John McCaslin

The dean says that based on interest for the combination of law and writing, "We think this will really take off."

Taxed and taken

On the heels of collecting $2.7 trillion in taxes last year, the Internal Revenue Service is at "increased risk" of unauthorized disclosure or destruction of financial and taxpayer information, finds a just-concluded audit by the Government Accountability Office.

The congressional investigative arm says the IRS has made "limited progress" correcting 29 of 98 reported security weaknesses. For example, the GAO states, when it comes to accessing computer resources, the IRS does not always enforce strong password management for identifying and authenticating users, which could lead to deliberate misuse or fraudulent use.

While you slept

Poor Katie Couric "has spent her time gunning for a position that had been drained of its status and importance long before she got there," concludes the Atlantic's Caitlin Flanagan, in her probe of the CBS News anchorwoman's long day's journey into evening.

"And what she has learned, the hard way, is that her climb to the top has not been a triumph, but the act of someone who slept through a revolution."

Fear the turtle

It's not espionage, but smuggling sea turtle shells into the United States for which Chinese national Wang Hong will be sentenced Feb. 19 in U.S. District Court.

Wang in recent days pleaded guilty to one felony count following his arrest and the indictment of 10 other suspects in August for smuggling the Hawksbill sea turtle shells and shell products from China. Because the species of turtle is listed as "endangered" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, Wang faces a fine of up to $20,000 and up to a year in jail.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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