Trust Digest 88 (March 16, 2015)


Chemical Safety Board prevails in Deepwater Horizon case
A federal appeals court on Thursday affirmed the authority of government investigators to probe Transocean’s involvement in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Key Words: Transocean, Deepwater Horizon
Trust Issues: Environment, Sustainability, Accountability


NASA: California Has One Year of Water Left
Plagued by prolonged drought, California now has only enough water to get it through the next year, according to NASA. In an op-ed published Thursday by the Los Angeles Times, Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, painted a dire picture of the state's water crisis. California, he writes, has lost around 12 million acre-feet of stored water every year since 2011. In the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins, the combined water sources of snow, rivers, reservoirs, soil water and groundwater amounted to a volume that was 34 million acre-feet below normal levels in 2014. And there is no relief in sight.
Key Words: Drought, California
Trust Issues: Climate Change, Security, Public Utility


Companies Taking Whistleblower Retaliation Seriously
U.S. companies substantiated 27% of whistleblower retaliation complaints last year, a 125% increase on 2013 that indicates ethics and compliance program leaders are taking such cases more seriously amid tighter regulatory scrutiny, according to a new survey.
Key Words: Corporation, Whistleblower, SEC
Trust Issues: Accountability, Regulation, Retaliation


C.I.A. Cash Ended Up in Coffers of Al Qaeda
In the spring of 2010, Afghan officials struck a deal to free an Afghan diplomat held hostage by Al Qaeda. But the price was steep — $5 million — and senior security officials were scrambling to come up with the money.
Key Words: Government Funds, Terrorism
Trust Issues: Oversight, Accountability


DOT&E Report: The F-35 Is Not Ready for IOC and Won't Be Any Time Soon
Inside-the-Beltway wisdom holds that the $1.4 trillion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is too big to cancel and on the road to recovery. But the latest report from the Defense Department’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) provides a litany of reasons that conventional wisdom should be considered politically driven propaganda. The press has already reported flawed software that hinders the ability of the plane to employ weapons, communicate information, and detect threats; maintenance problems so severe that the F-35 has an “overdependence” on contractor maintainers and “unacceptable workarounds” (behind paywall) and is only able to fly twice a week; and a high-rate, premature production schedule that ignores whether the program has demonstrated essential combat capabilities or proven it’s safe to fly. All of these problems are increasing costs and risks to the program. Yet rather than slow down production to focus resources on fixing these critical problems, Congress used the year-end continuing resolution omnibus appropriations bill—termed the “cromnibus”—to add 4 additional planes to the 34 Department of Defense (DoD) budgeted for Fiscal Year 2015. The original FY2016 plan significantly increased the buy to 55, and now the program office is further accelerating its purchase of these troubled planes to buy 57 instead.
Key Words: Government Funds, Accountability
Trust Issues: Government Waste, Corruption


The Over-Criminalization of Regulatory Compliance
The Supreme Court is about to send another shockwave in criminal law. No one suspected that the Roberts Supreme Court would become a pro-defendant court but with the support of some conservative justices, the tide against prosecutorial excess is strong.
Key Words: Supreme Court, White Collar Crime
Trust Issues: Regulation, Compliance, Double Standards


Hillary's judgment problem
Hillary Clinton acknowledging that it would have been better to use two e-mail accounts is about as close to an apology from the Clintons you'll ever get. But the matter of "convenience" is just nonsense, as everyone knows. Even a tech dinosaur like myself has two e-mail accounts, which I now access on my spiffy new Apple iPhone 6 Plus. (By the way, instead of that old BlackBerry, Hillary should have had an iPhone).
Key Words: Clinton Emails, Judgment
Trust Issues: National Security, Privacy, Public Interest


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