The Paper Trail: October 10, 2023

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The Paper Trail

Top stories for October 10, 2023

Army to Congress: Do your job so we can help Israel and Ukraine: Pentagon leadership is in the early stages of evaluating what Israel needs to battle Hamas, but those needs will run headlong into the dysfunction and uncertainty enveloping Capitol Hill as the House grapples with selecting a new leader and both chambers race to avoid a government shutdown. Those priorities will also compete with rush orders for Ukraine. (Paul McLeary and Connor O'Brien, Politico)

🔎 See Also: Tuberville won't bend on military blockade amid Israel crisis (Ursula Perano et al., Politico)

National lab isn't properly tracking sensitive and high-risk property, OIG says: An IG review found Brookhaven National Laboratory isn't adequately overseeing sensitive property including lasers, oscilloscopes, and chemical/biological equipment. (Carten Cordell, Government Executive)

DHS, USPS failing in their requirements to screen for opioids in the mail: A Customs and Border Protection/Postal Service/State Department effort to stop drug distributors from sending opioids through the mail is failing to implement key reforms meant to close loopholes that allow such materials to enter the country, according to an inspector general review. (Eric Katz, Government Executive)

Victim who claims she was sexually assaulted at CIA headquarters sues spy agency accusing it of intimidation: The suit comes as the CIA continues to face scrutiny on Capitol Hill over its handling of sexual harassment and sexual assault cases. Earlier this year, several women told Congress that their allegations of sexual misconduct were "grossly mishandled." (Katie Bo Lillis, CNN)

Classified Documents

Trump allegedly discussed U.S. nuclear subs with foreign national after leaving White House: In April 2021, Donald Trump allegedly disclosed sensitive information about U.S. submarines to Australian businessman Anthony Pratt, who then allegedly shared the information with at least 45 others. Shortly after Trump became president, Pratt became a member at Mar-a-Lago and publicly pledged to invest $2 billion in American manufacturing jobs. (Katherine Faulders, Alexander Mallin, and Mike Levine, ABC News)

Biden interviewed by special counsel in classified documents probe: President Biden met last week with special counsel Robert Hur, who was appointed in January to handle the probe into classified documents found at Biden's home and old office. (Brett Samuels, The Hill)


Donald Trump followers targeted by FBI as 2024 election nears: The FBI believes that the threat of violence and major civil disturbances around the 2024 presidential election is so great that it quietly created a new category of extremists that it seeks to track and counter: Donald Trump's army of MAGA followers. (William M. Arkin, Newsweek)

Analysis: The slow burn threatening our democracy: Over the past 10 years, more than 500 people have been arrested for threatening public officials. Unless policymakers act, threats to education, election, healthcare, judicial, law enforcement, and policymaking officials will normalize political violence and stymie civic engagement and democratic processes. (Pete Simi and Seamus Hughes, Lawfare)

Russia-Ukraine War

U.S. sending seized Iranian ammunition to Ukraine: The Pentagon has $5.4 billion left in funding authority to send weapons to Ukraine but only $1.6 billion left to replenish its own stocks, and that money will soon run out if Congress doesn't act to authorize additional funding. (Lara Seligman, Politico)

🔎 See Also: Biden team weighs using State Department grants to fund weapons for Ukraine (Lara Seligman, Paul McCleary, and Connor O'Brien, Politico)

Army veteran volunteering in Ukraine reportedly killed during raid: According to the State Department, current casualty numbers for Americans fighting in Ukraine remain unclear because U.S. citizens are not required to register their travel to a foreign country. (Sarah Sicard, Military Times)

Police Misconduct

ICE, CBP, Secret Service all illegally used smartphone location data: The DHS IG found that ICE, CBP, and the Secret Service broke the law while using location data harvested from smartphone apps and didn't have any supervisory review to ensure proper use of the technology. In one instance, a CBP employee inappropriately used the technology to track the location of coworkers. (Joseph Cox, 404 Media)


Say goodbye to the COVID-19 vaccination card. The CDC has stopped printing them: Now that COVID vaccines are not being distributed by the federal government, the CDC has stopped printing new cards. If you've held on to your card, it's still valid as proof of vaccination. Otherwise, people who need their COVID immunization records will need to request them just like any other vaccine. (Devi Shastri, Associated Press)

DoD settles COVID vaccine mandate lawsuits for $1.8 million: Two lawsuits filed by service members challenging the Pentagon's now-defunct COVID vaccine mandate ended in a settlement. Of 17,000 service members who refused the vaccine, more than 8,000 were discharged and 1,000 received exemptions. (Meghann Myers, Military Times)

