Watchdog One – Week in Review – February 10, 2018

More links, less pontification. Welcome back to another abbreviated edition of the Watchdog One weekly, by Jason Mojica. Please make sure to follow us on Twitter: @watchdog_one / Tell your friends to SUBSCRIBE / Send us tips: tips@watchdogone.org / Let us know what you think: editor@watchdogone.org.

THIS WEEK WE HEARD A LOT ABOUT…

The other memo
Here’s CNN’s breakdown of Trump’s refusal to release the Democratic response to the Nunes memo [CNN]

– Here’s the Project on Government Oversight’s Executive Director applauding the fact that at least the members of the House Intelligence Committee will gain access to the underlying classified documents that inspired the Nunes memo. [POGO]

The White House’s internal version of extreme vetting
– David Frum asks “Why Didn’t the White House See Domestic Violence as Disqualifying?” [The Atlantic]

Here’s Politico’s take on how the White House is handling its crisis of the week. [Politico]

But wait, there’s more [Washington Post]

How much of your money the Federal Government will spend over the next two years
– The folks at ClearanceJobs see defense spending as the winner in the budget deal, which means… more jobs for folks with a security clearance. (No clearance? Try the White House). [ClearanceJobs]

– Veronique de Rugy at Reason opines that “The Senate budget deal proves Republicans love government spending” [Reason]

The budget will allow Medicare to pay for a range of new benefits and services including managed care and home-delivered meals [Forbes]

Fig Newmans got a tax break [Bloomberg]

The DACA can got kicked down the road [CNN]

MEANWHILE…

The DoD’s internal watchdog testified that there are fewer members of the military being found guilty of misconduct
The Department of Defense’s acting Inspector General, Glenn Fine, testified on Capitol Hill (video) Wednesday about the procedures for investigating misconduct by senior leadership in the military. The DoD IG released data on Wednesday as part of Fine’s prepared statement that suggests that fewer members of the military are being found guilty of misconduct. But that’s due in part to the fact that more cases are being dismissed as not credible, the Associated Press’ Lolita C. Baldor reports. “There were 803 complaints filed in the fiscal year that ended last Sept. 30, compared to 787 the previous year. But just 144 were deemed credible and investigated by the IG, and 49 senior officials were eventually found guilty of misconduct.” [Read more from the AP via The Washington Post]

The DoD released its new harassment policy
On Thursday, the DoD released Instruction 1020.03: Harassment Prevention and Response in the Armed Forces. A department press release explained that this is a comprehensive policy that included sexual harassment and harassment through social media, before reminding us all that all DoD policy ultimately comes down to improving the military’s ability to kill people and break things: “The department’s policy strives to provide an atmosphere of dignity and respect and an environment free from discrimination, harassment and assault, to increase the readiness and lethality of the armed forces.” [Read more from DoD]

Related: Sexual assault reports doubled at West Point [Army Times]

Related: ‘Continuum Of Harm’: The Military Has Been Fighting Sexual Assault In Its Ranks For Decades, But Women Say It’s Still Happening [Task & Purpose]

President Trump set the ball in motion for formalized “extreme vetting”
On Tuesday, the President signed a memorandum establishing a “National Vetting Center” that in addition to seeking to coordinate “efforts to identify individuals who present a threat to national security, border security, homeland security, or public safety,” also creates a new director-level position to be designated by the Department of Homeland Security. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement, “The National Vetting Center will support unprecedented work by DHS and the entire U.S. intelligence community to keep terrorists, violent criminals, and other dangerous individuals from reaching our shores.” [Read more from the White House]

The first meeting of the “Cuba Internet Task Force” took place
Created by a Presidential memorandum late last year, the task force is part of the Trump administration’s tougher stance on Cuba. In its inaugural meeting, members of the task force agreed to… meet again, and to form some subcommittees which will make some recommendations within six months. This is somewhat ironic because, as Reuters reports, under the Obama administration’s improved relations with Cuba in 2015-2016, “Cuba significantly expanded internet access, introducing Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces and connecting more homes to the web. A handful of independent, web-based news outlets emerged too, chipping away at state media. Several of those outlets have said they want nothing to do with Trump’s free press initiative, which they fear creates the impression they are mouthpieces of the United States.” [Read more from Reuters]

Related – Cuba hands note of protest to U.S. over internet task force [Reuters]

The US continued to be at war in Syria
Syria and Russia condemned the United States’ military presence in Syria as ‘illegal’ Thursday after an overnight confrontation in which U.S. warplanes bombed pro-Syrian-government forces as they approached an American-supported base,” reports the Liz Sly in the Washington Post. “U.S. forces targeted the pro-government troops with airstrikes and artillery after they launched an attack against a base belonging to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, according to Col. Thomas F. Veale, a U.S. military spokesman.” [Read more from The Washington Post]

Related: US Secretary of Defense James Mattis on the “perplexing situation” that led to the attack in Syria. [DoD]

INVESTIGATIONS & REVELATIONS

US Secretly Negotiated with Russians to Buy Stolen NSA Documents – and the Russians Offered Trump-Related Material, Too [The Intercept]

ICE Wants to Be an Intelligence Agency Under Trump [The Daily Beast]

Russians penetrated U.S. voter systems, top U.S. official says [NBC News]

Inquiry of Soldiers’ Deaths Urges Curtailing West Africa Missions [New York Times]

 

BITS & BOBS

CBP Ensures Pest-free Flowers for Valentine’s Day [CPB]

Senators Ponder How to Break Criminal Justice Logjam [Roll Call]

Former Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Sentenced to Prison for Accepting Bribes to Dismiss Indictment Against Colombian Narcotics Kingpin [DOJ]

Latest Wells Fargo Penalties Add Fuel to Dodd-Frank Debate [Roll Call]

Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on the agency’s scientific evidence on the presence of opioid compounds in kratom, underscoring its potential for abuse [FDA]

 

FLORIDA MAN

Joseph Daneil Hudek, a Florida man who consumed marijuana edibles, tried to open the exit door of a plane en route to China, and then started a brawl with flight attendants and passengers who tried to stop him pled guity to four felonies in federal court on Friday. According to a DOJ press release, “The plane had just passed over Vancouver Island and was over the Pacific Ocean when Hudek came out of the first class bathroom and in an agitated state attempted to raise the lever of the exit door of the aircraft. Two flight attendants attempted to stop Hudek and he threw one to the floor and punched the other. When a passenger attempted to assist the flight attendants, HUDEK hit him over the head with a wine bottle.” [Read more at Q13 Fox]