Threat Amplification

The indiscriminate cuts to US intelligence activities as a result of budget sequestration “amplify the threats” that the nation faces, National Intelligence Director James Clapper told the House Select Intelligence Committee last week. “Let me be blunt for you and for the American people: Sequestration forces the intelligence community to reduce all intelligence activities and functions without regard to impact on our mission,” said Clapper during the committee’s April 11 hearing on the worldwide threats facing the United States. He continued, “In my considered judgment as the nation’s senior intelligence officer, sequestration jeopardizes our nation’s safety and security and this jeopardy will increase over time.” Clapper said the sequester cuts National Intelligence Program funding by “about $4 billion, or about 7 percent,” in Fiscal 2013. Among the many effects, the intelligence community will have to “reduce human technical and counterintelligence operations, resulting in fewer collection opportunities, which increases the risk of strategic surprise,” he said. These reductions come at a time when Clapper—who has 50 years of experience in the intelligence community—said he does not recall “a period in which we’ve confronted a more diverse array of threats, crises, and challenges around the world.” (Clapper’s written testimony)