Florida settles lawsuit over COVID data, agrees to provide weekly stats to the public: Florida will provide COVID data to the public for the next three years, including weekly statistics on cases, deaths, and vaccinations, after a former state lawmaker settled a lawsuit over the state's decision two years ago to stop posting this information. (Associated Press)

Defense and Veterans Affairs

Over 80 percent of four-star retirees are employed in defense industry: Twenty-six of 32 four-star admirals and generals who retired between June 2018 and July 2023 were later employed as executives, advisers, board members, or lobbyists for companies with significant defense business. (Missy Ryan, Washington Post)

Senators want answers on housing for disabled military family members: Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Thom Tillis wrote a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin asking how many special-needs families in the past 10 years have had to pay out of pocket to modify their housing to meet their disability-related needs. (Karen Jowers, Military Times)

Looking to fight racial disparity, Marines begin collecting more demographic data on minor offenses: Beginning in August, the Marine Corps began recording anonymous race, ethnic, and gender data for victims of all nonjudicial punishment offenses (NJPs), after an internal review found that the greatest racial disparities occur where there is limited oversight, like NJPs, and where decisions are made at lower levels of the chain of command. (Drew F. Lawrence,

Business and Finance

Major companies underreported millions in political contributions: As corporate America faces growing demand for transparency around their political activities, new research shows nearly three dozen major corporations are falling short on those transparency commitments. (Caitlin Oprysko, Politico)

Workers exposed to extreme heat have few protections: Scientists say heat waves are likely to grow more intense, but there are few safeguards for tens of millions of American workers exposed to rising temperatures on the job. (Noah Weiland, New York Times)

Senators probe TikTok's executive transfers from ByteDance: Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Richard Blumenthal are concerned recent personnel changes undermine the security of U.S. data and the representations TikTok has made about its independence from ByteDance. (Georgia Wells, Wall Street Journal)


As false war information spreads on X, Musk promotes unvetted accounts: As false information about the war between Hamas militants and Israel proliferated on the social media platform X over the weekend, owner Elon Musk personally recommended that users follow accounts notorious for promoting lies. (Joseph Menn, Washington Post)

🔎 See Also: Vietnam tried to hack U.S. officials, CNN with posts on X, probe finds (Joseph Menn et al., Washington Post)


EPA opens civil rights probe over Alabama sewage funds: The EPA will investigate whether Alabama's management of its Clean Water State Revolving Fund program is racially discriminatory. Environmental and civil rights groups claim the state makes it difficult for Black residents to access this money. (Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk, The Hill)

Health Care

Senator calls for DOJ action against Philips for keeping CPAP machine complaints secret: Sen. Richard Blumenthal called on federal prosecutors to take action against Philips Respironics after revelations that the company for years hid evidence that its CPAP machines exposed users to hazardous particles and fumes. (Jonathan Salant et al., ProPublica)

Thousands got Exactech knee or hip replacements. Then, patients say, the parts began to fail: More than 1,100 patients have sued Exactech after it began recalling artificial knees, hips, and ankles in 2021, accusing the company of hiding evidence of defects from the public and federal regulators for years. (Fred Schulte, CBS News)

Walgreens pharmacy staff walk out, citing unsafe working conditions: Thousands of Walgreens pharmacy staff across the country are walking off the job this week, alleging that poor working conditions are putting employees and patients at risk. (Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post)

Her insurance refused to pay for Wegovy, so she sued: Many employers and government programs don't cover weight-loss medications. Lawyers argue that these policies are discriminatory. (Rebecca Robbins, New York Times)

🔎 See Also: Food, clothing, airlines: Ozempic is coming for these industries and more (Daniel Gilbert and Laura Reiley, Washington Post)


Immigration and Border Security:

U.S. will build stretch of border wall and begin deportations to Venezuela

Justice Dept. detains thousands of undocumented immigrants as witnesses in smuggling cases

Other News:

Agencies can begin submitting congressionally mandated reports to online system this month

Leonard Leo says he will not cooperate with D.C. Attorney General tax probe

Arizona recount law could delay certifying 2024 election, officials say

How red-state politics are shaving years off American lives

Gun deaths rising sharply among children, study finds

Coordinated "swatting" effort may be behind hundreds of school shooting hoaxes

U.S. Tennis accused of downplaying sexual abuse and trying to silence Pam Shriver

Hot Docs

🔥📃 GAO - Human Rights: Agency Actions Needed to Address Harassment of Dissidents and Other Tactics of Transnational Repression in the U.S. GAO-24-106183(PDF)

Nominations & Appointments


  • Seth R. Aframe - Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • Hampton Dellinger - Special Counsel, Office of the Special Counsel
  • Edward S. Kiel - Judge, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • Sarah F. Russell - Judge, United States District Court for the District of Connecticut