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Sunday, June 30, 2013

CFTC COMMISSIONER CHILTON COMMENTS ON MF GLOBAL CASE

FROM: U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION
Statement of Commissioner Bart Chilton on the Filing of Charges in the MF Global Case

June 26, 2013

This is a bellwether case for the Commission following an exhaustive investigation. I hope that those who lost money in this colossal catastrophe can gain some satisfaction from the steps we have taken since Halloween day in 2011.


We allege that Mr. Corzine exercised direct and indirect control over MF Global. We further allege that Mr. Corzine in bad faith or knowingly induced the customer funds to be used. We also allege that Ms. O'Brien willfully aided and abetted customer cash transfers in violation of the law.

I hope, too, that the Commission’s efforts, particularly those of our Division of Enforcement, will help to restore confidence in the futures markets. People need to know that their segregated funds are sacrosanct and should never have to fear waking up in the morning to learn they have evaporated.

U.S. APPLAUDS ADOPTION OF MARRAKESH TREATY REGARDING DISABLED ACCESS TO PUBLICATIONS

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty to Improve Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

June 28, 2013

 


On June 27 in Marrakesh, the United States was pleased to join more than 150 other countries in adopting a treaty to increase access to print materials for the world's estimated 340 million blind, visually impaired and other persons with print disabilities at a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Diplomatic Conference hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco. The United States considers the agreement reached in Marrakesh to be an important achievement that will help reduce the book famine that confronts the blind -- the lack of accessible formats of books for people with print disabilities -- while maintaining the integrity of the international copyright framework.

Adoption of the treaty is the first step, and the Administration looks forward to working with Congress to secure advice and consent to ratification of the Treaty.

U.S. CONGRATULATES PEOPLE OF SOMALIA ON THEIR INDEPENDENCE DAY

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Somalia's National Day
Press Statement
John Kery
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 30, 2013


On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to extend my warmest congratulations and best wishes to the government and people of Somalia as you celebrate your 53rd Independence Day this July 1.

Somalia has seen incredible progress in the past year, and the United States is proud to support the people of Somalia on your path towards stability and prosperity. The June 19 terrorist attack on the United Nations Common Compound in Mogadishu was a desperate attempt to disrupt Somalia’s recovery. The United States remains determined to stand by the people and Government of Somalia as you work to bring peace to your country.

The United States wishes you a safe and festive Independence Day. I look forward to our continued friendship and a democratic, safe, and secure Somalia.

CFTC CHARGES MF GLOBAL INC., WITH UNLAWFUL MISUSE OF CUSTOMER FUNDS

FROM: U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION

CFTC Charges MF Global Inc., MF Global Holdings Ltd., Former CEO Jon S. Corzine, and Former Employee Edith O’Brien for MF Global’s Unlawful Misuse of Nearly One Billion Dollars of Customer Funds and Related Violations

Settlement of charges against MF Global, subject to court approval, directs payment of all funds still owed to commodity customers and imposes a $100 million penalty against the company

Washington, DC - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today filed an enforcement action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against MF Global Inc. (MF Global), a registered futures commission merchant (FCM), MF Global Holdings Ltd. (Holdings), former Chief Executive Officer of MF Global and Holdings Jon S. Corzine, and former Assistant Treasurer of MF Global Edith O’Brien based on, among other violations, MF Global’s unlawful use of customer funds that harmed thousands of customers and violated fundamental customer protection laws on an unprecedented scale.

MF Global has agreed to settle all charges against it on terms set forth in a proposed order that is subject to court approval and includes 100% restitution of the approximately $1 billion lost by all commodity customers when the firm failed on October 31, 2011. Commissioner Jill Sommers stated, "I am pleased that the MF Global Trustee has agreed to settle the charges against the company. There is nothing more important than doing everything possible to make full restitution to all commodity customers. I am also proud of the members of the Division of Enforcement team, who have worked so hard on this case to bring us to where we are today."

According to the Complaint, Corzine, a former U.S. Senator and New Jersey Governor with more than twenty years of Wall Street experience, joined MF Global as CEO in March 2010 with a plan to transform the firm from a futures broker into a major investment bank. Corzine’s strategy called for making increasingly risky and larger investments of the firm’s money. In the summer and fall of 2011, as MF Global’s need for cash was rising and its sources of cash were diminishing, Corzine knew that the firm was relying more and more on proprietary funds that it held alongside customer funds in FCM customer accounts. During this time, Corzine did not enhance MF Global’s deficient systems and controls sufficiently to ensure that the firm’s increasing reliance on FCM cash did not result in unlawful uses of customer money. Ultimately, these failures contributed to the massive customer losses.

As alleged, during October 2011, MF Global was on the brink of failure and in desperate need of cash to survive. As Holdings’ Treasurer told Holdings’ CFO at that time, in one of many recorded phone calls obtained by the CFTC, the firm was "skating on the edge," without "much ice left." Corzine was warned about the firm’s liquidity stresses, and he knew that the firm violated its own policy that had been designed to protect customer funds. Holdings’ Treasurer recommended to Holdings’ CFO in a recorded call, "we have to tell Jon that enough is enough. We need to take the keys away from him."

In the last week of October 2011, with virtually no other sources of immediate cash to turn to, the firm repeatedly and unlawfully used customer funds for firm needs, ultimately leaving it nearly $1 billion short of customer funds. In that last week, Corzine is alleged to have been aware of the firm’s true low cash balance, even as he directed the firm to continue paying large obligations without inquiring how the firm could come up with the money to do so. Corzine is charged for the firm’s violations as an MF Global "control person" who, among other things, did not act in good faith and is also charged with violating his legal obligations to diligently supervise.

David Meister, the CFTC’s Enforcement Director, said, "Turning a profit is not the only job of the person at the top of a CFTC-regulated firm. Particularly in times of crisis, the person in control, like the CEO here, must do what’s necessary to prevent unlawful uses of customer money, so that customers’ money is still there if and when the music stops. The allegations in our Complaint serve as a stark reminder that we will enforce the law against responsible individuals at all levels of a firm to ensure that customer funds are properly safeguarded every minute of every day."

O’Brien, MF Global’s Assistant Treasurer, is charged with aiding and abetting the firm’s misuse of customer funds. According to the Complaint, she directed, approved, and/or caused improper transfers of hundreds of millions of dollars from customer accounts to help meet the firm’s needs during the final days of October 2011, while knowing that MF Global did not have sufficient proprietary funds available in those customer accounts for those transfers. The Complaint alleges that O’Brien remarked in a recorded telephone conversation that it "could be game over" from a regulatory perspective if funds were not returned to customer accounts on Friday, October 28, 2011, MF Global’s final business day.

With respect to the company defendants, in addition to the misuse of customer funds described above, the Complaint charges that MF Global (i) unlawfully failed to notify the CFTC immediately when it knew or should have known of the deficiencies in its customer accounts; (ii) filed false reports with the CFTC that failed to show the deficits in the customer accounts; and (iii) used customer funds for impermissible investments in securities that were not considered readily marketable or highly liquid in violation of CFTC regulation; and that Holdings controlled the operations of MF Global and is therefore liable as a principal for MF Global’s violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations.

If approved by the United States District Court and the United States Bankruptcy Court, the proposed settlement of all charges against MF Global will require 100% restitution of all remaining commodity customer claims. The proposed order also includes the imposition of a $100 million penalty, which can be paid to the extent MF Global has not fully exhausted all available funds and assets paying customers and then other creditors entitled to priority under bankruptcy law.

The CFTC also seeks full restitution and penalties against Holdings, Corzine, and O’Brien, in addition to trading and registration bans and injunctions against Corzine and O’Brien.

The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Southern District of New York and the Northern District of Illinois, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom.

CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Candice Aloisi, Elizabeth Brennan, Patryk Chudy, Christopher Giglio, Sheila Marhamati, David W. Oakland, Joseph Rosenberg, Michael Berlowitz, Karin Roth, Chad Silverman, K. Brent Tomer, Douglas K. Yatter, Steven Ringer, Lenel Hickson, Stephen J. Obie, and Vincent McGonagle. Jeremy Christianson from the CFTC’s Office of Data and Technology also assisted in this matter, along with staff from the CFTC’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight and Division of Clearing and Risk.

