While the month-long government shutdown has had a range of lamentable consequences – ranging from the eviction of low-income citizens receiving housing assistance to the trashing of national parks – we’re not sure that this consequence of the drying-up of federal funds will leave many of our readers in tears.
On Monday, the union representing FBI agents complained that the partial shutdown has prevented them from paying off snitches, buying drugs while undercover, and renewing their own security clearances necessary to prevent being locked out of federal databases.
“Every day that the shutdown continues, the operational impediments created by the shutdown get worse and damage our counterterrorism and counterintelligence operations around the globe,” said Tom O’Connor, the president of the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), according to AFP.
Connor added that investigations and prosecutions have suffered from a lack of taxpayer dollars while translators haven’t been paid, either.
The feds have also hemorrhaged informants who had infiltrated groups that were under investigation such as the transnational gang MS-13, according to an FBIAA report.
“Not being able to pay Confidential Human Sources [informants] risks losing them and the information they provide FOREVER. It is not a switch that we can turn on and off,” an anonymous agent complained.
The bureau’s woes have come to light as the government shutdown continues with little end in sight with President Trump canceling his own State of the Union speech amid a bruising showdown with a Democrat-controlled Congress over his demands to build a $5.7 wall at the southern border.
Yet 13,000 special agents in the FBI have continued to work and the FBIAA is claiming that recruitment, training, and ongoing operations have all taken a blow due to the continuing battle in Washington, D.C.
The FBIAA also claims that G-Men are facing personal financial woes due to the shutdown, placing the often handsomely-paid special agents in the same class as the 800,000 federal workers and millions of contract workers who are dealing with the indefinite furlough without pay. This is now forcing agents to confront financial strains, making them a security risk by the FBI’s very own criteria.
According to 39 FBI Special Agent salary reports submitted to job search and review website Glassdoor.com, the average base pay for agents is around $138,000 after factoring in bonuses and assorted other forms of compensation.
“The federal government shutdown means I continue to work every day to protect America, while investigations are delayed and my family goes without pay,” another agent griped.
The shutdown has also forced younger employees to reevaluate their future with the federal agency, convincing some potential applicants to explore career options elsewhere, leaving the bureau “stuck with subpar applicants,” the report added.
Ironically, the report was released on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
In 1964, FBI founding director J. Edgar Hoover blasted King in a news conference as “the most notorious liar in the country.” Days later, a package from a person pretending to be black was sent to King containing a tape recording showing the civil rights leader’s alleged sexual improprieties along with a letter calling him “evil” six times and a “dissolute, abnormal moral imbecile,” among other overheated insults, and urged him to take his life.
The letter – published in full, unredacted form in 2014 by The New York Times – was later discovered to have originated from the FBI.
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