Washington, October 2 (RHC)-- The U.S. government shutdown has forced spy agencies to furlough 70 percent of their civilian employees, according to a senior intelligence official in Washington.
The intelligence official, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the furloughed employees include both support staff and intelligence analysts. The layoffs are taking place across the federal government as officials decide which employees are "essential" and should stay on the job despite the failure of Congress to approve a funding measure.
A spokesman for the director of national intelligence warned the shutdown would hamper the ability of the United States to track threats to national security. Shawn Turner, a spokesman for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, said in a statement that "the immediate and significant reduction in employees on the job means that we will assume greater risk and our ability to support emerging intelligence requirements will be curtailed."
According to the Defense Department's shutdown plan, intelligence and surveillance activities necessary for national security are excepted from the shutdown. But the document notes that "general political and economic intelligence unrelated to ongoing or contingency military operations" are not excepted.
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