Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
Recorded on June 4, 2021
Forty years ago this week, the CDC’s weekly mortality and morbidity report contained a short write-up on the cases of five young men who were treated in Los Angeles with what was described as a new form of pneumonia. Two died by the time the report was published; the remaining three died soon after.
After the publication, reports of similar cases poured in from New York, San Francisco, and other U.S. cities. It was not known at the time, but these were the first official reports of what would later become known as AIDS.
In the time since, an estimated 32.7 million people have lost their lives to AIDS-related illness globally, including 700,000 people in the United States. It’s a staggering number of lives lost. Each one of these individuals had loved ones, friends, and communities who mourned their loss.
But as we gather, more than 38 million people are living today with HIV, including 1.2 million people in the United States. They are our colleagues, our neighbors, our partners and family members; people of all ages, races, faiths, nationalities. And thanks to the efforts of generations of brave leaders like Yana Panfilova, who we heard from in the opening plenary, fewer of these individuals feel they need to hide their status.
We’re proud of the work the United States and partners around the world have done together to turn the tide in this epidemic.
Since President Bush launched the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, in 2003, we’ve invested more than $85 billion in this effort; helped save 20 million lives; prevented millions of HIV infections; and strengthened local health systems across 54 countries.
Few initiatives in the history of American foreign policy have done so much to help so many people; it’s one of our proudest contributions to the international community.
These investments have also helped keep Ebola, H1N1, and other deadly diseases from raging out of control. And they’ve been vital in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
As we all know, we’ve made these strides by working together across governments and multilateral institutions, as well as with advocates, scientists, community-based organizations, businesses, doctors, and educators.
Yet despite the remarkable progress, our work is not done. Enduring inequities continue to stand in the way of ending this epidemic. Inequities across and within our counties and communities; inequities along social, economic, racial, and gender lines. All of which have been worsened by COVID-19.
If we fail to close these gaps, millions more people will acquire HIV, and millions more people now living with HIV will die.
Ending AIDS is within our reach. But we cannot achieve that goal if we deny people’s sexual and reproductive rights, or foster discrimination against the very people who are the most vulnerable to HIV.
That means ensuring equitable access to HIV services for all, particularly the populations most impacted by the epidemic: the LGBTQI+ community, people who use drugs, sex workers, racial and ethnic minorities, women and girls.
Laws, policies, and practices that make it harder for these populations to access crucial services only increase stigma and put more lives at risk. And they cut against the core principles of the United Nations.
Today, we look to our fellow member states to work with the United States toward ensuring all people have equal access to quality HIV services, regardless of who they are or who they love.
We’ve made tremendous progress together in the 40 years since those first five cases were reported. Let’s build on our gains, recommit to reaching those still in need, and end the HIV epidemic for everyone, everywhere.
Thanks for listening.
Greetings I’m Sam.
I edit, report and maintain this site. If you have any questions You can mail below me but it could be a while before I get back to you.
- On the Occasion of St. Patrick’s DayBy Sam NewsMarch 17, 2021
- Justice Department Acts To Shut Down Fraudulent Websites Exploiting The Covid-19 PandemicBy Sam NewsAugust 12, 2020The United States Department of Justice announced today that it has obtained a Temporary Restraining Order in federal court to combat fraud related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The enforcement action, filed in Tampa, Florida, is part of the Justice Department’s ongoing efforts prioritizing the detection, investigation, and prosecution of illegal conduct related to the pandemic. The action was brought based on an investigation conducted by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in coordination with the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security.[Read More…]
- Preclearance Request for ApplicationBy Sam NewsSeptember 30, 2020Airport operators and [Read More…]
- On the Presidential Elections in the Republic of PalauBy Sam NewsNovember 21, 2020
- Former President of Nuclear Transportation Company Sentenced to Prison for Foreign Bribery and Other OffensesBy Sam NewsOctober 28, 2020The former president of Transport Logistics International Inc. (TLI), a Maryland-based transportation company that provides services for the transportation of nuclear materials to customers in the United States and abroad, was sentenced today to 48 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a scheme to bribe a Russian official in exchange for obtaining contracts for the company.[Read More…]
- Joint Statement by the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear WeaponsBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020
