When the dust began to clear from the shutdown fall out, people discovered that 70 or more percent of the folks are charged with gathering and analyzing intelligence had been sent home to change weapons into plowshares. James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence and a retired Air Force Lt. General (That’s 3 stars, folks.), had been ordered by the administration to cut personnel to the bone.
Do not fear, though; the President has told us over and over that the first task of the President of the United States is to protect the people of the United States from enemies, both foreign and domestic. I presume that he is not talking about the Republican dominated House of Representatives. The House is not an enemy, just an adversary.
“It is difficult for me to understand,” said Leon Panetta. “People that are involved in our intelligence are critical. You can’t possibly put 70 percent on furlough and not harm national security.”
“Intelligence is our first line of defense,” said Gene Poteat, a retired CIA officer who heads the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.
Even Clapper admitted that the intelligence loophole was dangerous. “The damage will be insidious,” he said. “Each day that goes by, the jeopardy increases.”
And so with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Our country is at heightened risk of a terrorist attack.”
“This needn’t have happened at all. Congress, by passing a bill to allow members of the military to be paid, also made it possible for the intelligence community to continue to operate efficiently … Todd Harrison, a senior fellow for defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said a ‘simple reading’ of those 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.'”
“The president is, of course, taking every step necessary as president to ensure the security of the American people.” So stated Jay Carney, White House spokesman and apologist for the President. No report is made whether Mr. Carney said this with a straight face or not.
But Leon Panetta summed it up: “They made a call probably without really knowing the facts. You get the impression they are doing things by the seat of their pants.” Amateurs!
Go ahead and take away my Big Gulp Cup and my beloved cheeseburgers. Mess with my Social Security and Medicare. Water down my health care so that I have to wait additional time for my next colonoscopy. But don’t diddle on the golf course nor pontificate whether the Washington Redskins should change their mascot’s name while the security of my family or my nation is being jeopardized.
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