Agent in Charge of the San Antonio Division Christopher Combs.