Secretary Antony J. Blinken at the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence’s (NSCAI) Global Emerging Technology Summit

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Washington, DC

Mayflower Hotel

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thank you all very, very much.  It is actually wonderful to be in a room with real people – (laughter) – with friends, with colleagues and without masks too.  So in and of itself, that’s a very positive thing.

But there is a lot to be positive about today, and it starts with the remarkable work of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, especially the work of my friend Eric Schmidt, another friend and close colleague Bob Work, who I haven’t seen yet but hopefully is here, and – Bob, there you are – and the executive director Ylli Bajraktari.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for this remarkable effort.  I am in your debt, and quite frankly the country is going to be in your debt for the work that you’ve done.  I’m going to put this down.

And I really want to thank the members of Congress who have come together across party lines to launch this enterprise at what is a pivotal moment for our country, and I think for the world at large.

Today, you’ve heard from the Secretary of Defense, you’ve heard from the Secretary of Commerce, the National Security Advisor, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

In and of itself, that is testament to how seriously the administration takes these issues.  And again, that’s in no small part due to the work of this commission.

You have helped clarify the links among AI, the broader set of emerging technologies, strategic competition, and our national security and prosperity.

And you have made crystal clear that our country needs to play catch-up and to do it fast.  And not just our country.  Countries around the world.  And I’ll come to that.

We’re moving quickly, because we want to ensure that as AI and related technologies transform how we live, how we work, how we compete, how we defend ourselves, that we’re staying ahead of change, indeed that we are shaping change and, critically, making sure it delivers for our people.

My colleagues, I think, have very capably covered the administration’s work on these issues as it relates to our domestic renewal, our economy, and our defense.

So what I’d like to do today is to focus on the State Department’s distinct role, because diplomacy will be critical.

Working with partners and allies to develop and deploy technology is going to help us tackle the most urgent challenges we face, from pandemics to the climate crisis.

Diplomacy will also be essential to mitigating risks, from preventing cyber attacks that target our businesses, to regulating technology that threatens our privacy, to defending our democratic values and way of life.

And let me just pause for a second on that last point, because I think it deserves emphasis.  It’s fundamentally what’s at stake here.

More than anything else, our task is to put forth and carry out a compelling vision for how to use technology in a way that serves our people, protects our interests and upholds our democratic values.  It’s not enough to highlight the horrors of techno-authoritarianism, to point to what countries like China and Russia are doing, and say that it’s wrong and dangerous, even as it is.  We’ve also got to make the positive case for our own approach, and then we’ve got to deliver.  That is the challenge before us.

We need the United States and we need its partners to remain the world’s innovative leaders and standard setters, to ensure that universal rights and democratic values remain at the center of all the innovation that’s to come, and that it delivers real benefits in people’s lives.  That fundamentally is the test that we have to pass, and it’s a test I think you’ve heard President Biden allude to.

In short, democracies have to pass the tech test together.  And diplomacy, I believe, has a big role to play in that.

Now, any time you hear someone from the State Department talking, we’re likely to throw in pillars and frameworks and tranches, so I can’t be any different today.  We have to have our pillars, so let me walk you through six of them – (laughter) – that cover the approach to these issues.  I know you’d be disappointed without it.

The first is reducing the national security risks posed by malicious cyber activities and emerging technologies.

This is the most basic thing our diplomacy has to do: protect our people, protect our networks, prevent conflict, and establish standards of responsible conduct in cyberspace.

Already, we’ve brought countries together around an approach that recognizes international law to make it clear that countries are governed in cyberspace just like they are offline and that defines norms that apply not only in wartime but in peacetime too, because we’re now dealing with significant cyber incidents outside the context of war.

We’ve also called for practical confidence-building measures; for example, steps as simple as establishing points of contact, so that in the event of a major cyber incident we actually know who to call.  Under American leadership, UN member-states have come together repeatedly to reaffirm this basic framework.

Now we’re working to bring allies and partners along to respond collectively when others engage in malicious cyber activity.  That’s what happened after the SolarWinds intrusion.  We attributed it to Russia; 22 countries, the European Union, NATO quickly supported that conclusion.  And that’s important, because when we speak with one voice, we can more effectively deter future bad acts.