- Global Entry for UK CitizensBy Sam NewsSeptember 27, 2020How to Apply for Global [Read More…]
- Gang members sentenced for assaulting federal officersBy Sam NewsIn Justice NewsMay 2, 2021The final Houston area [Read More…]
- Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Two California Doctors for Discrimination Against Patient with HIVBy Sam NewsJanuary 14, 2021The Justice Department filed lawsuits today alleging that two obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) doctors in Bakersfield, California refused to provide routine medical care to a patient on the basis of her HIV status, in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).[Read More…]
- Kansas Man Indicted on Federal Child Pornography ChargesBy Sam NewsSeptember 16, 2020A resident of Topeka, Kansas, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas on federal child pornography charges, Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced today.[Read More…]
- Former Owner of Michigan Home Healthcare Business Pleads Guilty to Tax FraudBy Sam NewsMay 27, 2021A Michigan man pleaded guilty today to filing a false individual income tax return.[Read More…]
- Puerto Rico CPA Indicted and Arrested on Wire Fraud Charges in Relation to Act 20 and Act 22 SchemeBy Sam NewsOctober 23, 2020On Oct. 14, 2020, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment charging Gabriel F. Hernández, with ten counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1343, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, U.S. Attorney, District of Puerto Rico, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and Tyler R. Hatcher, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Miami Field Office. The indictment was unsealed this week after the arrest of the defendant by federal law enforcement officers from IRS-CI.[Read More…]
- Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah IIBy Sam NewsMay 28, 2021
- Assistant Attorney General Delrahim Delivers Remarks at the Antitrust Division’s Seventh Annual Diversity CelebrationBy Sam NewsDecember 9, 2020Thank you, Matthew, for that kind introduction. And good afternoon everyone. It is great to be joined by so many colleagues from across the Antitrust Division and beyond.[Read More…]
- Attorney General William Barr Delivers Video Remarks for the Virtual National Law Enforcement Training on Child ExploitationBy Sam NewsOctober 20, 2020Good morning, the Department of Justice is pleased to once again host the National Law Enforcement Training on Child Exploitation.[Read More…]
- United States and Partners Promote Accountability for Corruption and Human Rights AbuseBy Sam NewsDecember 10, 2020
- Man Sentenced for Role in Investment-Fraud SchemeBy Sam NewsMarch 5, 2021A Virginia man was sentenced today to over eight years in prison for his role in an investment-fraud scheme in which he and his co-conspirators stole at least $5.7 million from victim investors.[Read More…]
- Prepared Remarks of Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen at U.S. Department of State Conference on “Ancient Hatred, Modern Medium: A Conference on Internet Anti-Semitism”By Sam NewsOctober 21, 2020I want to first thank Secretary Pompeo and Special Envoy Carr for hosting this conference and for inviting me to participate. As we have heard, the Internet is just the latest outlet for the “oldest hatred.” The litany of attacks on the Jewish people has gone on through every era of history. We should not be surprised then--even though it saddens us--that it is part of our modern world. And, since that world depends on the Internet for communication, commerce, and daily life, anti-Semites can use it for their purposes as much as anyone else can use it for legitimate causes.[Read More…]
- Killing of Tahir NaseemBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020Cale Brown, Deputy [Read More…]
- U.S. Policy Toward China: Deputy Secretary Biegun’s Remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations CommitteeBy Sam NewsSeptember 27, 2020Stephen Biegun, Deputy [Read More…]
- Justice Department Settles Claims Against Borough of Woodcliff Lake Involving Denial of Permit to Orthodox Jewish Group to Construct Worship CenterBy Sam NewsSeptember 15, 2020The Justice Department today announced an agreement with the Borough of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, to resolve allegations that the Borough violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) by denying zoning approval for an Orthodox Jewish congregation to construct a worship center on its property.[Read More…]
- North Carolina Risk Consultant Sentenced to Prison for Tax Fraud and Illegally Possessing a FirearmBy Sam NewsMay 14, 2021A North Carolina businessman was sentenced today to three years in prison for tax fraud and illegal possession of a firearm.[Read More…]
- North Carolina Couple Indicted for Failing to Pay Employment Taxes and Failure to File Tax ReturnsBy Sam NewsOctober 27, 2020A federal grand jury in Greensboro, North Carolina, returned an indictment today, charging a North Carolina couple with federal employment tax and individual income tax violations, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin for the Middle District of North Carolina.[Read More…]
- Chinese Energy Company, U.S. Oil & Gas Affiliate and Chinese National Indicted for Theft of Trade SecretsBy Sam NewsOctober 29, 2020A federal grand jury has returned an indictment alleging corporate entities conspired to steal technology from a Houston-area oil & gas manufacturer, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick and Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division. Jason Energy Technologies Co. (JET) in Yantai, People’s Republic of China; Jason Oil and Gas Equipment LLC (JOG) USA and Chinese national Lei Gao aka Jason Gao, 45, are charged with conspiracy, theft of trade secrets and attempted theft of trade secrets.[Read More…]
- Guatemala Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020Do not travel to [Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Hillary Clinton, “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton” PodcastBy Sam NewsMarch 2, 2021
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC Andrea Mitchell ReportsBy Sam NewsMay 6, 2021
- Eleven Defendants Charged with Murder in Indian CountryBy Sam NewsMay 14, 2021A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Oklahoma has returned separate indictments charging 11 defendants with murder and other various violent crimes arising out of Indian Country.[Read More…]
- Former Rapides Parish Correctional Officer Sentenced for Violating the Civil Rights of Three InmatesBy Sam NewsMay 17, 2021A former correctional officer with the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office (RPSO), Detention Center 1, in Alexandria, Louisiana, was sentenced today in federal court for violating the civil rights of three inmates in his custody.[Read More…]
- New Bankruptcy Filings Plummet 38.1 PercentBy Sam NewsIn U.S CourtsMay 3, 2021Bankruptcy filings dropped 38.1 percent for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2021, a dramatic fall that coincided with the coronavirus (COVID-19), which first disrupted the economy in March 2020.[Read More…]
- Special Representative Khalilzad Travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar and TurkmenistanBy Sam NewsJanuary 4, 2021
- F-35 Sustainment: DOD Needs to Address Key Uncertainties as It Re-Designs the Aircraft’s Logistics SystemBy Sam NewsJuly 30, 2020The Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is integral to supporting F-35 aircraft operations and maintenance. However, F-35 personnel at 5 locations GAO visited for its March 2020 report cited several challenges. For example, users at all 5 locations we visited stated that electronic records of F-35 parts in ALIS are frequently incorrect, corrupt, or missing, resulting in the system signaling that an aircraft should be grounded in cases where personnel know that parts have been correctly installed and are safe for flight. At times, F-35 squadron leaders have decided to fly an aircraft when ALIS has signaled not to, thus assuming operational risk to meet mission requirements. GAO found that DOD had not (1) developed a performance-measurement process for ALIS to define how the system should perform or (2) determined how ALIS issues were affecting overall F-35 fleet readiness, which remains below warfighter requirements. DOD recognizes that ALIS needs improvement and plans to leverage ongoing re-design efforts to eventually replace ALIS with a new logistics system. However, as DOD embarks on this effort, it faces key technical and programmatic uncertainties (see figure). Uncertainties about the Future F-35 Logistics Information System These uncertainties are complicated and will require significant planning and coordination with the F-35 program office, military services, international partners, and the prime contractor. For example, GAO reported in March 2020 that DOD had not determined the roles of DOD and the prime contractor in future system development and management. DOD had also not made decisions about the extent to which the new system will be hosted in the cloud as opposed to onsite servers at the squadron level. More broadly, DOD has experienced significant challenges sustaining a growing F-35 fleet. GAO has made over 20 recommendations to address problems associated with ALIS, spare parts shortages, limited repair capabilities, and inadequate planning. DOD has an opportunity to re-imagine the F-35's logistics system and improve operations, but it must approach this planning deliberately and thoroughly. Continued attention to these challenges will help ensure that DOD can effectively sustain the F-35 and meet warfighter requirements. The F-35 Lightning II is DOD's most ambitious and costly weapon system in history, with total acquisition and sustainment costs for the three U.S. military services who fly the aircraft estimated at over $1.6 trillion. Central to F-35 sustainment is ALIS—a complex system that supports operations, mission planning, supply-chain management, maintenance, and other processes. A fully functional ALIS is critical to the more than 3,300 F-35 aircraft that the U.S. military services and foreign nations plan to purchase. Earlier this year, DOD stated that it intends to replace ALIS with a new logistics system. This statement highlights (1) current user challenges with ALIS and (2) key technical and programmatic uncertainties facing DOD as it re-designs the F-35's logistics system. This statement is largely based on GAO's March 2020 report on ALIS ( GAO-20-316 ), as well as previous F-35 sustainment work. GAO previously recommended that DOD develop a performance-measurement process for ALIS, track how ALIS is affecting F-35 fleet readiness, and develop a strategy for re-designing the F-35's logistics system. GAO also suggested that Congress consider requiring DOD to develop a performance-measurement process for its logistics system. DOD concurred with GAO's recommendations and is taking actions to address them. For more information, contact Diana C. Maurer at (202) 512-9627 or email@example.com.[Read More…]
