Order Issued for Federal Pay Boost

The Bush administration issued an executive order yesterday implementing a 4.1 percent pay increase for the federal government's 1.8 million civilian employees.

The executive order provides for a 3.1 percent increase in base pay and a 1 percent boost in locality pay.

The pay increase is retroactive to the first pay period of the year. It falls to federal agencies to determine how back pay will be distributed to their employees.

Congress provided for the 4.1 percent increase in an omnibus spending bill that President Bush signed on Feb. 20. In November, with no pay directive from Congress, Bush issued an executive order for a 3.1 percent increase. But Congress eventually approved the pay boost to match the 4.1 percent raise for the military. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said: "The money provided by the extra 1 percent mandated by Congress represents significant money for the average federal employee."

Perle Defends Global Crossing Role

Richard N. Perle, a Defense Department adviser, said he is helping bankrupt Global Crossing Ltd. in its efforts to win government approval of its sale to foreign companies, a deal that has prompted concerns about national security.

Perle would receive $725,000 for his work, including $600,000 if the government approves the sale of Global Crossing to a joint venture of two Asian firms, according to lawyers and others involved in the bankruptcy case. Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. and Singapore Technologies Telemedia purchased the company for $250 million in August. But the deal requires federal approval and is under review by a government group that includes representatives of the Defense Department.

As chairman of the Defense Policy Board, Perle is covered by the government ethics prohibition on using public office for private gain. Perle, an assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration and a presidential campaign adviser to George W. Bush, said he has not violated ethics rules.

FDA Seeks Probe of Lapse in Study

The Food and Drug Administration asked the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the "significant concerns" the agency has about a clinical study it had sponsored.

The study, funded by the Army and involving about 260 U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen, tested a dietary supplement's ability to increase bone mass. It was led by researchers from the FDA and the private Henry Jackson Foundation. The investigation will focus on the loss of medical records with confidential medical information from at least 92 of the participants, and on possible financial improprieties.

FDA Commissioner Mark B. McClellan said he does not believe any participants have been harmed by the lapse, but he noted that he wants to make sure the FDA is held to the same standard of oversight it imposes on those it regulates. He also ordered an audit of all 300 or so clinical studies sponsored or directed by the FDA.

FBI Whistle-Blower Is Reassigned

Coleen Rowley, the Minneapolis FBI agent who exposed intelligence failures that occurred before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, has been reassigned, at her request, to an investigative position, a spokesman said. She had been the chief division counsel for 12 years. Rowley accused the FBI of refusing to issue a warrant to search Zacarias Moussaoui's belongings; he was later charged with six counts of conspiracy in the terrorist plot.

-- Compiled from reports by staff writers Christopher Lee and Rick Weiss and the Associated Press