The shutdown fearmongering continues apace, and Time magazine is dutifully passing along the administration's talking points. Here's the latest: the government work stoppage could drive cash-starved spies into the arms of other countries. It would make otherwise patriotic Americans become traitors.
Denver Nicks hacked out the short four-paragraph item this morning, excerpted in full below the page break (emphasis mine):
An ongoing government shutdown heightens the risk that American intelligence officers could be flipped as double agents, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Wednesday.
“Each day that goes by the jeopardy increases,” Clapper said while testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “This is a dream land for foreign intelligence services to recruit. Particularly as our employees, many of whom are already subject to furloughs… are going to have, I believe, even greater financial challenges.”
President Barack Obama and congressional leaders are meeting Wednesday evening at the White House to negotiate a way out of the shutdown, now in its second day. Hundreds of thousands of government employees are being furloughed or going without pay.
“I’ve been in the intelligence business for about 50 years. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Clapper said. “This seriously damages our ability to protect the safety and security of this nation and its citizens.”
This seems to be a mutation of the argument that the budget sequester pushed Edward Snowden into giving up American intelligence secrets to Russia. Snowden's father Lon threw that garbage up against the wall, but the Washington Post's Emily Heil ran with it, as my colleague Matt Vespa noted back in August.