U.S., EU MEETING REGARDING INTERNATIONAL DIALOGUE ON EXPORT CONTROLS

FROM: U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT

U.S. and EU Jointly Hold International Dialogue in Brussels to Discuss Export Controls
Fact Sheet
Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation
June 26, 2013

Representatives from 34 countries and administrative regions, as well as experts from industry and nongovernmental organizations, came together the last three days to discuss how countries can reduce the threat of global proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) through cooperation to strengthen strategic trade controls. The International Export Control Cooperation and Outreach Dialogue, held at the European Commission Headquarters, was jointly organised by the European Union’s (EU) Export Control in Dual Use Goods programme and the U.S. Department of State's Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program. Attendees included licencing and customs agencies, export control authorities, NGOs and exporters from across the world.


During the dialogue, experts shared best practices and expertise in managing trade in strategic goods. The discussions focused on meeting emerging challenges in preventing unauthorized transfer of expertise, materials, and technology that contribute to the development of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. Dialogue participants discussed topics such as promoting free trade zones, regulating new forms of information technology transfers, and government outreach to industries to ensure responsible compliance with export control laws and regulations.

The Dialogue highlighted the continuing cooperation between the European Union and the United States in countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Through the EU Outreach programme on dual use items and the EXBS Program, the EU and the United States are assisting more than sixty countries around the world to bring their national strategic trade management systems in line with international standards.


Background
In 2003, the European Union (EU) adopted the European Security Strategy, identifying the proliferation of weapons of mass destructions (WMD) as a key threat to European security. One area of cooperation under Priority 1 of the Instrument for Stability (IfS) refers to capacity building to ensure effective export control of dual-use goods by providing export control and related border control assistance to third countries. The EU and the United States are running multi-year, long-term comprehensive strategic trade control cooperation and capacity-building programs reaching many countries around the world.

The EU has an export control strategy on dual use items, set up to provide advice to countries on key areas of export controls (eg enforcement, legal matters, licensing, and raising awareness) and is part of the EU's Instrument for Stability. The European Commission (EC) is operating an important Export Control outreach activity providing support to third countries on the key areas of export controls (legal, licensing, enforcement, awareness, and penalties), implemented by the German Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA). These actions are financed under the IfS programme. Their implementation is the responsibility of the Commission's Directorate General (DG) DEVCO, while the European External Action Service (EEAS) is responsible for elaborating the strategy and multi-annual programming.

The U.S. Department of State´s Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program, within the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, assists partner countries to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and destabilizing accumulations of advanced conventional weapons by developing and strengthening their national systems to manage trade in sensitive goods and secure their borders against unauthorized transfers of such items

DOL AWARDS MILLIONS FOR YOUTHBUILD GRANTS

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
US Department of Labor awards nearly $72 million in YouthBuild grants

68 programs across 33 states and the District of Columbia receive funding

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of nearly $72 million in YouthBuild grants to support academic and occupational skill training for at-risk youth.


"The YouthBuild program has demonstrated a record of elevating the opportunities and prospects for good, middle-class jobs for thousands of young people throughout this nation," said acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris. "These grants reflect our shared commitment to investing in the future of our nation's youth and the belief that those investments will yield dividends for generations to come."

The grants range from approximately $600,000 to $1.1 million each and will fund 68 YouthBuild programs in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The programs will help nearly 4,600 young people obtain the certifications and skills necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Along with the programs funded today, the Labor Department now actively funds 247 YouthBuild programs around the country.

YouthBuild is a nonresidential, community-based alternative education program that provides classroom instruction and occupational skills training to at-risk individuals ages 16 to 24. The classroom training leads to a high school diploma, general education development or other state-recognized equivalency diploma. The occupational skills training component provides YouthBuild participants with industry-recognized certifications in construction or other occupations. The construction skills training component teaches valuable skills through a program to build or rehabilitate housing for low-income or homeless individuals and families in their communities.

Today's announcement marks the second competition in which YouthBuild programs expand occupational skills training beyond construction to include in-demand industries such as health care and information technology. This expansion provides opportunities for youth to gain training, credentials and skills that lead to career fulfillment for youth who have been in the juvenile justice system, are aging out of foster care, have dropped out of high school, or are otherwise at-risk of failing to reach key educational and career milestones.

Leadership development and community service are also key elements of the YouthBuild program, helping to to ensure that the participants maintain a connection to their communities through service and volunteerism.

FACT SHEET: U.S.-INDIA HEALTH COOPERATION

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

U.S.-India Joint Fact Sheet: Health Cooperation
Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 24, 2013

The United States and India and share a strong collaboration in the area of public health covering a wide range of issues, including disease prevention (HIV, TB, malaria, polio), maternal and child health, environmental and occupational health, vaccine development, and emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare collaborate under the framework of several agreements and arrangements covering different areas of public health, as well as biomedical and behavioral health research.



U.S.-India Health Initiative
The Health Initiative, co-chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, is an inter-agency umbrella organizational mechanism for bilateral discussions between the United States and India on health collaboration and program implementation. It was launched in Geneva, Switzerland, during the World Health Assembly in May 2010. Under the U.S.-India Health Initiative, four working groups have been organized in the areas of Non-Communicable Diseases, Infectious Diseases, Strengthening Health Systems and Services, and Maternal and Child Health.

The Working Groups’ priority efforts include: India National Cancer Institute and other cancer collaborations, tobacco prevention and control, mental health, human resources (emphasis on nursing and allied health professionals), registries of vital records, health system financing and public-private partnerships, food and drug regulation, and international health regulations and disease detection.


Global Disease Detection- India Centre
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) and Department of Health and Human Services and the Indian National Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, signed a MOU in November 2010 to collaborate in the establishment and operation of the Global Disease Detection-India Centre. The Global Disease Detection-India Centre is now fully operational and experts have collaborated in the areas of food borne diseases, emergency operations, zoonotic diseases, public health laboratory systems, disease surveillance, epidemiology, and acute encephalitis. The India National Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) was launched in October 2012 and the first cohort of EIS officers are being trained in field epidemiology and participating in outbreak investigations. Indian scientists from NCDC and the National Institute of Virology, Pune, are being trained at the U.S. CDC facilities for identification of unknown pathogens. The U.S. CDC is also extending technical support for the operationalization of the Strategic Health Operations Centre within the NCDC for disease surveillance activities under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project. The NCDC and Global Disease Detection- India Centre intend to organize an Epidemic Intelligence Service conference in October-November 2013.


Prevention and Control of Road Traffic Injury, Trauma System Development, and Emergency Medical Services
The U.S. CDC within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare collaborate in the areas of prevention and control of road traffic injury, trauma system development, and emergency medical services under the framework of a Joint Statement signed in June 2009. In collaboration with the U.S. CDC, World Health Organization, and Indian Council of Medical Research, the Indian Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has embarked on an effort to address the burden of injury via a national program on injury control.


India’s National Call to Action for Child Survival and Development
On June 14-15, 2012, the Governments of the United States, India, and Ethiopia, in collaboration with UNICEF, hosted the Child Survival Call to Action event in Washington, D.C. to mobilize the world to achieve the ambitious yet achievable goal of reducing all preventable child deaths by 2035. At this summit, India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare announced India’s commitment to take a leadership role in reducing preventable child mortality. As a follow-up, India’s Call to Action for Child Survival and Development Summit was held in February 2013 and called for an accelerated response to promote child survival. USAID and UNICEF supported the process, with Indian ministries in the lead, to plan and organize this landmark summit. Summit outcomes included the launch of the Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) Roadmap and a national and state scorecard and dashboard to track progress.


Cooperation on Human and Avian Influenza and other Emerging Infectious Diseases
The U.S. CDC within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, cooperate on human and avian influenza and other emerging infectious diseases. We are collaborating in capacity building, including sharing of expertise in the operation of high containment laboratories and safe handling of high hazard viruses, parasites and bacteria, development of protocols and standard operating procedures, sharing expertise in the area of pathogen detection, diagnosis, epidemiology, disease surveillance, virology, and vaccinology.


Collaboration between Regulatory Authorities
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Controller General of India and have been collaborating in the area of training, regulation of medical devices, clinical research, pharmacovigilance, and e-governance. A Statement of Intent between the U.S. FDA and Indian Central Drugs Standard Control Organization is under discussion to create a framework for expanding cooperation in these areas.


