September 27, 2021

News

News Network

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Hugh Hewitt of the Hugh Hewitt Show

23 min read

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Via Teleconference

QUESTION: Welcome back, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt joined by the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Secretary, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning, Hugh. Great to be with you today.

QUESTION: We have great news as we begin this segment. Gilead Sciences, a U.S. company, has just announced that remdesivir – it will be available to any hospitalized patient in the U.S. and they expect to be able to satisfy global demand by the end of October. So the United States is leading the way, Mr. Secretary, on this pandemic.

SECRETARY POMPEO: So we’ve been working on multiple fronts to make sure that the entire world has access, and importantly, the American people have access to the world’s best health care. The President has authorized enormous investments in multiple vaccine efforts, therapeutics all along the way. It’s good work. We’re starting to see the results of that in – absolutely in record time. No one believed that this could happen, and we’re now seeing the fruits of all this good work that the President directed many, many months ago.

QUESTION: Now, at the same time that the U.S. is leading internationally and nationally the anti-virus response, the image of China, according to Pew Research, has plummeted. A new 14-country Pew Research Center survey shows that a majority in each of the surveyed countries has an unfavorable opinion of China. Do you believe, Mr. Secretary, that the world has the number of the Chinese Communist Party? They were responsible for this nightmare. They hid it. They covered it up. They still cover it up.

SECRETARY POMPEO: The tide has turned in terms of what the world has now actually had the chance to see. They’ve seen the facts and the data. They’ve seen that the Chinese Communist Party had the one opportunity to be candid, be clear, be transparent, to put this virus in a place where the whole world could attack it simultaneously.

Instead, Hugh – I think we’ve talked about this before, right? – they disappeared journalists, they hid doctors who knew the truth, they covered up, they allowed people to transit out of Wuhan when they knew better. These are the kind of things that authoritarian regimes do. The whole world can now see it. And as the President has said, the Chinese Communist Party will pay a price for this malfeasance.

QUESTION: They have also now arrested, again, Jimmy Lai, who is a Hong Kong dissident, a devout Roman Catholic. He did a great video with my friend Fran Maier of the Napa Institute. Will America speak up for Jimmy Lai and everyone like Jimmy Lai in Hong Kong who is being oppressed by the Chinese Communist Party?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So I’ve met with Jimmy and we’ve spoken about his remarkable work. The tragedy of what the Chinese Communist Party is doing to the people of Hong Kong is also a factor, I think, in which you talked earlier. I think the whole world can see that the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t speak the truth, right? It made this promise to the people of Hong Kong that they would have 50 years where they would operate under a system that was different. That’s the deal they shook hands with, with the Brits and became an international agreement.

Instead, they lied. They now got a national security law that puts every citizen all across the world at risk, not even just those inside of Hong Kong, if they speak in a way that’s inconsistent with the Chinese Communist Party that deems appropriate or useful. This – the world can see this and the world can see the people of Hong Kong now being treated as if just – they’re just another communist city inside of China. And I think you see the response that not only the people of the world are reacting to, but what the leaders across the world are doing to protect themselves and their people from the challenge that the Chinese Communist Party presents to them.

QUESTION: Now, as you know, I’m an evangelical Roman Catholic Presbyterian, so I go to mass on Saturday and I go to the Presbyterian Church. We’ve gone together to the Presbyterian church.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, we have.

QUESTION: And so you know that I’m a Roman Catholic, and I think the Vatican has made a lot of bad decisions recently, but the worst is the deal with the Communist Chinese Party, and Jimmy Lai is not being protected in the Roman Catholic Church in China, is going under. You have made it a point to defend all religions everywhere in the world. Do they show any signs at all of changing either their oppression of the Roman Catholic Church or of the Muslims in Xinjiang or any one of the religions that they oppress, Falun Gong?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I traveled to the Vatican now a week ago or a week and a half ago to speak with the Vatican leadership on this very set of issues. The Holy See has the capacity to exert enormous influence. Their moral witness matters an awful lot and we need them on the world stage talking about the horrific activity that’s taking place inside of China today: the enormous religious oppression, the Sinicization of the Bible, the tearing down of religious buildings – not just Christian buildings, Catholic buildings, but every religion – the oppression of the Muslims is of horrific – of horrific stature, the worst since – we’ve seen since the 1930s, what’s going on in Xinjiang today.

And I’ve called upon the Catholic Church and the Catholic leadership in the Vatican to stand up for these people. The Church has historically done that. John Paul II was an important part of turning the tide and creating freedom in Europe and the destruction of the Soviet Union and the freedom of the people that were oppressed by the Soviet Union. We need that same moral witness today. They’re a powerful force for good in the world and we need them talking about this in a way that is serious and thoughtful and consistent with the beliefs I know they hold so dearly.