- Taiwan Individual and International Business Organizations Charged with Criminal Conspiracy to Violate Iranian SanctionsBy Sam NewsNovember 10, 2020Chin Hua Huang, 42, a resident of Taiwan, was charged in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia with participating in a criminal conspiracy to violate U.S. export laws and sanctions against Iran. Also charged was Taiwan business organization DES International Co., Ltd. (DES Int’l) and Brunei business organization Soltech Industry Co., Ltd. (Soltech).[Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken Virtual Remarks to Embassy London StaffBy Sam NewsMay 4, 2021
- Conviction of Three Members of the Independent Journalists Association of VietnamBy Sam NewsJanuary 7, 2021Cale Brown, Principal [Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Yang Man-Hee of Seoul Broadcasting SystemBy Sam NewsMarch 18, 2021
- Justice Department Settles with New York-Based Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company to Resolve Immigration-Related Discrimination ClaimsBy Sam NewsMay 27, 2021The Department of Justice announced yesterday that it reached a settlement with LNK International Inc. (LNK), a Hauppauge, New York-based manufacturer of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. The settlement resolves the department’s claims that LNK violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens.[Read More…]
- From NASA JPL’s Mailroom to Mars and BeyondBy Sam NewsIn SpaceDecember 17, 2020Bill Allen has thrived [Read More…]
- On the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and BiphobiaBy Sam NewsMay 18, 2021
- Indonesia Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020Do not travel Indonesia [Read More…]
- 2021 International Women of Courage Award Recipients AnnouncedBy Sam NewsMarch 5, 2021
- Operation Legend: Case of the DayBy Sam NewsSeptember 25, 2020A Bates City, Missouri, man was charged in federal court after law enforcement officers seized nearly two dozen firearms and illegal drugs from his residence.[Read More…]
- Employee Benefits Security Administration: Enforcement Efforts to Protect Participants’ Rights in Employer-Sponsored Retirement and Health Benefit PlansBy Sam NewsMay 28, 2021What GAO Found The Department of Labor's (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration's (EBSA) enforcement focuses on encouraging retirement and health plans to comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, and restoring benefits that were improperly withheld from plan participants. To identify violations, EBSA investigates benefit plans and their service providers. Over two-thirds of investigation leads are identified by EBSA staff. EBSA prioritizes investigating cases that may result in large recoveries or affect many participants, such as restored retirement plan contributions or payment for incorrectly denied medical claims. When agreement cannot be reached, investigators can refer civil cases to DOL's Office of the Solicitor for civil litigation. Criminal cases are referred to Department of Justice. In fiscal year 2020, almost 84 percent of investigations were civil and more than 16 percent were criminal, resulting in over $3 billion in payments to participants and plans. EBSA uses a range of strategies to improve its investigative processes and seeks to ensure enforcement quality through training and oversight. For example, EBSA makes efforts to target investigations for greater impact, such as a 2013 change to prioritize cases with the potential to affect many participants and recover significant assets. As EBSA pursued more complex and technical investigations, the number of closed cases decreased, while monetary recoveries increased (see figure). To ensure investigation quality, EBSA provides training, documents procedures, and reviews open and closed cases to evaluate whether investigation procedures have been followed. Number of EBSA Investigations Closed and Monetary Recoveries, Fiscal Years 2011-2020 The COVID-19 pandemic created a number of immediate and long-term challenges for EBSA and benefit plans. For example, according to stakeholders, plans were initially concerned about how to implement provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act, but those concerns were addressed as the agency issued FAQs and notices. Similarly, EBSA officials reported that court closures temporarily slowed criminal cases, but as virtual hearings increased, litigation resumed. Stakeholders and EBSA officials also described potential long-term challenges, including difficulties locating the many participants who may have left a job due to the pandemic and may be unaware they left behind retirement funds. Why GAO Did This Study Millions of Americans rely on employer benefits for their health care and future financial security. Private sector retirement plans are a key source of income for many retirees and employer-sponsored group health plans cover over one-half of all Americans. Consequently, effective oversight and enforcement are critically important to ensure the integrity of the private employee benefit system, especially in light of the economic and health effects of COVID-19 on American workers and their families. EBSA is charged with protecting the rights of participants in employer-sponsored benefit plans. As of fiscal