Collaboration between Biomedical and Behavioural Health Researchers
Over the past few decades, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Indian Council of Medical Research, and India’s Department of Biotechnology have developed a robust relationship in the biomedical and behavioral health sciences. These bilateral research collaborations are focused in several high-priority areas for both sides, including research related to HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, infectious diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, eye disease, hearing disorders, mental health, and low-cost medical technologies. The NIH currently has bilateral agreements with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Department of Biotechnology in the areas of HIV/AIDS, vaccine research, vision, maternal and child health research, mental health, neurology and addictive disorders, diabetes research, and the development of low cost diagnostics. In addition, the NIH supports an International Center for Excellence in Research for Tuberculosis as well as two International Centers for Excellence in Malaria Research.


Collaboration in the Area of HIV/AIDS
Since 2004, the United States, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has supported India’s implementation of its large-scale, multi-faceted HIV/AIDS program through the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO). Working in close partnership with NACO, PEPFAR has contributed $261.6 million to India between 2004-2012 for HIV prevention, care, and treatment. The U.S. CDC, USAID, and NIH all have bilateral agreements and arrangements with Indian institutions to address HIV/AIDS. CDC’s agreement (signed May 2010) is to expand and deepen engagement with Indian institutions in laboratory systems, strategic information, and capacity development. USAID’s agreement (signed September 2010) is to collaborate on improving quality and coverage of services to key populations and vulnerable populations, enhance private sector engagement to complement the Indian government’s prevention to care continuum efforts, strengthen supply chain management systems, strengthen national capacity on behavior change communication programming, and support the global transfer of best practices. NIH’s arrangement, signed October 2011, is to advance epidemiological, prevention, and operational research on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

SEC ISSUES BULLETIN ON INTEREST RATE/BOND PRICE RELATIONSHIP

FROM: U.S. SECURITEIS AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to make investors aware that market interest rates and bond prices move in opposite directions—for example, when market interest rates go up, prices of fixed-rate bonds fall.

You may have noticed articles in the media about investors "chasing yield," the so-called "bond bubble," or predictions about declines in bond prices. Some of these warnings about a drop in bond prices relate to the potential for a rise in interest rates. Interest rate risk is common to all bonds, particularly bonds with a fixed rate coupon, even U.S. Treasury bonds. (Many bonds pay a fixed rate of interest throughout their term; interest payments are called coupon payments, and the interest rate is called the coupon rate.)

The purpose of this Investor Bulletin is to provide investors with a better understanding of the relationship among market interest rates, bond prices, and yield to maturity of Treasury bonds, in particular, although many of the concepts discussed below generally apply to other types of bonds as well.

DOD Awards Contract for Device Management System, App Store

DOD Awards Contract for Device Management System, App Store

DVIDS - Video - Hagel Remarks at Cheyenne Mountain

DVIDS - Video - Hagel Remarks at Cheyenne Mountain

U.S. CONGRATULATES PEOPLE OF REPUBLIC OF CONGO ON THEIR NATIONAL DAY

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Democratic Republic of the Congo's National Day
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 29, 2013
 

The United States values its relationship with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As you gather with family and friends on your national day, I join my countrymen in wishing you a joyous celebration.


Be assured that we are committed to helping you achieve a peaceful, stable, and prosperous future, including through my recent appointment of Russ Feingold, a determined former Senator from Wisconsin and a close colleague of mine in the Senate for 18 years.

Special Envoy Feingold brings years of experience in African affairs and great passion to his new responsibility of helping to bring stability to the region.

CASPIAN GAS COMMING TO EUROPEAN CONSUMERS

FROM:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Selection of Pipeline Route for the Southern Gas Corridor

Press Statement
Patrick Ventrell
Acting Deputy Spokesperson, Office of Press Relations
Washington, DC
June 28, 2013




Today, the consortium developing Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas field announced its selection of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to deliver its gas to Europe. This is a major accomplishment for Azerbaijan and a major step forward in implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor, which will deliver Caspian gas to European consumers.

The Southern Corridor, which will include an expansion of the South Caucasus pipeline across Azerbaijan and Georgia and the Trans-Anatolian pipeline across Turkey, will bring a new source of gas supply to Europe, a goal the United States strongly supports. This reflects Europe’s efforts to diversify its energy resources, including the bold steps toward competition and trade embodied in the EU’s Third Energy Package, an important set of regulatory measures issued in 2009. The selection of TAP as the means to link Caspian gas to Europe is another important step in the process of advancing Europe’s energy security and promoting competition in the supply of energy resources.

While the Southern Gas Corridor focuses on supplies to Europe, it also represents an important contribution to global energy security. By bringing Caspian gas to international markets, this initiative will contribute to meeting global energy demand, which is critical to sustaining economic growth. The United States sees the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor in this wider context.
We congratulate the Government of Azerbaijan and the Shah Deniz consortium on achieving this important milestone.

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TESTIFIES BEFORE HOUSE ON U.S.-REPUBLIC OF KOREA ALLIANCE

FROM: U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT

Next Steps in the U.S. - Republic of Korea Alliance

Testimony
James P. Zumwalt
Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Before the House Foreign Affairs CommitteeSubcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade

Washington, DC
June 27, 2013

Chairman Chabot, Chairman Poe, Mr. Faleomavaega, Mr. Sherman, and Members of the Subcommittees, I am pleased to appear before you today to discuss this important topic. The U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) alliance is a linchpin of security and prosperity in Northeast Asia, and our bilateral ties have never been stronger. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty, the foundation of our alliance and a force for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Over the past six decades, our close cooperation has evolved into an increasingly global partnership, and our economic and people-to-people ties are as robust as ever. Today, while our alliance continues to counter the threat from North Korea, we are expanding our cooperation to meet 21st-century challenges on the Korean Peninsula, in the Asia-Pacific region, and beyond.



A Future-Oriented Alliance
During her May 8 address to a joint meeting of Congress, Republic of Korea President Park Geun-hye said: "Along our journey, we have been aided by great friends and among them, the United States is second to none." Our alliance was forged in shared sacrifice in the Korean War sixty years ago, and it continues to provide an anchor for peace and security in the region. Today, we continue to strengthen and adapt our alliance to meet existing and emerging security challenges.

As stated by Presidents Obama and Park in their May 7 joint declaration, we have made significant progress on the goals outlined in our 2009 Joint Vision for the Alliance statement. The blueprint for the future of our alliance includes our Strategic Alliance 2015 plan, which outlines the conditions for the transition of wartime operational control (OPCON) to a Republic of Korea-led defense in December 2015. Our two countries continue to improve our interoperability and readiness through annual joint and combined exercises, and through a bilateral Extended Deterrence Policy Committee that focuses on improving the effectiveness of extended deterrence against threats posed by North Korean nuclear and weapons of mass destruction programs.


Cooperation on Global Issues
Presidents Obama and Park on May 7 highlighted recent successes and publicly committed to deepening our cooperation on global challenges, an increasingly important pillar of the U.S.-ROK alliance. The Republic of Korea hosted the November 2010 G-20 Summit, the November 2011 Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, and the March 2012 Nuclear Security Summit. The Republic of Korea is currently a non-permanent member on the UN Security Council and our cooperation at the UN and in other multilateral fora has been excellent. We also have outstanding cooperation on countering biological threats, and just last week the Republic of Korea hosted our third bilateral, whole-of-government biopreparedness "Able Response" exercise.

U.S. and Korean soldiers serve side by side in Afghanistan, where the Republic of Korea is a major donor to reconstruction and stabilization efforts. The Republic of Korea has been a leader in supporting international efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue, including by supporting Iran sanctions and significantly reducing imports of oil from Iran. We are working together on Syria, where the Republic of Korea is providing assistance to address the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people. In April, we held the second U.S.-ROK Africa Dialogue, to share views and advance our cooperation on economic development and political and security issues in Africa.


A Strong Economic Partnership
The engine of our alliance is our deep economic cooperation. The Republic of Korea is Asia’s fourth-largest economy and our seventh-largest trading partner; our two countries have one of the most vibrant trading relationships in the world, one that topped over $100 billion in 2012. The year 2013, in addition to marking the 60th anniversary of our alliance, also marks the first anniversary of the entry into force of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). The KORUS FTA is increasing trade and investment between our two countries, is providing significant new opportunities for U.S. exporters, businesses, workers, and farmers, and reflects the depth and maturity of our strategic relationship. Our two countries continue to work together closely to fully implement the KORUS FTA, and we look forward to even more economic benefits as more provisions of the agreement are implemented.