QUESTION: I’m disappointed in the Vatican’s reception of you, Mr. Secretary, but you’re a diplomat. I’m not. So let me turn back to your visit to Japan. You met with the new prime minister for whom I have very little information. I just don’t have a good grip on him. But I also learned a new term, the Quad. Is that term in use in Foggy Bottom? Is it, in fact, a, quote, “mini-NATO” between us, Japan, Australia, and India?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So we have begun to build out a set of relationships all throughout Asia that are enabling us to challenge the Chinese Communist Party. We came in after eight years. The previous administration did a pretend pivot. We took this seriously because the American people need to be protected from the Chinese Communist Party. And one of the tools that we use is this set of relationships with four powerful democracies: the United States of America, India, Japan, and Australia.

And I traveled to Japan earlier this week. I was there on Tuesday. And those foreign ministers all came to understand this shared threat and the opportunity for us to work together, Hugh, not just diplomatically, but on the economic front to partner to push back against Chinese Communist Party predatory activity. The Indians have banned dozens and dozens of Chinese apps, and the Indians have stopped having their government purchase any product from China. That’s remarkable. It’s work that has been done diplomatically, and then there’s the security issues too.

The East China Sea, the South China Sea issues for India around to the west of their country of the Malacca Strait and to the Indian Ocean. These are serious matters. And this Quad format, this capacity for those four powerful economies, big nations, democracies to work together to push back against the Chinese Communist Party is something that I hope that we here at the State Department can institutionalize in a way that provides powerful protection for the American people for decades to come.

QUESTION: All right. Before and after the President’s illness you were abroad – and I’m going to talk to you about Greece in just a moment – then you came home and you went to Japan, and you’ve been talking to the President throughout. Has he seemed in the least bit fatigued or tired? Are you surprised he even has COVID or had COVID? I think it’s passed.

SECRETARY POMPEO: None. Not the least bit tired. We had long conversations. We talked about all the issues that I’m working on, keeping him updated on, the things that I’m doing. I get the guidance from him just as I have now for almost four years. Nope, he seemed completely up to the task, working hard, and helping to deliver security and American foreign policy the way that is uniquely something that our administration has been successful in.

QUESTION: Throughout that entire episode, was there ever a moment, Secretary Pompeo, when you doubted the President was in charge of the government?

SECRETARY POMPEO: None.

QUESTION: All right. Let me go to the headline in The Financial Times this week. Quote, “Will China and the U.S. Go to War Over Taiwan?” The reporter had said, “some U.S. lawmakers, military experts, and some China hawks are calling for Washington to make its commitment to Taiwan’s defense more explicit.” Any comment, Mr. Secretary?

SECRETARY POMPEO: This administration has been relentless in the work that we have done to make sure that the understandings that we’ve had between ourselves and China as they relate to Taiwan are delivered upon. There’s the Taiwan Relations Act, there’s a set of understandings that’s been in place for quite some time. And we’ve made sure to fulfill those commitments, whether that was weapons sales to Taiwan that are consistent with those agreements, whether it’s the willingness of our military to ensure the freedom of navigation in and around Taiwan.

These are the obligations that the United States should undertake and is undertaking. We recognize that this is a point of conflict with the Chinese Communist Party. We don’t want that. We want peace. But we are going to make sure that we live up to all of the obligations we have to Taiwan.

QUESTION: Now, Mr. Secretary, I want to close with your trip to Greece, which I think was very little covered and very important. And I want to go there – I know you don’t do politics, but on the vice presidential debate on Tuesday night, Kamala Harris spoke blissfully of the Iran deal. Joe Biden wants to get back into it. It’s as though the left wing in this country does not understand Iran. Do the people in Greece understand their threat to the east and the south of them? Do Americans not get what the Greeks get about Iran?

SECRETARY POMPEO: No, I actually think most Americans get the threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran. It may be that certain American leaders don’t understand it. No, the Greeks get it. I traveled on that same trip to Italy. The Europeans get it. Everyone understands the challenge. There’s different approaches that different countries will take from time to time, but no one disputes they are the largest state sponsor of terror in the world. They continue to work to build out their capacity to have enriched material and that they foment trouble wherever they go.