year 2020, this included about 154 million participants in 722,000 retirement plans and 2.5 million health plans with combined assets of over $10.7 trillion. This report examines (1) how EBSA manages its enforcement process, (2) EBSA's strategies to improve investigative processes and ensure enforcement quality, and (3) the immediate and long-term challenges of COVID-19 for EBSA and private sector retirement and health plans. GAO analyzed EBSA data and documents; and federal laws, regulations, and guidance, including the CARES Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. GAO interviewed officials from EBSA's national office and three regional offices, selected for variation in investigations, and locations as well as stakeholders from nine organizations knowledgeable about benefits compliance requirements, the employer-sponsored benefit industry, and participants' benefit plan experiences. For more information, contact Tranchau (Kris) T. Nguyen at (202) 512-7215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.[Read More…]
- Six Russian GRU Officers Charged in Connection with Worldwide Deployment of Destructive Malware and Other Disruptive Actions in CyberspaceBy Sam NewsOctober 19, 2020Defendants’ Malware [Read More…]
- Ukraine Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
- Report to Congress: Human Trafficking in the Seafood Supply ChainBy Sam NewsDecember 23, 2020
- Secretary Blinken’s Call with Spanish Foreign Minister González LayaBy Sam NewsFebruary 16, 2021
- Information Technology: DHS Directives Have Strengthened Federal Cybersecurity, but Improvements Are NeededBy Sam NewsMay 6, 2021What GAO Found The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has established a five-step process for developing and overseeing the implementation of binding operational directives, as authorized by the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA). The process includes DHS coordinating with stakeholders early in the directives' development process and validating agencies' actions on the directives. However, in implementing the process, DHS did not coordinate with stakeholders early in the process and did not consistently validate agencies' self-reported actions. In addition to being a required step in the directives process, FISMA requires DHS to coordinate with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to ensure that the directives do not conflict with existing NIST guidance for federal agencies. However, NIST officials told GAO that DHS often did not reach out to NIST on directives until 1 to 2 weeks before the directives were to be issued, and then did not always incorporate the NIST technical comments. More recently, DHS and NIST have started regular coordination meetings to discuss directive-related issues earlier in the process. Regarding validation of agency actions, DHS has done so for selected directives, but not for others. DHS is not well-positioned to validate all directives because it lacks a risk-based approach as well as a strategy to check selected agency-reported actions to validate their completion. Directives' implementation often has been effective in strengthening federal cybersecurity. For example, a 2015 directive on critical vulnerability mitigation required agencies to address critical vulnerabilities discovered by DHS cyber scans of agencies' internet-accessible systems within 30 days. This was a new requirement for federal agencies. While agencies did not always meet the 30-day requirement, their mitigations were validated by DHS and reached 87 percent compliance by 2017 (see fig. 1). DHS officials attributed the recent decline in percentage completion to a 35-day partial government shutdown in late 2018/early 2019. Nevertheless, for the 4-year period shown in the figure below, agencies mitigated within 30 days about 2,500 of the 3,600 vulnerabilities identified. Figure 1: Critical Vulnerabilities Mitigated within 30 days, May 21, 2015 through May 20, 2019 Agencies also made reported improvements in securing or replacing vulnerable network infrastructure devices. Specifically, a 2016 directive on the Threat to Network Infrastructure Devices addressed, among other things, several urgent vulnerabilities in the targeting of firewalls across federal networks and provided technical mitigation solutions. As shown in figure 2, in response to the directive, agencies reported progress in mitigating risks to more than 11,000 devices as of October 2018. Figure 2: Federal Civilian Agency Vulnerable Network Infrastructure Devices That Had Not Been Mitigated, September 2016 through January 2019 Another key DHS directive is Securing High Value Assets, an initiative to protect the government's most critical information and system assets. According to this directive, DHS is to lead in-depth assessments of federal agencies' most essential identified high value assets. However, an important performance metric for addressing vulnerabilities identified by these assessments does not account for agencies submitting remediation plans in cases where weaknesses cannot be fully addressed within 30 days. Further, DHS only completed about half of the required assessments for the most recent 2 years (61 of 142 for fiscal year 2018, and 73 of 142 required assessments for fiscal year 2019 (see fig. 3)). In addition, DHS does not plan to finalize guidance to agencies and third parties, such as contractors or agency independent assessors, for conducting reviews of additional high value assets that are considered significant, but