The landmark KORUS FTA is not simply focused on strengthening trade ties, but also deepens the political and strategic partnership with our key Asia-Pacific ally and demonstrates to Americans and Koreans alike that our relationship brings them real, practical benefits. Our commitment to the KORUS FTA enhances our credibility as a Pacific power and tells the world that we will remain engaged in the Asia-Pacific region. As President Park said before Congress last month, the KORUS FTA "helps underpin Washington’s rebalancing toward the region."

On the topic of economic development, there is no better example than the Republic of Korea, which has made extraordinary progress, from a recipient of foreign aid and Peace Corps volunteers in the past, to a thriving economic powerhouse and international aid donor today. The ROK example shows the benefits of investing in development aid and people-to-people ties, and we plan to further expand our development partnership with Korea on a global basis. Building on the development cooperation memorandum of understanding (MOU) we signed in 2011, the Peace Corps and the Korea International Cooperation Agency will sign an MOU to collaborate on global development and international volunteer programs. This type of cooperation not only advances our shared interests, but will help forge closer ties between future generations of young Americans and Koreans.


Strong Science and Technology Ties
Our substantial ties also include strong cooperation in science and technology, on cyber space and cyber security, and on climate change and energy. The United States and Republic of Korea are also global leaders and partners on peaceful nuclear energy. We both recently decided to seek an extension of our existing civil nuclear cooperation agreement which has benefitted our two countries for over four decades and are in the process of negotiating a successor agreement to continue and expand this longstanding and fruitful cooperation in the future. As President Obama said, "I believe that we can find a way to support South Korea’s energy and commercial needs even as we uphold our mutual commitments to prevent nuclear proliferation." The Administration is ready to work with Congress to achieve an early extension of the existing agreement, and we are grateful for your efforts on the related pending draft legislation. We are confident that our two governments can produce a successor agreement that advances both our shared nonproliferation and nuclear cooperation policy objectives.


Deep People-to-People Ties
The foundation of our alliance and our sixty years of partnership and shared prosperity rests on our people-to-people ties and our shared values—a commitment to freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. Ties between Americans and Koreans are deeper and tighter than ever: Last year more than one million South Koreans visited the United States. The Republic of Korea sends more university students to the United States per capita than any other major economy, over 72,000 per year—a strong vote of confidence in the U.S. education system and the future of U.S.-ROK ties. The United States is the clear top choice for Korean entrepreneurs and scientists seeking to create businesses and develop new technologies, and we support efforts to facilitate such exchanges.

Our countries are working to reinvigorate exchange programs between Americans and Koreans. In May, we jointly announced our intent to renew the Work, English, Study, and Travel (WEST) program, which provides an opportunity for qualified university students from Korea to study English, participate in internships, and travel independently in the United States. We are also expanding the U.S.-Korea Fulbright Program through the creation of two new Fulbright scholarships focused on U.S.-ROK alliance studies. Our International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), which brings promising young Korean leaders to the United States on professional exchanges, has had notable successes—over 100 current and former ROK legislators and multiple cabinet ministers have been IVLP alumni.

Perhaps the most important example of our close ties is the proud legacy of Korean-Americans—over two million strong—who have made crucial contributions to America’s prosperity, defended America’s freedom, added their own unique qualities to America’s culture, and distinguished themselves in academia, science, medicine, business, and athletics. Korean-Americans increase the strength and vitality of our strong partnership.


DPRK
Let me turn now to perhaps the greatest challenge our alliance faces—North Korea. Many of the DPRK’s provocations in recent months—from its missile launch in December to its third nuclear test in February and subsequent bellicose rhetoric —have directly targeted the United States and the Republic of Korea. Let me be clear: the United States remains fully committed to the defense of the Republic of Korea, and we will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our ally in the face of these North Korean provocations, including through extended deterrence and the full range of U.S. military capabilities, both conventional and nuclear.

Despite the DPRK’s recent overtures in the region and outreach to counterparts in the Six-Party process, we have yet to see concrete steps suggesting that North Korea is prepared to negotiate on the key issue of paramount concern: the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We continue to coordinate closely with the ROK, as well as other Six-Party partners, on North Korea policy. The United States remains committed to authentic and credible negotiations to implement the September 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and to bring North Korea into compliance with its international obligations through irreversible steps leading to denuclearization. We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state, nor will we reward the DPRK for the absence of bad behavior, or compensate the DPRK merely for returning to dialogue. We have also made clear that U.S.-DPRK relations cannot fundamentally improve without sustained improvement in inter-Korean relations, which we support.

Like the Republic of Korea, the United States remains gravely concerned about the deplorable human rights situation in the DPRK and about the well-being of the North Korean people. With the co-sponsorship of the United States, Republic of Korea, Japan, the European Union, and others, the UN Human Rights Council in March established an independent one-year Commission of Inquiry to investigate and report to the international community on North Korea’s widespread, systemic human rights violations. Ambassador Robert King and Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Labor, and Human Rights Deputy Assistant Secretary Dan Baer recently organized the latest in a series of face-to-face consultations with the ROK and other key partners on ways to enhance pressure on Pyongyang to improve its human rights record.


The Future of the U.S.-ROK Alliance
Our sixty-year-strong alliance is rooted in our legacy of sacrifice, our shared interests in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world, our deep economic ties, and most importantly, our shared values and strong personal friendships that have developed from extensive people-to-people ties. The alliance has never been stronger and both our countries are actively working to prepare our alliance for the years to come. As President Park said to Congress in May, our efforts portray a "forward-leaning alliance" and "point to a 21st-century partnership that is both comprehensive and strategic."

President Park’s landmark visit to Washington this past May—a visit by Northeast Asia’s first modern-day female head of state—opens a new chapter in our alliance and partnership. We welcome the Republic of Korea’s growing leadership on the world stage and the United States is fully committed to this alliance, which is a force for peace and security not just on the Korean Peninsula, but in the region and around the globe. We are heartened that support for the alliance from the American and Korean people is at an all-time high: recent polls show that over 80 percent of Koreans support the alliance. Strong and enduring Congressional support for the Republic of Korea and for our alliance and partnership has been critical to the success of our relationship for the last six decades, and will be even more important in the decades to come.

Thank you for inviting me to testify on this important topic. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

Daily HealthBeat Tip Update

Daily HealthBeat Tip Update

DOL ANNOUNCES $58 MILLION IN STATE GRANTS TO TRAIN WORKERS UNEMPLOYED BY PLANT AND OFFICE CLOSURES

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

US Department of Labor announces $58 million in state grants to train dislocated workers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced $58 million in funding to 30 states for expanded training of dislocated workers so they can acquire industry-recognized credentials that lead to new career opportunities. The grants to states will support on-the-job training, customized training, registered apprenticeships and other approaches that connect individuals with employers, with a focus on providing these services to those in long spells of unemployment.

"While economic conditions continue to improve across the country, millions of workers still face barriers in returning to work," said acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris. "These federal funds will strengthen the capacity of the states' workforce investment systems to deliver critical work-based learning and training to thousands of unemployed Americans."

States were invited to apply for the one-time funding in May and were asked to prioritize training efforts on workers who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer and were also encouraged to provide services to workers who are likely to soon exhaust their unemployment insurance benefits. The funding is being provided through Dislocated Worker Training National Emergency Grants, in recognition of high number of long-term unemployed individuals and the continuing negative impacts of widespread, small layoffs across the country.

Dislocated workers often have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, such as when layoffs result from the permanent closure of an office or plant. Today's announcement reflects a commitment by the department's Employment and Training Administration to help dislocated workers become re-employed and to continue support for the nation's economic recovery.

U.S. BUILDING UP PARTNERS IN SYRIAN REGION TO PREVENT SPREAD OF VIOLENCE

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Capacity-building Central to Syria Strategy

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2013 - In an effort to help prevent the violence in Syria from spreading to its neighbors, the Defense Department is focusing on building partner capacity in the region, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said today during a joint Pentagon news conference with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.


"Militarily, what we're doing is assisting our partners in the region, the neighbors of Syria, to ensure that they're prepared to account for the potential spillover effects," Dempsey said.

As part of these efforts, the U.S. will leave some Patriot missile batteries and some F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft in Jordan and is working with its Iraqi counterparts, the Lebanese armed forces, and Turkey through NATO, the chairman said.