No, the – I think the entire world understands this challenge. We put additional sanctions on them yesterday, significant new sanctions that are on their major financial institutions of Iran. We will continue to pressure the regime to change its behavior. No, the – I think the Greeks get it, I think people throughout the Middle East get it; certainly, all the Gulf states understand the instability that Iran creates there. And I must say, they are very hopeful that the set of policies that this administration is taking in the Middle East that has delivered the Abraham Accords, an enormous advent for peace in the Middle East that has put pressure on the regime in Iran and denied them all the money that they had running free under the JCPOA. The Gulf states understand that this is a policy – and Israel understands that this is a policy that needs to continue.

QUESTION: The extraordinary Abraham Accords negotiated by the President, you, and the entire Trump administration really have received very little attention here, but are there benefits already obvious to you as Secretary of State in the Middle East?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. It’s flipped the switch. I think the entire Middle East now recognizes that the central tenet for American foreign policy in the Middle East for decades was we can do nothing absent an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. What – the truth is we can build out peace, we can build out infrastructure, we can build out institutions that create stability there even while trying to get that conflict resolved as well. We hope the Palestinians will come to the table. They’ve chosen just to throw Molotov cocktails and play the victim. I hope they change their pattern.

But in the meantime, we have now built out structural relationships. Some of the countries have formerly normalized yesterday. You will see that the Jordanians are now permitting Israeli overflights of commercial aircraft. Every country will approach this in a different way, but most now – all of the people of the Middle East understand that hatred of Israel is not a good policy, that they are a democracy, a capable economy, a good security partner as well against the threat from Iran, and this is a fundamental shift that has taken place under the leadership of President Trump.

QUESTION: A last question, Mr. Secretary: When you were in Greece – in Crete, in fact – you announced a new expeditionary sea base there, the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams; I believe that’s named for the hero of Orange County, a Medal of Honor recipient – (laughter) – a great man. I’m glad that we’ve got a great tie with Turkey – with Greece, but is Turkey lost to NATO? I mean, that is a significant, terrible development if it is.

SECRETARY POMPEO: We need that not to be the case. We need Turkey to be a good NATO partner to assist in the security of NATO’s southern flank. It’s unfortunate what they’ve chosen to do by purchasing the S-400 weapons system. We urge them to reconsider that and to pull it back. We need them to be part of NATO and we – I went to the region to make sure that those NATO partners in the region, the Eastern Mediterranean, found a peaceful way to resolve their maritime conflicts. There’s a dispute about waters – fair enough. There are mechanisms, legal mechanisms, international law that can resolve this. Coercion, bullying, military activity is not the way to resolve it. I hope that every party that is engaged there will come to see that, and they’ll get back to the negotiating table and resolve their maritime conflicts.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, thank you. Always a pleasure to talk to you, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. Have a good day, sir.