Last month, as some of you will have noted, at the NATO summit, NATO reaffirmed that a cyber attack could trigger Article V – “an attack on one is an attack on all” – and that’s an important step too in deterring those attacks and protecting our national security in the cyber age.

We’re also treating ransomware not only as a law enforcement issue but also as a national security issue.  Ransomware and other cyber crimes affect all of us – our businesses, local governments; our most critical infrastructure, from power grids to hospitals.  As you know, one in four Americans has been the victim of a cyber crime, at a cost of more than $4 billion every single year.  That’s a direct threat to the safety, to the well-being of our people, and so it’s at the top of our diplomatic agenda.

And it’s also why we’re elevating ransomware in our engagements with Russia.  Our message is clear:  Countries that harbor cyber criminals have a responsibility to take action.  If they don’t, we will.  We’re strengthening our diplomatic and foreign assistance tools to fight transnational cyber criminals, and we’re working to expand membership in the global cyber crime treaty known as the Budapest Convention.

We’ll launch similar efforts on AI and other emerging technologies.  If they’re going to be used as part of our national defense, we want the world to have a shared understanding of how to do that responsibly, in the same way that we’ve hammered out rules for how to use conventional and nuclear weapons.  That’s how we reduce the risk of proliferation.  It’s how we prevent escalation or unintended incidents.

The second pillar is ensuring that our leadership in the fierce strategic technology competition that’s now underway not only continues but grows and strengthens.

We know China is determined to become the world’s technology leader.  And they have a well-resourced and comprehensive plan to achieve those ambitions.

We must preserve our competitive and comparative advantages.

That means building resilient, diverse, and secure supply chains for critical technologies.  Our proposed investments in semiconductor manufacturing here at home is an important part of that.  And again, I really want to underscore the very important work that was done on a bipartisan basis in Congress to help allow us to do that.

But I think you know this too:  We can’t onshore everything.  We don’t need to.  We’ll work with partners to “friend-shore” and “near-shore” our supply chains, and that will make all of us more resilient.

We’ll protect information communications technologies.  The Biden-Harris administration is committed to 5G security.  And we’re promoting the use of trusted and diverse vendors, including American companies, and advocating in multilateral settings for high standards for security and for trust.

We’re taking a fresh look at tools like export controls, investment screening, visa screening, to make sure our strategic competitors are not exploiting our own innovative ecosystems to gain military or national security advantage.

Today we also know that it’s harder to ensure that American innovations are used for commercial purposes only.  Countries like China don’t differentiate between civilian and military in the same way, and emerging technologies, including AI applications, blur that line too.  So we’ve got to think differently about how to protect our innovation and industries against that kind of misuse.

And of course, we need to do this at the same time that we’re growing our talent pipelines.  Perhaps more than any other factor, having the right people will determine whether we win the competition for the future.  We’ve got to recruit, we’ve got to retain the top talent, including talent from around the world, so that the best and the brightest study here, stay here, feel welcome here.

The third pillar: defending an open, secure, reliable, and interoperable internet.

We’ve been fighting for this vision of the internet for a long, long time.  Many of you in this room have been engaged in that effort.  These principles created the conditions that allowed the internet to grow into the transformative force that it’s become: an extraordinary resource for learning, for connection, for economic growth.

But the hard truth is that the internet is also growing more closed, more insecure, more fractured every single day.

We see country after country putting up firewalls, controlling speech, targeting activists, shutting down the internet to squelch dissent.  And while authoritarian regimes deny access to their networks, they actively reach into others and into ours, taking advantage and meddling in more open societies.  It’s no wonder that some countries are asking whether the principles around which we’ve organized the internet are still relevant, are still tenable.

In many ways, we are at an inflection point, some would say even a tipping point.  And our choice is between giving up on our vision for the internet or stepping up the fight.  We will step up the fight.

We’ll defend the principles of an open, secure, reliable, and interoperable internet across the full spectrum of our engagement – from trade agreements to governance to hardware.  We’ll use our diplomacy to unite governments and the private sector more firmly behind these efforts.  The work we do today will determine what the internet looks like just a few years from now.  That’s a responsibility we take very, very seriously.

The fourth pillar I want to talk about is setting technical standards and creating norms for emerging technologies.

Technical standards help ensure quality, protect consumer health and safety, facilitate global interoperability.  They also help overcome trade barriers and expand market access.

