Official Warns Shutdown Could Make Spies Double Agents

Fears that unpaid intelligence agents could be flipped

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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

This April 18, 2013 file photo shows National Intelligence Director James Clapper testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington.

An ongoing government shutdown heightens the risk that American intelligence officers could be flipped as double agents, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Wednesday.

“Each day that goes by the jeopardy increases,” Clapper said while testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “This is a dream land for foreign intelligence services to recruit. Particularly as our employees, many of whom are already subject to furloughs… are going to have, I believe, even greater financial challenges.”

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders are meeting Wednesday evening at the White House to negotiate a way out of the shutdown, now in its second day. Hundreds of thousands of government employees are being furloughed or going without pay.

“I’ve been in the intelligence business for about 50 years. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Clapper said. “This seriously damages our ability to protect the safety and security of this nation and its citizens.”

11 comments
edath55
edath55

It isn't as far-fetched as it seems. A good number of intelligence professionals have access to highly sensitive and/or classified information but work in lowly-paid positions. Shutdowns cause both financial and morale-related hardship in these positions, particularly when the employees in question are deemed non-essential. Not beyond the realm of possibility that foreign intelligence services could target these employees for recruitment during the shutdown and have a greater possibility of success.

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

Wait -- THIS man still has a job? Really? When you commit perjury, don't you at least lose your high-pay, high-perk position? I mean, I think that's still a felony, isn't it?

Jesus wept. Well, Congress may tolerate this liar but there's no reason any of us should believe anything that comes out of his lying mouth.

drudown
drudown

Sorry, it is the GOP minority failing to do its prescribed duties under Article I, Section 8. Congress has PLENARY authority to raise REVENUE. Pity their corporate puppeteer insists on a "no new taxes, ever" mantra and is using the feigned ideological and/or partisan "differences" over the ACA (or "Obamacare") to injure the People of the United States and, in doing so, the entire World Community. Is not the entire World Community figuratively and literally invested in America?

It is unconstitutional for ANY elected official to refuse to acknowledge federal law that has been properly passed through three separate branches of government. There is nothing about Congress' abstract ability to "pass any legislation at any time" that ameliorates- much less obviates- the former. It is often referred to as each elected official's Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws contained in the Constitution.

Incredibly, you cite the "potential for Executive veto" as if, in the end, Congress can refuse to fund laws duly signed into law. That is a de facto Legislative veto or simply an imaginary precedent with no Constitutional basis in any event. The ACA is the law. Period.

This "shut down" of the government should result in a Special Prosecutor by the DOJ to determine how, if at all, special interests including, but not limited to Foreign Governments, have unduly influenced the minority party from doing its legal duty to FOLLOW THE LAW.

"After the event, even the fool is wise." - Viscount Symonds

yogi
yogi

Well the quicker Number 6 realizes Number 1 is him wearing a monkey's mask the better we'll all be at solving this. Or realizing there is no escape, still not really sure what that ending meant.

eddiegusmc
eddiegusmc

Clapper is a disgrace to the intelligence community, and his belief that our intelligence agents would sell out speaks to his character and integrity.  To state that an intelligence agent will betray their country to make a quick buck is an insult to that community.  Any agent that is willing to do that will have or will do it already.  Clapper must be making this statement by reflecting on what he may do in this situation.  

mlnj
mlnj

So who exactly decides what is essential and what is non-essential?  Is it Boehner, Reid, or OBAMA? (Don't tell me it's Roberts!)

MrObvious
MrObvious

I SERIOUSLY doubt that someone serving their country does it for the mulah and if they did they're probably double agents anyways.

This was an awful bunch of scare tactical bull.

PaulFranklin
PaulFranklin

What this clown is doing in intelligence is beyond me. Having Clapper serve as DNI seriously damages our ability to protect the safety and security of this nation and its citizens.


Openminded1
Openminded1

what an ass wipe comment. intelligence people first of all are still working and will get paid, and even if they were delayed in payment it will not be fore long and doubt they are going to become double agents within two weeks.

grape_crush
grape_crush

> An ongoing government shutdown heightens the risk that American intelligence officers could be flipped as double agents.

If he believes they could be flipped that easily, he should be questioning the integrity of his American intelligence officers. Of course, if the assets these officers are running don't get paid, that's an even bigger problem.

And we're really not talking about border patrol officers and federal prison guards that are working without pay. I can only imagine what could happen there.

mustang_will
mustang_will

@MrObvious I wish I agreed with the notion of people in it for the patriotism, not the money, but I don't think that's the world we live in. Even the major advertisements for the armed services talk up the financial benefits, the tuition reimbursement, and signing bonuses. 

As for spies turning into double agents, I doubt it happens as often as Hollywood tells us, but if you read the history books it has certainly happened before and there's no reason to assume it isn't happening now.