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The United States Secret Service


The United States Secret Service

The Secret Service was originally established in 1865 under the Department of the Treasury, with the primary task of preventing the counterfeiting of US currency. It assumed the role of protecting the president after President McKinley was assassinated in 1901. Today, in addition to its original duties, the Secret Service is responsible for guarding high-ranking government officials, their families, and foreign dignitaries. In 2003, the Secret Service became part of what new federal department? More… Discuss

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PANDEMIC UNPREPARED? Watchdog rips DHS for buying aging med supplies|24/10/2014 18:34 by: Fox News


The Associated Press contributed to this report.
24/10/2014 18:34 by: Fox News

PANDEMIC UNPREPARED? Watchdog rips DHS for buying aging med supplies

PANDEMIC UNPREPARED? Watchdog rips DHS for buying aging med supplies

Excerpts:
“The chief Homeland Security watchdog ripped the department at a hearing on Friday for not “thinking through” its purchase of millions of dollars’ worth of pandemic response supplies, saying much of the protective gear and drugs are expired or will be soon.

Inspector General John Roth testified at a House oversight hearing on Ebola, a health crisis that has sharpened focus on the government’s preparedness for an outbreak — even though officials maintain the likelihood of an Ebola outbreak remains low. Roth, ahead of the hearing, released an August audit that found the department has “no assurance” it has enough protective equipment and antiviral medication to respond to a pandemic.

The findings prompted criticism from lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

“We spent millions of dollars for a pandemic … We don’t know the inventory, we don’t know who’s got it, and we don’t know who’s gonna get it,” Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said.

Roth responded: “You are correct.”

Roth said the department spent $9.5 million starting in 2006 on pandemic protective equipment, as well as nearly $7 million on antiviral drugs for emergency workers. However, his opening statement and audit faulted the department for not “adequately” conducting an assessment of what they needed.

The result, he said, is the department cannot be sure it has enough, and in some cases it might have far too much. For instance, he said the department has 16 million surgical masks, but could not demonstrate the need for that many.

He specifically cited the department for having a glut of supplies that is or will soon be expired. He said much of their material has a “finite shelf life” — including thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer, some up to four years expired, and 200,000 respirators that are beyond their five-year usability guarantee.

The audit also found “most” of the antiviral medication is nearing the expiration date.

“As a result, DHS and components may not have sufficient [protective gear or medication] to provide to the workforce during a pandemic,” the audit says.

DHS, in their official response to the audit, said the department agrees with the intent of all the inspector general’s recommendations, but claimed the report “has not appropriately characterized a number of issues.”

Among them, DHS disputed the finding that they had no assurance they have enough equipment and medication. DHS suggested the shelf life of their supplies is longer than the audit made it seem, and the IG was basing its conclusions only on manufacturer information as opposed to other research.

In a written statement on Friday, DHS spokesman S.Y. Lee also said the department is committed to employee safety, and is “satisfied” with the current DHS stocks to deal with any Ebola response.

“We are constantly seeking to improve our pandemic preparedness and are committed to protecting our employees in order to ensure the effectiveness of our mission,” Lee said. Lee said the IG recommendations were not addressed specifically to the Ebola response, but said the department “had already previously identified many of the issues prior to the review, and have taken comprehensive actions to address them.”

While Friday’s hearing delved into the government’s preparedness for a full-scale outbreak, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continued to press witnesses over the measures currently being employed to prevent the handful of U.S. Ebola cases from spreading into a larger crisis.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the latest diagnosed case of Ebola, in New York City, is “particularly distressing.”

Dr. Nicole Lurie, assistant HHS secretary for preparedness and response, stressed health officials are working “24/7” to contain the outbreak in West Africa and are basing changes in U.S. policies on “lessons learned from each emergency.”

She said in prepared remarks that the likelihood of an outbreak in the U.S. is remote, and that “there is an epidemic of fear, but not of Ebola, in the United States.” The remarks were written before a fourth Ebola case was diagnosed in the U.S. — a doctor in New York City who had treated patients in Guinea. Lurie did not repeat the statements during her testimony.

Issa said it would be a “major mistake” to underestimate the virus:

“Recognize that what we don’t know could kill us,” he said.

PANDEMIC UNPREPARED? Watchdog rips DHS for buying aging med supplies

via PANDEMIC UNPREPARED? Watchdog rips DHS for buying aging med supplies.

***The Associated Press contributed to this report.

***24/10/2014 18:34     by: Fox News

THIS PRESSED for your right to know: Homeland Security braces for flood of immigrants seeking work permits|The Truth23.com


WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department appears to be preparing for an increase in the number of immigrants applying for work permits after President Barack Obama announces his long-promised plans for executive actions on immigration reform later this year.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed to The Associated Press that it has published a draft contract proposal to buy the card stock needed to make work permits and Permanent Resident Cards, more commonly known as green cards. The proposal calls for providing material for at least 5 million cards a year, with as many as 9 million “during the initial period … to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” The contract calls for as many 34 million cards over five years.

USCIS, the Homeland Security agency that oversees immigration benefits, produces about 3 million work permits and Green Cards annually, so the new contract would at least provide the Obama administration with the flexibility to issue far more work permits or green cards even if it chose not to exercise that option.

USCIS spokesman Christopher Bentley described the proposal posted earlier this month a routine contract solicitation.

“Solicitations of this nature are frequent practice,” Bentley said. He said the number of immigration applications can rise “for any number of any reasons.”

The contract proposal was first reported by the online news site Breitbart.com.

Obama said earlier this year that he would act on his own if Congress failed to pass immigration legislation. He has twice delayed making any changes, saying as recently as last month that he would hold off on executive actions until after November’s midterm elections.

via| Homeland Security braces for flood of immigrants seeking work permits.