Experts shocked, baffled that thousands of intelligence workers were furloughed as part of shutdown

posted at 6:01 pm on October 16, 2013 by Allahpundit

The stories about the Park Service barricading memorials are irresistible as examples of petty harassment of the public to build opposition to the shutdown, but this McClatchy piece about intel furloughs is far more consequential. Take five minutes to read it all. It’s a true scandal, either a case of shocking incompetence by Clapper or the most sinister form of shutdown theater that the feds have engaged in.

Darrell Issa’s House committee spent the morning grilling the head of the Park Service about the Barrycading of federal parks but this is what they should really be holding hearings on. And Clapper’s job, which should have been taken from him long ago after he lied to Congress about the extent of NSA snooping, should be taken now. One simple question: Did the Director of National Intelligence decide to send thousands of his employees home despite believing that American lives depended upon them staying put?

Note that it isn’t Republican congressmen who find this mystifying. It’s industry experts, at least one of whom has a name you’ll recognize.

A review by McClatchy finds that lawmakers, former intelligence officials and national security experts say they were shocked that the administration furloughed the bulk of federal workers at 16 intelligence agencies, many of them tasked with the most important job in the government: safeguarding lives.

“It’s difficult for me to understand,” said Leon Panetta, who served as the director of the CIA and the secretary of defense under President Barack Obama. “People that are involved in our intelligence are critical. You can’t possibly put 70 percent on furlough and not harm national security.”…

[Some] say the process was surprisingly haphazard – a moving target based on public pressure, differing legal opinions, a new law passed to ensure that the military got paid, even a change of heart.

J. David Cox Sr., the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 670,000 federal workers, said some managers had changed their minds after being criticized by the public or lawmakers.

“There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason to it,” he said. “They keep changing the rules. As the pressure is on, they’re saying, ‘Just come back to work.’”

Todd Harrison, a senior fellow for defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said a “simple reading” of [OMB/DOJ shutdown guideline] documents should have persuaded officials at intelligence agencies that civilian employees shouldn’t have been sent home. “They should never have been furloughed if there was a risk to loss of life,” he said.

You’re supposed to furlough “nonessential” employees. When asked whether he thought employees who help prevent American citizens from being killed are “nonessential,” Clapper said no but that he was forced to make “painful choices.” His defenders argue that not until Congress passed a law during the shutdown reinstating pay for federal employees who provide direct support to the military was he legally authorized to bring civilians back from furlough. But that’s belied not only by Harrison’s point in the excerpt but the fact that Clapper himself reinstated some employees at agencies like the National Counterterrorism Center just a day after he appeared before Congress on October 2. Even if you accept the good-faith explanation that his lawyers told him he didn’t have statutory authority to bring people back right away, this makes twice that the defense/intelligence wings of the government decided to read the law bizarrely narrowly rather than expansively. The first time was when the Pentagon decided it couldn’t pay death benefits to the families of fallen troops; that came as a surprise to House Armed Services Committee chair Buck McKeon, who thought the bill Congress passed reinstating pay for the military was broad enough to cover that. McKeon was surprised at the intel furloughs too, saying, “Though I do not believe the law required these hundreds of thousands of workers to be furloughed in the first place, it is welcome news” that they were reinstated.

So why were they furloughed to begin with? While you ponder that, via the Free Beacon here’s NPS chief Jon Jarvis at today’s hearing admitting that he discussed the closures with the White House — but that they were all his idea, don’tcha know.


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In Obama’s world, the only essential intel folks are the ones needed to troll through our emails. The rest could go home.

Bitter Clinger on October 16, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Thank God these people don’t have any real control over our healthcare.

rogerb on October 16, 2013 at 6:10 PM

LOL! Oh, man! I gotta laugh or I’m going to start bawling like a baby.

This a$$hole Obama simply does not care at all about our country.

Any President who had any leadership qualities would nip this in the bud. Just like any leader who saw the NPS punishing his country’s citizens the way they have would stop it instantly.

But…I’m not surprised. The night Obama went to bed when the life of one of his DIRECT representatives, a U.S. ambassador, was threatened, then flew to Vegas the next morning for a fundraiser told me ALL I need to know about this schmuck.