are not included in DHS's current review, until the end of fiscal year 2020. Given these shortcomings, DHS is now reassessing key aspects of the program. However, it does not have a schedule or plan for completing this reassessment, or to address outstanding issues on completing required assessments, identifying needed resources, and finalizing guidance to agencies and third parties. Figure 3: Department of Homeland Security Assessments of Agency High Value Assets, Fiscal Years (FY) 2018 through 2019 Why GAO Did This Study DHS plays a key role in federal cybersecurity. FISMA authorized DHS, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget, to develop and oversee the implementation of compulsory directives—referred to as binding operational directives—covering executive branch civilian agencies. These directives require agencies to safeguard federal information and information systems from a known or reasonably suspected information security threat, vulnerability, or risk. Since 2015, DHS has issued eight directives that instructed agencies to, among other things, (1) mitigate critical vulnerabilities discovered by DHS through its scanning of agencies' internet-accessible systems; (2) address urgent vulnerabilities in network infrastructure devices identified by DHS; and (3) better secure the government's highest value and most critical information and system assets. GAO was requested to evaluate DHS's binding operational directives. This report addresses (1) DHS's process for developing and overseeing the implementation of binding operational directives and (2) the effectiveness of the directives, including agencies' implementation of the directive requirements. GAO selected for review the five directives that were in effect as of December 2018, and randomly selected for further in-depth review a sample of 12 agencies from the executive branch civilian agencies to which the directives apply. In addition, GAO reviewed DHS policies and processes related to the directives and assessed them against FISMA and Office of Management and Budget requirements; administered a data collection instrument to selected federal agencies; compared the agencies' responses and supporting documentation to the requirements outlined in the five directives; and collected and analyzed DHS's government-wide scanning data on government-wide implementation of the directives. GAO also interviewed DHS and selected agency officials.[Read More…]
- Seven North Carolina Tax Preparers Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud the IRSBy Sam NewsJanuary 12, 2021Seven Charlotte, North Carolina tax return preparers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States by preparing and filing false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, U.S. Attorney R. Andrew Murray for the Western District of North Carolina, and Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).[Read More…]
- Mississippi Tax Preparer Sentenced to Prison for False IRS ReturnsBy Sam NewsNovember 5, 2020A Moss Point, Mississippi, resident was sentenced to 22 months in prison for preparing false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst for the Southern District of Mississippi.[Read More…]
- Secretary Blinken’s Call with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy BorrellBy Sam NewsMay 17, 2021
- The Promise of AmericaBy Sam NewsNovember 10, 2020
- Department of Justice Launches Global Action Against NetWalker RansomwareBy Sam NewsJanuary 27, 2021The Department of Justice today announced a coordinated international law enforcement action to disrupt a sophisticated form of ransomware known as NetWalker.[Read More…]
- Joint Statement Calling for a Ceasefire in Nagorno-KarabakhBy Sam NewsOctober 5, 2020
- Aviation Cybersecurity: FAA Should Fully Implement Key Practices to Strengthen Its Oversight of Avionics RisksBy Sam NewsOctober 9, 2020Modern airplanes are equipped with networks and systems that share data with the pilots, passengers, maintenance crews, other aircraft, and air-traffic controllers in ways that were not previously feasible (see fig. 1). As a result, if avionics systems are not properly protected, they could be at risk of a variety of potential cyberattacks. Vulnerabilities could occur due to (1) not applying modifications (patches) to commercial software, (2) insecure supply chains, (3) malicious software uploads, (4) outdated systems on legacy airplanes, and (5) flight data spoofing. To date, extensive cybersecurity controls have been implemented and there have not been any reports of successful cyberattacks on an airplane's avionics systems. However, the increasing connections between airplanes and other systems, combined with the evolving cyber threat landscape, could lead to increasing risks for future flight safety. Figure 1: Key Systems Connections to Commercial Airplanes The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established a process for the certification and oversight of all US commercial airplanes, including the operation of commercial air carriers (see fig. 2). While FAA recognizes avionics cybersecurity as a potential safety issue for modern commercial airplanes, it has not fully implemented key practices that are necessary to carry out a risk-based cybersecurity oversight program. Specifically, FAA has not (1) assessed its oversight program to determine the priority of avionics cybersecurity risks, (2) developed an avionics cybersecurity training program, (3) issued guidance for independent cybersecurity testing, or (4) included