As the longest government shutdown in American history drags on, it’s not just hurting the morale of America’s federal work force and the broader American economy. It’s hurting our national security. Some of the damage is already plainly apparent—but in four crucial ways, its harms will persist long after the government reopens.
We’re beginning to see indicators of short-term national- and homeland-security vulnerabilities. Airports are short on screeners; thousands of FBI agents, analysts, and staff are on furlough; and our government’s newest cybersecurity unit barely launched before half of its staff were furloughed. Each of these lapses may cause specific problems: dangerous weapons may slip through security, endangering the flying public; investigative leads may suffer from inattention, causing investigations of federal crimes to be delayed or go unfinished; and recent efforts to improve federal cybersecurity may be stopped before they ever really started. Moreover, given the importance this administration purports to place on immigration enforcement and border security, the irony of the Department of Homeland Security’s border agents and immigration officials not being compensated to perform their important work is hard to miss.
Read the full article and more in The Atlantic.