NavyMustang on October 16, 2013 at 6:10 PM

18 USC § 2388 – Activities affecting armed forces during war

(a) Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully makes or conveys false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies; or
Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or willfully obstructs the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to the injury of the service or the United States, or attempts to do so—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

(b) If two or more persons conspire to violate subsection (a) of this section and one or more such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be punished as provided in said subsection (a).
(c) Whoever harbors or conceals any person who he knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe or suspect, has committed, or is about to commit, an offense under this section, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
(d) This section shall apply within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States, and on the high seas, as well as within the United States.

Renee on October 16, 2013 at 6:11 PM

This administration is one, long, convoluted scandal. From the vaunted ‘transparency’ to the placement of unqualified and incompetent lackeys, to spending sprees, outright breaking the law and intentionally undermining the nation and its security…. this administration is the worst I have ever encountered.

Those who try to apologize for this administration and defend it consistently rant that anyone who criticizes this administration is inherently racist. Recently, it has been maintained by people like Robert Redford that congress is racist for the recent debt/Obamacare/shutdown kabuki. Really, Mr. Redford? I suppose then that congress was equally racist when Bill Clinton was president.

The fact is that any administration that has this many failings deserves strong criticism and should be brought to task for those failing.

thatsafactjack on October 16, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Dereliction of duty writ large. It’s no exaggeration to say that Obama would rather punish his enemies and get his way than protect American lives.

INC on October 16, 2013 at 6:14 PM

The folks who actually keep us safe or the folks who read our emails? I want to correctly gauge my outrage.

Cindy Munford on October 16, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Oh, nice, they are doing a story on the Obamacare site saying that the personal information is not safe in the source code.

Cindy Munford on October 16, 2013 at 6:17 PM

I see right though this. Most of you have not. Obama HOPED that someone would have gotten killed. This way he could make the Republicans look like the responsible party for the shutdown in resulting loss of life.

watertown on October 16, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Media: Other than asking him what’s the coolest thing about being Preezy, maybe you could ask him if he bothered to meet with all cabinet heads and military brassrior to the shutdown to mitigate pain and potential risk to Americans at home and abroad.

And if you did meet, what were you directives. If you did not, sir, do you love the country?

can_con on October 16, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Oh, nice, they are doing a story on the Obamacare site saying that the personal information is not safe in the source code.

Cindy Munford on October 16, 2013 at 6:17 PM

They are also linking to “Register to vote” once you successfully enroll.

The statist state rolls on…..

can_con on October 16, 2013 at 6:22 PM

“They should never have been furloughed if there was a risk to loss of life.”

Well, that answers that question.

Dusty on October 16, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Some clarifying edits:

A review by McClatchy finds that lawmakers, former intelligence officials and national security experts politicians and others who make an enormous amount of money from the government say they were shocked that the administration furloughed the bulk of federal workers at 16 intelligence agencies, many of them tasked with the most important job in the government: safeguarding lives politicians and others who make an enormous amount of money from the government.

BobMbx on October 16, 2013 at 6:24 PM

In Obama’s world, the only essential intel folks are the ones needed to troll through our emails. The rest could go home.
Bitter Clinger on October 16, 2013 at 6:08 PM

No person is needed to intercept, scan, and index our emails. That is done by the largest collection of Cray supercomputers in the world located at Ft Meade. The various data storage facilities do the rest.

oceansidecon on October 16, 2013 at 6:27 PM

can_con on October 16, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Getting ahead so they will be ready when they force amnesty on us next week.

Cindy Munford on October 16, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Bad, intelligence, that was very bad intelligence.

jake49 on October 16, 2013 at 6:30 PM

I see right though this. Most of you have not. Obama HOPED that someone would have gotten killed. This way he could make the Republicans look like the responsible party for the shutdown in resulting loss of life.

watertown on October 16, 2013 at 6:20 PM

I’ll take your someone and raise you a t3rrorist attack. That would have been the icing on the cake for him.

I can’t believe I am saying this about the president of the U.S., it is so evil. But, he’s not given me any reason to not believe he is evil incarnate.

tru2tx on October 16, 2013 at 6:31 PM

What difference at this point does it make?

davidk on October 16, 2013 at 6:31 PM

But, he’s not given me any reason to not believe he is evil incarnate.

tru2tx on October 16, 2013 at 6:31 PM

M.O.?