News Network

  • DOD’s High-Risk Areas: Observations on DOD’s Progress and Challenges in Strategic Planning for Supply Chain Management
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Defense's (DOD) management of its supply chain network is critical to supporting military forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere and also represents a substantial investment of resources. As a result of weaknesses in DOD's management of supply inventories and responsiveness to warfighter requirements, supply chain management is on GAO's list of high-risk federal government programs and operations. In July 2010, DOD issued a new Logistics Strategic Plan that represents the department's current vision and direction for supply chain management and other logistics areas. Today's testimony draws from GAO's prior related work and observations from an ongoing review of DOD supply chain management, and, as requested, will (1) describe DOD's prior strategic planning efforts in the area of logistics, (2) highlight key elements in the new Logistics Strategic Plan, and (3) discuss opportunities for improvement in future iterations of this plan. In conducting its ongoing audit work, GAO reviewed the Logistics Strategic Plan, compared elements in the plan with effective strategic planning practices, and met with cognizant officials from DOD, the military services, and other DOD components as appropriate.Prior to the publication of its new Logistics Strategic Plan, DOD issued a series of strategic planning documents for logistics over a period of several years. In 2008, DOD released its Logistics Roadmap to provide a more coherent and authoritative framework for logistics improvement efforts, including supply chain management. While the roadmap discussed numerous ongoing initiatives and programs that were organized around goals and joint capabilities, it fell short of providing a comprehensive, integrated strategy for logistics. GAO found, for example, that the roadmap did not identify gaps in logistics capabilities and that DOD had not clearly stated how the roadmap was integrated into DOD's logistics decision-making processes. GAO's prior work has shown that strategic planning is the foundation for defining what an agency seeks to accomplish, identifying the strategies it will use to achieve desired results, and then determining how well it succeeds in reaching results-oriented goals and achieving objectives. DOD said that it would remedy some of the weaknesses GAO identified in the roadmap. The July 2010 Logistics Strategic Plan, which updates the roadmap, is DOD's most recent effort to provide high-level strategic direction for future logistics improvement efforts, including those in the area of supply chain management. The plan provides unifying themes for improvement efforts, for example, by including a logistics mission statement and vision for the department, and it presents four goals for improvement efforts with supporting success indicators, key initiatives, and general performance measures. One goal focuses specifically on supply chain processes. The plan is aligned to and reiterates high-level departmentwide goals drawn from both the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and the 2009 Strategic Management Plan for business operations. Key initiatives in the plan appear to focus on issues that GAO has identified as needing management attention. While the Logistics Strategic Plan contains some of the elements necessary for strategic planning, it lacks some detailed information that would benefit decision makers and guide DOD's logistics and supply chain improvement efforts. The plan lacks specific and clear performance measurement information (such as baseline or trend data for past performance, measurable target-level information, or time frames for the achievement of goals or completion of initiatives), definition of key concepts, identification of problems and capability gaps, and discussion of resources needed to achieve goals. Further, linkages to other plans and some key related activities under way within logistics are unclear, and it is similarly unclear how the plan will be used within the existing governance framework for logistics. Without more specific information in the Logistics Strategic Plan, it will be difficult for DOD to demonstrate progress in addressing supply chain management problems and provide Congress with assurance that the DOD supply chain is fulfilling the department's goal of providing cost-effective joint logistics support for the warfighter.
    [Read More…]
  • Two Alleged Hackers Charged with Defacing Websites Following Killing of Qasem Soleimani
    In Crime News
    Two alleged computer hackers were indicted in the District of Massachusetts on charges of damaging multiple websites across the United States as retaliation for United States military action in January 2020 that killed Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.
    [Read More…]
  • Courthouse Closures for Hurricane Laura
    In U.S Courts
    Federal courthouses in Louisiana are closed due to the effects of Hurricane Laura.
    [Read More…]
  • Woman Arrested for Fake COVID-19 Immunization and Vaccination Card Scheme
    In Crime News
    A California-licensed homeopathic doctor was arrested today for her alleged scheme to sell homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets and to falsify COVID-19 vaccination cards by making it appear that customers had received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Moderna vaccine.
    [Read More…]
  • Reagan National Airport: Information on Effects of Federal Statute Limiting Long-Distance Flights
    In U.S GAO News
    Airlines serving Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (Reagan National) are subject to, among other federal operational requirements, (1) a “perimeter rule,” limiting nonstop flights to a distance of 1,250 miles unless there is an exemption, and (2) a “slot” or operating authorization requirement for each takeoff and landing. GAO found that while the 40 daily beyond-perimeter flights to or from Reagan National accounted for about 6 percent of flights and 10 percent of passengers at the airport in 2019, the additional flights may have had some limited effects, including further reducing the airport's landside capacity (e.g., ticketing and gates). GAO's analysis of the Department of Transportation's (DOT) data from 2010 through 2019 showed that airlines used larger aircraft on beyond-perimeter flights carrying, on average, about 75 more passengers than within-perimeter flights. While these larger aircraft may use more capacity, they did not contribute to a substantial increase in flight delays at Reagan National. The beyond-perimeter flights may have also had other effects, such as drawing a few flights and passengers from Washington Dulles International Airport (Dulles). 2020 Beyond-Perimeter Flight Exemptions at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Several factors—existing slot control rules; capacity at Reagan National; and potential effects on noise, other area airports, passengers, and airline competition—should be considered in any decision to modify Reagan National's perimeter rule, according to GAO's prior work and stakeholder interviews. GAO examined these factors under three scenarios: (1) no changes to the current perimeter rule or beyond-perimeter flights, (2) adding a small number of beyond-perimeter flights, and (3) completely lifting the perimeter rule. Many stakeholders who provided a perspective did not support changes to the perimeter rule, citing concerns about increased congestion at Reagan National or drawing passengers from other airports, primarily Dulles. Some stakeholders supported adding a small number of beyond-perimeter flights, citing increased competition if airlines added service to existing routes. No stakeholders supported lifting the perimeter rule, saying it would disadvantage airlines with a small number of flights at Reagan National. Regardless of their position on the rule, many stakeholders said airlines would add beyond-perimeter flights if allowed. Reagan National's perimeter and slot control rules were designed in part, respectively, to help increase use of Dulles and manage congestion at Reagan National by limiting the number of flights. On three occasions—2000, 2003, and 2012—federal statutes have provided exemptions to the perimeter rule, collectively allowing 40 daily beyond-perimeter flights (20 round trips) at Reagan National. Of these exemptions, 32 were new beyond-perimeter flights and eight allowed airlines to convert existing slots to beyond-perimeter flights. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) operates Reagan National and Dulles, and DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversee these rules. GAO was asked to update its past work on the perimeter rule. This report describes (1) the effects of beyond-perimeter flights at Reagan National, and (2) key considerations if additional beyond-perimeter flights are allowed. GAO analyzed DOT data for the most recent 10-year period (2010 through 2019) on passengers and flights at Reagan National and Dulles, and MWAA data on airport capacity at Reagan National in 2019. GAO also reviewed relevant statutes and regulations, and interviewed DOT and FAA officials, and a non-generalizable sample of 32 stakeholders: 9 airlines, 4 airport authorities, 7 academics, 5 associations, 5 community groups, and 2 consumer advocates. Selected airlines included those that operate out of Reagan National or Dulles; other stakeholders were recommended or selected, in part, from prior GAO work and their expertise on the topic. For more information, contact Heather Krause at (202) 512-2834 or krauseh@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Kennedy Center Facilities: Life-Cycle Cost Analysis and Other Capital-Planning Practices Could Help Minimize Long-term Costs
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts partially or fully met most selected practices for capital planning, procurement, and maintaining its facilities, but could take action to help ensure efficiency in future projects. Specifically, in planning for maintaining and renovating its facilities, the Kennedy Center met or partially met six out of seven selected capital planning practices. For example, it developed a capital plan for its portfolio of projects, budgeted for these projects, prioritized these projects, and completed an assessment of its facilities' conditions. The Kennedy Center has not, however, updated its capital planning policies and procedures for over 15 years nor did it comprehensively analyze the life-cycle costs—such as the cost of repair, maintenance, and operations—of its projects, including the recent REACH expansion. Implementing these two selected practices would position the Kennedy Center to ensure that it has a consistent, repeatable process for managing projects effectively and that it is making decisions early in the planning of the project to minimize the long-term costs to the federal government. Kennedy Center's Original Building with the REACH Expansion Six of the Kennedy Center's nine highest cost capital projects from 2015-2020 were within 10 percent of the contract award amount, a government benchmark. But GAO found that the Kennedy Center did not have up-to-date procurement procedures or well-documented projects. Without updated procurement policies and procedures in accordance with selected practices, the Kennedy Center could apply its procurement program inconsistently. Further, without complete project documentation, the Kennedy Center lacks reasonable assurance that project requirements are met or that it established traceability concerning what has been done, who has done it, and when it was done. This omission could potentially affect the quality of the product delivered to the Kennedy Center. The Kennedy Center met most selected practices for operations and maintenance. For example, it developed an operations and maintenance plan, used a specialized information system to help manage its activities, and used automatic control systems to enhance energy efficiency. However, fully defined policies and procedures for its operations and maintenance program would better position the Kennedy Center to meet its mission to provide the highest quality services related to the repair and maintenance of its facilities. Why GAO Did This Study The Kennedy Center is a national cultural arts center and a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. The federal government funds the Kennedy Center's capital repairs and renovations of its facilities, as well as its operations and maintenance, all of which totaled $40.4 million in regular appropriations for fiscal year 2021. The REACH expansion, built using private funds, has increased the Kennedy Center's federally funded operations and maintenance expenses. GAO was asked to examine how well the Kennedy Center manages its projects. This report evaluates the extent to which the Kennedy Center followed selected practices in its: (1) capital planning, including for the REACH; (2) procurement; and (3) operations and maintenance, including energy efficiency and facility security. GAO selected criteria from government and industry to review the Kennedy Center's documentation for three projects that GAO selected based on cost. GAO assessed the Kennedy Center's capital planning, procurement, and operations and maintenance actions against selected industry and government practices and interviewed officials.
    [Read More…]
  • Six Additional Individuals Indicted On Antitrust Charges In Ongoing Broiler Chicken Investigation