"And we've made a recommendation that, as we look at the challenges faced by the Lebanese armed forces, the Iraqi security forces with a re-emerging Al-Qaida in Iraq, and the Jordanians, that we would work with them to help them build additional capability," he added.

The assistance would take the form of training teams or accelerated foreign military sales of equipment, the chairman said.

"This is about building their capability, not ours," he added.

These actions are in addition to the recent decision to provide military aid to opponents of the Assad regime, Dempsey said.

The defense secretary acknowledged that delivering the military aid raises a number of challenges.

"The opposition represents many different groups," Hagel said. "And we will always be and have to be assured that assistance we give to the Syrian military council gets to the right people, and that isn't a decision that can be answered quickly. It's a constant process of assessment."

One option under consideration, a no-fly zone, would be difficult to impose, the chairman told reporters.

"My concern has been that ensuring that Syria's airplanes don't fly addresses about 10 percent of the problem, in terms of the casualties that are taken in Syria," Dempsey said.

"The Syrian air defense system is sophisticated and it's dense," he noted, adding that implementing a no-fly zone is essentially an act of war.

"I'd like to understand the plan to make peace before we start a war," Dempsey said. But, he added, if the decision is made to impose a no-fly zone, "We'll make it happen."

FORMER EXECUTIVE SENT TO PRISON FOR ROLE IN FORGING MORTGAGE DOCUMENTS

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Former Executive at Florida-Based Lender Processing Services Inc. Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Role in Mortgage-Related Document Fraud Scheme

Over 1 Million Documents Prepared and Filed with Forged and False Signatures, Fraudulent Notarizations


A former executive of Lender Processing Services Inc. (LPS) – a publicly traded company based in Jacksonville, Fla. – was sentenced today to serve five years in prison for her participation in a six-year scheme to prepare and file more than 1 million fraudulently signed and notarized mortgage-related documents with property recorders’ offices throughout the United States, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida Robert E. O’Neill, and Special Agent in Charge Michelle S. Klimt of the FBI Jacksonville Division.



Lorraine Brown, 56, of Alpharetta, Ga., was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams Jr. in the Middle District of Florida. In addition to her prison term, Brown was sentenced to serve two years of supervised release and ordered to pay a fine of $15,000. On Nov. 20, 2012, Brown pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

"Lorraine Brown will spend five years in prison for her central role in a scheme to fraudulently execute thousands of mortgage-related documents while our nation’s housing market was at its most vulnerable point in generations," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman. "The documents that were fraudulently produced under Brown’s direction were relied upon in court proceedings, including a significant number of foreclosure and bankruptcy matters. Today’s sentencing represents appropriate punishment for someone who sought to capitalize on the nation’s housing crisis."

"Floridians were hard hit by the downturn in the real estate market," said U.S. Attorney O’Neill. "We will continue to pursue individuals like Brown who took advantage of consumers for personal gain and contributed to the financial crisis. Prosecuting financial crimes remains a priority for our office."

"The investigation of sophisticated mortgage and corporate fraud schemes continues to be a priority for the Federal Bureau of Investigation as such criminal activities have a significant economic impact on our community," said Special Agent in Charge Klimt.


Brown was an executive at LPS and the chief executive of DocX LLC, which was a wholly-owned subsidiary of LPS, until it was closed down in early 2010. DocX’s main clients were residential mortgage servicers, which typically undertake certain actions for the owners of mortgage-backed promissory notes. Servicers hired DocX to, among other things, assist in creating and executing mortgage-related documents filed with recorders’ offices.


According to Brown’s plea agreement, employees of DocX, at the direction of Brown and others, began forging and falsifying signatures of authorized personnel on the mortgage-related documents that they had been hired to prepare and file with property recorders’ offices. Only specific personnel at DocX were authorized by clients to sign the documents, but the documents were fraudulently notarized as if actually executed by authorized DocX employees.


According to plea documents, Brown implemented these signing practices at DocX to enable DocX and Brown to generate greater profit. Specifically, DocX was able to create, execute and file larger volumes of documents using these signing and notarization practices. To further increase profits, DocX also hired temporary workers to act as authorized signers. These temporary employees worked for much lower costs and without the quality control represented by Brown to DocX’s clients. Some of these temporary workers were able to sign thousands of mortgage-related instruments a day. Between 2003 and 2009, DocX generated approximately $60 million in gross revenue.

After these documents were falsely signed and fraudulently notarized, Brown authorized DocX employees to file and record them with local county property records offices across the country. Many of these documents were later relied upon in court proceedings, including property foreclosures and federal bankruptcy actions. Brown admitted she understood that property recorders, courts, title insurers and homeowners relied upon the documents as genuine.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Ryan Rohlfsen and Assistant Chief Glenn S. Leon of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark B. Devereaux of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. This case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the state of Florida’s Department of Financial Services.

This case is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants.

Friday, June 28, 2013

MAN INDICTED FOR ATTEMPTING TO DEFRAUD PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MIT ROMNEY

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tennessee Man Indicted for Romney Tax Return Fraud and Extortion Scheme

Michael Mancil Brown was indicted today by a federal grand jury in Nashville, Tenn., for allegedly engaging in an extortion and wire fraud scheme involving former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax returns, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Todd Hudson, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Nashville Field Office.


Brown, 34, of Franklin, Tenn., was charged in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Tennessee with six counts of wire fraud and six counts of extortion.

The indictment alleges that Brown devised a scheme to defraud Romney, the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and others by falsely claiming that he had gained access to the PricewaterhouseCoopers internal computer network and had stolen tax documents for Romney and his wife, Ann D. Romney, for tax years prior to 2010.

According to the indictment, Brown allegedly caused a letter to be delivered in August 2012 to the offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Franklin. The letter demanded that $1 million worth of the digital currency Bitcoin be deposited to a specific Bitcoin account to prevent the release of the purportedly stolen Romney tax returns. The letter also invited interested parties who wanted the allegedly stolen Romney tax documents to be released to contribute $1 million to another Bitcoin account.

The indictment alleges that Brown delivered similar letters to the offices of the Democratic and Republican parties in Franklin and caused similar statements to be posted to Pastebin.com.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Nashville Field Office of the U.S. Secret Service with assistance from the Nashville Resident Agency of the FBI. The case is being prosecuted Senior Counsel Anthony V. Teelucksingh of the Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron Jones of the Middle District of Tennessee.

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes aboard Air Force One | The White House

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes aboard Air Force One | The White House

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RELEASES COLEGE COST DATA

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Education Department Releases Latest College Cost Data to Help Families Make Informed Decisions

June 27, 2013


Today, the U.S. Department of Education updated its College Affordability and Transparency Lists as part of the Administration's ongoing effort to increase transparency around the cost of college. The updated lists highlight institutions with the highest tuition prices, highest net prices, and institutions whose costs are rising at the fastest rates.

"With so much information out there, it's important that students and their families are equipped with the tools they need to make informed decisions about where to go to college," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Everyone has a role to play in keeping college affordable, and these lists help consumers compare the costs of higher education institutions."
The lists, available at the College Affordability and Transparency Center, are required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and released by the Department to make the costs of college more transparent for students and their families.


In 2011, the Department published the first set of College Affordability and Transparency Lists. Last year, the Department updated the lists to include newer information. Similar to previous releases, three of this year's lists focus on tuition and fees, and three others look at the institution's average net price, which is the average price of attendance that is paid by full-time, first-time students after grants and scholarships are taken into account. Those colleges and universities where prices are rising the fastest will report why costs have gone up and how the institution will address rising prices, and the Department will summarize these reports into a document that it will post online.

Of the approximately 7,500 Title IV participating institutions of higher education, there are 1,498 institutions included on these lists, and schools are allowed to appear on more than one of the lists.
In addition to the College Affordability and Transparency Lists, the Administration has also released other tools to help families as they pursue higher education. The College Scorecard and Financial Aid Shopping Sheet are two of the Administration's latest resources that provide consumers with easy-to-understand information about institutions and affordability. These tools are all part of the Administration's continued efforts to hold colleges accountable for cost, value, and quality so that students choose a students choose a schools that is well-suited to meet their needs, priced affordable, and is consistent with their education and career goals.


In response to several requests from consumers last year for more comparison data, the Department provided tuition and net price information for all institutions, broken out by sector in order to allow students to compare costs at similar types of schools. The comprehensive lists are provided this year as well.