periodic testing as part of its monitoring process. Until FAA strengthens its oversight program, based on assessed risks, it may not be able to ensure it is providing sufficient oversight to guard against evolving cybersecurity risks facing avionics systems in commercial airplanes. Figure 2: Federal Aviation Administration's Certification Process for Commercial Transport Airplanes GAO has previously identified key practices for interagency collaboration that can be used to assess interagency coordination. FAA coordinates with other federal agencies, such as the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Homeland Security (DHS), and with industry to address aviation cybersecurity issues. For example, FAA co-chairs the Aviation Cyber Initiative, a tri-agency forum with DOD and DHS to address cyber risks across the aviation ecosystem. However, FAA's internal coordination activities do not fully reflect GAO's key collaboration practices. FAA has not established a tracking mechanism for monitoring progress on cybersecurity issues that are raised in coordination meetings, and its oversight coordination activities are not supported by dedicated resources within the agency's budget. Until FAA establishes a tracking mechanism for cybersecurity issues, it may be unable to ensure that all issues are appropriately addressed and resolved. Further, until it conducts an avionics cybersecurity risk assessment, it will not be able to effectively prioritize and dedicate resources to ensure that avionics cybersecurity risks are addressed in its oversight program. Avionics systems, which provide weather information, positioning data, and communications, are critical to the safe operation of an airplane. FAA is responsible for overseeing the safety of commercial aviation, including avionics systems. The growing connectivity between airplanes and these systems may present increasing opportunities for cyberattacks on commercial airplanes. GAO was asked to review the FAA's oversight of avionics cybersecurity issues. The objectives of this review were to (1) describe key cybersecurity risks to avionics systems and their potential effects, (2) determine the extent to which FAA oversees the implementation of cybersecurity controls that address identified risks in avionics systems, and (3) assess the extent to which FAA coordinates internally and with other government and industry entities to identify and address cybersecurity risks to avionics systems. To do so, GAO reviewed information on key cybersecurity risks to avionics systems, as reported by major industry representatives as well as key elements of an effective oversight program, and compared FAA's process for overseeing the implementation of cybersecurity controls in avionics systems with these program elements. GAO also reviewed agency documentation and interviewed agency and industry representatives to assess FAA's coordination efforts to address the identified risks. GAO is making six recommendations to FAA to strengthen its avionics cybersecurity oversight program: GAO recommends that FAA conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment of avionics systems cybersecurity within its oversight program to identify the relative priority of avionics cybersecurity risks compared to other safety concerns and develop a plan to address those risks. Based on the assessment of avionics cybersecurity risks, GAO recommends that FAA identify staffing and training needs for agency inspectors specific to avionics cybersecurity, and develop and implement appropriate training to address identified needs. develop and implement guidance for avionics cybersecurity testing of new airplane designs that includes independent testing. review and consider revising its policies and procedures for monitoring the effectiveness of avionics cybersecurity controls in the deployed fleet to include developing procedures for safely conducting independent testing. ensure that avionics cybersecurity issues are appropriately tracked and resolved when coordinating among internal stakeholders. review and consider the extent to which oversight resources should be committed to avionics cybersecurity. FAA concurred with five out of six GAO recommendations. FAA did not concur with the recommendation to consider revising its policies and procedures for periodic independent testing. GAO clarified this recommendation to emphasize that FAA safely conduct such testing as part of its ongoing monitoring of airplane safety. For more information, contact Nick Marinos at (202) 512-9342 or MarinosN@gao.gov, or Heather Krause at (202) 512-2834 or KrauseH@gao.gov.[Read More…]
- Palau Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020Exercise increased [Read More…]
- Department of Justice’s COPS Office Invests More Than $536.7 Million in Grants to Improve Public Safety, Reduce Crime and Advance Community PolicingBy Sam NewsOctober 19, 2020The Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) awarded more than $536.7 million in Fiscal Year 2020 to increase law enforcement hiring and to improve school safety, combat opioids and methamphetamine, advance community policing efforts, provide training to the law enforcement field, and protect the health of our nation’s officers and deputies.[Read More…]
- Helicopter Crash in EgyptBy Sam NewsNovember 13, 2020
- Kosovo Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020Do not [Read More…]
- Attacks by the Terrorist PKK Organization in the IKRBy Sam NewsNovember 5, 2020Cale Brown, Deputy [Read More…]