Sequester Will Weaken Intel Capabilities, Clapper Says

April 8, 2013

The nation’s top spymaster fears sequester budget cuts could have an “insidious” effect on the nation’s intelligence collecting and processing.

“We’re cutting real capability and accepting greater risk,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a briefing with reporters April 5.

“For intelligence, this is not quite like shorter hours at the public parks or longer lines at the airports. A capability we cut out today, you won’t know about that. You’ll notice it when we have a failure, and then we’ll go back and investigate it.”

Clapper said the intelligence community may have to furlough employees, though no decision has been made. Intelligence officials are still studying the continuing resolution Congress passed last month — which gave Defense Department agencies more flexibility to move money around to mitigate the sequester’s effects — to see whether furloughs are necessary. Clapper would not say which employees might be furloughed, or for how many days, if furloughs are required.

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