Lists
Highest tuition and fees (top 5 percent)
Highest average net price (top 5 percent)
Lowest tuition and fees (bottom 10 percent)
Lowest average net price (bottom 10 percent)
Highest percentage increases in tuition and fees (top 5 percent)
Highest percentage increases in average net price (top 5 percent)

Sectors
4-year public
4-year private nonprofit
4-year private for-profit
2-year public
2-year private nonprofit
2-year private for-profit
Less-than-2-year public
Less-than-2-year private nonprofit
Less than-2-year private for-profit
Institutions report data on their tuition and fees and net price annually through the Department's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Additional updated data on individual schools is available on the Department's College Navigator site. To view the lists, visit: http://collegecost.ed.gov/catc/Default.aspx.

Contracts for June 28, 2013

Contracts for June 28, 2013

U.S. GOVERNMENT ISSUES RULES REGARDING RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS AND CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Administration issues final rules on contraception coverage and religious organizations

Today, the Obama administration issued final rules that balance the goal of providing women with coverage for recommended preventive care – including contraceptive services prescribed by a health care provider – with no cost-sharing, with the goal of respecting the concerns of non-profit religious organizations that object to contraceptive coverage. The final rules reflect public feedback received in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in February 2013.


"The health care law guarantees millions of women access to recommended preventive services at no cost," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to respect the concerns of houses of worship and other non-profit religious organizations that object to contraceptive coverage, while helping to ensure that women get the care they need, regardless of where they work."

Today’s final rules finalize the proposed simpler definition of "religious employer" for purposes of the exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement in response to concerns raised by some religious organizations. These employers, primarily houses of worship, may exclude contraceptive coverage from their health plans for their employees and their dependents.

The final rules also lay out the accommodation for other non-profit religious organizations - such as non-profit religious hospitals and institutions of higher education - that object to contraceptive coverage. Under the accommodation these organizations will not have to contract, arrange, pay for or refer contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds, but such coverage is separately provided to women enrolled in their health plans at no cost. The approach taken in the final rules is similar to, but simpler than, that taken in the proposed rules, and responds to comments made by many stakeholders.

With respect to an insured health plan, including a student health plan, the non-profit religious organization provides notice to its insurer that it objects to contraception coverage. The insurer then notifies enrollees in the health plan that it is providing them separate no-cost payments for contraceptive services for as long as they remain enrolled in the health plan.

Similarly, with respect to self-insured health plans, the non-profit religious organization provides notice to its third party administrator that objects to contraception coverage. The third party administrator then notifies enrollees in the health plans that it is providing or arranging separate no-cost payments for contraceptive services for them for as long as they remain enrolled in the health plan.

The final rules provide more details on the accommodation for both insurers and third party administrators.

The final rules strike the appropriate between respecting the religious considerations raised by non-profit religious organizations and increasing access to important preventive services for women.

U.S. CONGRATULATES IRAQ AND KUWAIT ON ISSUES RESOLUTION

FROM: U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT

UN Security Council Decision to Transfer Chapter VII Mandate to the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 27, 2013
 


The United States congratulates the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait on successfully resolving key bilateral and international issues over the past year, which helped result in today’s milestone decision by the UN Security Council. It's testament to the commitment of two neighbors to a new relationship that we're witnessing the transfer of the Chapter VII mandate and responsibilities of the UN High-Level Coordinator for Gulf War Missing Kuwaiti and Third-Country Nationals and the Return of Kuwaiti Property to the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq.

We further welcome the completion of the border maintenance work and the establishment of technical arrangements between Iraq and Kuwait as recommended by the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission. As I discussed during my visit to Kuwait yesterday, we will continue to support both Kuwait and Iraq so they continue to build further confidence and cooperation, strengthen their relationship, and enhance regional stability.

DOD SUBCONTRATORS WILL RECEIVE PROTECTION UNDER NEW WHISTLEBLOWER LAW

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
DOD Contractors to Get New Whistleblower Protections

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2013 - Beginning July 1, whistleblowers working for Defense Department subcontractors will begin receiving protection against reprisals through a new law intended to better protect those who expose possible wrongdoing.


In addition, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, contractors who report suspected waste, fraud and abuse within their company rather than directly to the DOD inspector general also will be protected, a modification of previous laws aimed at better protecting whistleblowers working on DOD contracts.

Nilgun Tolek, who directs investigations against whistleblower reprisals for the Defense Department inspector general's office, explained the new law to reporters yesterday at the Pentagon.

"Since internal complaints weren't covered under the statute, those people who did make an internal hotline complaint and believed they were retaliated against had nowhere to get protection," Tolek said, adding that the measure "brings the statute up to par with existing whistleblower protections."

The new law will apply to all DOD contracts beginning on or after July 1, as well as to new amendments to existing contracts.

Marguerite C. Garrison, deputy inspector general for administrative investigations, said complaints about abuse from DOD subcontractors revealed the need for the new law.

"Congress has recognized that there have been some loopholes in the provisions, and that the protections didn't expand to everyone," she explained.

The law will provide added protection to whistleblowers from retaliation by requiring "clear and convincing evidence" that a contractor would have taken the same disciplinary action against an employee even if he or she had not come forward with an allegation of abuse, Tolek said.

SECRETARY OF STATE KERRY MEETS WTH STAFF AT U.S. EMBASSY IN KUWAIT

FROM: U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT

Meeting With Staff and Families of Embassy Kuwait
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Bayan Palace, Kuwait
June 27, 2013

AMBASSADOR TUELLER: Mr. Secretary, it’s a real pleasure to welcome you here to Kuwait, and you have here one of the most dedicated, professional, creative groups of embassy employees that I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and they’re delighted to welcome you here. And without further ado, introduce you to the staff of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait.

Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY KERRY: Cool. Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador. Wow, you guys are so well behaved toeing this line here. (Laughter.) I can’t believe this. This is – you got to kind of huddle in here a little bit or something in this massive tent. I feel overwhelmed. But anyway, thank you. Great to be with everybody. How you all doing?

AUDIENCE: Good.

SECRETARY KERRY: Everybody good?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

SECRETARY KERRY: All right. Thank you for the great work you’re doing. Mr. Ambassador, thank you. I was just talking to Matthew. This is his third tour out here. I guess you all know that. But we’re glad to have his expertise working on a place where we have such an important relationship, and I’m appreciative for all of you.

I think we have something like 250 direct hires and then about 300-and-some or more people from 23 different nations, which is really rather remarkable. How many of you represented one of those – I want you to raise your hands if you represent one of those other nations other than the United States of America. How many are you? A whole mass of you here. Well, thank you. We are very, very appreciative. We couldn’t do the work without you and we’re very grateful. And I gather that a whole bunch of you take time to go out and take part in some diwaniyas; is that right?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

SECRETARY KERRY: How many of you have done that? Raise your hands. That’s exciting. That’s really neat. That’s got to be kind of a great experience. And you listen to all the local citizens and they’re talking about their issues and so forth. That’s pretty – that’s better than it is sometimes in Massachusetts. No, I’m only joking. (Laughter.)

Anyway, well, I just want to say – well, I want to have a chance to meet everybody, and maybe that’s the virtue of your being lined up on the line here and I can come by and say hi. But I want to say really a special thank-you to you from President Obama, from myself, and most importantly, I think, from all the American people. Serving abroad, if you are an American and coming to an embassy and being there for several years and bringing your kids, thank you, kids, for being here.

I was a young kid in the Foreign Service. I was 11 years old when my dad went off into the Foreign Service, and to make myself quite old, it was back in the 1950s not too long after World War II. We went to Berlin and I remember huge parts of the city totally bombed out and I’d ride my bicycle all around the city. It was a great adventure for me. And I learned enough German to still be able to go order a meal and know what I’m doing and when I’m getting into trouble, but – so it’s a lot of fun if you’re your age. How old are you? There you are; you’re exactly the age I was when I started. So you can be Secretary of State in about 50 years, how’s that? (Laughter.) You ready for that? Not yet, but you will be.

I learned what it was like to pack up the bags, to leave your friends, to go to another country, to be confronted with a culture that was just totally different and things that are different and food and habits and all those kinds of things. And for a while, I scratched my head and I said, "What’s all this about?" Now I look back on it and I am so grateful to my parents for having given me that experience. I’m so grateful for having been introduced at an early age to other people and to learn something about the way those other folks look at the world.

