Pentagon Watchdog Accused of “Doctoring” Whistleblower Retaliation Investigation Findings

A United States Senator has said that “a culture of corruption is thriving” at the office of the Pentagon’s internal watchdog. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) blasted the Defense Department Office of Inspector General on Thursday, relaying allegations of higher-ups “doctoring” the findings of whistleblower retaliation investigations. Grassley brought up the accusations on the Senate floor by discussing the case of Rear Adm. Brian Losey. The Pentagon inspector general had found Losey guilty of retaliating against numerous perceived whistleblowers. Revelations about these cases, brought to light… Keep Reading

Dem Lawmaker Grills Fed Prison Chief Over “Occupancy Guarantees” Contracts

During an oversight hearing with the head of federal prisons, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) called on the agency to review arrangements with private jailers that require beds to be full. Testifying before a House Judiciary subcommittee on Wednesday, Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Acting Director Dr. Thomas Kane stated that the government still includes occupancy guarantees in its contracts with for-profit prisons. Also known as “lockup quotas,” the provisions require state and federal authorities to keep a certain minimum of prison beds full—generally between 70 and… Keep Reading

Incoming CIA General Counsel Gives Trump Wiggle Room on “Taking Out Their Families”

President Trump’s pick to be the CIA’s top lawyer would not categorically state that the deliberate attacking of “terrorists’ families” is illegal. Agency General Counsel-nominee Courtney Elwood said that the practice “would implicate a variety of laws.” She also noted that it would target “persons who are not otherwise lawful targets under existing law.” But Elwood did not overtly state that the practice violates federal and international law, when asked by Democratic Senators. “If confirmed, I will work to ensure that all activities of the… Keep Reading

Investigation of Facility Forces US Marshals to Oversee Its For-Profit Prisons

An internal audit of a single private prison caused the US Marshals Service to admit that it wasn’t properly overseeing its for-profit detention facilities. The law enforcement agency said that it would establish onsite monitoring at each one of the fifteen contracted prisons under its purview, when pressed last year by the Justice Department Office of Inspector General. The inspector general’s final report, which was released on Tuesday, had been launched to probe a facility in Leavenworth, Kansas, run by CoreCivic, Inc. Internal auditors had… Keep Reading

As Water Heats Up Around Flynn, White House Withholds Documents from Congress

The Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee said he was “extremely troubled” by what he saw in classified records related to Gen. Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former National Security Advisor. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) briefed reporters on Tuesday shortly after reviewing financial disclosures Flynn made when applying for his security clearance. The procedure required Flynn to reveal all income from foreign sources. Flynn had received tens of thousands of dollars in 2015 from various Russian firms, including the state-run news channel, RT. Those appearance fee payments,… Keep Reading

Pentagon Ties Russia to Taliban Attack, Publicly Accuses Moscow of Arming Afghan Militants

The US military has increased its confidence in reports accusing Russia of arming the Taliban. Defense Secretary James Mattis and Gen. John Nicholson, the Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, spoke about the claims on Monday, at a press conference in Kabul. When asked directly by a reporter about alleged Russian weapon shipments to the Taliban, Gen. Nicholson said: “Oh no, I’m not refuting that.” “The level of granularity and the level of success they’re achieving, I think the jury is still out on that,”… Keep Reading

While Verifying Iran Deal Compliance, Tillerson Outlines How Trump Could Scrap the Agreement

The Trump administration could still annul the Iran nuclear deal despite certifying Tehran’s compliance with the agreement, observers warned. The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) said Wednesday that President Trump could effectively rip up the accord, by violating its terms on sanctions. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed late Tuesday that Iran is currently abiding by the terms of the multilateral deal–one that involves all five permanent members of the UN Security Council. “With this certification, President Trump must now uphold the United States’ obligations and… Keep Reading

#DAPL Mogul Cut $250,000 Check to Trump’s Inauguration

Financial disclosures filed on Tuesday reveal that corporate chiefs, including those with pending business before then-incoming President Trump, provided much of the financing for the festivities around his inauguration. Complying with federal law, the Trump Inaugural Committee disclosed its donors to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Tuesday, showing total contributions of more than $106 million—a new record. Included in the roster of funders is pipeline builder Kelcy Warren, who contributed a quarter-million dollars to the event. Warren’s company, Energy Transfer, is behind construction of the… Keep Reading

IRS Privatized Debt Collection Scheme Could Lead to Rip-Offs, Both Legal and Illegal

The IRS, earlier this month, announced the start of a program allowing private contractors to collect tax debt. On Monday, another federal agency warned that the move is giving an opening to con artists. The Federal Trade Commission published a blog post outlining rules governing the privatized tax collection scheme. Commission officials said Americans should be aware of the guidelines, cautioning them against falling prey to scams. “Anyone who says they’re collecting for the IRS and asks you to make a payment over the phone… Keep Reading

“Worse Since Trump’s Election” — For-Profit I.C.E. Jail Faces Second Hunger Strike in Two Years

A hunger strike at a privately-run immigration detention facility in Tacoma, Wash. is slated to enter its third day on Thursday. More than 750 people are participating, according to supporters holding a demonstration at noon on Wednesday, in front of the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC). The rally is being held, in part, to see if the hunger strike will continue. Inmates began refusing meals at lunchtime on Monday, in protest over conditions at the privately-run prison. Specifically, they want speedier hearings, improved food and healthcare… Keep Reading

Trump Sparks Immigration Detention “Race to the Bottom”

Needing more jail space to carry out sweeping deportation actions, the Trump administration may gut safe detainment regulations to entice local prisons to offer up their cells for the effort. The new contracts with jailers would roll back many of the protections afforded to detained immigrants under the Obama administration, including medical care upon request within 24 hours and translation services. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rules that required suicidal detainees to be checked on every 15 minutes, and notification when individuals spend more than… Keep Reading

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