We believe in a transparent, consensus-based, and private sector-led approach to developing standards for emerging technologies.  That’s how we’ll arrive at standards that are technologically sound, have earned people’s trust, reflect our values, and help American companies compete on a level playing field.

And norms, of course, are standards of another kind.  We’ll work with partners to ensure that technologies are developed and deployed in ethical ways that respect people’s rights.

That’s what we did at the UN International Telecommunications Union just a few months ago.  Some countries proposed norms that would allow the use, for example, of facial recognition technology in ways that could threaten human rights.  We brought governments and businesses together to stop it.

Whenever rules and norms that affect American lives are being debated and decided, American diplomats won’t be just – won’t just be in the room; we will be leading the charge.

The fifth pillar is this:  It’s making technology work for democracy.

Some of the leading threats to democracies today are playing out, as you all know, in cyberspace. We have to be leading the world’s efforts, and particularly the world’s democracies, in responding to those threats – fighting back against disinformation, standing up for internet freedom, reducing the misuse of surveillance technology.

We’ve got to make sure that our companies are not inadvertently fueling authoritarian practices, whether it’s in China or anywhere else.

That’s why we’ve released “surveillance due diligence guidance” to try to help American companies prevent their products from being misused.

Technology is also disrupting democracies from within – challenging the ways we think about privacy, free speech, the power of government, and corporations.  President Biden will take on these issues here at home.  For example, his new executive order on promoting competition in the U.S. economy asks the FTC to establish rules for companies on surveillance and how to treat personal data.

But democracies have to work together on these issues as well.  We need to close the gaps in regulatory and legal frameworks so that democracies can collaborate more easily on issues like privacy, content moderation, data sharing, and on digital trade.

You all know very well these are incredibly complicated issues.  The world’s democracies are not all on the same page on every single one of them.  But at heart we do share the same principles, and I have confidence that we can work together through the differences that we have.  I can tell you this:  It is a diplomatic priority for the United States to do that.

So is advancing trustworthy AI.  We need be able to reassure our citizens that AI is secure, that it does not have bias embedded in it, that it can be used safely.  And here, we’re grateful for a lot of good work happening in some critical organizations, including at the OECD and the Global Partnership on AI.  This is very important, too.

We’re interested in increasing access to shared public data sets for AI training and testing, while still preserving privacy – especially in sectors like health, climate, and energy, where AI could create transformational breakthroughs.

Finally, the sixth pillar is promoting cooperation.

Yes, our work in this space is about protecting ourselves and our allies from threats.  And yes, it’s about competition.  But more than anything, we want and we need to bring a spirit of cooperation to tech diplomacy.  Because the bottom-line truth is this:  The United States cannot deliver on these pillars on our own.  We need partners.

And this may be in some ways, I think, the most fundamental imperative of our time.  And it, of course, extends beyond technology.  If you think about virtually any challenge that we have to face as a country, as a society, challenges that have a direct impact on the lives of our citizens, whether it’s dealing with this pandemic, whether it’s climate change, whether it is emerging technologies, we know that not a single one can be fully and effectively addressed by any one country acting alone, even the United States.  Now, more than ever before in my lifetime, there is an imperative for cooperation.

So we are building technology into nearly all of our diplomatic engagements – tech by tech, issue by issue, bilaterally, multilaterally, always looking to assemble the right configurations of allies and partners to get things done.

And as we see it, this agenda has to start with our democratic partners.

And I think we’ve already gotten some good work under our belts.  We’ve been developing shared principles at the G7.  I think you saw some of that emerge just a few weeks ago with President Biden.  We’ve created a new U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council that’s going to be an important vehicle for advancing this agenda.  We’re starting a new science and technology partnership with the UK.  We’re launching cooperative agreements with Korea and Japan on emerging technologies.  We created a Critical and Emerging Tech Working Group with the Quad countries – with Japan, Australia, India.  We’re working with G7 partners through Build Back Better World to mobilize private capital and government finance to build digital infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries.

Our goal is strong networks – plural – of countries, companies, universities connected by shared values and a shared commitment to design and deploy technology for the benefit of all people, to strengthen open and interoperable systems, to encourage freedom of thought and expression, which are the heart of innovation, to defend each other against those who are intent on taking technologies that could be used for good and using them for harm.

