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FBI Warns Washington of Government Shutdown’s Effect on Agents and Their Work



The FBI has sent a petition to the White House and Congress warning of the government shutdown’s effect on agents and their work. The petition, first reported by The Atlantic‘s Natasha Bertrand, was signed by representatives of field offices around the country.

The FBI, which notes that its agents will not receive paychecks on January 11, is imploring “our elected representatives to fund the Department of Justice (‘DOJ’) and the FBI because financial security is a matter of national security.”

FBI agents, the bureau writes, “are subject to high security standards that include rigorous and routine financial background checks to ensure Agents are financially stable and responsible.” Missing payments on debts, the agency continues, “could create delays in securing or renewing security clearances, and could even disqualify Agents from continuing to serve in some cases.”

Additionally, FBI operations, like all government agencies, require funding. Special Agents have remained at work without their paychecks, and “FBI leadership is doing all it can to fund FBI operations with increasingly limited resources––this situation is not sustainable.” The bureau’s work, they say, “needs to be funded immediately.”

Perhaps most crucially, the lack of pay for its employees further “undermines the FBI’s ability to recruit and retain high-caliber professionals.” The government shutdown could incentivize FBI agents, highly skilled as they are, to seek employment elsewhere, dealing a blow to an already strained workforce.

The letter concludes with an affirmation that members of the FBI “proudly serve this nation and are honored to protect our country and Constitution from all threats, foreign and domestic.” The FBI is urging elected officials to reopen the government “before financial insecurity compromises national security.”

After tomorrow, the shutdown, now in its twentieth day, will become the longest in our nation’s history.