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court in Denver, Colorado, returned a superseding indictment charging six additional defendants for their roles in a previously indicted conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chicken products, and containing additional allegations against the previously charged defendants in the same conspiracy, the Department of Justice announced today.  The superseding indictment also charges one defendant with making false statements and obstruction of justice. 
    [Read More…]
  • Four MS-13 Members Indicted for 10 Murders, Kidnapping and Racketeering Charges
    In Crime News
    Four alleged members of La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) have been charged in a federal superseding indictment with a racketeering conspiracy involving multiple murders, kidnappings and burglaries, as well as drug trafficking.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Participation in the Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministers’ Meeting
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Veterans Health Care: VA’s Medical Support Role in Emergency Preparedness
    In U.S GAO News
    Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has increased its efforts to plan for and respond to national emergencies, including acts of terrorism and natural disasters. Additionally, in August 2004, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security announced that military and VA medical facilities were potential terrorist targets. In light of military casualties from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and continued threats of terrorist incidents, Congress asked us to review VA's medical support role in emergency preparedness. Specifically, we agreed to provide information on the following questions: (1) What is VA's role in providing medical support within the U.S. to military personnel in wartime and during national emergencies? (2) What actions has VA taken to improve its internal emergency preparedness to ensure that it is ready to maintain continuity of operations and provision of medical services to veterans? (3) What is VA's role in participating in emergency medical response measures with other federal, state, and local agencies?GAO found that Public Law 97-174 authorizes VA to provide inpatient medical care to active duty members of the armed services during or immediately following their involvement in armed conflicts during wartime and national emergencies. According to VA, while the Department of Defense (DOD) has never requested priority care from VA based on this law, VA has routinely reported to the Congress and DOD the number of inpatient beds available for military personnel. We also found that VA has taken numerous actions to improve emergency preparedness, such as developing educational and training materials for its staff, training staff at 134 VA medical centers, and increasing security at its facilities by requiring a minimum of two patrolling VA police officers on duty at all times. Other activities, such as developing a systemwide strategy for protecting its facilities and acquiring decontamination equipment, are still in progress. Finally, VA participates in emergency medical response measures with other federal, state, and local agencies by providing assistance in seven support functions outlined in the Department of Homeland Security's National Response Plan. For example, if requested, the types of support VA would provide include public health and medical services, emergency management, and public safety and security.
    [Read More…]
  • Removing the Cuban Military’s Grip from Cuba’s Banking Sector
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Program Evaluation: Key Terms and Concepts
    In U.S GAO News
    Both the executive branch and congressional committees need evaluative information to help them make decisions about the programs they oversee—information that tells them whether, and why, a program is working well or not. The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) and GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) established a framework for performance management and accountability within the federal government. Building on that foundation, Congress has since passed, among other laws, the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act) to strengthen the evidence-building efforts of executive branch agencies. This product updates our previous glossary (GAO-11-646SP) to highlight different types of evaluations for answering questions about program performance, as well as relevant issues to ensure study quality. This glossary can help agency officials better understand fundamental concepts related to evaluation and enhance their evidence-building capacity. For more information, contact Lawrance Evans, Jr. at 202-512-2700 or EvansL@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Two Ukrainian Nationals Extradited to U.S. on Money Laundering Charges
    In Crime News
    Two members of an international organized network that provided cash-out and money laundering services to cyber actors were extradited from the Czech Republic to Dallas.
    [Read More…]
  • Laredo man sentenced for marijuana smuggling operation
    In Justice News
    Read full article at: [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken On CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS with Fareed Zakaria
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • 401(k) Retirement Plans: Many Participants Do Not Understand Fee Information, but DOL Could Take Additional Steps to Help Them
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Almost 40 percent of 401(k) plan participants do not fully understand and have difficulty using the fee information that the Department of Labor (DOL) requires plans to provide to participants in fee disclosures, according to GAO's analysis of its generalizable survey (see figure). GAO assessed participants' understanding of samples from several large plans' fee disclosures and other information about fees, and asked general knowledge questions about fees. For example, GAO found that 45 percent of participants are not able to use the information given in disclosures to determine the cost of their investment fee. Additionally, 41 percent of participants incorrectly believe that they do not pay any 401(k) plan fees. Prior GAO work has shown that even seemingly small fees can significantly reduce participants' retirement savings over time. GAO Estimates of 401(k) Plan Participants' Score Distribution on Survey's Fee-Related Assessment Questions GAO's review of selected countries and the European Union (EU) found they have implemented practices to help retirement plan participants understand and use fee information from plan disclosures. For example, stakeholders in those locations said layering data, a technique where information is presented hierarchically, can