It's back to work for some of America's spy force left furloughed by the government shutdown.
Starting Wednesday, October 9, the Central Intelligence Agency will begin recalling some employees "who are necessary to carry out the CIA's core missions," John Brennan, the CIA director, said in a message to employees on Tuesday. Those missions include foreign intelligence collection, all-source analysis, covert action, and counterintelligence. Approximately 12,500 CIA employees have reportedly been out of work since the government shutdown began.
Brennan said he decided to bring back some employees "because of the potential adverse cumulative and unseen impact on our national security" from the shutdown, which is entering its second week. Brennan said that the CIA had been staffed at "dramatically reduced levels" over the past week and that keeping employees off the job "would pose a threat to the safety of human life and the protection of property."
Other agencies a have found a way to keep more national security workers on the job. The State Department never furloughed more than few hundred people. The Defense Department kept all of its uniformed personnel at work and recalled all of its civilians days ago.
Langley is making this partial recall nearly a week after James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, warned that the United States was more vulnerable to terrorist attacks the longer the shutdown drags on. "As each day goes by, the impact and the jeopardy to the safety and security of this country will increase," Clapper said during congressional testimony. The spy chief said the furlough of hundreds of thousands of government workers was a "dream scenario" for spymasters looking to recruit agents in the United States. Clapper said he was "very concerned about the jeopardy to the country" and that he could not "guarantee" the safety of the United States because of the shutdown.
Brennan stressed that he could not recall all employees, but only those involved in the core missions. Intelligence officials have warned that the shutdown poses a risk to national security and makes the United States more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
"This action will help ensure that our Agency can effectively carry out its mission to protect our country and provide the President with critical intelligence," Brennan said.
John Reed reports on the frontiers of cyber war and the latest in military technology for Killer Apps.