FBI Agents Say Shutdown Is Doing Serious Damage

Even paid informants aren't getting paid
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2019 4:53 AM CST
Traffic along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington streaks past the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters building.   (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
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(Newser) – The ongoing government shutdown is damaging national security and "our enemies know they can run freely," FBI agents say in a report from a group that represents more than 14,000 current and former agents. In the FBI Agents Association report, the agents, speaking anonymously, describe how the lack of funding is hurting the agency's operations. With no money to pay informants, "we have lost several sources who have worked for months, and years, to penetrate groups and target subjects," says one joint terrorism task force coordinator. Agents say the shutdown has also been a major setback for drug and child abuse investigations.

Other agents say the job has "never been so hard or thankless" and warn that the shutdown "has eliminated any ability to operate," Politico reports. An official investigating the MS-13 street gang says the division no longer has a Spanish-speaker who can communicate with informants. "We are only able to communicate using a three-way call with a linguist in another division," the official says. Some 5,000 of the FBI's 35,000 employees are staying home because of the shutdown, and all are going without pay. The FBI declined to comment on the agent statements in the report, but stressed that it came from "a nonprofit professional association, and was not issued by the FBI," CNN reports. (Read more government shutdown stories.)

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