Edward Snowden’s revelations about the excesses of the National Security Agency have so far had no effect whatsoever on actual practices. But Ted Cruz’s conspiracy to shut down the American government as a bargaining ploy in his quest to stop the working poor from being able to see a doctor has been much more effective in reducing NSA activity.
It won’t be remembered in Washington that the United States military is still at war in Afghanistan, but Gen Ray Odierno affirms that military capabilities are being degraded by the GOP-engineered loss of civilian support staff (he is implying and loss of special pay, danger pay and bonuses for troops in the field.) Since this is the deliberate act of Sen. Cruz and the Tea Party representatives in the GOP House, wouldn’t that be, like, treason?
1. Some 70% of NSA staff have been sent home as a result of the Republican Party shutdown of the Federal government. Despite its straying into US territory and its possible industrial espionage abroad, the NSA does actually track terrorists, and we would like it to do that well; that ability has doubtless been degraded by Cruz’s grandstanding.
2. Likewise 70% of the CIA has been sent home, at a time when al-Qaeda is reviving. Perhaps the Defense Intelligence Agency is in a bit better shape, since it has more military personnel, who are exempt from being furloughed.
3. 4000 computer specialists working for US intelligence have been furloughed.
4. Some 400,000 civilian support staff at the Department of Defense have been sent home without pay.
5. Among those sent home are the officials who sign arms contracts and buy weapons. You hope our troops in Afghanistan are well stocked; how exactly new weapons and ammunition can be bought and trucked up from Karachi to the Khyber Pass is not clear.
6. The 1.4 million active duty military personnel will likely see paychecks delayed, with negative effects on morale. David Small writes : “The Marine corporal deployed to Afghanistan, making $2,193.90 a month, is worried about his family back home. His kids rely on food stamps, but that program was cut during shutdown. He will try to maintain focus in a combat zone. But he will be distracted and uncertain.”
7. Likewise, military special pay and bonuses, re-up bonuses, rewards for accepting positions in which there are special needs have all been put on hold, along with promotions. Again, a severe impact on morale.
9. The State Department, whose cables were released by Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Wikileaks, has weathered a few embarrassing cables. But now it will face increasingly difficulties in doing its job of representing the US abroad. Embassies will stay open for a while since some funding is multi-year. But some sort of disruption is likely if the shutdown continues very long.
10. Some security has to do with biological threats; WJLA notes: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is be severely limited in spotting or investigating disease outbreaks such as the flu or that mysterious MERS virus from the Middle East.”