Readers speak on CIA interrogation, VA service

Readers praise and criticize Federal Diary columns.

    The Federal Eye

    Obama gives federal workers
    a modest pay raise for 2015

    The 1% increase is small compared with those given in past presidential administrations.

      What Obama can do about Cuba, and how Congress can interfere

      A look at how President Obama can normalize relations with Cuba on his own versus what moves would require congressional approval.

        Growing portion of FEMA disaster funding goes to admin costs, auditors say

        Federal auditors say FEMA needs to do a better job controlling its administrative costs, which have risen dramatically in recent years.

          HUD union parties with the boss

          HUD came in last out of 25 mid-size agencies in the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings recently issued by the Partnership for Public Service. That leaves Secretary Castro with nowhere to take the department but up.

            How the VA gave Congress and the media false information

            An inspector general this week said the VA issued false statements. Here’s how the VA explained its mistake.

              The Federal Diary

              Readers speak on CIA interrogation, VA service

              FILE - DECEMBER 9, 2014: It was reported that Senate Intelligence Committee chair U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is releasing details of a report reviewing the CIA's use of torture of terrorist suspects in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. MCLEAN, VA - FEBRUARY 19:  A man walks across the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at the lobby of the Original Headquarters Building at the CIA headquarters February 19, 2009 in McLean, Virginia.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

              Readers praise and criticize Federal Diary columns.

              Federal employees heavily involved in fight against Ebola

              BETHESDA, MD - DECEMBER 4: Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in his office in Bethesda, MD, Thursday, December 4, 2014. Fauci is a key player in the government's fight against Ebola. He also has been out front in campaigns against HIV/AIDS and other health emergencies. (Photo by Sammy Dallal for The Washington Post)

              Several agencies, even the Fish and Wildlife Service, have assigned staff to battle the disease.

              What makes patriots perpetrators of torture?

              FILE - DECEMBER 9, 2014: It was reported that Senate Intelligence Committee chair U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is releasing details of a report reviewing the CIA's use of torture of terrorist suspects in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. MCLEAN, VA - FEBRUARY 19:  A man walks across the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at the lobby of the Original Headquarters Building at the CIA headquarters February 19, 2009 in McLean, Virginia.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

              CIA employees are the “best and brightest,” but some also engaged in the acts. But what made them do it?

              In the Loop

              State Department warns travelers about worldwide terror threat

              Nothing like spreading a little holiday fear.

              Harkin’s swan song: Changing the national anthem

              Sen. Tom Harkin displayed his love of America in his final days in public office.

              The Senate made a few people happy this week, but it’s high anxiety for others

              WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 2: Senate Majority leader Harry Reid(D-NV) talks to reporters after the Hill returns from its' holiday break, on December, 02, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

              The Senate, when it closed shop, sent back scores of nominations to the White House to be returned to the new GOP Senate next year

              Fine Print

              Tortured roots of enhanced interrogations

              There’s plenty of blame to spread around for what went on in the name of protecting America’s security.

              Hearing the voices and heeding the lessons of history

              Former CIA director Richard Helms had some important lessons about Vietnam that are worth hearing.

              Pentagon wants Congress to ‘stop the madness’

              Deputy Secretary Robert Work says efforts to pass a budget get crushed in a nonsensical cycle.

              The High Court

              Will this be the term for same-sex marriage?

              A same-sex marriage supporter waves a rainbow flag in front of the US Supreme Court on March 26, 2013 in Washington, DC, as the Court takes up the issue of gay marriage. The US Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments on the emotionally charged issue of gay marriage as it considers arguments that it should make history and extend equal rights to same-sex couples. Waving US and rainbow flags, hundreds of gay marriage supporters braved the cold to rally outside the court along with a smaller group of opponents, some pushing strollers. Some slept outside in hopes of witnessing the historic hearing. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEBSAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

              Watchers are trying to determine if the Supreme Court will finally take up case.

              Human side of Supreme Court cases

              FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2011 file photo, Ari Zivotofsky, right, stands with his nine-year-old son, Menachem, outside the Supreme Court in Washington. The first time Menachem's case was in front of the Supreme Court, Justice Stephen Breyer laid out several reasons why courts should stay out of a dispute between Congress and the president over whether Americans born in Jerusalem may list their place of birth on their passports as Israel. It is back at the high court for argument Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 at a time of acute Palestinian-Israeli tension over Jerusalem and significant strain in Israeli-American relations. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

              Individuals with stories to tell are often at the heart of many cases the justices hear.

              Some explaining to do? Not here.

              Mistie Tolman, left, cries as she gets a hug from friend Lisa Perry after she and her partner Karen McMillian, right, were denied the opportunity for a marriage license inside the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has temporarily blocked an appeals court ruling that declared gay marriage legal in the states of Idaho and Nevada. The order came minutes after Idaho on Wednesday filed an emergency request for an immediate stay. The state's request said that without a stay, state and county officials would have been required to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, Kyle Green)  LOCAL TELEVISION OUT (KTVB 7);  LOCAL ONLINE OUT MANDATORY CREDIT

              Supreme Court justices don’t have to spell out their reasoning for their rulings.

              The Federal Coach

              Julián Castro shares his thoughts on leadership

              The former mayor of San Antonio talks about his new role leading the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

              How to strengthen federal workers’ job satisfaction

              Government leaders should look to a few of the most-improved agencies for ideas.

              How federal leaders can use the ‘Best Places to Work’ rankings

              The rankings come at a time when agency managers are being held more accountable for worker engagement.

