Director Clapper Warns CIA Agents will Switch Sides Over Government Shutdown

Could Russia or Iran exploit the Washington budget impasse to recruit American spies?


I believe it was Allen Dulles who said that James Bond had no loyalties. That if the liquor and women were better in Moscow, he would have been across the border in a shot.

Apparently Director of National Intelligence James Clapper thinks that American intelligence agents are no better and will defect because of a delay getting their paychecks. If that's true, then maybe after Edward Snowden, currently enjoying Moscow hospitality, it's time to seriously reevaluate who is working for us.

Could Russia or Iran exploit the Washington budget impasse to recruit American spies? Director of National Intelligence James Clapper seems to think so.

Taking the warnings about the impact of the partial government shutdown to new levels, Clapper suggested Wednesday during a Senate hearing that cash-strapped spies might be tempted to switch national loyalties.

"This is a dreamland for foreign intelligence services to recruit," Clapper said, citing the "financial challenges" facing intelligence employees from both the current stand-off and furloughs driven by the sequester. He said roughly 70 percent of civilians doing intelligence work have been furloughed.

"The danger here of course (is) that this will accumulate over time. The damage will be insidious. So each day that goes by, the jeopardy increases," he said.

Clapper, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he's "never seen anything like this," and that the damage from the partial suspension of government services, on top of the sequester, will "seriously" damage national security.

The sequester was Obama's doing. So Clapper can talk to his boss about that. And why would any worker deemed non-essential have access to enough intelligence to be a security risk. For that matter, why are 70 percent of civilian intelligence workers deemed non-essential?

"I can't believe that 70 percent of the intelligence community is being furloughed and we're still being able to meet our national security responsibilities," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said.

Me either. In more ways than one.