Entries in U.S. Government (4)


Government Shuts Down 26 Bus Companies over Safety Violations

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Following a series of deadly coach bus accidents last year, federal regulators are cracking down on unsafe operators, announcing Thursday morning that they're ordering 26 East Coast bus companies to shut down.

The companies in question transported some 1,800 passengers a day along I-95, from New York to Florida.  Of the 26 ordered to shut down, half had already been given that order, but kept operating anyway.

Officials say all of the carriers had been cited for repeated violations -- with buses that hadn't been regularly inspected and drivers that didn't have valid licenses.  Some drivers also regularly worked longer hours than allowed.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Employed DC Workers Accused of Collecting Unemployment Benefits

Nick M Do/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Dozens of current and former government workers in Washington, D.C., have been accused of fraudulently receiving unemployment checks, scamming Uncle Sam out of nearly $1 million.

It’s believed that as many as 90 people in various branches of the government are involved in the scheme to fraudulently get paid jobless benefits. They’ve all been placed on leave and now face firing and possible prosecution.

What’s more, at least another 60 former city workers were also alleged to have received unemployment checks when they were on the government's payroll.

Lisa Mallory, director of the D.C. Department of Employment Services, said as much as $800,000 was collected by the 150 current and former employees since 2009. Some of the accused received as much as $20,000, according to investigators, while others’ checks only totaled a few hundred dollars.

Mallory acknowledged while cases of suspected fraud are normally turned over to the inspector general, her office wanted to ensure that other government workers were aware of the seriousness of this alleged crime, adding, “Our focus is really on trying to deter.  We want to make sure that individuals who owe this money are actually held accountable for these overpayments.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Forty Names Appear on Terrorists' Hit List

Thinkstock/Comstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have alerted law enforcement about a terrorist "hit list" that was posted on a jihadi website and names 40 prominent figures from government, the U.S. military and the media who should be attacked.

Among the names on the hit list, which includes photographs of the targets and biographical information, are a member of Congress, Pentagon officials, a conservative pundit, executives of an American company involved in the production of drone aircraft, and two prominent French executives.

According to a bulletin circulated by the FBI, the hit list appeared on the website Ansar al-Mujahideen after one poster highlighted al Qaeda leader Adam Gadahn's call in a June 3 message for lone wolf attacks on American public figures and corporate institutions. "In response to the original posting," says the U.S. government's intelligence bulletin, "other forum members posted the names of over 40 heads of government, industry and media as potential targets." One forum member suggested that booby-trapped parcels be sent to the home addresses of those on the list.

"Though there has been an increase in postings on extremist web forums since [Osama bin Laden's] death on 2 May 2011, these examples are the most target specific threat postings in the forum since that date," says the bulletin. "The depth and breadth of the list provided...represent a familiarity with defense and intelligence contractors and private sector support."

An FBI official who reviewed the notice said the threats were mostly aspirational and described the item as a "wish list" of targets. DHS and the FBI circulated the notice to law enforcement out of an abundance of caution because posters on the website were making threats on a publicly available forum.

In a statement, DHS spokesman Chris Ortman said, "A DHS Open Source Information Report about an online posting by a user of an Arabic-language violent jihadist forum, which listed specific individuals and businesses that the user believed were legitimate targets, was disseminated by the Office of Intelligence & Analysis.

"While we have no information of any imminent terrorist threat to the United States or any U.S. persons, as always, we urge federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as the general public, to maintain increased vigilance for indications of preoperational or suspicious activity," said Ortman.

In Gadahn's June 3 video, he calls on Muslims living in America to carry out deadly one-man terrorist acts using fully automatic weapons purchased at gun shows, and to target major institutions and public figures.

"What are you waiting for?" asks Gadahn in English, and then adds that jihadis shouldn't worry about getting caught, since so many have been released. "Over these past few years, I've seen the release of many, many Mujahideen whom I had never even dreamed would regain their freedom."

Called "Do Not Rely on Others, Take the Task Upon Yourself" and produced by al Qaeda's media arm, as Sahab, the tape mixes Gadahn's new message with clips from old videos of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and other al Qaeda leaders praising one-man attacks. They call on jihadis in the West to carry out lone wolf operations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Government, Military Websites Redirected to Chinese Servers

Photo Courtesy - Senate [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. government and military Internet traffic was briefly redirected through computer servers in China earlier this year, according to a report that is to be released Wednesday by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

The report says telecommunications companies in China disrupted the Internet for only about 18 minutes -- but they were a big 18 minutes.  They "hijacked" about 15 percent of the world's online traffic, affecting NASA, the U.S. Senate, the four branches of the military and the office of the Secretary of Defense.

A draft copy of the report, obtained by ABC News, said, "For about 18 minutes on April 8, 2010, China Telecom advertised erroneous network traffic routes that instructed U.S. and other foreign Internet traffic to travel through Chinese servers."

While the Internet "hijacking" incident was initially reported on in April, it had not been previously disclosed that the U.S. government was affected by the incident.  The report states, "This incident affected traffic to and from U.S. government (''.gov'') and military (''.mil'') sites, including those for the Senate, the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, the office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and many others.  Certain commercial websites were also affected, such as those for Dell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and IBM."

Officials at the State Department and Department of Homeland Security declined to comment on the report.

The Commission report does not discuss why the telecommunications firms rerouted the Internet traffic but it does mention the possible security risks.

"Although the Commission has no way to determine what, if anything, Chinese telecommunications firms did to the hijacked data, incidents of this nature could have a number of serious implications.  This level of access could enable surveillance of specific users or sites.  It could disrupt a data transaction and prevent a user from establishing a connection with a site.  It could even allow a diversion of data to somewhere that the user did not intend."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio