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January 23, 2014 | By Ken Dilanian
WASHINGTON - In the week since President Obama called for ending the National Security Agency's bulk collection of U.S. telephone data "as it currently exists," telephone carriers have uploaded customer calling records to NSA computers just as they have since the program was created after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The daily transfer of Americans' telephone toll records to a government database is likely to continue at least for the next 18 months despite the president's speech last Friday and a growing debate over the legality and effectiveness of the once-secret operation.
January 21, 2014 | By Ben Welsh
The Los Angeles city Fire Commission on Tuesday named a lawyer from the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti as the Fire Department's new internal watchdog. The independent assessor position was created by voters in 2009 to audit the handling of misconduct complaints against LAFD employees. It was prompted by a wave of discrimination and harassment allegations that cost taxpayers nearly $20 million in legal payouts over several years. In a unanimous vote after emerging from a closed-door session, the commission appointed Sue Stengel.
January 19, 2014 | By Howard Blume
The watchdog committee for the Los Angeles school district's $1-billion iPad program is scheduled to fold, raising questions about oversight of the ongoing effort to provide every student, teacher and administrator with a computer. The decision to disband the panel as of April was announced last week by Board of Education President Richard Vladovic. "I think there needs to be a conclusion of some sort," he said in an interview. He also insisted that all necessary oversight would continue.
January 3, 2014 | By Shan Li
A Labor Department watchdog has called for a change in the way sensitive weekly jobs data is released to the public, recommending an end to the long practice of giving information to journalists first. The decades-long "lockup" method, in which reporters "locked" into a room are given reports and forbidden to send out stories before an appointed time, must be tightened or abolished altogether, according to an audit from the department's office of inspector general. The audit could lead to a change in the practice of releasing market-moving economic data to the media first.
December 23, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Earlier this month, Roberts Broadcasting sold three TV stations to ION Media for $7.75 million. The deal is tiny compared with the recent acquisitions of Belo Broadcasting by Gannett Co. and Local TV Holdings by Tribune Co., both of which were for billions of dollars. However, it is significant for another reason -- the Roberts Broadcasting stations are the last that were owned and operated by an African American entity, according to media watchdog Free Press. "There are now zero black-owned and operated full-power TV stations in our country," said Joseph Torres and Derek Turner of Free Press, which blamed the FCC's relaxing of TV ownership regulations for the current situation.
December 19, 2013 | David Lazarus
Your personal information isn't safe. That doesn't apply only to the 40 million Target shoppers whose credit and debit card numbers may now be in the hands of hackers. It's a trend that's been clear for many years: The stewards of consumers' personal info - businesses, hospitals, government agencies - are woefully negligent when it comes to safeguarding data. Too often, sensitive computer files are unencrypted or left on laptops that get stolen. Aggressive moves by hackers are met with only the most cursory security upgrades.
December 17, 2013 | By Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON -- The official in charge of exposing wrongdoing inside the troubled Homeland Security Department has been transferred amid allegations that he abused his position, officials said Tuesday. Charles K. Edwards was scheduled to appear before a Senate panel on Thursday to answer questions about allegations that he improperly employed his wife, misused travel funds and covered up details about a Secret Service prostitution scandal. He has denied any wrongdoing. The Senate hearing was canceled after he left his post.
December 5, 2013 | By David Zucchino
KABUL, Afghanistan - A federal watchdog agency on Thursday accused the U.S. military in Afghanistan of failing to conduct an adequate risk assessment for managing and accounting for $3 billion in military aid spent by U.S. taxpayers on Afghan security forces in their fight against Taliban insurgents. The U.S. military command in Afghanistan responded immediately with a statement saying the watchdog, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, had acknowledged steps taken by the U.S. military to "mitigate financial weaknesses" regarding U.S. money for the Afghan military.
December 3, 2013 | By Abby Sewell and Jack Leonard
The stated intent of the action was to increase government accountability. But some open-government advocates are suggesting that the Los Angeles County supervisors ran afoul of the spirit, and perhaps the letter, of the state's open-meetings law last week when they selected a new watchdog to monitor the Sheriff's Department. The board met behind closed doors Nov. 26 and tentatively chose prosecutor Max Huntsman to fill the newly created position of Sheriff's Department inspector general.
November 26, 2013 | By Jack Leonard
A corruption-tackling prosecutor has been selected to head a new agency that will scrutinize the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, with the power to conduct investigations inside the troubled jails and elsewhere. After months of searching, the Board of Supervisors offered the job Tuesday to Deputy Dist. Atty. Max Huntsman, a supervisor in the district attorney's public corruption division who has been among the lead prosecutors in the trial of Bell city officials, according to county sources familiar with the decision.
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