To deliver on all of this, we need a State Department and a diplomatic corps that treats cyber and technology like the central issues that they are.

I’ve asked the two deputy secretaries of state, Wendy Sherman and Brian McKeon, to take the lead on delivering recommendations for how to elevate and institutionalize cyber and tech diplomacy across the department.  And I am committed to driving this forward in full partnership with Congress.

We’ll make sure the State Department is organized for the task at hand because the issues before us really bear little relationship to borders on a map or the current organizational chart of the State Department.

We’ll build more expertise among our workforce in science, in technology, in innovation.  And here’s a request:  Help us spread the word.  We’re looking for outstanding people, for talent who want to make the leap to government, spend some time in government.  Now is a great time to put those skills to use, leveraging tech for the good of our country and for the good of the world.

In the coming weeks, the State Department will be releasing our first ever data strategy to help us use data more effectively and more creatively for diplomacy.  If Netflix can predict what TV show my wife and I might choose to watch next, I think data can also help us and help the department predict maybe the next civil conflict, the next famine, the next economic crisis, and how we can respond more effectively.

I intend to leave my successor at the State Department with strong capabilities in cyber and tech diplomacy, with clear leadership, lines of authority, organizational homes, and talent at every level.  We need to become much better at anticipating the foreign policy implications of the next wave of innovation, and the wave after that.  I want to shape the strategic tech landscape, not just react to it.

And at the same time, we have to find ways to put tech and innovation to the task of solving the concrete problems that we’re facing, whether that’s verifying an arms control agreement or preventing the next pandemic.  I’ve been in and out of government for the better part of 25 years, and the last time I was serving with Bob and others, we’d be in that Situation Room in the White House looking at one of the many challenges that would somehow wind up in our inbox, and I think it became clearer and clearer to all of us that for virtually every single one, there was some technological component to the solution.  Part of the problem is that many of us who are engaged in these issues are not brought up on these disciplines.  Bob is an exception to that, but many of us come from the humanities, from law.  It’s not our first knowledge.  It’s not our first instinct.

And I got to the point when I had the responsibility of chairing some of these meetings to thinking that I needed scientists and technologists in the room just to tell me whether I needed scientists and technologists in the room – (laughter) – to help identify the problems and help identify some of the solutions.  And I became more and more convinced that virtually everything on our agenda has some tech or science or innovative component to the solution.  So we need to do a better job bringing that knowledge, that expertise, that focus into the department and to everything we do.

We started to do that a few years ago when I was last here.  We actually set up our first-ever office in Silicon Valley.  Some of the other agencies of government were ahead of us.  We developed partnerships with leading institutions.  One of my very strong and positive memories was spending some time out at Stanford, we had started working with a class called Hacking for Diplomacy where 20 bureaus of the State Department sent this class problems that we were trying to solve.  And these remarkable students over the course of a semester or even a year worked to solve them.  And bringing that approach, bringing that perspective brought forward answers that I don’t think we would have come to doing it on our own in Washington.  So we need to make this shift too, and the changes we’re making at State I think will help us to do that.

If there’s one thing I want to leave you with today, it’s this:  For the Biden-Harris administration, this is not a standalone diplomatic issue.  It’s not just another line of effort.  We’re weaving cyber and technology diplomacy into our work across the board.  Nothing is more consequential to our competitiveness, to our security, and ultimately, to our democracy.

We’re in the early days of this endeavor.  All of us in the national security community have a tremendous amount to learn and even more to do.  We intend to secure American leadership.  We intend to get results for the American people.  And as we do, we will build upon the work of this commission and continue to work in partnership with you.

Thank you so much for listening.  (Applause.)