We don’t always do that as well as we should, any of us in places. And sometimes it’s just not taught. We don’t know how to do it, or we don’t think about it, or we think the way we do something in one country or another is the way it is everywhere, but it isn’t, as we’ve learned. And it’s so important to understand where other people are coming from, why they think the way they think, why they believe what they believe. And we can learn enormous amounts from everybody. So for all of you who represent those 23 nationalities that are helping us, we say thank you, because we learn from you, but we also say thank you because you are sort of adopting us and you’re helping us to carry our message about our country, our hopes, our aspirations for people, for the world. You’re helping us to carry that message to people here in Kuwait and anybody who happens to come through here.

And no matter what section you’re in, whether you’re in consular or whether you’re in economic or you’re working as a civil servant or Foreign Service or whatever it is you’re doing, every one of you is an ambassador for our country. You carry a message. You may be the only contact that some people ever have with the United States, or you may be the first contact that they have. And as a result, the impression that you leave and the sense of America that you give is a very, very important impression. It’s an important message. So I want to thank you for that.

I also know that this happens to be a pretty good place for families. The Ambassador was bragging on sort of the good elements of serving here with respect to families, but I also know that there are restraints. And in 1983, for some of you who were here working back then, there was a terrorist attack. And of course, during the period of Saddam Hussein, we all know there was the occupation. So there have been times of great conflict and great tension and strife and even danger. So I want to thank you. It’s really important to have you here.

This relationship with Kuwait is a very, very important one. I just had a long meeting with the Amir, with His Highness, and we talked a lot about the region and Syria, the difficulties, Middle East peace process, Egypt, all the things that are happening. But remember something: All those things that are happening represent people’s hopes and aspirations for change. Tahrir Square was not a religiously inspired event. It wasn’t an extremist-inspired event. It was young people who, using their cell phones and texting and Googling and Facetiming and whatever they did, communicated to each other and talked about their hopes for the future. They wanted jobs, they wanted opportunity, they wanted respect, they wanted education, they wanted all of those kinds of things. It wasn’t till later during the election process that the sort of religious components and other organized components began to come into it.

Same thing in Tunisia, as a young fruit vendor who was completely frustrated with corruption and with the lack of economic opportunity and the fact that some police officer was restricting him from selling his fruit and he was so frustrated that he saw fit to take his own life in front of the police station, and that ignited this sense of protest. It’s playing out in many, many, many places. We’ve seen demonstrations in Turkey that don’t just have to do with the square. We’ve seen demonstrations in Brazil that aren’t about soccer games.

These are people everywhere who are looking for governance that meets their needs. I do like to think that in the United States of America, we have a special sense of that responsibility and a special opportunity with the freedom of our government, the freedom of our press, and the freedom of anybody to go out and say what they want and not get thrown in jail for it and do what they want, running for office, or anything else, that that’s a model worth fighting for and carrying to the rest of the world. So you’re all doing that. Not a bad deal to have a job where you can get up in the morning and feel good about what you’re doing and know that you’re making a difference in the world. A lot of people don’t get that privilege.

So I thank you again on behalf of our country, on behalf of the President, and personally as the Secretary of State who has the privilege of leading this great Department that is so involved in trying to make this planet we live on a better place to live. I’m grateful to you and I thank you. For those of you who will celebrate Ramadan soon, Ramadan Kareem. I wish you well. And I hope for everybody that the days ahead bring you everything that you need and want. Thank you for your service. God bless. (Applause.)

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE HAGEL MEETS WITH SWEDEN'S DEFENSE MINISTER ENSTROM

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel meets with Swedish Defense Minister Karin Enström at the Pentagon, June 26, 2013. The leaders discussed issues of mutual interest and concern. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
FROM:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Hagel, Sweden's Defense Minister Meet at Pentagon

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 26, 2013 - Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with Sweden's Minister of Defense Karin Enström at the Pentagon today, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

During the meeting Hagel praised Sweden for its role as a key partner to the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Little said.

In particular, he added, Hagel thanked Minister Enström for Sweden's commitment and sacrifices in Afghanistan, and for its key leadership in other NATO operations such as Libya and Kosovo.

"Secretary Hagel reiterated the United States' steadfast commitment to standing together with U.S. allies and partners," Little said.

And Hagel affirmed "that the Defense Department will continue to seek ways to enhance our bilateral defense relationship with Sweden," Little added, "and that our two nations will continue to work closely together to advance our common interests around the world."

GSA OFFICIAL'S TESTIMONY BEFORE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM

FROM: U.S. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRAION

Bill Sisk Before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF
BILL SISK
ACTING DEPUTY COMMISSIONER
FEDERAL ACQUISITION SERVICE
BEFORE THE
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM
JUNE 26, 2013

Good morning Chairman Issa, Ranking Member Cummings and Members of the Committee. My name is Bill Sisk and I am the Acting Deputy Commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.


I have spent over twenty years at GSA. I started in GSA’s Regional office in Atlanta in 1990 and have served in a number of management positions including Assistant Regional Administrator and Regional Commissioner. In my capacity as Regional Commissioner, I represented GSA’s Assisted Acquisition Services, Network Services, and Personal Property. I have also served as Assistant Commissioner in the Office of General Supplies and Services within the Federal Acquisition Service and was appointed to the U.S. AbilityOne Commission which is a unique program that provides employment opportunities for individuals who are blind or have other significant disabilities.

I appreciate the opportunity to appear here today to discuss GSA’s Information Technology (IT) Schedule 70 program and the process by which GSA reviews Schedule 70 applications.

IT Schedule 70 -

IT Schedule 70 is the largest, most widely used acquisition vehicle in the federal government. Schedule 70 is an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) multiple award schedule, providing direct access to IT products and services from private sector partners around the country. There are currently 4,853 businesses under Schedule 70 and 4,172 of these, more than 85 percent, are small businesses. Many of these small businesses have socio-economic designations: 720 are 8(a), 128 are HUBZone, 381 are Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned, 333 are Veteran-Owned, and 1,027 are Women-Owned. Through June of Fiscal Year 2013, about $11.5 billion worth of procurement has gone through Schedule 70, $4.5 billion (39 percent) of which went to small business.

Schedule 70 has helped Federal agencies save time and money while ensuring a good value in the available goods and services. In addition, Schedule 70 is one of the two schedules that is available to state and local governments through the cooperative purchasing program, allowing them to leverage the buying power of the Federal Government to procure IT goods and services at competitive prices.

By allowing our partner agencies to purchase from pre-approved vendors they can receive goods and services faster. While having a schedule contract is not the only way to do business with the Government, having a schedule contract allows both vendors and agencies to cut down on administrative costs. Cost savings are also generated through pre-negotiated price ceilings which provide significant discounts from commercial pricing and serve as a starting point for additional competition and negotiations.

Process of Getting on Schedule 70 -

GSA has an established process by which to evaluate applications and make a determination of whether or not to approve businesses to get on Schedule. Over the past three years, GSA has processed approximately 2,800 applications for Schedule 70. Currently, the average application processing time is approximately 110 days.

Contractors can apply through GSA’s eoffer system; eOffer provides an online, paperless contracting environment, in a step-by-step process that complies with Federal Acquisition Regulation.

After an offer package is submitted electronically into our system, it is then assigned to a contracting officer (CO) or specialist (CS) who reviews the package for completeness. After the initial review, the CO/CS sends the offeror an Administrative letter identifying any areas for which additional information is required.

When a package is complete, the CO/CS conducts a responsibility determination using FAR Part 9 together with GSA’s in-house pricing tool or by submitting a Standard Form 1403 to GSA’s Office of Credit and Finance for review and approval. In the review, the CO/CS will also utilize the System for Award Management to review an offeror’s representations, certifications, past awards and performance, and to ensure that all information is current, accurate and complete.

After the responsibility determination is complete the CO/CS prepares a Pre-Negotiation Memorandum outlining negotiation strategy and any remaining deficiencies. If negotiations are successful a Final Proposal Revision (FPR) Letter is sent to the Offeror.

If the offeror accepts the FPR, the CO/CS conducts a final review of the offer and prepares and finalizes the Price Negotiation Memorandum. After all the required forms and additional information are completed and signed, the CO/CS inputs the offer into our system and prepares a package (approval letter, price list, and FPR), to send to the vendor.

