James Clapper on shutdown: This is a dreamland for foreign intelligence services to recruit. Seriously?

Read few comments.

Questions:

1. How grave is in your opinion a threat that foreign intelligence agencies or maybe even terrorist groups may successfully recruit people from the US intelligence community as the shutdown is ongoing?

2. Is America simply less secure right now because of shutdown or not and  why?

Answers:

Robert Blitzer, Senior Fellows, Homeland Security Policy Institute, George Washington University

1. I think there is little chance for recruiting new spy’s during the shutdown.

2. I also think that we may be marginally more vulnerable . Most of the military and intelligence community are not furloughed and remain on duty.

Peter Feaver, Professor of Political Science, Director of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies, Duke University

President Obama’s decision to shut down the government rather than accept a compromise deal with Republicans follows a certain partisan political logic.  The related decision to maximize the pain caused by the shut-down so as to maximize pressure on Republicans also has a partisan logic.  The conventional wisdom among political pundits is that Obama and the Democrats benefit from the shut-down.  But it could come at a serious national security cost.  President Obama could win his battle with Republicans, but lose position vis-a-vis larger global challenges.  The shutdown comes on top of the sequester cuts, which have seriously strained the U.S. military, further weakening our global position.  The sooner the domestic crisis is resolved, the better for American foreign policy.

Greg Treverton, Director of the RAND Center for Global Risk and Security, RAND Corporation

1. I don’t think this is a threat. The shutdown will be temporary, and deciding to spy for another country is a very fundamental decision, one not likely to be affected by short-term economics.

2. The answer has to be “yes,” though how much is hard to say. If the shutdown is relatively brief, then the increased risk is small. But if 70 percent of the workforce at intelligence agencies, for instance, is not working, then some issues or lead are not being followed that should be.

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