- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Shutdown furloughs 70 percent of U.S. intelligence workers
Officials say closure is ‘dreamland’ for foreign spies to recruit Americans
U.S. intelligence agencies have had to furlough 70 percent of their civilian staff, including operations personnel, and the government shutdown makes employees easy targets for recruitment by enemy agents, officials said Wednesday.
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no choice but to follow the clear legal guidelines in determining who he could keep on the job.
Staff could report for duty only if their job "is necessary to protect against imminent threat to life or property. And so our applying that standard is what resulted across the board in furloughing of roughly 70 percent," Mr. Clapper said.
Mr. Clapper's spokesman, Shawn Turner, confirmed that the furloughs covered the full range of duties of staff across the sprawling collection of agencies that insiders call the intelligence community — including both operations and support personnel.
"If there are people working on ongoing operations where [the target does not present] an imminent threat to life or property, some of those people have been furloughed," Mr. Turner said.
Mr. Clapper, the nation's fourth director of national intelligence, also told Congress that the financial impact of being without wages would make intelligence staff more vulnerable to recruitment by America's enemies.
"This is a dreamland for foreign intelligence service to recruit, particularly as our employees already, many of whom were subject to furloughs driven by sequestration, are going to have, I believe, even greater financial challenges," he warned.
He said that his office was working to get counseling for employees "to help them manage their finances" as the shutdown dragged on.
Mr. Clapper said the furloughs "seriously damage our ability to protect the safety and security of this nation and its citizens," and he said decisions about which employees are reporting to work are reviewed daily.
"We will have to shuffle people in and out depending on what we believe the concern of the day is," he said.
He said the longer the shutdown goes on, the more the danger builds.
"So each day that goes by, the jeopardy increases," he said.
Testifying alongside Mr. Clapper, Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency, echoed that warning.
The NSA had by law to focus on "the most specific threats against our nation" — which meant "the most significant counterterrorism and other threats that we see [and] the support to our military forces in Afghanistan and overseas," he said.
The shutdown "has had a huge impact on morale," Gen. Alexander concluded.
Republican senators at the hearing said Congress should pass a bill that would specifically fund the 16 agencies of the intelligence community and the civilian functions of the Pentagon. Both chambers this week already passed legislation, which President Obama signed, to exempt the military services from furloughs and other effects of the shutdown.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- Game players don't think peace has a chance in Syria
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
- Hillary swoons at admitted illegal immigrant: 'Wow,' you're 'incredibly brave'
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- CHARLES: Holder's undermining of the law deserving of contempt
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.