Officials Detail Shutdown's Chilling Effect On National Security | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Officials Detail Shutdown's Chilling Effect On National Security

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told Congress this week that the partial federal government shutdown has forced the furlough of some 70 percent of employees throughout the intelligence community.

"I've never seen anything like this," said Clapper, a 50-year veteran of intelligence work.

So what impact is all this having on the spy world?

A senior U.S. official tells NPR that because of the shutdown, some intelligence agencies are focusing only on the biggest threats: counterterrorism and nuclear nonproliferation. So some other issues, such as detecting and defending against cyberattacks and keeping an eye on ballistic missile launches around the world, are falling by the wayside. They just don't have the personnel to keep track of everything.

There has been no spike in cyber attacks, the senior official said, but there's a worry that this could happen should hackers or adversaries such as Iran try to test the system. As far as ballistic missile launches, the spy agencies want to keep track of the missiles — and what they can learn about any new developments — in places like Syria to North Korea.

Moreover, with North Korea, the U.S. Command in the region is keeping a close eye on things. But the senior official said that since the shutdown, Washington, D.C-based intelligence agencies are unable to process some of the intelligence coming from North Korea.

Another consequence if the shutdown continues? The intelligence community won't have the manpower to be able to turn raw intelligence into reports for Capitol Hill and the White House.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

College Life Doesn't Have To Mean Crummy Cuisine, Says Dorm Room Chef

Sick of dining hall pizza, public health student Emily Hu taught herself how to cook — even with no oven. Now she's hoping to inspire her peers to pick up cooking skills and healthier eating habits.
NPR

College Life Doesn't Have To Mean Crummy Cuisine, Says Dorm Room Chef

Sick of dining hall pizza, public health student Emily Hu taught herself how to cook — even with no oven. Now she's hoping to inspire her peers to pick up cooking skills and healthier eating habits.
NPR

What Romney's Retreat Means For GOP Hopefuls

NPR's Scott Simon speaks with senior Washington editor Ron Elving about the narrowing Republican presidential field for 2016 and what we've seen so far in the first month of the new Congress.
NPR

The Infinite Whiteness Of Public Radio Voices

The hashtag #publicradiovoices, about the "whiteness" of public radio, trended on Twitter this week. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Gene Demby of NPR's Code Switch team about the conversation.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.