Conclusion -

GSA’s Schedule 70 can be an important tool in meeting the IT needs of Federal agencies, and GSA has an established process to thoroughly review these applications in a timely fashion.

I appreciate the opportunity to be here today and I would be happy to answer any questions you have. Thank you.

OSHA URGES FIREWORKS SAFTEY AWARENESS OVER 4TH OF JULY HOLIDAY

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

OSHA urges increased safety awareness in fireworks industry in advance of July 4 celebrations

WASHINGTON — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is urging the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry to be vigilant in protecting workers from hazards while manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying and selling fireworks for public events.

"As we look forward to July 4 celebrations with fireworks and festivities, we must also consider the safety of workers who handle pyrotechnics," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Employers are responsible for keeping everyone safe on the job and taking appropriate measures to protect workers from serious injuries or death."

In March 2012, three workers suffered serious burns caused by an explosion at Global Pyrotechnic Solutions Inc. OSHA cited the Dittmer, Mo., company nearly $117,000 for safety violations relating to explosive hazards.

OSHA's pyrotechnics directive, Compliance Policy for Manufacture, Storage, Sale, Handling, Use and Display of Pyrotechnics, provides inspection guidance and OSHA requirements as they apply to pyrotechnics facilities and operations

Thursday, June 27, 2013

CHAIRMAN OF JOINT CHIEFS SAYS CYBERATTACKS COULD GET CONVENTIONAL MILITARY RESPONSE

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Dempsey: Cyberattacks Could Prompt Conventional Response

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 27, 2013 - Cyberattacks on U.S. infrastructure or networks could be met with a conventional military response, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.


"There is an assumption out there ... that a cyberattack that had destructive effects would be met by a cyber response that had destructive effects," Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said to an audience at a Brookings Institution forum. "That's not necessarily the case. I think that what [President Barack Obama] would insist upon, actually, is that he had the options and the freedom of movement to decide what kind of response we would employ."

The impact of a cyberattack is a key question for elected officials to answer when considering the level of response, Dempsey said. "When does cyber theft become a hostile act?" the chairman asked. "Or when does cyber theft, added to distributed denial of services, become a hostile act? Or is a hostile act simply defined as something that literally is destructive in nature?"

Cyber has many features in common with other domains, and shouldn't be thought of as a wholly exceptional realm, Dempsey said. Although it can sometimes feel abstract, he explained, cyber is a physical domain in the sense that it is operated by men and women over routers and servers, and cyberattacks can result in real, physical damage.

"I think that to the extent that we can always think about it in the way that we've always organized our thinking about the other domains, it might illuminate the challenge a little better," the chairman said. "I do think that there are capabilities out there that are so destructive in nature and potential that it would be very difficult not to see them as acts of war."

But, he noted, "the decision to declare something a hostile act -- an act of war -- is certainly one that resides in the responsibility of our elected leaders."

First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at an Education Event in Dakar, Senegal | The White House

First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at an Education Event in Dakar, Senegal | The White House

30-COUNT INDICTMENT RETURNED AGAINST BOSTON BOMBER SUSPECT

FROM: U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Federal Grand Jury Returns 30-Count Indictment Related to Boston Marathon Explosions and Murder of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier

A federal grand jury returned a 30-count indictment against Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev for his alleged role in using weapons of mass destruction at the Boston Marathon to kill three individuals and maim or seriously injure many others, as well as for using a firearm to intentionally kill Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Police Officer Sean Collier.


Tsarnaev, aka "Jahar Tsarni", 19, a U.S. citizen residing in Cambridge, Mass., was charged today by indictment with the use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and conspiracy; bombing of a place of public use resulting in death and conspiracy; malicious destruction of property resulting in death and conspiracy; use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death; carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury; interference with commerce by threats or violence; and aiding and abetting.

"This indictment is the result of exemplary cooperation between federal prosecutors and a wide range of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to investigate the horrific attacks on the Boston Marathon two months ago," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "The Department is firmly committed to achieving justice on behalf of all who were affected by these senseless acts of violence. And today’s action proves our unyielding resolve to hold accountable – to the fullest extent of the law – anyone who would threaten the American people or attempt to terrorize our great cities. I would like to thank our law enforcement partners, the FBI, the Department's National Security Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and every investigator, agent, officer, attorney, analyst, and support staff member whose courage and commitment continues to make our communities and our nation safer."

"Today’s indictment is the result of the dedicated and collective efforts of law enforcement and intelligence partners, working with a sense of urgency and purpose to find those responsible for these deadly attacks," said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller. "These continuing efforts reflect the pursuit of justice for those who lost their lives, and for the scores of individuals who were injured."

"Today’s charges reflect the serious and violent nature of the events that occurred on April 15th and the tragic series of events that followed," said Carmen Ortiz, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. "The defendant’s alleged conduct forever changed lives. The victims, their families and this community have shown extraordinary strength and resilience in the face of this senseless violence, and it is with the hundreds of injured, as well as Krystle, Lingzi, Martin and Sean in mind that we proceed to ensure that justice is served in this case."

"Our hearts go out to the victims of these horrendous acts of violence, and our gratitude to the courageous law enforcement officers who have given so much to protect the people of Boston and the United States," said John Carlin, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. "We remain committed to obtaining justice in this matter and will continue to work side by side with our partners throughout the law enforcement and intelligence communities to protect the American people from future harm."

The indictment alleges that beginning no later than February 2013 and continuing until Tsarnaev was apprehended on April 19, 2013, Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan conspired to use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against people, property and places of public use. Specifically, the indictment alleges that on April 15, 2013, during the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, Tsarnaev and his brother placed IEDs among the crowds of spectators who were cheering the runners on Boylston Street towards the marathon finish line. After placing the IEDs among the crowd, the indictment alleges, Tsarnaev and his brother detonated the bombs seconds apart, killing three people, maiming and injuring many more, and forcing a premature end to the marathon. The indictment alleges that the IEDs were constructed from pressure cookers, explosive powder, shrapnel, adhesives and other items, and were designed to shred skin, shatter bone and cause extreme pain and suffering, as well as death.

The indictment also alleges that on April 18, 2013, the FBI released photographs of Tsarnaev and his brother, identifying them as suspects in the marathon bombings. These photographs were widely disseminated on television and elsewhere. The indictment alleges that hours later on April 18, Tsarnaev and his brother, armed with five IEDs, a Ruger P95 semiautomatic handgun, ammunition, a machete and a hunting knife, drove in their Honda Civic to the MIT campus, where they shot MIT Police Officer Sean Collier and attempted to steal his service weapon.

The indictment further alleges that shortly after Tsarnaev and his brother killed Officer Collier, they carjacked a Mercedes, kidnaped the driver, and forced him to drive to a gas station, robbing him of $800 along the way. After the driver managed to escape, the brothers are alleged to have driven the carjacked vehicle to the vicinity of Laurel Street and Dexter Avenue in Watertown, Mass., where Watertown police officers located them and tried to apprehend them. The indictment alleges that the brothers fired at the police officers and used four additional IEDs against them; then Tsarnaev reentered the carjacked vehicle, drove it directly at the officers, running over his brother as he managed to escape. Tsarnaev is alleged to have hidden in a dry-docked boat in a Watertown backyard until his arrest the following night.

Seventeen of the charges authorize a penalty of up to life in prison or the death penalty. The remainder authorize a maximum penalty of life in prison or a fixed term of years. Tsarnaev is scheduled to be arraigned on July 10, 2013.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Middlesex County, Mass., District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Suffolk County, Mass., District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Division; Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis; Colonel Timothy P. Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Kenneth J. Croke, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Boston Field Division; and Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) in Boston, made the announcement today during a press conference.

This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Boston Division, the Boston Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, and member agencies of the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is comprised of more than 30 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the ATF, ICE-HSI, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Secret Service, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority and others. In addition, the Watertown Police Department, the Cambridge Police Department, the MIT Police Department, the Boston Fire Department, the National Guard and police, fire and emergency responders from across Massachusetts and New England played critical roles in the investigation and response.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Weinreb and Aloke Chakravarty of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts' Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit, Nadine Pellegrini, Chief of its Major Crimes Unit, and Trial Attorneys of the U.S. Department of Justice's National Security Division's Counterterrorism Section and its Criminal Division.

The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.