Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
Starting on July 11, tens of thousands of Cubans in dozens of cities and towns throughout their country took to the streets to peacefully demand respect for their fundamental freedoms and a better future. In response, the Cuban regime violently repressed the protests, arresting hundreds of demonstrators simply for exercising their human rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The actions of Cuban security forces and violent mobs mobilized by Cuban Communist Party First Secretary Miguel Diaz-Canel lay bare the regime’s fear of its own people and unwillingness to meet their basic needs and aspirations.
Today, the United States is imposing sanctions on Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba Álvaro López Miera and the Cuban Ministry of the Interior’s Special National Brigade or “Boinas Negras” (Black Berets). López Miera and the Special National Brigade have been involved in suppressing the protests, including through physical violence and intimidation. We take this action pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
We stand with every Cuban seeking a government that respects the human rights and dignity of the Cuban people. We will continue to take action to promote accountability for the Cuban government’s human rights abuses, including through additional sanctions pursuant to Global Magnitsky, as appropriate.
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Virtual Meeting with Japanese Women EntrepreneursBy Sam NewsMarch 16, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Mark Levin of The Mark Levin ShowBy Sam NewsDecember 19, 2020Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
- RGV attorney admits to detainee list bribery schemeBy Sam NewsIn Justice NewsMay 2, 2021A 40-year-old Weslaco [Read More…]
- Global Disruption of Three Terror Finance Cyber-Enabled CampaignsBy Sam NewsAugust 12, 2020The Justice Department today announced the dismantling of three terrorist financing cyber-enabled campaigns, involving the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, al-Qaeda, and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). This coordinated operation is detailed in three forfeiture complaints and a criminal complaint unsealed today in the District of Columbia. These actions represent the government’s largest-ever seizure of cryptocurrency in the terrorism context.[Read More…]
- Ambassador Reeker’s Travel to TurkeyBy Sam NewsOctober 2, 2020
- Designation of Former Prosecutor General Dobroslav Trnka of the Slovak Republic for Involvement in Significant CorruptionBy Sam NewsFebruary 25, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- Malware Author Pleads Guilty for Role in Transnational Cybercrime Organization Responsible for more than $568 Million in LossesBy Sam NewsJuly 31, 2020Cybercrime Organization [Read More…]
- The Sentencing of Saudi Humanitarian Aid Worker Abdulrahman al-SadhanBy Sam NewsOctober 6, 2021Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
- United Arab Emirates Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsIn TravelSeptember 26, 2020Reconsider travel to the [Read More…]
- Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Robert A. Zink Delivers Remarks at Virtual GIR Live Interactive: Regional Spotlight-North AmericaBy Sam NewsDecember 9, 2020It’s wonderful to speak with you here this morning. And I’m sorry we can’t do this in person. But I’m still delighted to have the opportunity to be here to say a few words about white-collar criminal enforcement, albeit virtually.[Read More…]
- JPMorgan Chase & Co. Agrees To Pay $920 Million in Connection with Schemes to Defraud Precious Metals and U.S. Treasuries MarketsBy Sam NewsSeptember 29, 2020JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMorgan), a New York, New York-based global banking and financial services firm, has entered into a resolution with the Department of Justice to resolve criminal charges related to two distinct schemes to defraud: the first involving tens of thousands of episodes of unlawful trading in the markets for precious metals futures contracts, and the second involving thousands of episodes of unlawful trading in the markets for U.S. Treasury futures contracts and in the secondary (cash) market for U.S. Treasury notes and bonds.[Read More…]
- Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Veterans AffairsBy Sam NewsMay 17, 2021What GAO Found In April 2020, GAO identified 33 priority recommendations for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Since then, VA has implemented 13 of those recommendations by, among other things, taking actions to ensure that veterans receive evidence-based mental health treatment. In May 2021, GAO identified 8 additional priority recommendations for VA, bringing the total number to 28. These recommendations involve the following areas: response to the COVID-19 pandemic; veterans’ access to timely health care; the veterans community care program; human capital management; information technology; appeals reform for disability benefits; quality of care and patient safety; veteran suicide prevention; efficiency within the VA health care system; national policy documents; procurement policies and practices; and capital planning. Addressing the high priority recommendations identified above has the potential to significantly improve VA's operations, including those related to COVID-19. Why GAO Did This Study Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations. For more information, contact A. Nicole Clowers at (202) 512-7114 or email@example.com.[Read More…]
- Secretary Pompeo to Receive the International Republican Institute’s Freedom AwardBy Sam NewsOctober 12, 2020
- Michigan Restaurant and Strip Club Owner Sentenced to Two Years n Prison for Tax CrimesBy Sam NewsJanuary 5, 2021A Walled Lake, Michigan, business owner was sentenced today to two years in prison, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.[Read More…]
- Four men illegally crossing the Rio Grande indicted for claiming to be minorsBy Sam NewsIn Justice NewsMay 18, 2021A federal grand jury has [Read More…]
- Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Improved Planning and Acquisition Strategies Can Help Address Operational ChallengesBy Sam NewsAugust 25, 2021The current generation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has been in development for defense applications since the 1980's. As of February 2006, the Department of Defense (DOD) had more than 3,000 unmanned aircraft, about 2,000 of which are supporting ongoing operations in Iraq. DOD's 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review validates the importance of unmanned systems and establishes plans to significantly expand investment in unmanned systems and their use in military operations over the next several years. The Congress has been particularly interested in DOD's approach to determining UAS needs and managing the growing number of UAS programs. This testimony addresses GAO's prior work and preliminary observations on (1) the operational successes and challenges U.S. forces are experiencing with UAS in combat operations, and the extent to which DOD has taken steps to address challenges; (2) DOD's progress in establishing a strategic plan and oversight framework to guide joint and service-specific UAS development efforts and related investment decisions; and (3) our assessment of the Global Hawk and Predator programs' business cases and acquisition strategies and the lessons learned that can be applied to the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems program.DOD has experienced a high level of mission successes with UAS, but continues to face challenges in fully maximizing the use of these assets. In operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. forces have used UAS for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and offensive strike missions in support of joint and service-specific operations. As the numbers of UAS operating in the same airspace as manned aircraft grows, DOD continues to face operational challenges related to interoperability, availability of communications bandwidth, and airspace integration. While DOD and the services have taken some positive initial steps to address these challenges, such as issuing guidance and developing initiatives to improve interoperability, limited progress has been made and the effectiveness of these efforts cannot be adequately assessed until they are fully implemented. While DOD continues to request funds to support service plans for acquiring UAS, it still lacks a viable strategic plan to guide UAS development and investment decisions. Since GAO last reported, DOD established new oversight bodies and updated its UAS Roadmap, but it is too early to tell how the new entities will interrelate and whether they will be able to influence service plans. Also, the updated roadmap identifies broad goals, desired capabilities, and service acquisition plans, but lacks critical elements, such as a clear link among goals, capabilities, and plans, opportunities for joint endeavors, and funding priorities and needs. Until DOD develops a strategic plan, it will not be well positioned to validate requirements, evaluate and integrate services plans, and establish program and funding priorities, nor will Congress have all the information it needs to evaluate funding requests. Such a plan would also help DOD anticipate and minimize the types of challenges that are being experienced today. While there have been successes on the battlefield, UAS development programs have shared many of the same problems as other major weapon systems that begin an acquisition program too early, with many uncertainties about requirements, funding, and immature technology, design, and production. Unmanned systems have also experienced similar outcomes--changing requirements, cost growth, delays in delivery, performance shortfalls, and reliability and support problems. Future acquisition programscan learn from past efforts to craft better and less risky acquisition plans. Key steps conducive to success include preparing a comprehensive business case, adopting a knowledge-based and incremental acquisition strategy, and sustaining disciplined leadership and direction. Frequent changes to the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems technology demonstration program and recent budget actions raise some questions about the Department's priorities and future directions for UAS. Concerns have also been raised about possible duplication of systems as the services look to expand individual fleets. Ongoing Army and Air Force efforts to coordinate the Warrior and Predator programs are encouraging and could be a model for limiting duplication and fostering jointness and interoperability.[Read More…]