              Federal Player of the Week

              Protecting soldiers from deadly improvised explosive devices

              Civilian engineer Sean Young along with colleague Benjamin Tran at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Ohio led the development, testing and deployment of a cutting-edge system of sensors placed on unmanned aerial vehicles that are detecting IEDs from the air and saving lives.

              Latest Federal News

              Obama gives federal workers
              a modest pay raise for 2015

              Obama gives federal workers <br>a modest pay raise for 2015

              The 1% increase is small compared with those given in past presidential administrations.

              Supreme Court allows same-sex marriages in Florida

              Supreme Court allows same-sex marriages in Florida

              A federal judge had previously struck down a state ban, and without Supreme Court intervention, same-sex marriage licenses could be issued starting Jan. 6.

              The Senate made a few people happy this week, but it’s high anxiety for others

              The Senate made a few people happy this week, but it’s high anxiety for others

              The Senate, when it closed shop, sent back scores of nominations to the White House to be returned to the new GOP Senate next year

              What Obama can do about Cuba, and how Congress can interfere

              What Obama can do about Cuba, and how Congress can interfere

              A look at how President Obama can normalize relations with Cuba on his own versus what moves would require congressional approval.

              Dan Pfeiffer knows how to keep a Cuba secret

              Dan Pfeiffer knows how to keep a Cuba secret

              The White House senior adviser ducked and dodged questions during a media roundtable in November.

              Julián Castro shares his thoughts on leadership

              Julián Castro shares his thoughts on leadership

              The former mayor of San Antonio talks about his new role leading the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

              Cuba: The landing strip for the drug cartels?

              Cuba: The landing strip for the drug cartels?

              Obama’s move toward normalizing relations with Cuba kicked off a firestorm of protest by anti-Castro hardliners.

              Column

              The nuclear option and its fallout

              The nuclear option and its fallout

              Obama has been able to make his mark on the federal judiciary, but easier confirmations came at a price.

              HUD union parties with the boss

              HUD union parties with the boss

              HUD came in last out of 25 mid-size agencies in the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings recently issued by the Partnership for Public Service. That leaves Secretary Castro with nowhere to take the department but up.

              Did Blinken recently assure Rubio on Cuba?

              Did Blinken recently assure Rubio on Cuba?

              Sen. Marco Rubio questioned newly confirmed deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken last month on “chatter” that Cuba policy was about to change.

              Supreme Court’s inaction benefits ‘dreamers’ in Arizona

              Justices won’t review decision, so state officials must issue driver’s licenses to some illegal immigrants.

              Did ‘nuclear option’ boost Obama’s judicial appointments?

              The change in the Senate rules reduced the ability of Republicans to filibuster most Obama nominees.

              How the VA gave Congress and the media false information

              An inspector general this week said the VA issued false statements. Here’s how the VA explained its mistake.

              Column

              Former membership also has its privileges

              Former membership also has its privileges

              Leaving Congress doesn’t mean leaving all the perks behind.

              Column

              Tortured roots of enhanced interrogations

              There’s plenty of blame to spread around for what went on in the name of protecting America’s security.

              Millennials just aren’t that into working for the government

              Millennials just aren’t that into working for the government

              Only 7 percent of federal workers are under the age of 30 — the lowest figure in nearly a decade.

              Column

              Getting things right on sexual harassment on the Hill

              Getting things right on sexual harassment on the Hill

              The spending bill includes a report calling on the Capitol to catch up on rules for proper interaction.

              Court rules police may make ‘reasonable’ mistakes in law

              Court rules police may make ‘reasonable’ mistakes in law

              An officer who uncovered cocaine during an errant traffic stop made a “reasonable” mistake, court rules.

              What makes patriots perpetrators of torture?

              What makes patriots perpetrators of torture?

              CIA employees are the best and the brightest, yet some of them engaged in torture. The Federal Diary explores why.

              Supreme Court lets blocking of Arizona abortion law stand

              Supreme Court lets blocking of Arizona abortion law stand

              Activists argue the law would make it tough to get medical abortions. The state says it was meant to protect women.

              Defense bill would put mental-health experts on discharge boards

              Defense bill would put mental-health experts on discharge boards

              The provision is designed to ensure that troops are not discharged without a proper diagnosis for combat related mental-health problems.

              Column

              Will this be the term for same-sex marriage?

              Will this be the term for same-sex marriage?

              Watchers are trying to determine if the Supreme Court will finally take up case.

              Court takes case involving life sentences for juveniles

              Dispute is over resentencing for youths who were denied chance of parole.

              Senate Republican staffers face loss of fed-worker health coverage

              Senate Republican staffers face loss of fed-worker health coverage

              Some additional Senate staff members stand to be forced out of the health plan for federal workers under a policy adopted Wednesday by Senate Republicans.

              House staffers join in solidarity with police protests

              House staffers join in solidarity with police protests

              Participants in quiet event on House steps say the “world is watching” and demand “equal justice for all lives.”

              Column

              Feinstein’s office fires off tweets at CIA’s John Brennan

              Feinstein’s office fires off tweets at CIA’s John Brennan

              The senator’s staff wages a fact-checking war over “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

              How to strengthen federal workers’ job satisfaction

              How to strengthen federal workers’ job satisfaction

              Government leaders should look to a few of the most-improved agencies for ideas.

              Border Patrol overtime pay reformed

              Border Patrol overtime pay reformed

              Under the new system, officers can choose among three pay period options.

              TSP, Border Patrol overtime bills clear Congress

              TSP, Border Patrol overtime bills clear Congress

              Congress takes time away from budget battles to tweak several federal employee benefits.

              About those CIA tactics

              About those CIA tactics

              Obama once cited bipartisanship in declining to pursue allegations of torture. Remember bipartisanship?