7:13 AM, Jan 15, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
In April, the Obama administration announced plans for financial aid, advisers, and 'non-lethal' security assistance for Ukraine in its struggle against Russian encroachment on its territory. Eight months later, citing the "urgent and compelling need to establish security and stability," the White
House National Security Council staff approved the purchase of an armored “Cossack” truck, a rapid-reaction military vehicle, for use by the border guard service of Ukraine.
The $189,000 vehicle was purchased from the Practika PJSC company, in Ukraine, and is being handled by the State Department's procurement office in Germany.
Despite the lapse of eight months since the assistance was announced by President Obama, the Justification and Approval document cited "unusual and compelling urgency" as the reason that full and open competition was precluded for the contract.
When asked about the timing of the vehicle purchase, a State Department official replied, "The United States has committed over $118 million to Ukrainian forces since the start of the crisis, including over $47 million in equipment to border guards. The urgent and compelling requirements are derived from Ukraine’s ongoing operations to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity." The official also said that the vehicle is scheduled to be delivered to Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service on January 19th: "The 'Cossack' armored truck, designed and manufactured by the Ukrainian company 'Practika,' is one of a variety of armored vehicles that we are providing to Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service to help it better monitor and secure its borders and operate more safely and effectively."
A June 4, 2014, "fact sheet" issued by the White House said that as of that date, "President Obama has approved more than $23 million in additional defensive security assistance since early March," and went on to detail the assistance already provided to the Ukrainian border service:
Embassy Kyiv has purchased and delivered 20-person shelters, sleeping bags, fuel filter adapters, barbed wire, patrol flashlights, perimeter alarm systems, fuel pumps, concertina wire, vehicle batteries, spare tires, binoculars, excavators, trucks, generators, food storage freezers, field stoves, and communications gear to the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service, for use in monitoring and securing their borders.
THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported in August that the State Department spent $435,000 on security fencing for the Ukrainian border.
8:04 AM, Jan 2, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is looking for vendors to run its "National Data Warehouse," a database for "capturing, aggregating, and analyzing information" related to beneficiary and customer experiences with Medicare and the federal Obamacare marketplaces.
7:24 AM, Oct 30, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently suspended all background investigations on current and prospective Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees due to security concerns over Personally Identifiable Information (PII). The information is revealed in newly released documents justifying recently awarded government contracts: At least five sole-source, no-bid contracts of "unusual and compelling urgency" totaling almost a half million dollars were awarded to various information technology vendors at the end of September.
7:27 AM, Oct 9, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The State Department this week posted a notice that applications are being accepted for Foreign Service Security Protective Specialist positions in the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security to provide a "variety of personal protective services to Department officials and employees at overseas locations." While the announcement says there are a "limited number" of positions to fill, elsewhere there are indications that the number may actually be considerable.
7:19 AM, Sep 5, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In July, a hacker gained access to a computer server used to test code for the federal government's Obamacare website HealthCare.gov, according to a
9:16 AM, Aug 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama said last night at a Democratic fundraiser in Rhode Island that the terrorism from ISIS "doesn’t immediately threaten the homeland." The reason? The security measures taken by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to Obama.
Obama: 'A Change in the Order in the Middle East'; It's 'Scary.'7:50 AM, Aug 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
At a fundraiser last night in Newport, Rhode Island, President Obama played down the threat from the terrorist army ISIS. "We have to be vigilant," he told the group of donors, "but this doesn’t immediately threaten the homeland."
Obama also claimed to be "seeing a change in the order in the Middle East." He called it "scary."
8:17 AM, Jul 16, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The threat to the U.S. government and U.S. businesses from foreign hackers, especially from China, has been increasingly in the news in recent months. In a little noticed WTOP interview last week, recently installed National Counterintelligence Executive William Evanina expressed the threat in terms that almost seem hyperbolic:
11:28 AM, Jul 6, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson struggled this morning on NBC to say whether the Obama administration will deport most of the recent influx of illegal immigrants:
11:10 AM, Jul 6, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson explained that the immigration crisis is about the children. "We have to do right by the children," he said this morning on NBC:
6:16 PM, Jun 9, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In an interview that will air tonight, Hillary Clinton will tell Diane Sawyer that the Benghazi terrorist attack that left four Americans dead is "more of a reason to run" for president of the United States.
7:06 AM, Apr 15, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Four years after Obamacare became law, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is notifying Medicare providers and suppliers of new fingerprint-based background checks. Eventually, all individuals who hold a five percent or greater stake in a Medicare supplier or provider that is categorized as "high risk" will be subject to the requirement.
7:05 AM, Apr 3, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Millions of individuals who recently entrusted personal, medical, and financial information to the federal government while enrolling in Obamacare via Healthcare.gov may find a recent trend reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) rather unsettling. The number of security breaches involving Personally Identifiable Information (PII) at federal agencies more than doubled in recent years, increasing from 10,481 in 2009 to 25,566 in 2013.
8:11 AM, Apr 1, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The office of the inspector general (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has uncovered seventy-nine "high-risk security vulnerabilities" in the information processing systems of ten state Medicaid agencies that "raise concerns about the integrity of the systems used to process Medicaid claims." While the ten states are not identified by name, the OIG said that the investigation "suggests that other State Medicaid information systems may be similarl
7:01 AM, Mar 10, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Less than a month after the exposure of a widespread vulnerability on government "open data" websites, another perhaps even more insidious opening for abuse of government websites has come to light.