Voices from the Field contains reports from FBI Special Agentsnationwide.
These stories illustrate how the government shutdown affects our work and identifies the risks that may emerge as it continues. FBI Agents Association (FBIAA)members provided these reports on a voluntary and confidential basis.
FBIAA is releasing Voices from the Field to ensure that Congress, the Administration, and the public are aware of the real and daily challenges faced by FBI Agents and the risks to national security posed by a prolonged shutdown.
One overriding fact is clear when you listen to FBI Agents:
Financial security is national security
The government shutdown, which began December 22, 2018, left the FBI in a category of federal agencies that were not
funded by an annual appropriations bill. Due to our essential role in protecting national security, FBI Special Agents are
working without pay.
On January 10, 2019, the National Executive Board of the FBI Agents Association and representatives from all FBI field offices around the country signed a warning of the different ways the shutdownundermines the FBI’s mission.
As the shutdown moves into its fifth week, FBI Agents nationwide have submitted their stories describing the affect
of the shutdown on FBI Special Agents and their work.
If the FBI and Department of Justice ("DOJ") are not funded, the Agents will continue to face challenges in carrying out our mission to protect the nation.
Some of the specific ways the shutdown affects our Agents and operations were highlighted in the FIBAA’s petition:
1. FBI Special Agents are subject to high security standards that include
rigorous and routine financial background checks.… Missing payments on
debts could create delays in securing or renewing security clearances, and
could even disqualify Agents from continuing to serve in some cases.
2. The operations of the FBI require funding. As the shutdown continues, Special
Agents remain at work for the American people without being paid, and FBI
leadership is doing all it can to fund FBI operations with increasingly limited
resources—this situation is not sustainable.
3. Pay uncertainty undermines the FBI’s ability to recruit and retain high-caliber professionals....
The ongoing financial insecurity caused by the failure to fund the FBI could lead some FBI
Agents to consider career options that provide more stability for their families.
"On the child exploitation side, as an[undercover employee], I have had toput pervs on standby.… This just puts children in jeopardy."
- Southeast Region
In Indian Country, agents work some of the most violent crimes and at a very high case load. The violations worked are primarily violent homicides and crimes against children, with child sexual assaults likely being 70-80% of the case load.…
FBI offices…are having investigations stalled, to include delayed forensic interviews of child victims and delaying grand
jury indictments on homicides and child sexual assault prosecutions. Our child victims deserve timely interviews to
increase successful preservation of their testimony. The casesare being delayed for grand jury because we can't get medical
records from certain Indian Hospitals with attorneys who are furloughed. Additionally, cases are being delayed for grand jury
because investigators can't obtain land status information,[which is necessary for jurisdiction]. The impact is we aren't
able to take cases to grand jury to seek indictments/warrants in order to get our most violent offenders arrested and
justice for our victims.
- Western Region
Recently, we were scheduled for training [during the shutdown regarding child abductions in our area. We have had two stranger abductions in the last year, and…we were told we had to cancel.
Victims from domestic minor sex trafficking cases are notreceiving the attention they need and/or visits and counseling
services. These are investigations that cross state lines.…
Local victims in charged federal cases have been requested to fly in, prep for trial, and will not receive their witness fee or per
diem monies that are deemed their right; however, criminal trials will move forward. Their testimony is expected, and yet,
we have no way to pay for their…expenses.
- Central Region