- Airborne Electronic Attack: Achieving Mission Objectives Depends on Overcoming Acquisition ChallengesBy Sam NewsAugust 24, 2021What GAO Found The Department of Defenses (DOD) evolving strategy for meeting airborne electronic attack requirements centers on acquiring a family of systems, including traditional fixed wing aircraft, low observable aircraft, unmanned aerial systems, and related mission systems and weapons. DOD analyses dating back a decade have identified capability gaps and provided a basis for service investments, but budget realities and lessons learned from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have driven changes in strategic direction and program content. Most notably, DOD canceled some acquisitions, after which the services revised their operating concepts for airborne electronic attack. These decisions saved money, allowing DOD to fund other priorities, but reduced the planned level of synergy among systems during operations. As acquisition plans have evolved, capability limitations and sustainment challenges facing existing systems have grown, prompting the department to invest in system improvements to mitigate shortfalls. DOD is investing in new airborne electronic attack systems to address its growing mission demands and to counter anticipated future threats. However, progress acquiring these new capabilities has been impeded by developmental and production challenges that have slowed fielding of planned systems. Some programs, such as the Navys EA-18G Growler and the Air Forces modernized EC-130H Compass Call, are in stable production and have completed significant amounts of testing. Other key programs, like the Navys Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile, have required additional time and funding to address technical challenges, yet continue to face execution risks. In addition, certain systems in development may offer capabilities that overlap with one anothera situation brought on in part by DODs fragmented urgent operational needs processes. Although services have shared technical data among these programs, they continue to pursue unique systems intended to counter similar threats. As military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan decrease, opportunities exist to consolidate current acquisition programs across services. However, this consolidation may be hampered by DODs acknowledged leadership deficiencies within its electronic warfare enterprise, including the lack of a designated, joint entity to coordinate activities. Furthermore, current and planned acquisitions will not fully address materiel-related capability gaps identified by DODincluding some that date back 10 years. Acquisition program shortfalls will exacerbate these gaps. To supplement its acquisition of new systems, DOD is undertaking other efforts to bridge existing airborne electronic attack capability gaps. In the near term, services are evolving tactics, techniques, and procedures for existing systems to enable them to take on additional mission tasks. These activities maximize the utility of existing systems and better position operators to complete missions with equipment currently available. Longer-term solutions, however, depend on DOD successfully capitalizing on its investments in science and technology. DOD has recently taken actions that begin to address long-standing coordination shortfalls in this area, including designating electronic warfare as a priority investment area and creating a steering council to link capability gaps to research initiatives. These steps do not preclude services from funding their own research priorities ahead of departmentwide priorities. DODs planned implementation roadmap for electronic warfare offers an opportunity to assess how closely component research investments are aligned with the departmentwide priority. Why GAO Did This Study Airborne electronic attack involves the use of aircraft to neutralize, destroy, or suppress enemy air defense and communications systems. Proliferation of sophisticated air defenses and advanced commercial electronic devices has contributed to the accelerated appearance of new weapons designed to counter U.S. airborne electronic attack capabilities. GAO was asked to assess (1) the Department of Defenses (DOD) strategy for acquiring airborne electronic attack capabilities, (2) progress made in developing and fielding systems to meet airborne electronic attack mission requirements, and (3) additional actions taken to address capability gaps. To do this, GAO analyzed documents related to mission requirements, acquisition and budget needs, development plans, and performance, and interviewed DOD officials.[Read More…]
- Secretary Blinken’s Call with Indian External Affairs Minister JaishankarBy Sam NewsAugust 28, 2021
- Suburban Chicago Businessman Charged with Illegally Exporting Arms to UkraineBy Sam NewsOctober 9, 2020A suburban Chicago businessman has been indicted on federal criminal charges for allegedly illegally exporting gun parts and other defense articles from the United States to a company in Ukraine.[Read More…]
- Department of Justice Highlights Work Combating Anti-Semitic ActsBy Sam NewsOctober 21, 2020Today, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen presented remarks highlighting the Department of Justice’s work combating anti-Semitic acts at a virtual conference hosted by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo entitled “Ancient Hatred, Modern Medium”—the first ever government-sponsored event focused on online anti-Semitism. Deputy Attorney General Rosen described just a few of the Department of Justice’s many recent accomplishments in combating anti-Semitism, focusing on social media and the internet. His remarks as prepared for delivery are available here, and the full State Department conference may be viewed here.[Read More…]