BobMbx on October 16, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Make it as painful (and deadly) as possible fellas……

/orders

ted c on October 16, 2013 at 6:33 PM

You never heard a word about not funding the Arts, did you? Ever wonder why the elite are solid lefties? Lets get real and look at the Department of Energy, (DOE) that was put together by President Carter to get us off foreign oil over thirty years ago and employes 16,000 federal employees and has a budget of over 23 billion dollars and have not done their jobs and received paychecks and forbid drilling in some cases here in our own Country. As of now 83% of the government is still operating, ever wonder why there is so much panic?

mixplix on October 16, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Oh, nice, they are doing a story on the Obamacare site saying that the personal information is not safe in the source code.

Cindy Munford on October 16, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Correct me if I’m wrong….but that’s not a good thing, right?

Renee on October 16, 2013 at 6:36 PM

If a terror attack had happened how could he blame R’s if he hadn’t furloughed so many INTEL people?

ajacksonian on October 16, 2013 at 6:37 PM

Correct me if I’m wrong….but that’s not a good thing, right?

Renee on October 16, 2013 at 6:36 PM

You are correct.

Stay away from healthcare.gov. Don’t even go there to be curious.

Bitter Clinger on October 16, 2013 at 6:44 PM

INTEL is an oxymoron for these morons.

hillsoftx on October 16, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Don’t worry, I’m sure that there is still someone going through the phone records and emails of US citizens.

yenober on October 16, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Renee on October 16, 2013 at 6:36 PM

The government says everything is fine, but I don’t know why I would pick now as a reason to believe them.

Cindy Munford on October 16, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Allahpundit continues to use the word shutdown to describe what was a partial shutdown, apparently unaware that you can’t win a debate if you let the opposition define the terms thereof.

Basilsbest on October 16, 2013 at 6:51 PM

When better intelligence policy is formulated, Krapper won’t be the author.
Only a total toad could be this bad and still keep the job….and yet they’re canning Alexander – who does deserve it.
The only way it could be worse is if we had a President that was actively involved in anything other than demonizing his political opponents.

Another Drew on October 16, 2013 at 6:54 PM

Intelligence? Most Intelligent President evah had it covered.

Marcola on October 16, 2013 at 7:12 PM

American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 670,000 federal workers

This is a fallacy, but a factually true statement. My people technically belonged to that union because of our UIC but not a single one of my 68 GS employees paid union dues, and they all wanted nothing to do with the union. True the AFGE would represent them if a ULP or a MSPB case came up and they asked for it, but my people were not dues paying members of the union.

The number of actual dues paying members of the AFGE is a closely guarded secret, but it is not a third of that 670,000 number.

Johnnyreb on October 16, 2013 at 7:24 PM

CIA counter-terrorism agents get furloughed, but Park Service rangers putting barricades around open air memorials and screaming at people to “stop recreating!” are essential personnel. There just are no words.

Hayabusa on October 16, 2013 at 7:26 PM

I think we need to take a step back here. I hear it wasn’t that all the intelligence personnel were furloughed, just those monitoring known terrorist cells were sent home. The personnel monitoring American citizens were kept on the job. Something about Obama saying, ‘eh if some Americans lose their lives in a terrorist act, we’ll blame it on the Republicans shutting down the government’ or something along those lines.

DaveDief on October 16, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Evidently ‘The most incompetent administration, evah!’ is unclear on the concept of ‘non-essential employees’.

Maybe that’s because most of the administration is filled with NON-ESSENTIAL employees – AKA ‘political appointees’.

GarandFan on October 16, 2013 at 7:52 PM

Story is much worse than reported. I had to get real close and personal with a “very senior” IC officer to get my civilian people back. We have real word missions on going, which require detailed support. After “deep discussions” he saw my point. I tell you, Washington D.C. is on a different planet. (Shakes head.)

flackcatcher on October 16, 2013 at 8:01 PM

There just are no words.

Hayabusa on October 16, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Well, there are words for this…but most of them would lead to immediate banning of the user.

Solaratov on October 16, 2013 at 8:01 PM

Clapper’s office initially estimated that 72 percent of intelligence employees had been furloughed, though the exact numbers are classified. By comparison, just 14 percent at the Department of Homeland Security and 5 percent at the Veterans Affairs Department were furloughed at the onset.

Well, at least now we know how much of NSA, etc., are actually necessary to keep an eye on us.

Maybe we should split off that part and make it an independent agency. they could call it the Security Department; the SD.

No, I’m not even trying to be charitable any more. This bunch turns my stomach, and that ain’t easy.

clear ether

eon

eon on October 16, 2013 at 8:22 PM

Did the Director of National Intelligence decide to send thousands of his employees home despite believing that American lives depended upon them staying put?