help participants understand disclosures by providing them key plan information first. Stakeholders also said other tools can help participants understand fee information. In Italy, for example, the government provides a supplemental online tool so participants can compare and calculate fees across plans and investment options, according to stakeholders. This tool also includes a fee benchmark—which is generally an average fee among comparable funds—that helps participants judge the value of an individual investment option. DOL could take additional steps to help 401(k) plan participants improve their understanding and use of fee information, based on GAO survey responses and analysis. DOL regulations require that disclosures present fee information in a format that helps participants compare investment options. However, disclosures are not required to include certain information, such as fee benchmarks and ticker information (unique identifying symbols used for many popular types of investments), that could be helpful for participants. Fee benchmarks can help participants to assess an investment option's value, not only relative to other in-plan options but to options outside the plan. Ticker information can help participants identify many plan investments online to evaluate and compare them to options outside the plan. By requiring such information in disclosures, DOL could help participants better understand and compare their 401(k) plan fees when making investment choices that affect their retirement security. Why GAO Did This Study DOL regulations require 401(k) plans to provide the more than 87 million plan participants with a comprehensive disclosure of the fees they pay. GAO was asked to examine how well participants can understand and use the fee disclosures. This report (1) assesses the extent to which 401(k) plan participants can understand and use fee information in disclosures; (2) describes disclosure practices used by selected countries to help retirement plan participants; and (3) examines any additional steps that DOL could take to advance participant understanding and use of fee information. GAO conducted a nationally representative survey of 401(k) plan participants to assess their understanding of fee disclosure samples from among 10 large plans and of other fee information. To identify and describe disclosure practices used abroad, GAO interviewed stakeholders and reviewed fee disclosure documents from Australia, Italy, New Zealand, and the European Union, chosen because of their documented practices to improve participants' understanding of fee disclosures. To identify any additional steps DOL could take, GAO also reviewed disclosures from 10 large plans, as well as relevant federal laws and regulations, and interviewed stakeholders in the U.S.
    [Read More…]
  • Capitol Attack: Special Event Designations Could Have Been Requested for January 6, 2021, but Not All DHS Guidance is Clear
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has specific designations available for planned special events that bolster security-planning processes and coordination between federal, state, and local entities. For example, these designations enhance coordination of protective anti-terrorism measures and counterterrorism assets, and restrict access. These designations include the National Special Security Event (NSSE) and the Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR). These designations were not assigned to the events occurring on January 6, 2021. The events of January 6 included 1) a non-permitted protest at the U.S. Capitol, 2) a scheduled Presidential rally at the Ellipse, and 3) a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 election results. If requested, the Presidential rally and joint session of Congress could have been considered for a designation as an NSSE or SEAR because, for example, they were large events with Presidential or Vice Presidential attendance. However, according to DHS officials, the non-permitted incident at the U.S. Capitol was not consistent with factors currently used for NSSE and SEAR designations. This non-permitted incident was not designated, even though there were other indications, such as social media posts, that additional security may have been needed at the Capitol Complex on January 6. While DHS has developed factors for designating an event an NSSE, it is not clear whether they are adaptable to the current environment of emerging threats. Being able to be dynamic and responsive to change would enable federal entities to implement better security planning. Further, although Secret Service officials stated that a request from the local government in Washington, D.C. would typically initiate consideration for an NSSE designation, D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency officials indicated that they did not think the District Government had the authority to request an NSSE designation for an event on federal property. Updating and communicating its policy for requesting an NSSE designation will help DHS ensure that relevant agencies are aware of, and understand, the process for requesting such event designations and may help to better secure the Capitol Complex and other federal properties in the future.  Why GAO Did This Study The attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 resulted in assaults on approximately 140 police officers, and about $1.5 million in damages, according to information from the Department of Justice and the U.S. Capitol Police. In addition, the events of the day led to at least seven deaths. Questions have been raised about the extent to which necessary steps were taken to adequately secure the Capitol Complex, and share intelligence information. We have a body of work underway that examines the preparation, coordination, and response on January 6, that we will begin issuing over the next several months. GAO was asked to review, among other things, coordination between federal and local entities for security and emergency support for events at the U.S. Capitol and surrounding areas on January 6, 2021. Specifically, this report examines the extent to which federal, state, and local government entities requested a special event designation for the planned events of January 6, 2021 to include: (1) the definition of an NSSE and its designation process; (2) the definition of SEAR and its designation process; (3) the characteristics of past NSSE and SEAR events; (4) the applicability of NSSE and SEAR designations to the events of January 6 and the extent to which they were considered; and, (5) why NSSE and SEAR designations were not considered for the events of January 6. GAO reviewed policies and processes for DHS special event designations, interviewed officials from relevant agencies, and examined DHS data on recent events that received special event designations.
