VA reverses denial of benefits in Agent Orange case

A few items that caught our attention Thursday:

(Courtesy of Bailey family) - Paul Bailey, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who is gravely ill with cancer, attends a veterans memorial in Concord, N.H. Paul Bailey, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who is gravely ill with cancer, at a veterans memorial in Concord, N.H. (Bailey family)

VA reverses decision in Agent Orange case: The Department of Veterans Affairs has reversed its denial of Agent Orange-related disability benefits for Air Force veteran Paul Bailey, a retired lieutenant colonel who flew on potentially-contaminated C-123 aircraft after the Vietnam War. Advocates say the decision, which came on the heels of a Washington Post report about the issue, is the first of its kind for veterans seeking compensation for postwar exposure, according to a follow-up article.

Federal agency turns thermostat up to 80 degrees under sequester: Among the many solutions agencies have developed for dealing with the government’s automatic spending cuts, at least one has decided to skimp on air conditioning, causing a decline in worker morale, according to a Huffington Post article.

U.S. Special Operations Command studied how to mine social-networking data: An unclassified document from 2012 shows that the D.C. branch of U.S. Special Operations Command met with at least a dozen data-mining companies to learn about exploiting the personal information Americans post on the Web. The command now claims that the project has been disbanded, according to a Mother Jones report.

DHS developing response plans for cyber attacks: Homeland Security officials say they’re working to build plans that public and private-sector responders can act on in the event of a major attack, but organizations and individuals may not be thrilled about sharing information about the threats they face, according to a Federal News Radio article.

McCain may be only hope for reaching fiscal deal: The National Journal has suggested that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), with his maverick ways and moderate brand of Republicanism, may represent the best chance for salvaging budget talks this year. Read the analysis here.

To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed, friend his Facebook page or e-mail josh.hicks@washpost.comFor more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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