I feel safer with them furloughed.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 16, 2013 at 8:28 PM

You can bet when this administration is gone there will be an outpouring of criticism and frustration, from both parties, as to how incompetent these guys were.
It’s going to take a while to clean up the mess and I don’t think it will matter what party has the White House.

Vince on October 16, 2013 at 8:37 PM

My perspective, from having worked in an agency headed by Clapper in the early 2000′s:

Clapper knew, as all of us do, that federal employees would eventually be paid for the lay-off time. So essentially he gave the vast majority of intelligence agency employees a two week paid vacation on the taxpayer. Remember intelligence agency employees average about GS-13, around $80k when I retired, probably over $90k today. So these people are not living paycheck to paycheck– a two week paid after the fact vacation is a really nice deal. My rationale for saying this– after 9/11, once the initial activity was over by late 2002, Clapper gave all employees under him an extra day off for each of the federal holidays. This was still going on for at least two years- after that I was gone so I don’t know how long it actually continued. Not strictly legal, but he did it anyway.

mjzman on October 16, 2013 at 8:43 PM

A review by McClatchy finds that lawmakers, former intelligence officials and national security experts say they were shocked that the administration furloughed the bulk of federal workers at 16 intelligence agencies, many of them tasked with the most important job in the government: safeguarding lives.

I will never believe the tommy rot that these creeps spying on my phone calls, emails and credit card statements saves lives. They don’t save lives, they cost lives.

VorDaj on October 16, 2013 at 8:45 PM

It’s almost as if Obama ordered this shutdown to cause the highest amount of pain to the most people possible, to further knock America, a nation he hates so much he ran on a pledge to “fundamentally transform” it.

Actually, that’s exactly it.

BKennedy on October 17, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Yet another example of Obama providing aid and assistance to Islamist terrorists. He ties our soldiers hands in Afghanistan, providing a benefit to Islamist terrorists and resulting in the loss of American life. He arms Islamist terrorists in Syria. He backed Islamist terrorists in Egypt. He has given a free pass to Islamic terrorists that murdered Americans in Libya. (And evidence is there that reveals he even armed them it SAM missiles.) He wants to negotiate with Islamist terrorists in Iran. He provides the full protection of our legal system to Islamist terrorists who are essentially POWs. He releases Islamist terrorists so they can kill Americans again. He won’t even try Islamic terrorists for terrorism, calling it workplace violence.

And now he has damaged our effectiveness to thwart the attacks from Islamist terrorists.

If it walks like an Islamist terrorist, talks like an Islamist terrorist, even looks like a supporter of Islamist terrorism, then he just might be…………. Obama.

CTimbo on October 17, 2013 at 9:52 AM

This couldn’t have been part of the theatre or the lsm would have blasted it from the rooftops. Something must have been going on somewhere in the world that needed to happen undetected by the people we depend on to keep us safe. Or, Clapper is just another incompetent fool/tool who took the boss at his word to bring some pain. Those are govt workers who weren’t being paid for 3 weeks just like Smokey the Bear. Maybe they just weren’t that essential.

Kissmygrits on October 17, 2013 at 9:59 AM

This budget brew-ha-ha show that there are two distinctly different breeds of Washington Managers. If we were to come up with a Washington bucket list, perhaps this is a start.

First are those that had a reasonable handle on their charges and tried to do a decent job.

Eric K. Shinseki—————Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
In spite of the extreme increase in New veteran caused by the never ending wars and the budget shutdown and the undeniable facts that veterans and military were a direct target in this shutdown. Shinseki and is staffs kept the impact to veterans at a relative minimal level.

Chuck Hagel—————–Secretary of Defense.
Although the actions to bring back the civilian employees came from an out side source and not from him, He did listen and acted on the idea to lesson the burden on active and retired military.

John Kerry——————Sectary of State.
Stayed out of it all and just did his job. For him this may be an accomplishment.

Then there are those that President Clinton would have had Monica Lewinsky replaced with.

Eric Holder—————-Department of Justice.
A Passive Racist that could have initiated action and/or interpretations to relive much hard ship BUT choose NOT to.

Sally Jewell—————-Department of the Interior.
The thuggish use of park personnel for the inflection of pain on the public.

Jack Lew——————-Department of the Treasury.
Stating of dooms day treats of default.

Kathleen Sebelius———Department of Health and Human Service.
The implementation or the lack of with the Affordable Care Act.

jpcpt03 on October 17, 2013 at 11:35 AM