 

More from: Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

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    Chi Lung Winsman Ng, aka Winsman Ng, 64, a Chinese businessman residing in Hong Kong, was indicted yesterday for conspiring to steal General Electric’s (GE) trade secrets involving the company’s silicon carbide MOSFET technology and worth millions of dollars.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Settles with the Commissioner of the Revenue for Caroline County, Virginia to Resolve Disability Discrimination Complaint
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today announced that it reached an agreement with the Commissioner of the Revenue for Caroline County, Virginia, in his official capacity (the “Commissioner”) to resolve the department’s lawsuit alleging disability discrimination in violation of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
    [Read More…]
  • Joint Statement by the Secretary of State of the United States of America, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, and the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, and Italy
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Second Member Of “Boogaloo Bois” Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to Hamas
    In Crime News
    A Minnesota man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to provide material support and resources, namely property, services and weapons, to what he believed was Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization, for use against Israeli and U.S. military personnel overseas.
    [Read More…]
  • Briefing With Coordinator for Counterterrorism Ambassador Nathan A. Sales On Terrorist Designations of Al-Shabaab Leaders
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Nathan A. Sales, [Read More…]
  • Owner of Texas Chain of Hospice Companies Sentenced for $150 Million Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme
    In Crime News
    A corporate executive has been ordered to serve 20 years in prison after his conviction related to falsely telling thousands of patients with long-term incurable diseases, such as Alzheimers and dementia, they had less than six months to live and subsequently enrolling them in hospice programs.
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  • United States Places Global Magnitsky Sanctions on the Cuban Ministry of Interior and Its Minister
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry Engages European Allies on Climate Ambition
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Georgia Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Georgia Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Offense for Assaulting Inmate
    In Crime News
    Brian Ford, 23, a correctional officer at the Valdosta State Prison (VSP) in Valdosta, Georgia, pleaded guilty today to one count of using excessive force against an inmate housed at the facility.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken Introductory Remarks for Youth Speaker Xiye Bastida
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Statement by Department of Justice Spokesperson Kerri Kupec on the Execution of Christopher Andre Vialva
    In Crime News
    Department of Justice [Read More…]
  • Philippines Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to the [Read More…]
  • Medicaid: Data Completeness and Accuracy Have Improved, Though Not All Standards Have Been Met
    In U.S GAO News
    GAO found that the completeness and accuracy of Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System (T-MSIS) data have improved. Over the past decade, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been implementing T-MSIS, which is the agency's initiative to improve state-reported data available for overseeing Medicaid. CMS's assessment of two key T-MSIS data sources reflect these improvements. I. Priority items. Priority items are areas of data CMS identified as critical for program oversight, such as beneficiary eligibility and managed care. CMS's assessment of states' data submissions for the first 12 priority items identified significant improvement in meeting CMS data standards over a 22-month period. CMS's assessments of additional priority items similarly indicate improved completeness and accuracy. Improvements in the Number of States Meeting CMS Standards for Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System Priority Items One through 12 Number of priority items that met standards Number of states as of October 2018 Number of states as of August 2020 10 or more 6 41 7 to 9 26 10 6 or less 18 0 Source: GAO analysis of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) priority item data. │ GAO-21-196 Note: CMS assessed data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. CMS excluded Wisconsin from its October 2018 assessment, because the state had not submitted sufficient data. II. Analytic files. Analytic files are publicly available, research-ready T-MSIS data. GAO's review of CMS's assessments found that all states submitted some data for 67 of the 69        topics relevant to their Medicaid programs. This is an improvement from what GAO found in 2017, when none of the six states reviewed submitted all T-MSIS data applicable to their programs. GAO also found that states' data for 52 of the 69 topics were acceptable—meaning that CMS determined most states' data did not have significant problems that would affect their usability. While CMS's assessments of priority item and analytic file data indicate improvement in the completeness and accuracy of T-MSIS data, GAO also found that these assessments highlight areas where data do not meet the agency's standards. For example, 30 states did not submit acceptable data for inpatient managed care encounters. Accurate encounter data are critical to ensuring that Medicaid managed care beneficiaries obtain covered services and that payments to managed care organizations are appropriate. GAO has made at least 13 recommendations related to improving T-MSIS data and expediting their use for program oversight. CMS has addressed five of these recommendations, and has not fully addressed eight—including recommendations to improve data for overseeing payments to providers and managed care organizations. Implementing these recommendations would help CMS strengthen program oversight through improved T-MSIS data. Since adding Medicaid to its High Risk List in 2003, GAO has identified multiple limitations in program data affecting CMS's ability to ensure beneficiaries' access to care and proper payments to health care providers. CMS intends T-MSIS be a national repository of data to manage and oversee Medicaid, which served approximately 77 million individuals at an estimated cost of $673 billion in fiscal year 2020. Prior GAO work found issues with the completeness and accuracy of T-MSIS data and recommended that CMS expedite efforts to improve T-MSIS data and to use them for program oversight. CMS has taken steps to improve T-MSIS data and has made some T-MSIS data publicly available. Yet, questions remain about the usability of T-MSIS data for program oversight. Under the Comptroller General's authority, GAO initiated this review to examine what is known about the completeness and accuracy of T-MSIS data. GAO reviewed CMS's assessments of two T-MSIS data sources: (1) states' submissions of T-MSIS priority items; and (2) the 2016 T-MSIS analytic files, which was the most recent analytic file data available when GAO began this work. GAO also reviewed CMS documents, prior GAO reports, and reports published by others examining T-MSIS data. GAO interviewed officials from CMS and seven states selected based on variation in their progress submitting complete and accurate priority item data, among other factors. The Department of Health and Human Services provided technical comments on a draft of this report, which GAO incorporated. For more information, contact Carolyn L. Yocom at (202) 512-7114 or yocomc@gao.gov.
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  • Air Deliveries Bring NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Closer to Launch
    In Space
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  • The United States Takes Further Action Against Enablers of Venezuelan Oil Transactions, Including Sanctions Evasion Network
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • FY 2020 Request for Concept Notes for NGO Programs Benefiting Refugees, Displaced Iraqis, and Other Vulnerable Populations in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
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  • Request for Statements of Interest: DRL FY20 Iraq Programs
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    Bureau of Democracy, [Read More…]
  • Law Clerk Hiring Plan Extended
    In U.S Courts
    The Judiciary’s Federal Law Clerk Hiring Pilot Plan, which makes the judicial clerkship hiring process more transparent and uniform, has been extended for two years after getting good reviews from both law school deans and judges.
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  • Justice Department Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Massachusetts Property Manager
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that a property manager in Chicopee, Massachusetts violated the Fair Housing Act by subjecting female tenants to sexual harassment.
    [Read More…]
  • Newly Reprocessed Images of Europa Show ‘Chaos Terrain’ in Crisp Detail
    In Space
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  • Kroger Shooter Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crimes and Firearm Offenses
    In Crime News
    A Kentucky man pleaded guilty today to federal hate crimes and firearm charges arising out of the racially motivated shootings of Black individuals at a grocery store.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Sues Town of Wolcott, Connecticut, for Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit alleging that the Town of Wolcott, Connecticut, has discriminated against persons with disabilities in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
    [Read More…]
  • Operation Legend Expanded to Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee
    In Crime News
    Today, the expansion of Operation Legend was announced in Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee. Operation Legend is a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime. The Operation was first launched on July 8 in Kansas City, Missouri, and expanded on July 22, 2020, to Chicago and Albuquerque. Operation Legend is named in honor of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept early in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City. The first federal arrest under Operation Legend was announced on July 20.
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  • Remarks As Prepared For Delivery By Katharine T. Sullivan Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Office Of Justice Programs At The Announcement Of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Grants
    In Crime News
    Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you all for joining us. I’m Katie Sullivan, the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs in the U.S. Department of Justice. I’m thrilled to be here today with the outstanding U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Scott Brady. I’m also very pleased to be joined by Dr. Mary Ellen Glasgow, Dean of the Duquesne School of Nursing, and Dr. Alison Colbert, Associate Professor in the Duquesne School of Nursing. You’ll hear from each of them in just a moment. I also want to introduce my wonderful colleague, Jessica Hart, the Director of the Office for Victims of Crime, which is part of my agency.
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  • Lexington Man Convicted of Multiple Counts of Sex and Drug Trafficking and Related Offenses, Including Witness Tampering
    In Crime News
    After a 7-day trial, a federal jury in Frankfurt, Kentucky, found Prince Bixler, 41, of Lexington, Kentucky, guilty of charges related to his extensive and violent sex and drug trafficking operation that sold crack cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines throughout the Lexington area and forced young, drug-addicted women to prostitute. 
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  • Goldman Sachs Charged in Foreign Bribery Case and Agrees to Pay Over $2.9 Billion
    In Crime News
