US more exposed to terror attacks after shutdown: James Clapper

In one of the most dangerous side-effects of the US government shutdown, the country’s top intelligence officer warned that furloughing of civilians, specially spies will make the country more susceptible to terror attacks.

Last Updated: Oct 03, 2013, 14:49 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: In one of the most dangerous side-effects of the US government shutdown, the country’s top intelligence officer warned that furloughing of civilians, specially spies will make the country more susceptible to terror attacks.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that the shutdown will jeopardise American security and it will cause insidious damage.

"“As each day goes by, the impact and the jeopardy to the safety and security of this country will increase. The danger here... will accumulate over time. The damage will be insidious," Clapper said.

Clapper was speaking while testifying before a Senate Judiciary Committee, alongside Gen. Keith B. Alexander, director of the National Security Agency.

Clapper said he has tried to keep on enough employees to guard against "imminent threats to life or property," but may have to call more back to work if the shutdown continues.

Clapper even raised the specter of treason, saying financial stress could make his intelligence officers vulnerable to being bought off by foreign spies.

Alexander and Clapper also told lawmakers that the government shutdown that began Tuesday over a budget impasse is seriously damaging the intelligence community`s ability to guard against threats. They said they`re keeping counterterrorism staff at work as well as those providing intelligence to troops in Afghanistan, but that some 70 percent of the civilian workforce has been furloughed. Any details on the jobs held by the furloughed employees is classified.

Congress is mulling changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that some believe allows the NSA too much freedom in gathering U.S. data as part of spying on targets overseas.

With Agency Inputs