    [Read More…]
  • Electronic Health Records: DOD Has Made Progress in Implementing a New System, but Challenges Persist
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of Defense (DOD) made progress toward implementing its new electronic health record system, MHS GENESIS. DOD deployed the new system to sites in six of 24 planned deployment phases (i.e., waves), which included about 41,600 users (see figure). DOD also improved system performance and addressed issues experienced at the initial sites. Even with this progress, incidents identified during testing—such as system defects—remain unresolved. DOD has not developed plans to conduct additional testing at future sites to ensure the remaining incidents are fully resolved. As a result, unaddressed incidents could lead to challenges at future sites. Actual and Planned MHS GENESIS Deployments, 2017-2023, as of June 2021 Additionally, implementation of MHS GENESIS faced training and communication challenges. Test results and selected system users indicated that training for MHS GENESIS and the dissemination of system change information were ineffective. For example, the users stated that training was not consistent with the “live” system. Further, users reported that there were too many system changes to keep up with and that they were not adequately informed as changes were implemented. As a result, users were unaware of important changes to their roles or business processes, or to system revisions and improvements. These challenges could hinder users' ability to effectively use the system, impede their knowledge of new workflows, and limit the utility of system improvements. Regarding key program risks, DOD identified and was tracking risks and their associated mitigation plans. Why GAO Did This Study DOD relies on multiple legacy electronic health record systems to create, maintain, and manage patient health information. DOD has determined that these systems, implemented over the past 3 decades, require modernization and replacement. The department has sought to replace these legacy systems with a comprehensive, real-time electronic health record. The conference report accompanying the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019 included a provision for GAO to review DOD's electronic health record deployment. GAO's objectives were to (1) determine what progress DOD has made toward implementing a new electronic health record system, and (2) identify the challenges and key risks to MHS GENESIS implementation and what steps DOD is taking to address them. To do so, GAO analyzed test reports, briefing materials, and incident report tracking documents. GAO also held discussion groups with 356 users at selected sites and interviewed relevant officials.
    [Read More…]
  • Drug Safety: FDA’s Future Inspection Plans Need to Address Issues Presented by COVID-19 Backlog
    In U.S GAO News
    Fiscal year 2015 was the first time that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted more inspections of foreign drug manufacturers than domestic manufacturers, with the majority conducted in China and India. However, in June 2020, GAO reported that from fiscal year 2016 through fiscal year 2018, both foreign and domestic inspections decreased, in part due to staffing vacancies. While foreign inspections increased in 2019, since March 2020, FDA has largely paused foreign and domestic inspections due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, conducting only those deemed mission critical. In January 2021, GAO reported that FDA conducted three foreign inspections in fiscal year 2020 following the pause—significantly less than in recent years. Number of FDA-Conducted Foreign Drug Manufacturing Establishment Inspections, Fiscal Years 2019–2020, by Month FDA has used alternative inspection tools to maintain some oversight of drug manufacturing quality while inspections are paused. These tools include relying on inspections conducted by foreign regulators, requesting and reviewing records and other information, and sampling and testing drugs. FDA has determined that inspections conducted by certain European regulators are equivalent to and can be substituted for an FDA inspection. Other tools provide useful information but are not equivalent. In addition, FDA was unable to complete more than 1,000 of its planned fiscal year 2020 inspections and will likely face a backlog of inspections in future years. In January 2021, GAO recommended that FDA ensure that inspection plans for future fiscal years respond to the issues presented by the backlog and that FDA fully assess the agency's alternative inspection tools. FDA concurred with both recommendations. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, FDA faced persistent challenges conducting foreign inspections. GAO found in December 2019 that there continued to be vacancies among the investigators who conduct foreign inspections. GAO further found that FDA's practice of preannouncing foreign inspections up to 12 weeks in advance could give manufacturers the opportunity to fix problems ahead of the inspection and raised questions about their equivalence to domestic inspections. In light of COVID-19, FDA is now preannouncing both foreign and domestic inspections for the safety of its staff and manufacturers. GAO also found that language barriers can create challenges during foreign inspections as FDA generally relies on the establishment for translation services. The outbreak of COVID-19 has called greater attention to the United States' reliance on foreign drug manufacturers. FDA reports that 74 percent of establishments manufacturing active ingredients and 54 percent of establishments manufacturing finished drugs for the U.S. market were located overseas, as of May 2020. FDA is responsible for overseeing the safety and effectiveness of all drugs marketed in the United States, regardless of where they are produced, and it conducts inspections of both foreign and domestic manufacturing establishments. GAO has had long-standing concerns about FDA's ability to oversee the increasingly global pharmaceutical supply chain, an issue highlighted in GAO's High Risk Series since 2009. This statement is largely based on GAO's Drug Manufacturing Inspections enclosure in its January 2021 CARES Act report, as well as GAO's December 2019 and June 2020 testimonies. Specifically, it discusses (1) the number of FDA's foreign inspections, (2) FDA's response to the COVID-19 pandemic pause in inspections, and (3) persistent foreign inspection challenges. For that work, GAO examined FDA data from fiscal years 2012 through 2020, interviewed FDA investigators, and reviewed documents related to drug oversight during the COVID-19 pandemic, among other things. For more information, contact Mary Denigan-Macauley at (202) 512-7114 or deniganmacauleym@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.