    The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (Goldman Sachs or the Company), a global financial institution headquartered in New York, New York, and Goldman Sachs (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. (GS Malaysia), its Malaysian subsidiary, have admitted to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with a scheme to pay over $1 billion in bribes to Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials to obtain lucrative business for Goldman Sachs, including its role in underwriting approximately $6.5 billion in three bond deals for 1Malaysia Development Bhd. (1MDB), for which the bank earned hundreds of millions in fees.  Goldman Sachs will pay more than $2.9 billion as part of a coordinated resolution with criminal and civil authorities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and elsewhere. 
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  • Defenders Work to Ensure Due Process Amid Pandemic
    In U.S Courts
    Of the many challenges that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has imposed on the ongoing operations of federal courts, some of the toughest are being faced by federal defenders, who are on the front lines working to overcome unprecedented threats to their clients’ safety and constitutional rights.
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  • Chemical Assessments: Annual EPA Survey Inconsistent with Leading Practices in Program Management
    In U.S GAO News
    The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program has not produced timely chemical assessments, and most of its 15 ongoing assessments have experienced delays. As we reported in March 2019, the IRIS Program has taken some actions to make the assessment process more transparent, such as increasing communication with EPA offices and releasing supporting documentation for review earlier in the draft development process, but the need for greater transparency in some steps of the assessment process remains. Specifically, the IRIS Program does not publicly announce when assessment drafts move to certain steps in their development process or announce reasons for delays in producing specific assessments. Without such information, stakeholders who may be able to help fill data and analytical gaps are unable to contribute. This could leave EPA without potential support that could help overcome delays. Delays of Milestones by Quarter for a Selection of the Integrated Risk information System's Assessments in Development 2019 - 2024 In mid-2018, EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) instituted changes to the way it solicits nominations for chemical assessments prepared by the IRIS Program but did so without providing sufficient guidance or criteria, raising questions about its ability to meet EPA user needs. For example, ORD issued a new survey to EPA program and regional offices but did not provide them with guidance for selecting chemicals for nomination, and ORD did not make explicit the criteria it was using for selecting nominations to include in the IRIS Program's list of assessments in development. Furthermore, despite a significant decline in survey participation between 2018 and 2019, EPA did not indicate whether the agency has assessed the quality of information generated by the survey. Leading program management practices state that agency management should internally communicate the necessary, quality information to achieve the entity's objectives and should monitor and evaluate program activities. Without evaluating the quality of the information produced by the survey, ORD cannot know if the survey is achieving its intended purpose and whether ORD has the information necessary to meet user needs. EPA's IRIS Program prepares chemical toxicity assessments that contain EPA's scientific position on the potential human health effects of exposure to chemicals; at present, the IRIS database contains more than 570 chemical assessments. In March 2019, GAO reported on the IRIS Program's changes to increase transparency about its processes and methodologies, including the use of systematic review. However, GAO also found that EPA decreased the number of ongoing assessments in December 2018 from 22 to 13 and continued to face challenges in producing timely assessments. This report evaluates (1) EPA's progress in completing IRIS chemical assessments since 2018; and (2) EPA's recent actions to manage the IRIS Program, and the extent to which these actions help the Program meet EPA user needs. GAO reviewed and analyzed EPA documents and interviewed officials from EPA; GAO also selected three standards for program management, found commonalities among them, and compared ORD's management of the IRIS Program against these leading practices. GAO is making five recommendations, including that EPA provide more information publicly about where chemical assessments are in the development process; and issue guidance for selecting chemicals for nomination and criteria for selecting nominations for assessment. EPA partially agreed with two of our recommendations and disagreed with the other three. For more information, contact J. Alfredo Gómez at (202) 512-3841 or gomezj@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Man Sentenced to Prison for Sextorting Numerous Children Around the Country
    In Crime News
    A Virginia man was sentenced today to 31 years in prison for a years-long sextortion scheme in which he coerced numerous preteen and teenage victims to create and send him images of themselves engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The defendant was further sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution to the victims.
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  • Somalia Should Hold Elections Immediately
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Fiscal Year 2022 Performance Plan
    In U.S GAO News
    This report presents the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2022. In the spirit of the Government Performance and Results Act, this annual plan informs the Congress and the American people about what we expect to accomplish on their behalf in the coming fiscal year. It sets forth our plan to make progress toward achieving our strategic goals for serving the Congress and the American people. This framework not only shows the relationship between our strategic goals and strategic objectives, but also show major themes that could potentially affect our work.
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  • Bahrain National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]