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Tag: budget cuts

FBI Director Comey Makes Terrorism, Sequestration His Top Priorities in 2014

 

James Comey

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

FBI Director James Comey said the agency’s priorities this year are combating terrorism and dealing with deep budget cuts, ABC 33/40 reports.

“One of the first challenges I’ve faced as FBI director was the impact of budget sequestration on the bureau,” Comey said during a visit to Birmingham.

Budget cuts have left the FBI with fewer resources and agents.

“The first promise that we have made to the American people is that we will do everything in our power to keep the American people safe from terrorist attacks. That’s our number one priority,” said Comey.

Comey said those efforts may be compromised by deeper cuts and said he and Congress must work on a compromise.

“I’m optimistic we are on the cusp of a budget agreement that will allow the FBI to start hiring again and avoid the devastating furloughs we were facing,” Comey said.

FBI Agents Association: Looming Cuts Will Make It More Difficult to Fight Crime, Terrorism

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Budget cuts are going to have a big impact on the FBI’s ability to fight crime and terrorism, according to a group that represents 12,000 active and former special agents, Govexec.com reports.

The FBI Agents Association warned at a press conference Wednesday of the effects of looming furloughs, an ongoing hiring freeze and cuts in training.

The group, for example, said the sequestration is likely to force agents to take between 10 and 15 days of furloughs.

“Terrorists don’t get furloughed,” Tariche said. “Cyber hackers don’t get furloughed. Gang leaders are not furloughed and it’s not an acceptable thing to furlough active FBI agents because of the risks posed from both terrorist and criminal threats.”

FBI, Other Feds Face Budget Cuts That Could Mean Fewer Personnel

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Budget cuts in 2014 could mean fewer FBI agents and other reductions to federal law enforcement agencies, CNN reports.

“What we’re going to see is really tough decisions, really cutting into the bone of programs,” said Scott Klinger, director of revenue and spending policies at the Center for Effective Government, a budget watchdog group. “The belt tightening, the deferred maintenance, the tapping of rainy day funds — it’s all been done already.”

Lawmakers already began meeting to discuss the cuts.

A new round of sequester cuts could mean a whopping $800 million reduction for the FBI budget.

“That cupboard is bare. I can’t avoid it this year,” FBI DIrector James Comey said.

Federal Government Can’t Cut Most Homeland Security Employees

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A vast majority of Homeland Security employees cannot be forced off the job because of a government shutdown, the Washington Post reports.

About 86% of the department’s 231,000 employees are considered “essential,” which means they must remain on the job for the “safety of human life or protection of property,” regardless of budget conditions.

One of the most protected components of DHS is the Transportation Security Administration, where 93% of employees are considered essential.

FBI Crime Lab in Quantico, Va., Helps Track Down Terrorists Who Used IEDs

Robert Mueller

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A little-known FBI crime lab near Washington played a critical role in convicting two men who helped target American soldiers in Iraq with improvised exploding devices, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammad pleaded guilty to smuggling Stinger surface-to-air missiles and money to terrorists in Iraq from the one place you wouldn’t expect to find jihadists – Bowling Green, Ky.

Lab technicians at the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center in Quantico, Va. found evidence linking Alwan to the use of an IED in Iraq, the LA Times reported.

The lab has processed more than 80,000 IED submissions.

But FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III fears the lab may be hit by budget cuts.

U.S. House Lawmakers Question Why Homeland Security Did Not Better Prepare for Sequestration

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. House lawmakers criticized Homeland Security officials Tuesday for not reducing costs on the lead up to the March 1 sequestration, the Washington Post reports.

Homeland Security Undersecretary of Management Rafael Borras said he didn’t believe the automatic cuts would take place.

Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said the department should not have ignored the reality of the cuts.

Lawmakers also questioned the sincerity of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano saying that lines at major airports have doubled, the Post reported.

Borras said he was unaware of wait times doubling and said that overtime reductions had “resulted in some additional wait time.”

Border Patrol Workers Face Up to 40% Pay Cuts under New Budget Reductions

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Border Patrol employees will lose up to 40% of their pay if they are forced to take 14 days of unpaid leave and eliminate overtime, Tucson News Now reports.

The agency released a statement:

“In order to address the more than half a billion in budget cuts imposed by sequestration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection must take significant budget reduction actions.  CBP will continue to make every effort to minimize the sequester’s impact on public safety and national security, but expects that planned furlough of employees, along with reductions to overtime and hiring freeze will increase wait times at ports of entry, including international arrivals at airports, and reduce staffing between land ports of entry. Even with these cuts though, individuals apprehended illegally crossing the southwest border will still be processed as usual.  CBP continues to evaluate further impacts of sequestration on our operations.   Because the length of the sequestration as well as funding levels through the end of the fiscal year are unknown at this time, it is difficult to project the impact of the reductions on individual employees or job occupations.”

Employees said the cuts add up.

“I mean that’s astronomical,” Tucson Border Patrol Union President, Art DelCueto, told Tucson News Mow. “I don’t know how anybody especially now a days, no matter how much money you’re making. I don’t know how anybody can take a 40% cut.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Illegal Immigrants Being Released Ahead of Looming Mandatory Budget Cuts

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Department of Homeland Security has begun to empty out some immigration jails ahead of the looming mandatory budget cuts, the Associated Press reports.

The AP wrote that ICE has reviewed hundreds of cases and began removing an undisclosed number of illegal immigrants, who were “placed on an appropriate, more cost-effective form of supervised release,” ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said.

The agency’s “priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety,” she said.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST