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Federal News Digest — October 7, 2011

Washington Post

White House order to establish new cybersecurity policies [Pentagon, national security, cybersecurity] – Ellen Nakashima reports that following the embarrassing release of classified information by WikiLeaks and after months of study, the White House announced revised cybersecurity policies to protect federal government computer networks, including the establishment of an interagency task force overseen by the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to detect and prevent leaks by government employees

Healthy men don’t need PSA testing for prostate cancer, panel says [HHS, cancer-screening] – Rob Stein reports that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force – an independent panel commissioned by the Dept. of Health and Human Services whose recommendations form the basis of what preventative care Medicare and private insurers will pay for – recommends that men should not routinely get the PSA blood test for prostate cancer because it causes unnecessary anxiety and leads to unnecessary procedures; the panel caused considerable anger when in 2009 it recommended against routine mammograms for women

TSA investing in new ID scanners [Transportation Security Administration, airport screening] – Ashley Halsey III reports that the Transportation Security Administration is purchasing Credential Authentication Technology-Boarding Pass Scanning Systems (CAT-BSS) – scanning equipment designed to detect fraudulent boarding passes and identification cards

New air traffic control system at risk of costly delays, feds say [Transportation Dept., Federal Aviation Administration, Government Accountability Office, air-traffic control] – Ashley Halsey III reports that even though there is rare bipartisan agreement on the need for the Next Generation Air Transportation System, a GPS-based air traffic control method, Congress is debating the feasibility of moving forward given current budget constraints; NextGen will cost the government between $20 billion and $27 billion and cost airlines about $40 billion

Amid Solyndra controversy, head of federal loan program resigns [Dept. of Energy, green technologies, Solyndra] – Carol D. Leonnig and Juliet Eilperin report that the head of the Energy Dept.’s loan program that awarded $535 million in loan guarantees to the now-bankrupt solar panel manufacturer is stepping down; meanwhile, the president defends the program that grants loans to green technology companies

Earlier ATF gun operation ‘Wide Receiver’ used same tactics as ‘Fast and Furious’ [Justice Dept., Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, “Fast and Furious”]  – Sari Horwitz reports that an ATF program operating during the Bush administration allowed guns to cross the border into Mexico in a similar fashion as the now-vilified “Fast and Furious” ATF program

New York Times

U.S. adds 103,000 jobs; rate holds steady at 9.1% [Labor Dept. unemployment] – Mototko Rich reports on the employment figures for September just released by the Labor Dept.; the number is slightly better than expected and tamps down, at least for now, concerns about the country slipping into another recession

Some unemployed find fault in extension of jobless benefits [Department of Labor, Census Bureau, unemployment benefits] – Shaila Dewan reports on the debate over extending unemployment benefits as more people are unemployed for long periods of time

Treasury Secretary urges quick action on jobs plan [Treasury Secretary, American Jobs Act] – Binyamin Appelbaum reports that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told Congress that quick legislative action was needed to buttress the economy

Wall Street Journal

The multibillion-dollar leak [Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Federal Reserve Board,  Government Accountability Office financial regulatory reform, Volcker Rule ] – Scott Patterson and Victoria McGrane report that Wall Street is abuzz and studying a leaked, 205-page draft of regulations implementing the “Volker rule,” a controversial provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that would prohibit banks from using customers’ money to engage in trading to benefit themselves, so-called proprietary trading, which supporters of the rule argue led the banks to take undue risks; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is scheduled to consider the draft proposal next week

Obama pushes for jobs bill [President Obama, jobs] – Carol E. Lee and Janet Hook cover the president’s press conference during which he urged Congress to pass his $447 billion jobs bill

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