Archives for FUBAR

Federal judge to IRS: Explain your lost emails

A federal judge on Thursday ordered the IRS to explain under oath how it lost a trove of emails to and from a central figure in the agency’s tea party controversy. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan gave the tax agency a month to submit the explanation in writing. Sullivan said he is also appointing a federal magistrate to see whether the lost emails can be obtained from other sources. Sullivan issued the order as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group. He said the IRS declaration must be signed, under oath,
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Asbostos accident closes parts of U.S. Capitol

An accident involving asbestos work forced a temporary closure of the House side of the Capitol on Thursday and prompted House leaders to delay the day’s session for two hours. No injuries were reported. The incident occurred around 2:30 a.m. or 3 a.m., Capitol Police said. A handful of workers were removing insulation containing asbestos from around pipes and valves on the building’s fourth floor, above a staircase, said a congressional official who was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. On-site samples and another sample analyzed by an outside lab revealed low
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California engineer gets 15 years for ‘economic espionage’

A federal judge has sentenced a California chemical engineer to 15 years in prison and fined him $28.3 million for a rare economic-espionage conviction for selling China a secret recipe to a widely used white pigment. U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White said Thursday in Oakland that Walter Liew, a naturalized U.S. citizen, had “turned against his adopted country over greed.” A jury previously convicted the 56-year-old Liew of receiving $28 million from companies controlled by the Chinese government in exchange for DuPont Co.’s pigment technology for making cars, paper and a long list of everyday items whiter. Along with
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Trying to defend a troubled intelligence system

When Gen. John Campbell, the Army’s vice chief of staff, appeared last year at a budget hearing on Capitol Hill, he cited his son’s experiences as a soldier in Afghanistan to answer a senator’s tough questions about a troubled intelligence technology system. This week, after an inquiry by The Associated Press, the Army acknowledged that Campbell misspoke about his son’s unit, omitting some key facts as he sought to defend a $4 billion system that critics say has not worked as promised. Campbell faces another Senate hearing Thursday morning, this one on his nomination to lead U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
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Police seek to photograph a sexually-aroused teen

A Virginia teenager is fighting efforts by police who want to take photos of him in a sexually aroused state to try to prove a sexting case against him. Prosecutors in Prince William County told a judge they need photos of the 17-year-old’s erect penis to compare against photos he is accused of sending to his 15-year-old girlfriend at the time. The teen has been charged in juvenile court with possessing and manufacturing child pornography related to the images of himself he’s accused of creating. The teen’s lawyers say the search warrant allowing the photographs has been authorized by a
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Feds waste billions in improper payments

By its own estimate, the government made about $100 billion in payments last year to people who may not have been entitled to receive them — tax credits to families that didn’t qualify, unemployment benefits to people who had jobs and medical payments for treatments that might not have been necessary. Congressional investigators say the figure could be even higher. The Obama administration has reduced the amount of improper payments since they peaked in 2010. Still, estimates from federal agencies show that some are wasting big money at a time when Congress is squeezing agency budgets and looking to save
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VA official apologizes to whistleblowers

A top official at the Veterans Affairs Department says he is sorry that VA employees have suffered retaliation after making complaints about poor patient care, long wait times and other problems. James Tuchschmidt, the No. 2 official at the Veterans Health Administration, the VA’s health care arm, apologized on behalf of the department at a congressional hearing Tuesday night. “I apologize to everyone whose voice has been stifled,” Tuchschmidt said after listening to four VA employees testify for nearly three hours about VA actions to limit criticism and strike back against whistleblowers. “That’s not what I stand for. I’m very
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More money but no proposed immigration legal action yet

President Barack Obama is preparing to ask Congress for emergency spending of more than $2 billion to deal with the crisis of unaccompanied kids at the Southern border, but for now he won’t seek legal changes to send the children back home more quickly. That decision comes after immigration advocates objected strongly to administration proposals to speed thousands of unaccompanied minors back home to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, where many face gang violence. The White House insists the kids must be returned. Administration officials say they are still working on ways to do it faster, but say that the
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The sad drama behind illegal immigration

Deputy Rudy Trevino was patrolling a park along the Texas-Mexico border when he spied movement in the darkness. Swinging his spotlight toward the motion revealed 14 women and children who had just sneaked across the Rio Grande in a small boat. The youngest, a 14-month-old boy from Guatemala, lay quietly in a baby carrier hung from his mother’s chest. The oldest, a 38-year-old woman from El Salvador, cried with her head in her hands, her 7-year-old daughter leaning against her. In minutes, they were loaded into a Border Patrol van and whisked away — a typical encounter here in the
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Even illegal child immigrants face deportation

A top Obama administration official says no one, not even children trying to escape violent countries, can illegally enter the United States without eventually facing deportation proceedings. But Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson basically acknowledged Sunday that such proceedings might be long delayed, and he said that coping with floods of unaccompanied minors crossing the border is a legal and humanitarian dilemma for the United States. “Our border is not open to illegal migration, and we are taking a number of steps to address it, including turning people around faster,” Johnson told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” At the same time,
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